A Visitor

The children were so excited this morning! Last week, we hung a birdseed wreath outside our window.  The children were a little disappointed that the birds didn’t arrive that very moment.  However, this morning was completely different.  From our window, we observed at least 15 birds rummaging around on the playground and this little friend repeatedly visited our bird feeder.

Our new friend, the tufted titmouse.

These sightings inspired many questions and a renewed interest in using the binoculars when we moved outside to explore.  I can’t wait to see what other types of birds we might see in the upcoming months.

Adventures in Nature

This week, our class got a little too close the pond than our protective Daddy Goose would have liked and he quickly let us know to find another way around with a perfectly-timed hiss or two. The students handled it well and slowly backed away to give the goose some extra space. Once we were a safe distance away, I explained that the geese have recently laid eggs on the island in the pond and are now very protective of their home and their growing babies. I continued by saying that the geese don’t know that we won’t hurt their babies and sometimes they get upset when we get too close to the pond. Then, one of our youngest students looked at me as said,

“Yeah and the goose probably doesn’t know that this is Winchester Thurston and we ‘think also of the comforts and the rights of others’ so we would never hurt their babies.”

Proof that caring for others and nature go hand in hand!


My favorite part was…

After we returned from the Aviary, our students wrote in their journals about their favorite part of our trip. Below are their answers.

Pre-k Visits the Aviary

Yesterday, our class traveled to the National Aviary as a culminating activity for our study of birds. The students were surprised to see that many of the birds were not behind cages but actually were able to fly/wander around the room as they wished. Some birds kept their distance, while other birds tried to camouflage themselves within our group so they could escape the room! We learned that some birds eat fruit, seeds, and worms while other birds eat the meat from dead animals and how important they are for our environment. The class was treated to an up-close encounter with a zealous vulture who enjoyed jumping down from the trainer’s arm to check out the reflexes of our students. Some friends that were lucky enough to feed mealworms and fish to the birds in the Wetlands room and we all had the opportunity to feed a bowl full of nectar to the Lorikeets. Some students were a little nervous having the birds so close to us (the Lories actually land on your hand to eat) but all students persevered and were calm and respectful to the birds. One student, as we walked out of the Lorikeet room, exclaimed, “That was heaven!”.

During this field trip, our class also had the opportunity to participate in a project that Mrs. Weber has been piloting, called Big Shot Camera. WT purchased cameras, which arrive disassembled, and the fifth graders worked to build them into functional digital cameras. Mrs. Weber then has spent time with each class teaching the students how to take pictures of the world around us. Our class chose to use the cameras to take pictures of the all the birds they saw during our trip.

We were so proud of our Pre-K class throughout this trip. Not only were their many other schools visiting the Aviary, but the students were challenged with being so close to these unusual animals. The students followed all of the directions, showed calm, listening bodies, and truly showed us how much they have matured over the course of this year. It is very clear that our students are ready for next year.


Flying Machines

Our interest in flying birds has sparked an avalanche of engineering ideas.  One student suggested that the best way for us to study the birds would be to build a flying machine.  This way we could observe our feathered friends more closely.

Many of the children have begun creating prototypes (their word, not ours).

On another day we asked them what materials they would need for their machines. (We want to make sure we’re prepared!)

“metal, string, more metal, and gas”

“We have to do little wires to make them work.”

“very small metal pieces”

“We need some wire that carries electricity to keep the boosters working.”

“We need a plug as big as this building so we can go far.”

“Or, we need to make a fire on a stick and it attaches to the wire.”

“We can make a seat out of fabric.”

“We need shirts to make a buckle, it buckles in front and in back.”

“June is when the birds come out.”

“We need a parachute and a lighter, in case the boosters go out.”

“And metal cages to catch the bird, with food in it.”

“fabric for the wings”

“We need feathers for the wings.”

“space gears”

What’s in an egg?

A few days ago, while playing it their secret hiding spot, a few children found a blue egg and quickly raced to show the teachers. Some discussion erupted about what could have hatched from the egg. Many children felt that it was a bird egg, possibly even a Robin’s egg. However, other children hypothesized that it could be something else that hatches from eggs. These are some of their ideas.


