During Morning Meeting everyone was given either an oak or a maple leaf. We traced or did leaf-rubbings in our journals, or at least tried, and I reinforced that it takes multiple practices to get them looking the way we might want them to look. Message: don’t give up if it’s not what you want right away.
One explorer brought his own shovel for the purpose of digging for treasure chests. So far no luck, but the kids who joined him in this new space discovered a cool log with new fungi growing on it, as well as an old, metal canister of some kind that made for a good drum! We tossed around the idea of making instruments from natural objects next week. The metal item doesn’t count, but it had great percussion qualities!
These sisters were very into my tree and mushroom field guides and we wanted to find out what the new little mushrooms on the log were called. We also paged through the tree book and enjoyed learning names of different trees. One that made us laugh was the “Eastern Wahoo!” I continue to point out places where decomposers do the critical work of turning dead organic matter into healthy, new soil for new trees and plants to grow.
The stream is lower and calmer every day, but still too deep for most of our explorers. Mrs. Webb and I began hauling some logs and branches over to where we want to build a little bridge once the water level is back down to pre-rain status. Kids also had fun helping to drag and carry building materials to the bank of the stream. I waded in to see how deep the water was on me and found it to be knee high at the shallowest place. At that point one of the boys must have decided that vicarious river-wading was better than none at all because he asked if I would walk down to the logjam bridge from where I was. I decided I might as well, since I already had half the river in my boots. The kids hurried along the bank to meet me at the bridge, at which point I was submerged almost to my hips.
Some animal keeps pooping on our log jam bridge and I keep cleaning it off in hopes of using the log to cross the stream. Clearly a teachable moment, the kids who were there with me ended up getting a mini-lesson on animal scat. We talked about how different animals eat different things and that plant-eating animals seem to have less stinky scat whereas those that eat meat tend to have smellier scat! I talked about how scientists who study animals learn a lot from looking at their poop. It’s also a way to track where certain animals go. I have a set of scat and paw print identification cards but the images aren’t very clear so I intend to make my own.
Lots going on here! During snack break I read aloud a few pages of a really cool tree book. Some of the kids were interested in my initial prompt about different leaf shapes. Others were still learning from their play with the teeter-totter log. At some point they will have played that experience out and will be ready to move on to something else. I love letting that happen!
Looking at the tree canopy and comparing/contrasting the oaks with the maples. We talked about why some trees grew so straight but had no branches until far up at the top, while others branched out earlier and had a rounder shape, over all.
We are so hopeful that by Monday we will all be able to explore our section of the river, actually more of a creek, but a handful of the kids won’t be there on Monday due to the federal holiday. One of the girls was upset that she would be missing our potential first day in the water, so I jokingly promised her we would have absolutely no fun without her. She giggled and told her cousin to make sure of it since her cousin will be in attendance that day.
Happy Independence Day, everybody!