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!

This Moment

There is nothing better than enjoying snack outside on a beautiful fall morning!
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Nature Day: Forest Fours Edition

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Yesterday, we joined together with the city campus Pre-K class for our annual Nature Day. Our nature explorers spent the whole morning playing, exploring, collecting, climbing, and making new friends. We even got to climb on a large tree that had been cut down on our property. The students couldn’t believe how big it was and were so excited when they figured out how to safely climb on top of it. We also spent some time introducing the new nature playground climbing structure to our new friends. We ended our picturesque day with a singalong and a picnic lunch. We are so excited that the students had some unstructured time to get to know one another and we cannot wait to everyone together again!

When Autumn Leaves Meet Summer Weather

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The Animal Restaurant

With each new year, and new group of students, I’m always so fascinated to see what types of games the students create with one another. Sometimes it’s a classic game of tag or “cops and robbers” but more often it’s a game that they created from their own imaginations. This year, many of the students were interested in collecting seeds from around the nature playground. When asked why they were collecting the seeds, they responded that they were for the animals to eat at the animal restaurant.

Since that day, the children have been working diligently to create different confections for the animals to eat. Some children helped by gathering a variety of natural materials for the kitchen such as rain water, grass, sand from smashed rocks, wood chips, acorns, pine needles, dirt, rocks, and what they had decided are lemons (but are actually walnuts). Once the materials were gathered, they students took turns adding them to the concoction they were working on at the moment. Some days it has been a cake, other days it has been a stew or a salad.

As other children have been inspired to join in the fun, new animal kitchens have popped up around the nature playground as well. A new animal restaurant was created yesterday in what we refer to as the”mud kitchen”, except that this restaurant has a twist. The animals that eat the food from the mud kitchen gain special powers like rainbow powers and storm cloud powers. Animals that wish to dine in this restaurant can use their special power to ward off bad guys that they may encounter in the woods.

 

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We are very excited to see where this game will take us in the following days or even weeks. Tomorrow we will be working on making signs for the restaurants. We will continue to observe the children working in their animal restaurants and hopefully we can find a way to turn this wonderfully imaginative play into a full-blown unit of study. We will keep you posted as the play progresses!

We’re All Friends

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Below, you will find the final draft for our Pre-K movie. The students diligently worked to craft their script and their characters. We could not be more proud of our students and their fabulous finished product!

Without further ado, I give you…

 

 

We’re All Friends

 

N.M. – a fairy queen
V.H. – Elsa
Z.W. – a dog named Shelf
R.M. – a doggie named Emma
A.H. – Sleeping Beauty
Z.B. – a talking carrot
P.M. – Steve
L.W. – Monster
L.L. – a baby horse named Melissa
J.K. – Olaf

Once upon a time there were two little dogs and a boy named Steve. Steve looks at his dogs and says, “Hey, you want to play?” and they played together and Steve said, “I’m going to throw this football like a quarterback.”

Shelf the dog plays football too and then they paint together.

Emma the dog says, “Olaf come play with us!” and they have a big party with Olaf and they all play like a family.
Shelf the dog says “Hey want to have a sleepover.” Everyone says “Yeah!”
Just then, they see two princesses. One named Elsa and one named Sleeping Beauty. They come to the party with a baby horse named Melissa.
Olaf says, “Would you like to stay over” and he says “Ok, we have 100 beds for you sleep in”. And they say, “Ok sounds good.”
Everyone gets tired and they all go to sleep.

The next day, everyone wakes up.
Elsa says, “Can we play outside?”
(Everyone nods)
Melissa says, “Let’s do some gardening!”
So they dig in the garden and plant some flowers.
Elsa says, “Wow, there’s a big carrot!”
Sleeping Beauty says, “Let’s pull it out!”
They all say, “One, two, three, pull!!”
The talking carrot goes POP out of the ground and says “Hey everyone! How are you doing?”
Everyone says, “We’re great!”

Just then they see a fairy. Steve says, “I think I know this fairy”.
The fairy says, “Hi, I’m the Queen Fairy. I don’t think we’ve met before.”
“Hi. My name is Steve” and they shake hands and he invites her to play. “Would you like to play with us?”
“Yes!”
Just then, everyone realizes that the animals have gone missing. They all say “Oh no, where are our pets??”
They all start look everywhere. They look behind trees and rocks but they can’t find them.
The talking carrot says, “The monster took them!” and everyone gasps!
The fairy flies around and finds the animals. “The monster took them to a cave!” She says. She finds them in a cave and she uses her magic wand to free them.

She brings back the animals to the house but the animals are really tired and go they sleep.

But the monster comes back to get them! The monster says, “I want to eat those animals! I’m so hungry!”

The animals run away from the monster and hide behind the people.
Sleeping Beauty says, “You can eat some of our food instead!”
Shelf the dogs says, “Please don’t eat us, Monster.”
So Olaf and Steve give him lots of food from the refrigerator and he eats it all up. Then they all have a feast with lots of food.
The monster says, “Oh thank you, I feel stuffed!”
Everyone says, “Want to stay and play?”
And the monster says, “Yes, Please”.
Everyone says, “YAY!”
And they lived happily ever after.

The End.

Too Many Pumpkins

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Recently, our class started reading a new story entitled, Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White. The story begins with a young woman who does not like pumpkins, based on a childhood memory where she had to eat pumpkins for every meal for two weeks straight. As the woman gets older, she vows never to look at a pumpkin again! Until, she unwillingly finds herself with a whole crop of giant pumpkins in her front yard!

At this point in the story, we decided to pause our reading to ask, “How do you think she will get rid of all the pumpkins?” The students had so many wonderful ideas, we made a journal entry about it! These were their ideas.

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