Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Bird In The Hand Is....

...well, totally COOL !

[Disclaimer, this post is all about ducks. If for some reason you have a fear of ducks, or anything adorable, please close your web browser now.]

On Friday, the children got to hold the ducks!
Surely an unforgettable experience for the children, and the ducks! According to one baby duck, "Peep, peeeep!"

To catch you up since Saturday, the first day where a duck had completely emerged from its shell, here are some photos documenting their development.
Summary, 12 eggs:
7 live ducks
2 ducks fully hatched, then died
2 ducks began hatching but did not finish
1 egg showed no signs of hatching/development

Early last week, we moved a table close to the tank, to allow for a closer observation of the ducks. We used crayons, markers, and tempera paint. Some of their representations are hanging our door.. they look great!

Beginning on Thursday, the children started to work on their designs for our 'duck playground.' Using large paper, the children drew plans to illustrate their ideas for playground apparatus. Their ideas included: slides, swings, a trampoline ("to help the ducks learn how to fly"), and a rocketship (like the one featured in the apropos book "It's My Turn," which we read earlier that day).

On Friday morning, the children marked off our construction zone, and began to work in the center of our classroom. Using our large blocks, they built the playground for the ducks to use for fun and exercise. This was the first time the ducks were able to come out of the tank-
freedom! !

The children had to ensure that the playground was secure and safe: no openings in the perimeter, and sturdy, balanced use of the blocks.

The ducks enjoyed running and jumping around parts of the playground, and usually stuck together, like a seven-headed yellow ball of softness.

We have enjoyed watching the ducks grow, eat, sleep, play, and poop! They drink about 2 jars of water daily. Next week, we will bid farewell to our friends, as they make the trip out to Long Island for their return to the farm from whence they came (circle of life?)

Here are a few other photos from last week:

Return of the Magnatiles!
The children practically salivate over these awesome building materials. They are great for encouraging sharing, understanding geometry, and visual planning.

Friday's weather was undeniably beautiful, so we were able to take a trip to a local playground in Central Park. Hippos are so cool!
Reasons why this is a great playground:

1. Walk there in 10 minutes
2. Clean, recently renovated
3. Climbing areas offer more challenging tasks
4. Open and airy, sunny and shady spots
5. Hippos and a rowboat!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Let's Play Hatch

The hatching.... has BEGUN!!!
Exciting? YES!!!
After twenty-six days of incubation, some ducklings began to bust out of their eggs, and declare to the world, "Here I am, let's party!"
We learned on Friday that our ducks were actually 'supposed' to hatch a few days before the 28th day, so they began the hatching process right on time.
I've checked in with the eggs during the weekend, and as for progress since Friday, well, you'll see in the morning. . . !

The children helped to prepare the duck tank, where they will be moved one day after fully hatching. Food, water, and lots of wood chips (bark from fir trees). The children were amused by the idea that the ducks would go to the bathroom anywhere on the tank floor.

Ella's X-Ray: Last week, Ella showed the class what she's really made of! She used our light table to tell the class about her old x-ray, and how she was able to make body straighter. On the x-ray, she showed us her collarbone and backbone, and some children noticed her cheeks and ears, which were also visible! Afterward, a few children wanted to make drawings of her skeleton.

The final step for our clay creations: Mod Podge! By applying a layer of this thick white material, the children were able to seal and protect their sculptures (the ones displayed at the art show). Goes on white, dries clear! This is interesting because a few children were hesitant to apply the Podge, since it looks like white paint. After much reassurance by their teacher, they can then watch it magically change to a cool clear shiny coat.

Our garden goodies have been growing! I'm sure you've seen our windowsills, teeming with fresh grass, wildflower sprouts, basil, rosemary, mint and lavender. We've also planted green bean seeds and strawberry seeds. Along with other classes, we have planted cucumbers and lettuce on our playground garden (aka 'The Butterfly Garden"). This garden has yielded a few new discoveries for the children, including ants (two kinds), centipedes, earthworms, and butterflies. We've also used the community garden for additional exploring. Armed with magnifying glasses, clipboards, and books, the children set out to observe, represent, and enjoy!

The children had a lot to say about our field trip / sensory hike last Thursday:
Kurt: I like the pet turtle, because the head goes in and out.
Will: I liked the centipede. It was a little one.
Eddie: My favorite part was when all of you closed your eyes and you were hearing the birds, crickets, and waterfalls.
Christopher Vullo: I heard crickets, and some swans.
Christian: I liked the cave. There was a bear inside!
and Ella: The field trip was long because the bus got lost a little.

Enjoy the rest!