Sunday, June 12, 2016

Goodbye! Have a Great Summer Break!

Here they are lined up ready to head home on the last day of school!

The last day of school is an emotional day for me as I've spent many days with these young students watching them transform, grow and become more independent throughout the year.  It is a good feeling to think about all they've learned during this year in kindergarten.  They have learned to get along, follow rules, read, write letters and sentences, add, subtract, do story problems, count and write to 100 and much, much more!  They have also learned a lot about nature and birds throughout the year as well.  It is amazing what their young minds are capable of learning.

I've gotten to know them quite well and it will be so different to not see their smiling faces as they walk through the door each morning.  We had such a great year together and I will miss them very much!  I wish them all a happy summer!  I will see them again in August!  Thank you for reading my blog and for the nice feedback I received from you!

The Last Day of School!

We had a great plan for the last day of school.  The teachers planned to take the K-4 kids to the Lion's Park and have a fun day outdoors complete with free play, kick ball, volleyball, basketball or even birding with me!  We forgot to inform Mother Nature and it was a very, very windy and cold morning.  Being tough South Dakotan folks, we went anyway and gave it a try.  We stayed for about an hour until it began to rain.  Such a bummer!  We went back to school and set up a movie in three classrooms and we let the children go to the one they wanted.  I showed old favorite bird videos, while the others had cartoons.  We made the best of the day!  

Before we left we sat around our room and had an ice cream treat courtesy of me and I gave them some bubbles as a send off gift.  We dismissed at noon on that last day of school.

Despite the cold, the kids were ready to go birding!

We only saw about ten species due to the wind, but 
we sure tried!

These guys were really getting into it by being very stealthy.

When we work together, we can do anything!

April and May Journal Entries

These young children are doing a great job at writing in their journals.  They are writing longer sentences, they are able to sound out words quite well and they use the correct punctuation.  Their handwriting is quite neat too!  I am so thrilled to see the progress that they've made in writing and reading!

Adios Mr. G!

After 41 years in education, our elementary 
principal/superintendent has retired.  Here are the kids 
giving him his send off at our last assembly.

Photos From my Phone

Here are some photos from my iPhone that were just too cute to keep to myself. 
Creative minds working together!

"I found a Common Grackle for you, Teacher!"

K-4 Concert Practice

Ryenn's cool birthday cake made by her dad!

Silly boys!
Levi's ma brought in a baby Northern Bobwhite 
for the kids to see.
Celebrating birthdays is always a fun time!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

South Dakota Birding Festival

My kindergartners were asked to 
make a poster for the birding festival.

The South Dakota Birding Festival is slated for May 20-22. There are many activities on the agenda including:  birding, bird banding, speakers and a supper. This festival is geared for people who are interested in birds and would like to learn more about them.  Birders are there to help out.  

I think it would be great if the kindergartners or any students from our school would come to the bird banding.  During this time the ornithologist sets up nets in hopes that a bird accidentally gets caught in the net.  He measures and weighs the bird as well as puts a numbered, metal band on the bird's leg.  Then if that bird is found again and that number is reported to the data base, scientist can learn where the bird was from.  

When my students have come to the bird banding before, they have dazzled the crowd with their bird knowledge.  The kids often get to hold a bird prior to its release.  Kids really love that!  It is a great photo opportunity for parents as well.  Bird banding takes place early in the morning at 7:00 AM - noon, which is early, but it is so worth it.  Our students and their parents are allowed to come to the bird banding sessions on Saturday morning for free, so please consider taking advantage of this opportunity.  Check this link, South Dakota Birding Festival for more information.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Meet the Chickadee Bird Club

The Chickadee Bird Club -  Grades K-3
Four years ago I began incorporating my passion for birds and birding into my curriculum after noticing that young students were also very interested in it.  When I teach them their color words, I use colorful birds.  When I teach addition and subtraction story problems I often use birds.  Teaching them how to write sentences using their love of birds, helps them to want to write more.  It works really well! 

Since that time I've met with each grade every other week to have a Chickadee Bird Club meeting.  During the meetings I teach them about bird identification, habitat, migration and geography.  We check in on nest cams, a feeder cam and cool bird videos.  I show them what birds are in the area at that time and which ones to watch for.  I also teach students how to bird and ways to get out and enjoy nature. We have a good time and it is my favorite part of the week!  

Here are the 47 young birders. These kids can easily identify hundreds of birds and many bird songs.  They come to me in school with interesting bird reports and accounts of the latest life birds they've seen.  It is so much fun to share this with them!  I tell the kids that I don't expect them to grow up to be birders, but learning about birds is also learning about science.  It encourages them to learn and think about their natural world.  These lessons should help them to become more aware of birds, their environment and most of all, I hope that I have instilled a love of nature in each of them!