The first snow and bird expose
I had a number of parents, including the one who happens to be my partner, ask me how much of the project the children really did. I admit that I helped quite a bit with the feet because I failed to bring the needle nose pliers that would have made that doable by little hands. But the shaping of the newspaper forms, the paper mache, and the painting were really the work of the children. We had rulers handy to make sure our birds and eggs were the right size, and we looked again and again at pictures of the birds. Different sources were consulted: bird guides, Cornell's amazing All About Birds (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/), and lots of nonfiction bird books. We're lucky enough to have a school in an area where many of the children's special birds visit us at our feeders or fly through our woods.
I was so very proud of all the effort and learning that happened over the course of the project, and it was fun to have the children share some of their expertise with you. I did have them all practice saying, "I don't know," for the questions that went beyond their knowledge. I want them to know how important it is to be able to both own their expertise and admit their limitations. Thank you for coming, listening, and validating all of their hard work!
We are plunging into the world of fairy tales which provide lots of opportunities to talk about everything from good and evil to gender stereotypes. We get to talk about how it's probably a good idea to really get to know someone before marriage. But we also get to talk about how these stories can be found around the world. Why is is that we can find "Cinderella" stories in China, the Caribbean, Egypt, India, and so many other places? What do we like about this story? Why does it resonate with us? We are tapping into a common language that can maybe cross cultural boundaries. As we make crowns and take on the roles of queens and kings, the children are developing their imaginations and the world of fantasy. They are learning about the elements of a story.
It finally snowed, and hopefully you all enjoyed Monday's snow day. The children were rolling in it like puppies when we out for our first recess on Tuesday. You might think they had never seen it before. They quickly discovered that it was the perfect snow for tracks and were noticing bird tracks in the area around the school. Then someone yelled from across the yard, "Tracks! More tracks!" We were off, following along. They looked at the prints closely, talked about the spacing between tracks, and noticed the pattern of the tracks. "They look like Kaiser's feet but smaller." "They remind me of a cat." "But look here you can see where there are claws." "They're kind of triangle shaped." I love how they use their knowledge of local animals and observations about these tracks to come to a conclusion. "It must be a fox! Can we follow them?" It's easy for me to say "Yes!" in this situation, and they are quickly scrambling up the hillside. "Look it fit under these branches! It couldn't be too tall." I watch as they all manage to squeeze under the bush and wonder exactly how I'm supposed to follow. We spent our recess following them up the hillside, losing them in a confusion of tracks on a major pathway, and then spotting them again. It was one of those times when I am so glad to be part of this school.
I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend, and I look forward to seeing Cinderella on Monday at The Egg.