First Forest Days

We have had two Forest Mondays already, and what fun these kids have been having in the woods. We are learning to climb trees and play with sticks safely, finding lots of caterpillars, and getting to know each other. Here are some of today’s (first ever!) Forest Plans.

IMG_2866

Finn: “That is Hunter and that’s me and that’s a robot. I’m playing robots.”

IMG_2865

Cameron: “I’m going to try to look for some portals.”

img_2877.jpg

Grace: “I am going to look for bugs.” She drew a family of spiders, with the “Mommy-long-legs, sister-long-legs, and daddy-long-legs.” You can see their long legs clearly!

IMG_2796

All the Forest Kids at the end of their first Forest Monday! Looking forward to more.

Advertisements

Raincoats!

This post is a special shout out to Trust for Our Future, MSAD 75s education trust, that allowed us to purchase Grundens raincoats, long underwear, and a tarp to stay warm and dry out in the woods. This gear made our Forest Days possible!  It only rained one day this spring, and of course taking pictures while teaching is even harder in the rain, so these are all I’ve got. Warm and dry kids in the rain = happy kids in the rain (plus salamanders and worms don’t hurt either). This was one of our happiest Forest Mondays!

IMG_8398

Isla holding a salamander with such care.

IMG_8400

Dakota found something: I can’t tell if it is a worm or a slug.

IMG_8392

This was our first day finding redback salamanders, and in fact my first time finding them in these woods. I looked hard last year, but didn’t find any. Rain must have brought them out!

IMG_8391

They like to crawl up, and it take a steady hand to keep them from wiggling off.

IMG_8384

One of our First Grade Leaders catching drips from the tarp with a leaf “cup.”

IMG_8380

Isaiah and his stick.  Note the fleece hat underneath, in June. It was cold! This game was moving too fast for me to get many pictures.

Last Forest Monday

This week was our last Forest Monday. We read the book All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan and talked about places we love– at home, school, and in our woods.

Image result for All the place to love book

We wrote our last Forest Journal about the place we love best in the woods.

IMG_8471

Isaiah: “I play Minecraft at my tree.”

IMG_8473

Avery: “I love my tree because it is so peaceful.”

IMG_8475

Henry: “I love the whole woods because it is beautiful.”

IMG_8477

Ian: “My favorite spot is the climbing pine because I can fall in holes.”

IMG_8479

Ainsley: “My favorite spot in the woods is the log down the hill.”

IMG_8482

Isla: “I like to play on the pine tree because it is fun to play on.”

IMG_8485

Willow: “I like the apples because it is yummy.”

IMG_8486

Gregory: “My favorite spot is the stream because it is beautiful!”

And here are a few pictures from our last Forest Monday:

img_20180618_123009580

Ainsley took a big spill and Paisley helped cheer her up.

img_20180618_122859087

Dakota and Ian discovered how to pull up the whole plant, roots and all.

img_20180618_113300203

“Look, this plant has five leaves!” We also noticed they were shaped like hearts. 

img_20180618_112839740

Willow and Dakota found a nightcrawler! 

img_20180618_111130640

Willow in her Sit Spot.

img_20180618_110731908

Avery at her tree in her Sit Spot. She was copying the songs of birds.

img_20180618_110649317

Henry in his Sit Spot.

img_20180618_110540102

Isaiah. I think his stick was a rocket launcher.

img_20180618_110414138

Paisley in her Sit Spot.

img_20180618_105518582

We found tons of Indian Paintbrush.

img_20180618_105218615

Dakota was pointing out blackberry plants everywhere! 

Remember, families, please take your kids out to the woods this summer. They would love to share their favorite places with you. Thanks for a fabulous year!

A Good Day for Climbing

A beautiful, sunny, 65 degree day! We didn’t even bother with Grundens today, because we had a short Forest Day. That meant climbing was especially appealing. And we heard our regular chestnut-sided warblers during Sit Spots. Please-please-please-please-ta-MEETCHA! They are very loud!

IMG_8413

On Ian’s leaf there were hard little bumps. They might be eggs. 

IMG_8414

This is Avery’s tree. She didn’t know what it was, so we looked it up in our tree book. It is an ash tree!

IMG_8415

We found these orange-petaled flowers. They looked like little sunflowers. 

IMG_8416

This is Ainsley and she is the helper so she is carrying the bucket. She also is putting a buttercup near her chin to see if she likes butter.

IMG_8418

Isla was making a fairy house in her Sit Spot.

IMG_8419

Henry found this giant leaf in his Sit Spot! 

IMG_8422

This is a tent caterpillar. You can tell by the white stripe.

