Woods and Wetlands 2018

Scat Tracking and Ice Patterns

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We began with 5 minutes of silent observation and exploration in case there were animals we might get to see.
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We checked out the dams that J and D made last week. The water had disappeared.
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The earth is confused by this weird weather! Things are starting to get green like this pretty moss, a.k.a. fairy forest.
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E got her head accidentally poked by a stick so she found some comfort at the foot of one of our great oaks!
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The ice was melting in some places and created cool designs. Some of the places we stepped were melted on top but below the first inch or so of water there was another layer of ice. It made us appear that we were walking on water!
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Balancing and finding tunnels through the swamp is a fun challenge every time.
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It looks so different from the last snowy time!
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She’s not very camouflaged but is enjoying snuggling up to the Fairy Tree.
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What made these cool patterns in the ice? Was it the pine needles that fell from the Fairy Tree? We wandered farther from the Fairy Tree to see if the ice continued to have those patterns and it did! Maybe the needles blew there and then froze, then the ice melted a little. But where did the needles go? What made them move? We had a great discussion about this. Exactly the sort of discussion kids are practicing in the classroom, but spontaneous and authentic.
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So happy to have J back with us! His ideas and background knowledge are always insightful! (And check out the cool mustache!)

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Using all of our senses.
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Guess where this ice was kept for a while?
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S kept chunks of ice in her pocket throughout our swamp exploration!
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The kids noticed some deer scat and we followed it to see where the deer had gone. Just when we thought the trail went cold, someone would notice another little pile of evidence and off we went in a new direction. It was fun tracking them by their scat instead of their footprints this time. We wondered if another animal was following it to hunt it?
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More deer scat. Someone commented that it looks like coffee beans. J laughed and encouraged me to try one since it looked like chocolate covered coffee beans. We laughed about what might happen if he offered one to his parents. I concluded that they might learn to smell their food before tasting it in the future!
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On the trail of the deer! We were all looking down so much we forgot to look for landmarks and some got turned around. H. used the Fairy Tree as a landmark to re-orient herself.
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D. and J. stuck together for a while pretending a survival game.

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More interesting ice!
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J and D found a dead tree and brought a slab of bark from it.
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Such cute, happy kids!

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Someone has greatly improved our makeshift forts! I am guessing an adult or older child helped build onto these over a weekend. They are pretty sturdy and well designed!

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This kid is SO strong from all of his climbing and playing outdoors! I have watched his balance develop since the beginning of last school year and his strength and balance both are noticeable as a result of all his outdoor play, not only during W&W but at home too!

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This one is so proud! A few weeks ago she was afraid to climb up the first short distance. By this week she was able to go at least 2 levels higher in the Secret Fort Tree!
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It can be hard to make room for everyone. Some patience is required.

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Sloth imitation.
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Panther imitation.

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Look at the balance and concentration! The younger kids watched her with admiration! When she finally began to lose her balance, her climbing practice kicked in and she nimbly jumped to the ground, landing on both feet. I have loved watching her confidence grow over the past 2 1/2 years. I love that she is allowed the freedom to try things out without someone constantly warning to her to be careful. Most kids will only do as much as they feel safe doing. And sometimes they fall or get hurt, but that means that the next time they might not fall because they learned something!
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H went from being afraid to get down a few weeks ago to actually JUMPING down this week!

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