Sunday, February 23, 2014

Westwood Nature Center and Outdoor Fun

In connection with our year-long study of animal groups, we revisited the Westwood Nature Center to learn more about how Minnesota's animals cope with our long winter!  Our Westwood Nature Center guide Becky was outstanding as she helped the students understand which animals are dormant, active and migratory.

Migratory group: the Canada Goose
Active group: Deer

Hibernating group: Grey Tree Frog

The puppet show is always a favorite!
We saw a great horned owl in its nest.  I tried to get a close-up, but we really could see its tufts!

We studied some auger holes in Westwood Lake to try to spot one of our active animals, the sunfish. 
A few friends spotted a dead bee in the snow, which left us very puzzled.
Our guide explained that on those "warm-up" days we occasionally have in winter, bees will leave the hive to... go to the bathroom! Apparently they are very tidy insects!  The ones we spotted just didn't make it back to the hive before the cold came back.  We found a dead wasp on our playground later, so we decided they must exhibit the same behavior.

The Nature Center is full of displays of animal furs, feathers, skulls, and live reptiles, amphibians, insects and arachnids.  There is a tarantula on display, although it was too shy to get a picture.  The fox snake, however, was not shy and followed students' fingers along the glass!

If you are looking for some further connections, check here to view Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Eagle Cam.  The Ely Bear Center continues their work studying black bears and has lots of information about bear hibernation, as well as three bear den cams.

On another note, our snow families should be intact on the playground tomorrow--with a new white blanket on their shoulders from Friday and just a little melt from the sun.

Some great teamwork in action!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day and a Birthday

Valentine's Day was a great way to celebrate our C.A.R.E. theme for this month, kindness.  Earlier in the week, we read the story Lion and the Little Red Bird by Elisa Kleven and talked about the differences between a real lion and the lion in our story.  

We made a quick map of our lion's character traits and discovered that we could make our valentine bags to look like a lion too.

Then it was Valentine's Day!  We opened some valentines...

 and build heart puzzles...

and made adorable "love bugs..."

and played valentine bingo...

and of course decorated red and pink cupcakes!  Yum yum!

We celebrated a happy birthday with a great reading of a Dinosaurs Don't, Dinosaurs Do by one of our kindergarteners.  


Happy Presidents' Day and see you Tuesday!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hooray for the 100th Day!

We loved our special snack "You are one smart cookie!"

Running through the big 100 for the parade finale!

All four kindergarten classes posed after our 100th Day parade.

Some children took up the 100 dominoes challenge to get them to "domino."

We posed briefly with our 100 items collections.

Each student wrote about what they would do when they are 100 years old.  Many of them wrote about what they would do for their grandchildren.  So sweet!




Monday, February 10, 2014

And the Gold Goes To... Kindergarten Olympians!

We are so proud of our kindergarten students!  Today was time to celebrate each child's kindergarten skills--in front of our flag like the Winter Olympians do.


A short video as we stood on "the podium" and heard the anthem too...