IMG_8423

Dakota found tiny fiddleheads in his Sit Spot!

IMG_8431

We found leaves on a tree that we thought was dead. It was our bouncy tree. The leaves were growing out of the trunk.

IMG_8434

Charlotte saw a chipmunk and then “Whoosh!” it went into this hole where she is pointing.

IMG_8448

Avery was asking “Why are you upside down, Ms. Atkins?”

IMG_8449

Ainsley was climbing too.

IMG_8452

Isaiah climbing.

IMG_8458

Dakota was saying, “I feel like I could sleep here forever.”

IMG_8461

Henry and Gregory climbing.

IMG_8462

Willow was carrying a big stick back for firewood. It was too heavy so she had to ask Dakota for help.

Rain

A superb rainy day. Annabelle and Emma from Mrs. Mackenzie’s class (as well as their mom!) joined us today. Mr. Frank kept us warm with a fire. Some notes from Ms. Atkins:

IMG_8382

Someone had the idea to catch the drips off the tarp with folded leaf “cups.”

IMG_8386

Thank you Grundens and Trust for Our Future for our new raincoats that we finally put to use. And thank you Mr. Frank for our excellent fire on a cold June day.

IMG_8391

First salamanders of the woods! We learned to hold them gently.

IMG_8393

Everyone had to try holding them. Once, or twice, or three times.

IMG_8388

I believe it was an eyepatch made of a fern. Who knew that rain makes leaves stick to your face? Lots of laughter today.

And in the students’ own words, today’s highlights:

IMG_8401

Isla. The “Sonic” bunny is pretend.

img_8404.jpg

Olivia started to write: “I played with…” but her labels help us figure it out.

img_8405.jpg

Avery: “I got water with Dakota from the tarp.” Her picture clearly shows how the water ran off the tarp!

img_8407.jpg

Henry: “I found a cricket. I held it. It did not move.” His picture shows his hand hold the stick and the cricket. Henry carried it all the way up the hill like this to show to Mr. Frank!

img_8406.jpg

Gregory. The wood we found upstream looked like it was from an old snowmobile bridge. We stayed away from the rusty nails!

img_8408.jpg

Ainsley: “Me and Isla were holding a salamander. And I liked holding the salamander.” That is not an easy word to stretch out!

img_8409.jpg

Isaiah: “I played Sonic with Paisley.” Way to get down the beginning sounds you hear Isaiah!

 

The Best Hot and Green Day in the Woods

IMG_8347

The apple trees were blooming and Ms. Atkins took our picture by the apple trees. 

IMG_8359

The woods were full of green leaves! 

IMG_8361

The white flowers were everywhere. They look like upside down tulips. 

IMG_8363

Gregory found some hair with a bone hooked to it. We were thinking maybe a skunk or a raccoon. It felt soft.

IMG_8366

Dakota and Paisley found a bunch of caterpillars on a spiderweb. It was in the middle of a branch.  They are not browntails because they have a different kind of nest. But we are still not going to hold them. 

IMG_8368

Willow and Paisley were trying to get the caterpillars off and they got some on their sticks. 

IMG_8369

Here is Paisley holding the Daddy Long-legs. 

IMG_8376

We held this spider and it tickled. It is called a Daddy Long-legs. It had dots in the middle. They don’t bite. The spider broke its leg so it was dragging one. And then Paisley put it in her Sit Spot in a safe place where it would not blow away. 

IMG_8378

We were playing seesaw! 

 

Spring Outdoor Adventures

IMG_8287

The leaves are really starting to come out and they are turning green. Before they were reddish orange when they were little. This is because it’s almost summer.  Paisley’s tree is a maple and we can tell because of the leaves.

IMG_8290

Ainsley’s dad, Mr. Lamoreau, came out in the woods with us. He helped us. He helped us when Henry hit his head on a tree. That is Ainsley’s tree.

IMG_8292

This is Ian’s tree and we are not sure what kind it is. It isn’t a maple. The leaves look different. Avery thing is it is a beech tree. We’ll have to look it up in a book.

IMG_8293

Gregory found a slug on the ground.

IMG_8297

He got slime on his hand.

IMG_8294

This is a part of a robin egg. We are wondering if blue jays and bluebirds also have blue eggshells.

IMG_8300

Here is Dakota at his Sit Spot. He is laying on the ground. He was trying to be quiet. Before, he was making a squirrel nest in his Sit Spot.

IMG_8302

Paisley is in her Sit Spot. She was pretending that the ground was hot lava.

