The weather has finally turned and the charged, cool air breezing through the school room made it quite the rowdy environment, indeed. I intended for today to be full of imaginative play due to the nature of the lesson and in the spirit of child-led learning- the change in weather led us outside for a great bulk of our time together. Not many pictures to be had when there are no quiet moments in which to take them!
Our first order of business was to define the word habitat. Once everyone had a basic understanding, ee read The Secrets of the Apple Tree by Carron Brown, a Shine-A-Light book which utilizes a flashlight to see hidden objects on the pages. I really enjoy this series of books as they are non-fiction and full of facts presently simply and interactively. Toads, worms, squirrels and other living things call an apple tree their habitat and we learned many interesting tidbits about all of them.
A genuine attempt at yoga was made, however that wee autumn breeze sent the Rascals a-Rascalin’ and so I shoo’d them outside to work out some energy and prepared for a habitat hunt (read: I grabbed a fresh cup of coffee). Searching under damp leaves to find a toad, spotting dewy spider web, examining common fungi, visiting the chicken coop, and visiting an abandoned robin’s nest proved a beautiful way to sharpen observational skills.
Snack was enjoyed in the comfort of the owl’s nest habitat, with food brought by the “mama owl” and enjoyed by all. We sang a few songs about animals in their habitats (Five Little Speckled Frogs, etc) while they munched. We played the Question Game, habitat edition, reviewing what kinds of habitats certain animals lived. As I had provided assorted ears and tails for imaginative play, we started with lions, bats, and owls, and then moved onto dolphins, tigers, chickens and birds. We fed our apple scraps to the chickens, who always love a post-snacktime visit from these kids.
Rosy-cheeked and slightly less wild, we moved back inside ready to get to work on our math project. This session of number building went very smoothly as the kids weren’t in need of instruction and got to work quickly. We completed cards four, five and six before I brought out animal and bug counters with which to practice counting, ordering and patterning.
Keva planks are so useful in creative play. I grabbed my small set from a consignment sale and they have been worth every bit of the five dollars. Today, they used the planks to build habitats for the counters. We talked about shapes, roofs, climates and what kinds of habitats certain bugs choose. They were so creative, but the best part was quietly watching these kids encourage each other and giggle together over their habitats. But even better is the careful consideration they give each other. We’ve only met for two sessions in this season of learning and I can already see the friendships becoming true.
Our creative outlet today came inside a mason jar. Choosing from a random selection of small-play animals I’d hidden in a small bag, each child received an animal for whom to create a habitat. A snake, lizard, otter and panda were chosen and I laid out assorted materials to include. The kids had gathered sticks from outside for use as well. Combining materials as they wished, they each created unique habitats for their animals in their mason jars.
In between formally planned lessons and outdoor play, a few casual activities were available to choose from. New this week was a bookshelf full of pictures books about different animals and their homes for perusal during transition times or if someone felt a need for some alone time. While the classroom is full of books, I indicated after our opening song that should they feel a need for a break, the Habitat shelf was free for them to use- mostly I just wanted to preserve the order of my other bookshelves, but I’m glad I organized it as they all loved the National Geographic book about bears and the Bug Hotel book. The light table and translucent letter construction set was lit up
Another ancillary activity was the “bat cave,” a tent that I set up and draped with a gray sheet to resemble a cave. Another opportunity for discussing different habitats, the kids thought it was AWESOME to have a cave in the school room and pretending to be bats- flying out to catch bugs in mid-air being the most fun of all.
- Math skills:
- Number recognition & formation and counting 0-6
- introductory addition
- Language / Reading Readiness:
- New vocabulary: Habitat, crepuscular, damp, warren & burrow (in relation to rabbit homes)
- letter recognition
- letter construction
- Sensory Integration:
- Fine Motor skills: number shaping
- Gross Motor skills: hanging on bars, climbing, swinging, kicking, marching, running
- creative thinking and planning
- mixed media planning
- Science: Life Science
- identifying habitat features and animal adaptations to such
- Life cycle of a tree
- Creature features