Wilderness Wednesday

Week 2 was such a chilly week, and we had to bundle up for a shortened visit to the pond. We were dressed for the weather and were able to get an hour walk in with only a few sprinkles of rain on our heads and umbrellas.  The wind was blowing in our faces and was making waves on the pond.

We noticed a few things were different when the weather was not as warm as we first experienced.  We saw very few insects on the ground or flying in the air.  The muskrat was nowhere to be seen and there were not many birds out.  We saw two different kinds of birds this time, and they did not seem to mind the wind and cold temperatures.  One was a white bird that kept diving into the water for food.  The other bird was swimming in the water.

Week  3  turned out to be a beautiful day for a walk. The breeze that we felt on our bodies kept the mosquitoes away for the most part and we enjoyed feeling the warm sun.

We instantly noticed that the leaves are getting bigger and fuller.  Some trees have blossoms on them and flowers such as tulips and on the lavender are blooming in the gardens. We love seeing the colours that are exploding around us!

The birds were plentiful and were very noisy. Lots of sounds all around us! We are getting very talented at identifying some bird calls now! We learned that our mystery birds from last week were the arctic tern and the red breasted merganser!  Did you know that Chestermere has a road named Merganser Drive??

Each group went on a Scavenger Hunt and found almost all their items. The afternoon group even found the elusive mushrooms that the morning group did not see! What great team work kinders!!

Some of the comments this week were:

  • “I found a robin’s eggshell. It looks like something got it. Maybe a squirrel knocked it out of the nest.”
  • “I think that the fuzzy willow was softer than last week”
  • “I found a small black feather that I think came from the red winged black bird!”
  • “I can use some wide grass to make duck sounds”
  • “We found mushrooms! It had dirt stuck to the bottom and it is a weird tilted shape.”
  • “I noticed a tree root. It was not buried near the tree and was the same colour as the tree trunk.”
  • “I found two rocks that were similar in shape, size and colour”
  • “I smelled red blossoms that smelled real good”

I would like to encourage parents to sign up to join us on our Wednesday walks. (please have all your volunteer forms completed first though) The children love having their parents join in the fun!

 

                             Investigating!                                                    Red winged black bird feather!

                            

Wow what a huge log!                               I can use grass to make duck noises!

 

                          

Using our traveling library!                                 Smelling blossoms!

                          

Storytime                                                              Snack in the shade

Wildlife Wednesdays – Mrs. Napier

Wildlife Wednesdays have been such a wonderful experience! Unfortunately last week the rainy weather dampened our trip a bit but we still managed to go out and explore.

There were some great conversations going on among the children this week. :

“What is that?”

“It’s clouds made from jets”

“How do they get there?”

“What do you think they are called?”

“Jet clouds!”

“I know that the airplane makes them behind it so it went from this way to that way (points in the direction of the airplane’s travel)”

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I noticed this week after having been to the falls a couple of times, the children already knew which spots they wanted to explore and what they wanted to do when we got there. They were much more confident of themselves this week as well.

Robinson Wilderness Wednesday

Robinson Kinder classes ventured to the north of the school to explore around the pond.  It was a gorgeous day and we noticed that the wind was blowing our hair and pushing the water.  Prior to leaving the school we had been listening to bird calls of local Alberta birds. That enabled us to identify some birds before we even saw the birds! It was amazing that all the students knew that they were listening to the red winged black bird that was hiding in the cattails near the edge of the pond! We also saw many mallards and learned about why males and females have the colours that they do! The mallards did not like the muskrat swimming near them, and we wondered if they had a nest nearby. Further around the pond the students took out their journals to sketch, do leaf rubbings, glue in grass and leaves and write about their observations. The lady bugs were a huge hit (we used our counting skills to count dots and insects!) and we were fortunate to see grasshoppers, ants and spiders too.  The students touched rough and smooth surfaces of trees and loved the fuzzy willow buds.

 

Some of the students’ comments during the day were:

  • “That was the best day! I love the outdoor classroom!”
  • “I loved walking around the water and saw a red winged blackbird for the first time.”
  • “I saw cracked eggs in the grass. I think the fox ate the eggs.”
  • “I touched ladybugs but I didn’t want them to pee on me. They tickled my finger. I left the ladybugs in their environment.”
  • “I was excited to see a grasshopper.”
  • “I saw so many pinecones on the trail. I wonder if some animals left them there.”
  • “I heard a bird before I even saw it.”
  • “The wind blew the water. The water was shining so bright. It was sparkly.”
  • “There was a huge pile of red and black ants.”
  • “I saw a spider web, it was cool!”

 

 

Thank you to the volunteers who joined us and encouraged the children to use their senses to explore our community.

Wildlife Wednesdays -Mrs. Napier’s Class

Our first week of Wildlife Wednesdays was amazing! We made our way to the waterfalls as soon as we got to school. Along the way the children noticed the ducks in the pond. They thought it would be a great experiment to see if I could blow my duck call whistle to try to speak to the ducks. After a few (sad) attempts, children in both classes suggested maybe I was using it upside down (Hahaha!). Mrs. Campbell suggested perhaps ducks have a secret duck code and that we just don’t know it. The children thought that was the most likely reason they were ignoring us! A few of our parents shared some information about ducks with us as well! The children noticed that they were different colours and this led to some of the children teaching each other about male and female duck colouring.

The children noticed many signs of nature along the way including some bright red buds on trees, birds tweeting, and a line of ants walking along the pathway.

