Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve

Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve

Friday, October 26, 2012

Week 3: Raptors

They are birds of prey.  Birds that hunt other animals with their sharp talons are curved beaks.  This week we learned about raptors with a special focus on owls, just in time for Halloween. 

Ollie the Owl met everyone by singing this song to each one of our friends: 
Owl in the Tree
(Sung To: Skip to my Lou)

Owl in the tree says, who, who, who
Owl in the tree says, who, who, who
Owl in the tree says, who, who, who
Who, who, are you? (point to a child and have them say their name)
To learn more about raptors specifically, we read About Raptors: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill and illustrated by John Sill.  This is an excellent book for the young ones.  It keeps the text simple and has beautiful pictures of various raptors living their lives.

We then had a visit from Wesselman resident, Otis the screech owl.  Naturalist Neal showed us his talons and beak and eye and described how this type, and most types of owls live. 
We had been listening so well for so long, we got up and sored like an eagle to “Eagles” by Terri Hendrix from the CD Animal Playground
Next we did a flannel board rhyme:
Five Little Owls
Five little owls on a moonlit night
Five little owls are quite a sight.
Five little owls Are you keeping score?
One flew away! And then there were Four.
Four little owls happy as can be,
One flew away then there were Three.
Three little owls calling Who, Who
One flew away and that left two.
Two little owls having lots of fun.
One flew away and that left One.
One little owl we are almost done
He flew away and that leaves none.

I don't remember where I got this rhyme, so
if I took it from you, let me know and I
will give you due credit! 

Next we read "Whoo Goes There?" by Jennifer A. Ericsson and illustrated by Bert Kitchen.  This is an excellent book for THREE reasons.  1) It teaches children what different animals owls eat.  2) It teaches them what animals are up and active at night (nocturnal), and 3) It will well written with repetition that captures the attention of even young readers.

Poor little mouse fell prey to my little hawk!

After the story, I pulled out several small stuffed animals representing "prey" and gave each child a chance with sugar cube tongs that is like a raptor talon.  Each of my "hawks" took turns capturing prey.  This was a very popular activity and promotes gross motor skills.   If you don't happen to have these thongs, any tongs would do.   

We now took a break to make our pine cone owl craft.  Each child did their own type of owl and they all turned out beautifully. 
To bring everyone back to the circle, we played a game of “Mouse, Mouse, HAWK!”  The kids quickly moved around the room as I said, “mouse, mouse…HAWK!” At which point Ernie the Eagle puppet would swoop down on any “mouse” that didn’t freeze when I said “hawk.”  
With Halloween just around the corner, I couldn't let it go unacknowledged.  Using our Haunted House Playmat, I told them them story of "Jack O'Lantern, Jack O'Lantern, What do you see?"

Lisa at Libraryland is hosting this week's Flannel Friday. Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group.

Week 2: Water Birds

Geese, swans, grebes, loons and DUCKS!  What do they have in common?  They live a good chunk of their lives on the water and today, we learned all about them. 

After a review of what makes a bird, we focused on the duck's webbed feet.  Each child had the chance to pull a large fork (regular foot) and a spatula (webbed foot) through a tub of water.  The kids were able to feel the difference it makes to have webbed feet to make water move. 

Then we settled in to listen to a flannel board rhyme about five little ducks swimming in a pond.

Five Little Ducks Swimming in a Pond
One little duck was swimming in a pond and then she saw a friend.
Now two little ducks were swimming in a pond and then they saw a friend.
Now three little ducks were swimming in a pond and then they saw a friend.
Now four little ducks were swimming in a pond and then they saw a friend.
Now how many ducks are swimming in the pond?
1-2-3-4-5 Little Ducks!
We did two crafts this week.  The first was a duck paper bag puppet and the other was painting duck feet of lengths of roll paper using fly swatters cut to look like duck feet. 

The kids were also given the chance to try on swimming flippers to see what it is like to have duck feet. 

Painting with fly swatters cut to look like duck feet.
A big mess but SO fun!
Next we were little ducks going out one day over the hills and far away. I sang "Five Little Ducks Went Out One Day" and I carried with me five toy ducks (everything from a pink rubber duck to a life-like stuffed animal female mallard).  At each verse I hid one of the ducks, counting down to none, then brought them all back. We did the same song again back in the classroom with the ducks in the parachute.  The song, as always, was a big hit! 

To close our day, we read one our family's favorites Little Quack by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Derek Anderson.  Our friends enjoyed it as much as our family does. 
E put her top bill on upside down,
but he's still cute as can be!
We finished up by dancing to "Six Little Ducks" with our paper bag suck puppets being sure to shake our tail feathers as we sang "quack, quack, quack!"
Each family was given a copy of this free Five Little Ducks stick puppet printable to relive the fun at home.

