Pushes and Pulls

After our Forest Day today, we talked about all the learning we have been doing about pushes and pulls in science. We recently designed some play areas that have pushes and pulls (check them out hung up outside our classroom). We notice that we use pushes and pulls all the time when we move sticks, climb, and jump on ice to break it, for example. But what kinds of things could we add to our woods that would let us do more pushes and pulls?

We brainstormed (slides, treehouses with ladders, swings, rollercoasters) and then cut our list down to a few options that we could actually make.

  1. Rope swing
  2. Wooden bench swing
  3. Rope ladder

The grant that gave us the Grundens raincoats also gave us money for ropes for swings. We’re hoping to get those up soon!


Sit Spots: Can you spot the students?


A new climbing tree! The pricker bushes didn’t stop anyone.



Isla and Ainsley found “writing” on this stick. Ainsley said, “It looks like someone wrote on this long, long ago.”


There was “writing” on a lot of sticks. Very mysterious!


Playing on the car in Henry’s Sit Spot.


April is An Important Month

Our naturalist book by Mary Holland told us today that “April is the month of the most transformation.” We read all about the changes in the plants and animals that we will see this month. Then, out in the woods, we saw that it was true: Water running everywhere, birds and squirrels active. It was a joyful Forest Monday! IMG_8063IMG_8056img_8059.jpgIMG_8041IMG_8036

Hot Off the Kindergarten Press!

We stayed out for a long time today working on our science. We are learning about pushes and pulls and today we pulled “mystery boxes” and had to decide if they were easy or hard to pull and what might be in them. We found rocks, sticks, leaves, logs, pine cones, and mud.

We had such an exciting day last Monday and have been working all week on a book about it. This was a fun story to write for the end of our unit on true stories. It is true, but based on the title you might not think so! Enjoy.



A Day for Wind, Climbing, and Cupcakes

Today the weather was windy and sunny. Our First Grade Leaders were Olivia and Skyler. Miss Becca was our fire tender.


Paisley wrote: “I will see a bunny in the woods.” She put spaces between her words and she put a period at the end of her sentence. She also used labels.


Charlotte wrote: “I am gonna listen for a woodpecker.” She did some spaces. She did labels and a period at the end of her sentence. And she used some lowercase letters– we are really working on that! 


Avery wrote: “I am going to find some grass.” She used spaces and some lowercase letters too. She also worked on making her handwriting neat.


Ian wrote: “I am going to see a woodpecker.” His picture really matches his words. His spaces are really clear. 


Henry made a pen out of wood and he colored on another piece of wood. It was poking through because it was wet. 


At his Sit Spot, Dakota was attacking the tree. He was trying to make it snap, but it wouldn’t because it was too bouncy. Then he started sliding down it like a zipline. It looks more like he is attacking himself! 


Ainsley was lying in her Sit Spot. During this time we lie down or sit, and listen. Today we heard the highway and the wind. It was really windy.


Avery was holding the bird feeder. We added more food today.


Ian and Isaiah were playing rock, paper, scissors to find out who would go to the bathroom first.


We found lots of baby pine cones. We found them on the big climbing tree. We also found some buds. 


This is we were lifting out logs from the big climbing tree. We were bringing them to our fort to work on it. 


Avery was hanging onto the cracked branch. Part of the tree was already broken off.


Isaiah is climbing.


Today was Isla’s birthday circle. She is walking around the fire circle. She is handing out napkins for her cupcakes.


Isla was handing out cupcakes to us. They were good! 

A Warm Winter’s Day

It was 45 degrees when we went outside today. Warm, sunny, wet, and slushy in the woods. Mr. Frank and Miss Anita were our fire tenders. The birds ate all their food from the feeder and came begging for more. We heard a lot of crows during Sit Spot time and talked about what they could be saying to us.


Paisley’s plan: “I want to see tracks and the hole and scat.” In Morning Meeting we learned about ruffed grouse (or partridges) and how they leave a hole in the ground where they slept overnight. Paisley is working on putting a whole sentence on the paper and spelling her snap words right!


Avery’s plan: “I am going to find some water.” She used spaces between her words, spelled snap words right, and put a period at the end.


Willow’s plan was also to find a grouse hole. She wrote “hole,” “sit spot,” and “me.” Her picture helps tell her story clearly!


We certainly found water! All of the little streams were flowing.


Dakota found a hole in the field. Could it be a grouse sleeping hole or is it something else? We didn’t find any scat in it.


Ainsley made a slide in her Sit Spot and she kept on bashing into a stick. She says it didn’t hurt.


Dakota found  new tree to climb at his Sit Spot.


Gregory helped Mr. Frank saw some dead branches for the fire. Here is the one he sawed.


Journey and Reuben were our First Grade Leaders. They were scraping the bark on a tree.


The big hill was a fast and slippery slide today. We had a lot of fun on it!


