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.


Photo Shoot

We decided to try something new this week.  While collecting our rocks and talking about them has been quite enlightening, we weren’t sure how to share our collection with everyone at home.  Then, during a fabulous “a-ha” moment, Mrs. Pless and I decided that the easiest way to share would be with pictures!  So, I hurried up and did some quick research to find a good, simple camera for the children to use.   I did look at the type that are designed for toddlers, but found that the reviewers all were depressed about the quality of the images.  Therefore, I went with a camera designed for button-phobic adults.  It has only three buttons, no zoom, and so few options it might be criminal.  However, it’s perfect for Pre-K students.

Off we went in groups of three, each with a “Pre-K camera” and me, with my own, on an outdoor excursion.  After some very brief directions,

  1. Always keep the ribbon on your wrist.
  2. The circle button turns it on.
  3. The oval button takes a picture.

I set them free to capture their world.  Following some lovely portraits of trees, sidewalk, pumpkins, and the side of  my head, I gave them an assignment.  Find the most beautiful , most interesting rocks they could find and take pictures of each one.  A few children quickly shot ten or more rocks while others took pictures of only a couple in between more photos of trees and other interesting objects.

The most difficult part followed as I tried to keep each child’s photo’s separate and labeled as I downloaded them.  Here is an example of one. Originally, the child’s name was under this rock, but I edited it out for this post.

This week, we are printing all of their photos and using them in the writing center.  They will choose their favorites and place them in a rock journal.  The plan is that they will write about their favorite rocks so that they can share their books with you later.