Thursday, April 28, 2016

Arbor Day

Arbor day is on Friday and today the county extension agent brought a Black Hills Spruce Tree for each child in kindergarten!  That is the South Dakota state tree.  In fact, every kindergartner in the county gets a tree. This long-standing tradition has been going on for 30 years!  The students also received seed packets, so that they can plant the Pasque Flower, which is our state flower.  We are very thankful!  The kids were so excited!  It has been a great day!

She taught them how and where to plant their new tree 
as well as how to care for it. 

Root Beer Floats for the Winners

We won the contest for raising the most money for the local food pantry!  The school race around $200 and our class raise $81, so we won a root beer float party.  The kids were so happy!  I tried to get help them understand how great it feels to help others, but they were pretty focused on the root beer floats.  I guess that's to be expected.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Earth Day 2016

Today was Earth Day, so we decided to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.  We walked to the lake in town with bags in tow to pick up trash and check out the birds as well as the signs of spring.  Birds seen:  Canada Geese, Blue-winged Teal, Belted Kingfisher, American Robins, European Starlings, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Song Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Eurasian Collared-Doves and Common Grackles.

They are creeping up the hill hoping to sneak up 
on some ducks.
It was a calm, warm day and they loved being 
outdoors without coats.
I noticed that they seem to be improving at using binoculars.
They thought throwing dandelions in the water was great fun!
It looks like someone's got their eye on us!
We have two Canada Geese at the lake.  This one has 
been named Henry.

This is Henrietta.  We are looking forward to 
seeing the goslings!
They saw a large bird in the trees that I think was 
the Cooper's Hawk that is nesting there.
Painted Turtles
It looks like we have a beaver at the lake.
We had to hike through the spooky forest.
Here are the young birders!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Look What Levi Found!

This is a cellphone photo of a Barn Owl discovered by Levi.
One of the kindergarten boys was helping his dad with chores over the weekend.  They looked down into the corn bin only to discover two faces looking up at them!  His dad didn't know what they were, but he figured they were owls.  Six-year old Levi told him they were Barn Owls and that he had to take a picture to show his teacher {me}.  I've told the kids many times to remember to take photos of the birds that they think are special, so they can show me.  It looks like Levi remembered! 

I got a text from his parents wondering if Levi was correct on his ID and as you can see he was.  I don't know if there are many kindergartners who can quickly identify a Barn Owl, but Levi did a great job putting his bird knowledge to work!  Surprisingly this has happened here before. A couple of years ago another boy found a nest with seven Barn Owls and an adult in an abandoned house.  That was really interesting too!  The South Dakota Heritage Database director contacted me after that and asked for information because sadly the Barn Owl is now considered a relatively rare species in South Dakota.

Here are the photos that the dad took with his cell phone.  I told them that they are very lucky because Barn Owls are not as common as they once were and I rarely see them.  They are also lucky because Barn Owls are really good hunters and they will help keep the rodent population down on their farm.  

Levi was a proud little boy in school today when he told the other young birders that he discovered Barn Owls.  Way to go, Levi!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Kindergarten Round-up

This Fall's Kindergarten Class

I held kindergarten round-up on Friday and there were 12 preschoolers that spent the morning with us!  We had a great time!  The kindergartners told them what school was like, they met Rascal the puppet learned about the American Robin and colored one, had a cookie, toured the school, did a painted, paper plate bird art project, and had center time complete with Play-doh, Legos, blocks, cars, puzzles, and the art center.  Then before we knew it, it was 11:00 and time to go home!  I thought it was a great morning!

Here's the whole crew! 

Their assignment:  Go out and find a real American Robin!
The kids loved painting today!
Play dough is always a favorite of the kids and this
homemade stuff is the best!
Here are some of the pretty birds that were created today!
Wow!  What a beautiful bird!
There were smiles all around!
They were working pretty hard on their creations!
Kids love playtime!
The room was hopping with activity!  I was thankful for the
helpers I had today!  I think round-up went really well! 

Spring Concert

The kindergartners looked so amazing all dressed for the spring concert!  They sang "Hop Like A Bunny" and they did a wonderful job!  They sat and listened to the 1+ hour concert very nicely!   I think they are growing up!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Kuwait Talk

These brothers and sister are showing their pop cans
 that their dad sent from Kuwait. It had Arabic writing 
on it.  They said that the Mountain Dew and 
Sunkist tasted different than it does here.
Since we have a family whose dad is stationed Kuwait, the teachers of those three children decided to have a lesson for the students in those grades: K, 1, and 3.

I talked a bit about the landscape, climate, clothing, animals, and of course birds using the Smart Board to show photos.  Another teacher showed where Kuwait is on Google Earth. 

The 3rd grade teacher was in the army years ago and stationed in Iraq and Kuwait.  She shared her knowledge and photos of her time there.  We were lucky to have someone speak who had been there before.

The kids also told us that there dad has sent them books that he's read, and sea shells from Kuwait.  They also get to skype with their dad and talk to him, so that is really neat!
The four teachers took turns teaching about Kuwait.  
This teacher is showing where Kuwait is on Google Earth.
These students were very attentive and asked 
good questions.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

Butterfly Art

The student applied tempera paint to half   of a butterfly shape and then folded their paper in half. That printed it on the other side. Then I taught them how butterflies are symmetrical.