 The whole class and the First Grade Forest Leaders came out to slide. Isla was going crazy down the slide and yelling. Ian was excited on the slide. A lot of us bumped into trees. Avery was screaming too because it was fun. We also slid into the mud at the end and we got messy. Willow made her own slide that was so fun. It was smaller and had no mud. Olivia was screaming too. Henry and Gregory made their own slide.


Did you know that Journey is Gregory’s sister? 


A few of us got our feet soaked and very cold. Ian made up a song about his boots, “My boots are a swimming pool!” and sang about all the animals that came to swim– a mouse, a crab, some fish. It made us all laugh. We took off wet socks, dried our feet by the fire, and put on fresh wool socks. That helped!


We love Forest Monday! Especially when it is warm and sunny. Ainsley also wanted to say that she saw some tracks on the playground that looked like dog tracks. 


“Spring Soon” Feeling in February

Today it was cloudy and 40 degrees when we left for the woods. The snow was soft and mushy, and it was still icy in places underneath. The streams were full of slush. We missed our friends Isla and Ian, but still had an excellent Forest Day.  I am impressed by these Kindergarteners ability to dress for the woods, their naturalist skills outside, and their persistence hiking through wet snow wearing snowpants and Grundens. The sun came out in the afternoon as we walked back in, bringing beautiful light to the end of our time together. We sang “Mr. Sun” as we walked back. And we heard the chickadees singing their “Spring Soon!” song as we left the woods!


Paisley’s Forest Plan: “I will see a bird and bird tracks.” Paisley did an excellent job labeling her picture and writing a letter for each word in her sentence.


Avery’s Forest Plan: “I am looking at the woodpecker.” Avery is working hard on keeping her handwriting neat. She drew a lot of details in her pictures, including the woodpecker and the hole it pecked through the tree. She drew moss on the other tree.


Willow’s plan was to find a ladybug. She labeled her picture with the sounds she heard: “Ladybug,” “head,” and “back.”


Charlotte wrote: “I am going to listen for a woodpecker.” She put spaces between her words and learned to spell the word “am.”


Here is Dakota showing his Forest Plan.


Dakota’s Forest Plan: “I am sledding and doing a somersault.” His picture clearly matches his words and he used spaces between his words.


Josie was a First Grade Leader. She played in the woods with us.


We were all hiking to the woods. It is always really long and tiring. But do we give up? No!


Dakota was hanging on his tree in his Sit Spot. He was swinging.


Here is Avery and her mom, Mrs. Johnson. Avery was in her Sit Spot and she was leaning against her mom.


Here is Willow in her Sit Spot. She was laying down with her stick. She was listening for a woodpecker.


This is Ricky, another First Grade Leader. He was eating his sandwich by the fire.


These two girls were looking up in the tree at something. They thought it was a beehive.


These are turkey tracks. We can tell because they have three parts.


Paisley and Ainsley were rolling down the hill and having fun. Henry and Gregory did it later and he ran and kept on slipping down.


These are woodpecker holes. They were looking for bugs in the tree to eat.


Henry, Gregory, and Dakota were playing rescue deer on top of the roots. If an animal tries to kill a deer, the deer rescue team would shoot the bad animal. And then the team would go get the deer to rescue it.


Gregory was climbing.


Willow is doing some math work with snowballs. We are working on subtraction. We took apart a group of snowballs. Willow took apart 5 to make 2 and 3.


Dakota took apart 5 to make 2 and 2 and 1.


Avery was climbing on the big pine and she was way on top of the branch. She felt a little bit scared but she liked it. She was standing up straight with no arms holding on.

Soggy Mittens Day

Wow! What a beautiful, but soggy day out in the woods today. It was 40 degrees outside our classroom when we got dressed at 10am, but by the end of our time at 2pm it was 32 outside. It was icy in places, slushy in others. And water was on the move, in the little streams and in the big wetland / “river.” We went through ALL the mittens we brought out (~ 2 pairs per Kindergartener) and were sure glad to have those Grundens on. We had lots of sloshy boots and wet wool socks that did their job of keeping toes warm enough to keep playing.

Mr. Frank tended our fire and Aisley and Emma joined us as First Grade Leaders.

A highlight of our day was that the birdfeeder had many visitors. Chickadees and titmice at least. Isaiah spent a long time watching them and talking to them in their own language: “Chickadee, chickadee-dee-dee!”



Henry’s plan: “I see a deer.” He labeled his picture and used color to make it look realisitc.


Isla’s plan: “I am going to play bear cave.” We learned this morning that black bears are giving birth to their cubs in early February.


Ainsley is reading her writing: “We will find the wooly bear together and we are going to play in the snow.” She has clear spaces between her words.




Willow’s picture shows all the things she is going to do in the woods. You can see deer tracks on the left side with labels, the fire area, and a squirrel. She labeled her picture and included a lot of detail.


Gregory’s plan: “I am going to find a real deer.” He labeled “water,” “deer,” and “me.” He is working on spelling snap words right like “to” and “a.”