Once we arrived at the Falls we had a snack (because walking is hard work!), did some yoga and read a story. The children were very excited to start exploring nature and the forest around us. We then read another story called “A Quiet Place” and talked about a Sit-Spot. A sit-spot is a place all of your own where you can observe nature and enjoy peacefulness. They children took their journals with them to choose a sit-spot and wrote and drew about what they saw. We then came back to the circle and shared our journals. Some children chose to collect 1 piece of loose nature to bring back to class to explore further.

We had another snack followed by a game and then it was time to head back!

Thank you to the wonderful volunteers who came with us! If you are interested in joining us there are still days available on the sign-up website and we can always accommodate more parents than spots available! You only need to have a current police record check on file with the office. I have heard that the Chestetmere RCMP has very fast turn-around to get your police check back. You just need to ask me or the office for a blue form to take in and give to them.

 

 

Mission Impossible

This week the gym was set-up as a Mission-Impossible spy training course. The Kindergarten children loved experiencing this!!

Welcome back!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Spring Break! Unfortunately it still does not look or feel like Spring outside…

Just a few quick reminders this week:

Thursday evening are the student showcase of learning. This is where your child will be the teacher and you will be the student! Mrs. Robinson and Mrs. Napier will be there to facilitate, and will be happy to say hello to you, but please note that if you have specific concerns about your child, we will need to set up a separate time to discuss these concerns. There are no appointments, it is a drop-in style and runs from 4-7pm.

This is a reminder that if your child will be going home with someone other than a person on your emergency contact list at the office, you must let us know. You can either: Write a note in the note-tote (this is the easiest for us), phone the office to let them know, or email your child’s teacher (some days we don’t have a chance to check our emails when the children are here so if you send after school starts we may not see it before dismissal). It is for liability reasons that we need to check with parents each and every time so if you are supposed to take another child home with you and we have not been told, please be patient because we will need to have the office phone home to double check.

Thanks everyone! We hope to see every family on Thursday night. We think you will be extremely proud of your child and how far they have come since September.

-Robyn Napier & Sheila Robinson

Hoppy Spring!

We had a very exciting day in Kindergarten celebrating Spring. A HUGE thank-you to the families who sent in treat for the students. They loved them. We wish every family a very happy Spring Break.

Robots

Rainbow Creek was fortunate to have robots visit our school for two weeks and Kindergarten took full advantage! We learned how to draw lines that a robot can follow and we were also able to drive some!

Making the Ozobot follow a path

Adventures at SPARK

Our field trips to SPARK were fantastic! The students loved exploring the centre and getting down to some serious work: playing. We all experienced a program about mixtures and saw some neat science “magic”.

Ask your child what they learned about blue whales. Have them try to explain how large the heart is!

A huge thank you to all of our volunteers. We would not have been able to go without them!

 

Promoting Reading

As we are approaching the last term of Kindergarten, it is a great time to take a look at what we can do to support pre-readers and early readers. One important thing to note is that if English is not the main language spoken in the home, all of the things below can and should be done in your child’s first language. This will help them to build their foundational reading skills and it will transfer over to English when we are teaching it in school.

Remember that reading is not just letter-sound knowledge or sight words and little books. Below are lots of daily ideas you can use. But first off, here are some links to games and ideas you can play with your child to support letters and sounds, as well as sight words for the children who are ready for that.

Alphabet Bingo!

100 Alphabet Activities

Initial Sounds Alphabet Match

Youtube alphabet workout

sight word race

Read every day! This is fundamental. It is key to building an understanding of how stories work, learning new vocabulary, building a love for reading, and a host of other things; not in the least building social-emotional skills through the shared experience. Go to the library and have your child pick books he or she is intersted in. Choose a mixture of fiction and non-fiction stories. Ask your child questions after the story such as, “how do you think the character felt?”; “What would you have done if that happened to you?”; “Why do you think he/she chose to do that?”; “What do you think will happen next?”; or “What was your favourite part?”

Model Reading! Let your child see you read real books, magazines, or newspapers. Show them your grocery list and have them help write it with you (have them write the first sound if they can, or sound out the whole word if they are able to). Reading and writing are linked and working on one in isolation is not as effective as working on both.

Reading is everywhere! It is helpful for children to see that reading is everywhere. Point out and read the road signs as you are driving, show your child the menu at a restaurant and point to the options,

Build vocabulary! Talk about everything, everywhere. Explain how things work to your child. Use new words that they may not know yet. When they notice the small-things in our world, try to take a minute to talk about it with them. Building a child’s vocabulary helps them in every aspect of school and life. Take a walk around the grocery store. Find a new fruit or vegetable and talk about it – where it is from, how it grows, etc.

Sing songs together! Singing songs and learning nursery rhymes and poems helps children pick up on the flow of language.

Ask and answer questions! Did you know that the average 4 year old asks 288 questions a day? Often when children reach school they seem to ask fewer questions. Questioning the world around them helps gain new insights and consolidates what they already know. Ask them questions about the world around them. “Where do you think the ants are going?” “What do you think that giant machine does?” If your child asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, it’s okay to admit that! Take the time to look it up with them.

Listen to their stories! Children love to share stories. Listen to their stories and ask questions so your child can practice expanding on their ideas.

Have conversations with your child! Encourage them to do most of the talking. Ask them questions that make them think about things in different ways. Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How questions are a great way to start.

Notice small things! Use language such as “I wonder why there is a patch of ice only on this part of the sidewalk?”

Play games together! using words to express excitement and more importantly frustrations are important. Playing games not only builds language skills, it also builds social-emotional skills and math skills as well.

**Remember to keep reading fun. Your child has a long road ahead of them to learn how to read and we want to make it as fun as we can!**