With this new curiosity in all things egg-related, we’ve decided delve in deeper to see what new information we might find!


And the Oscar goes to…


Our movie premiere went off without a hitch! Our fabulous movie stars walked the red carpet, stopping only for a picture or two from the paparazzi and to wave at their adoring fans!

Without further ado, I give you our final script for our Pre-K movie “Birds”.

J– A spider

K and Ev – a mouse

A – Edward the train

O – a giant

Cl, Ra, and So – the mean birds

Re and Sa – A talking dog

El – a talking sandwich

Ca – Tiana


Once upon a time there were three mean birds (Cl, So, Ra) playing on a bridge. When along came some mice (Ev and K).


“We want to cross the bridge.”

“No one is allowed on our bridge, it’s only for us!” said the mean Birds.

“There are some bigger animals coming, wait to eat them. They are much juicer!”  Said the mice. (K and Ev)

And they let them across the bridge.


When along came some dogs (Re and Sa) and they wanted to cross the bridge.


“We want to go across the bridge.” said the dogs.

“No one is allowed on our bridge, it’s only for us!” said the birds.

“There is a much juicer spider coming. You should eat him!” Said the dog

“What the banana peels is going on??” said the birds

And they let the dogs cross the bridge.


Then along came a spider (J).


And he said , “I want to go across the bridge.”

“No one is allowed on our bridge, it’s only for us!”

And the spider said, “Eat the sandwich that is coming. He’s much tastier!”

And they let the spider cross the bridge.


And then along came a talking sandwich (El), “I want to go across this bridge.”

“No one is allowed on our bridge, it’s only for us!” said the Birds.

“Tiana is coming and she is much juicer. You should eat her.”

And they let him go across the bridge.


Then along came Tiana (Ca) and she said, “I want to go across the bridge.”

“No one is allowed on our bridge, it’s only for us!” said the Birds.

“You should eat the train that’s coming. He is much juicer.”

And they let Tiana cross the bridge.


Just then, along came Edward the train (A).

He said, “I want to cross this bridge.”

“No one is allowed on our bridge, it’s only for us!” said the mean Birds.

“Beep, Beep” said Edward the train and they let him go across.


And then came a giant (O) and he said, “FE FI FO FUM. I want to cross this bridge!”

“No one is allowed on our bridge, it’s only for us!” said the mean Birds.

“Fine, then I’ll huff and puff and do my roar!! ROAR!!”

And the mean Birds fell off the bridge and then flew home.

And the giant cheered on the other side.


The End!

Birds: A Movie Premiere!

Attention ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! We are very excited to announce that you are cordially invited to the Pre-K’s movie premiere of Birds!

This year, our class embarked on a new adventure into the world of movie-making. We decided early on to turn our yearly play into a short feature film, allowing the students to share the experience with family and friends. Our class has partnered with the Pittsburgh Filmmakers to help us shoot and edit the film. The students have been working tirelessly on making costumes, learning their lines, and making props and scenery.

The screening of our movie will take place in the multipurpose room at 10:00 AM on May 17, 2013 followed by a reception in the library. Please join us in celebrating the work of these amazing students!

Official invitations to follow.

Paper Mache Birds

So far in our bird unit we have learned about what different birds look like, what they eat, where they live, and the sounds that they make. Last week we extended our affinity for birds by having the students create their own birds and all the details that go along with them.

The students started by rolling up newspaper into different sizes and taping them together to resemble a head, body, beaks, and even a tail. After the base of the body was ready, the students dipped strips of newspaper into a mixture of water and flour and smoothed them onto their bird. Some students loved the feeling of the ooey gooey mixture between their fingers (that eventually crept up their arms) while others were not as enthused. Some students felt they would best serve the project by becoming the recorder, documenting each step of the project through drawings. The projects were then left to dry over several days.

Since then, the students have started to discuss how they would like the birds to look. The group members decide what colors of paint to use and where, what to call the bird, if it is a male or female, where it might live, and what it eats.

Not only are the students working on their cooperation skills, but they are using their imaginations to create a world in which these birds may live. Plus, who could resist the opportunity to get a little messy and learn at the same time?