Forest Fours Journals

Today, we introduced the students to a new chapter of Forest Fours by implementing a writing component to our day. Each child received a special journal that travels with us while on the trails. The students are allowed to draw pictures of the games that they are playing, the structures they build, or the specimens they see while out in nature (fungus, birds, rocks, deer, etc.). They also are allowed to collect things like leaves or small pieces of moss and tape them into their journals for safe keeping.

In addition to the journals, we borrowed four Polaroid cameras from Mrs. Weber so that the students can take pictures of items that would be too big to fit in their journals. The pictures are then taped onto a page and the students write about what they observed. The journals will travel with us each time we venture into the woods and the children are allowed to fill their journals to their heart’s content whenever they deem it necessary.

Since it’s inception, our class has used Forest Four days to play in an unstructured setting so that they could explore and create at their will. The addition of the forest journals allows students to extend their learning by giving them the opportunity to write, even while outdoors. Through this activity, the students are practicing skills such as fine motor development, phonemic awareness, self-regulation, observation, categorization, identification, and much more. We look forward to sharing our journal entries with you in the future!

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.