Aisley and Paisley found some deer scat.


Here is the deer scat. It is shaped like ovals, little beans or eggs.


This is Ian with the river (wetland) in the background. The ice has melted. The water was flowing pretty fast. And at Avery’s Sit Spot she heard the water rushing.


The First Grade Leaders were helping work on the tent (fort) some more. The sticks were falling off.


Ian, Gregory, Henry, and Willow were discovering what the water was doing.


Henry was helping a friend here. She had wet mittens so he gave her a pair of his extra ones.


Willow found a mushroom. She found it down on the hill where a tree was knocked down. She picked it off. It was dry.


Paisley was climbing on the tree that was knocked down. She was hanging from it.


Avery was kneeling on the high part of the tree. A little while later, Henry was behind her and he was standing on a stick that broke. Then Avery fell down a little ways. It was scary and she got a little bit hurt. She cried a little.


Here is everyone climbing on the big pine.


Today Ainsley fell on the ice in the woods and hit her eyebrow. It was a drag and it hurt a lot. But here she was climbing and feeling good!

Exploring Far and Wide

We went out for a shorter Forest Day today, and it felt too short! But the crusty snow and hard ice on the wetland meant we were able to explore much farther than usual down the wetland. Mr. Frank came out and tended our fire and Avery’s mom, Mrs. Johnson, also came out to help. It was about 25 degrees in the woods, overcast, and very still. We heard a far-off crow, chickadees, and nuthatches. After a few weeks away from the woods, everyone was very glad to be back!


We saw lots of deer tracks today. 


Avery and Dakota playing hockey on the frozen wetland. They used a piece of ice for a puck.


We climbed on a big pine that fell in our October storm. It was hard to climb with all the needles everywhere.


Here is the big downed pine.


Dakota found a hold in the ice and made big enough for him to sit in.


Isaiah was practicing his karate chopping.


Willow and Ainsley found a wooly bear caterpillar. It was all curled up and sleeping.


They made a house for it under a piece of bark in Willow’s sit spot.


The wooly bear in its house.


Paisley! She got stuck in the climbing tree and her boot fell off. It was scary, but Mr. Frank and Mrs. Johnson helped her get out! 


Henry in first grade was one of our Forest Leaders. He showed a lot of caring when he helped Isla find her ice gripper. Here he is climbing down underneath the pine tree.


Many kids went down to the marsh to slide and explore. It was so fun to go somewhere we had never been before!


Isaiah in his sit spot. 


We found a ton of places where squirrels had eaten pine cones. Here is a big pile!


Henry kept falling off the log in his sit spot (on purpose)!


Ian in his sit spot.


Avery’s Forest Journal: “We were playing hockey with hockey sticks.” Avery put spaces between her words and labeled her picture. She spelled snap words right like “we.”


Olivia drew a picture of her skating on the ice. She has been working all year on writing her name and now she  can do it! 

Such a Cold Day

We had a very cold day in the woods. It was 20 degrees in the woods, but it felt colder. (Because of the humidity and snow that melted with our body heat.) When we did calendar, we saw that it was warmer than our last day of school. It was Dakota’s birthday circle, so he went around the circle and then we ate cupcakes. Our fire tenders were Mr. Frank and Miss Anita. The First Grade Forest Leaders were Emily and Mollie. They played baby and family and climbed a lot.


We had to warm our hands by the fire today because it was so cold.  Dakota’s hands were cold because his mittens got really wet. There was some ice on them. Paisley is kneeling on a snowshoe to stay off the snow. The snow is cold! Mr. Frank was one of our fire tenders this week.


Avery, Isla, and Ms. Atkins were pretending to be rescue tigers. We were rescuing Paisley.


Here Olivia is saying “Cheese!” (and “Pickles!”)


Ainsley told us today that she lost her front tooth!


The snow today was so deep that we kept falling over and getting stuck. It was hard to walk. When we fell, we got back up. Sometimes we bumped into each other too. One time, Charlotte’s boot got stuck in the snow. To get it out we had to dig.


We followed the path of the adults. They had snowshoes on that were so big. It was so easy to walk on the snowshoe trail. If you stepped into the deep snow, you would fall over.

I was so impressed with the persistence of these Kindergartners today. It was one of the hardest days yet, what with the deep snow and temps just warm enough to melt snow around your mittens and form that frustrating and freezing cold ice. We learned about sticking it out when it gets tough, and had some good times in spite of it! Not many pictures, because the photographer was quite busy warming up cold hands and feet 🙂 But here are two Forest Journals that kids made when we got inside:


Ainsley wrote: “I did what I wrote about.” This is true– in her plan she wrote that she wanted to check the bird feeder and climb on a snow pile. You can see that her picture matches her words and she has spaces between her words! 


Charlotte wrote, “I played with Willow.” You can see that she also has spaces between her words and she even put a period at the end of her sentence. She also remembered to label her picture (on the right it says “sky”)!