IMG_8310

Avery and our First Grade Leaders, Journey and Mollie, were building fairy houses. Mollie and Journey were working together and Avery was working on a fairy house by myself. The fairies that come are very lucky because Avery make them a giant salad.

IMG_8313

We learned about fiddleheads from Mr. Lamoreau. The ones on the right are the kind we can eat. They have brownish orange leaves on the stems. The ones on the left are not good to eat because they are light green and don’t have the orange leaves on the stem. They are also not good to eat if they are unrolled.

IMG_8315

Here are Gregory and Henry climbing. Gregory was pretending to fall down the tree.

IMG_8333

Dakota, Ian, and Isaiah were playing Minecraft. Dakota was swinging everywhere.

IMG_8339

We found some baseballs and golf balls in a hollow stump. Some were broken and some were made out of string.

IMG_8342

We found strawberry flowers everywhere!

IMG_8343

Dandelions grow everywhere too!

A Fun Forest Day!

Today it was hot out in the woods and a little breezy. It was very beautiful. We heard a lot of birds, including crows and chickadees. We found lots of bugs including centipedes. Today black flies were flying around our faces a little bit. But they were not biting anyone yet.

Some of the fun things we did outside today were:

  • Gregory and Henry found a slingshot and shot sticks up in the air on it.
  • We also shot Mr. Frank’s bandana up and two times he got it stuck in the tree!
  • We made chocolate cake in the ravine.
  • Ian was jumping in the water.
  • Dakota kept on swinging on his tree.
  • Some of us worked on a fairy house village.
  • Charlotte played in the mud.
IMG_20180507_110126748.jpg

We noticed that a bunch of leaves were coming out. We kept on finding leaves over and over again.

IMG_20180507_110250174.jpg

Ian is looking at plants and leaves. They might be called three-leave clovers or they might be strawberry plants. 

IMG_20180507_110410850.jpg

Henry found a slug at his Sit Spot. It was walking on the ground. Dakota said, “Do you mean slithering? Because slugs don’t have legs!”

IMG_20180507_104623515.jpg

Here is Olivia L. (from first grade) next to her tree from last year! It is a cherry tree which is the same kind as Charlotte’s this year. 

IMG_20180507_104438791.jpg

Ian is putting his finger on the bud of his tree. The bud is turning green a little bit, but it is still brown. This is important because this is when the leaves and flowers come out. 

IMG_20180507_104422309.jpg

This is Ainsley with a red flower on her tree. It looks like a cocoon, but cocoons like hanging down. It is not hanging down. 

IMG_20180507_104500105.jpg

Avery found a green bud on her tree too!

First Green in the Woods!

IMG_8171

“I want to find a chickadee in my Sit Spot.” Ian’s picture is really detailed and he put spaces and a period at the end of his sentence.

IMG_8172

“I hope to find a turkey up in the air.” Henry has  a clear picture and is working on hearing all the sounds in his words.

IMG_8173

“I am going to see some birds on the ground.” Avery used lowercase letters, spaces between her words, and her words match her picture. She also used great color to show the kinds of birds: A robin, a bluebird, a crow, and a chickadee.

IMG_8180

On the playground, we saw two eagles up in the sky.  Isaiah and Mr. Frank saw them first. They flew in a circle around us and they came back. We looked through our binoculars to see them.

IMG_8181

Olivia and Charlotte found green plants in their Sit Spots. Actually, they were everywhere in the woods. Trees were starting to put out leaves too!

IMG_8194

Ainsley was looking through her binoculars in her Sit Spot, looking for a bird. She saw two.

IMG_8204

Avery was climbing up her tree so she could sit in the branch. Dakota got his leg stuck in the Y of that tree today too.

IMG_8213

Gregory and Willow were making a home for squirrels and a garden for them. They were planting buds that would grow for the squirrels.

IMG_8214

Dakota found a worm when he was trying to pull a tree out of the ground.

IMG_8224

Here is Gregory climbing  a big tree. Avery and Olivia climbed it too. It was a new tree for us and it was really tricky. Stuff kept getting in Avery’s hair and the green stuff got in her eyes. Gregory went up really high! And he had to get down because that was too high.

IMG_8228

Here is Brayden, our First Grade Helper, climbing. He played a lot of tag with Henry.

IMG_8234

Willow was using this stick to measure how high the water was.

 

Thank You Trust for Our Future!

Earlier this year, the Trust for Our Future helped us buy rain coats, a tarp, and base layers to support our outdoor learning. Mrs. Booth, from the Trust, came out on Monday to see us in action outside. We each wrote a Thank You card and here is the letter we wrote as a class. Thank you, TFOF! Our Forest Days would not be possible without this gear!

IMG_8169.JPG