Lisa at Libraryland is hosting this week's Flannel Friday. Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 1: Introduction and Songbirds

Welcome to Trails & Tales!  We are looking forward to six weeks together learning all about our Feathered Friends! 

We began by learning all of our names and our favorite bird.  Maybe of our friends don't have a favorite bird yet so we decided our goal was to get everyone a favorite bird by the end of our six weeks. 

Then we learned what makes a bird.  All birds have wings, feathers, a beak, hollow bones and two legs.  We also learned that not all birds can fly. 

Then we used what we learned to sing this song, which we will sing all six weeks:

The Bird Song

This is the way we flap our wings, flap our wings, flap our wings.  This is the way we flap our wings just like a dove.
...Peck at a worm, just like a robin
...Use our talons, just like an owl
...Paddle our feet, just like a duck
...Drink nectar, just like a hummingbird
...Catch insects, just like a swallow
...Crack seeds, just like a finch
Next we observed birds through the window in the nature center.  We saw several different types and even heard a few.  Then we headed back to to the classroom to paint what we saw using feathers as paint brushes. 
After we were finished painting, we came back to the circle with this fun rhyme:
“Fly with the Birds”
Fly high, fly low
Fly fast, fly slow
Let’s dive for a drink
Let’s rest on a hill
We then got to play some music to Lisa Monet’s Five Little Chickadees I learned about from Flannel Friday friends Andrea at Rovingfiddlehead Kidlit and  Katie at Storytime Secrets introduced me to. 

I printed these Chickadee tags onto milk paper to put on the flannel board and as I removed them from the board during the song, I put them into my nest puppet I had hidden behind my back.  When the birds came back to build the nest in my hair at the end of the song, the nest went on top of my head! 

Then we sang this fun little rhyme:
Finger rhyme:  Five Little Birds
Five little birds who have no home (hold up five fingers)
Five little trees in a row (arms up like a tree)
Come build your nests in our branches tall (cup hands to form nest)
We’ll rock you to and fro (rock hands)
We then read the board-book version of Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman and played a game where each person got a shaker made from a 35 mm flim canister filled with different items.  Each canister had a pair in the group and we took turned "chirpping" and finding our "mothers."  The kids did great! 
To learn a little about nests, we read My Baby Blue Jays by John Berendt.  A cute little story of a Blue Jay family from the balcony of a New York City townhouse. 
Lastly, we went on a hike to gather nesting material.  The kids found convinient piles of leaves, grass, yarn, feathers and twigs along the trial to put in their bags.  We headed back to the classroom to make nests with playdough and their found objects. 
A very busy day, but fun was had by all!
Read Sarah Read is hosting this week's Flannel Friday. Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jack O'Lantern, Jack O'Lantern, What Do You See?

No, this post has nothing to do with nature (though an owl and a bat do make appearances), but I couldn't pass up the chance to participate in Flannel Friday's Halloween Extravaganza!  When I found out they were planning a special Halloween edition of Flannel Friday I thought about what I could do to add to the fun.

I came up with a haunted house play mat with Halloween friends behind the doors and windows.  I made it to go along with a Halloween version of Bill Martin, Jr.'s classic "Brown Bear, Brown Bear." 

Let me give you a tour of our haunted house! 

Jack O'Lantern, Jack O'Lantern, what do you see? 

I see a green monster looking at me. 

Green Monster, Green Monster, What do you see?

I see a one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater looking at me.

People Eater, People Eater, What do you see?

I see a black cat looking at me.

Black Cat, Black Cat, What do you see? 

I see a white ghost looking at me.

White Ghost, White Ghost, What do you see? 

I see a yellow owl looking at me.

Yellow Owl, Yellow Owl, What do you see? 

I see red eyes looking at me.

Red Eyes, Red Eyes What do you see? 

I see a brown bat looking at me.

Brown Bat, Brown Bat, What do you see? 

I see a blue moon looking at me.

Blue Moon, Blue Moon, What do you see? 

I see a witch looking at me.

Witch, Witch, What do you see? 

I see trick-or-treaters looking at me!

Trick-or-Treaters are modeled after my girls
who are going to be Minnie Mouse
and Ariel this year

Trick-or-Treaters, Trick-or-Treaters, What do you see? 

We see a jack o'lantern, a green monster, a one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater, a black cat, a white ghost, a yellow owl, red eyes, a brown bat, a blue moon and a witch looking at us.  That's what we see.

All the Halloween friends except the eyes are finger puppets and can be taken off the play mat.  Some of the finger puppets I picked up from the Target dollar spot, some are made for felt cut with a die cut machine and others I just did on my own. 

Happy Haunting all!

Miss Mary Liberry is hosting this week's Flannel Friday. Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group.