Daily Schedule

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Garden Planning - a Perfect Example of Project Based Learning

We continue our important work in planning a rain garden for our school. This strikes me as an example of a perfect project for younger children, as it is place-based, hands-on, and has a real-life application. We will make our school be even more nature-friendly than it is now, by helping the drain water become clean before it heads to the Huron River!

Catie came back to our school this morning to talk more with the children about native plants, how to plan a garden for a specific purpose, and to assist them with the garden planning/grids. This morning we practiced listening skills, reading skills, and math concepts - as well as science learning about plants and the interconnectedness between plants, insects, and animals.

We started by Catie sharing a comic drawn specifically for this educational purpose, done by local artist/guru David Zinn.

We then took our seats to research various native flowers and plants - how much space each plant needed, if they attracted bees or butterflies, their height and color, and so on. With this information, each student designed their own garden, using a grid where each square represented a foot of space. They each had to have a color-coded key with their grid, as well as figuring out total number of plants and estimated price. It was an involved assignment, but the children really rose to the challenge (as they always do).

Catie will return in May to help us dig in the dirt and make our plans become reality.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Has Sprung!

It is officially Spring here in Michigan - which can mean any and all types of weather. Just this week, for instance, we have warm temperatures, rain, and the possibility of snow.

Yes, there will be  mud.

Spring break is a great time to clean out your child's gear and replenish cubby areas when you return. Several pairs of socks, an entire change of clothes, and rain boots are all necessary. As you know, we pride ourselves as being an outdoor school - we play in all sorts of weather, and go out every single day (at least a couple times a day), unless it is below zero with the wind chill or there is thunder and lightening. Hopefully, we won't have any more below zero temperatures until next school year!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Helping our Bird Friends

This afternoon, our nature-loving students were happy to make some sweet "bird nest helpers". We noticed that one of the nests in my collection actually has animal fur (maybe horse hair?) and thin plastic string. We figured that birds will use what is handy, in order to make their homes cozy and useful.

Using bits of fluff, pieces of wool and string, and some feathers, they stuffed little twig balls I had hanging around (you should see my basement). With fingers crossed, we hung some of our creations on our front porch as we noticed a lot of bird activity there. It will be so fun if we happen to spot a nest with colorful feathers or yarn woven into it!

This Week in Review - March 20 - 24

This information will be found in Walter's weekly email:

In math class this week, we continued working on multiplication and division, as well as making progress in 
the Singapore Math books. Children are enjoying using the concept of arrays to make city scenes (buildings with
a set number of windows depending on dice rolls). 

We also had a special game day with Elaine's class on Friday, 
and taught them the ever-popular Guess/Digit/Place game. 

Writing time was filled with making progress on our workshop pieces - some children are illustrating, some are 
proof-reading, others are on to new projects. We are nearing the end of our current chapter book - Henry and 
Ribsy. With our current theme of sustainability, we started our big seed project. For the next few weeks we will 
be learning different techniques of seed saving. On Wednesday morning, Catie, a Water Quality Specialist from 
Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner's Office, visited. We will be working with her to build a rain 
garden in the ditch near the playground. This works so well with both our current theme of sustainability as 
well as our science lab lessons with Shan on Ecology (how things in nature interact with each other, and 
biotic v.s. abiotic).