Kids-Niche Feature: Shooting Stars Preschool Classroom

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Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in our Kids-Niche Programs! These feature lessons, activities, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today’s Feature: Shooting Stars make Deviled Eggs!

The Shooting Stars Kids-Niche class has been enjoying various culinary pursuits this spring. Last week, we made deviled eggs! First, we collected fresh eggs from our chickens. Next, we hard boiled them in our classroom. We then collected our basic ingredients: mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper. We worked together to scoop the egg yolks from the halved eggs, and mixed them together with our ingredients. After scooping the mixture back into the egg whites, we sprinkled them with salt and pepper and tested our final product. The results? A fun, new way to prepare yummy eggs!

 

Learning objectives:

  • Food cycles and benefits of local (backyard!) food
  • Following a recipe
  • Using familiar foods to introduce new flavors to our taste buds
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Classroom Feature: Steller's Jay Classroom

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Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in and out of our classrooms here in the day school! These feature lessons, activities, centers, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today's feature: Steller's Jays Spring Exploration in Novelty vs Familiarity

Beginning this Spring the Steller’s Jays have been exploring the concept of Novelty vs. Familiarity. We began by learning Sit Spots in our Garden Learning Center. Children practiced sitting quietly in nature, for a short amount of time, and noticing with their senses. We noticed the weather, growing things, animals, and people. Steller’s Jay students became very familiar with their garden Sit Spots after practicing for several weeks.

In May, we sauntered to Lincolnwood twice to have Sit Spots in a new place. Children sat quietly in the woods and were encouraged to think about how their Sit Spots were the same or different from the Garden Learning Center. We explored our “familiar” experience with a new or “novel” one.

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Kids-Niche Feature: Beargrass Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade

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Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in our Kids-Niche Programs! These feature lessons, activities, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today’s Feature: Beargrass Saunters to Missoula Children's Theater

Beargrass took a tour of Missoula Community Theater/Missoula Children's Theater in April,  and got a behind the scenes look at how this stage and costumes for The Little Mermaid came together. We toured the theater itself and were able to see the stage being constructed, got to see all of the costumes and wigs that the actors wore in the Little Mermaid and other past productions at the theater. After our tour, we got to try out some acting skills of our own with some games and activities with our great tour guide, Matt!

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Classroom Feature: Meadowlark Classroom

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Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in and out of our classrooms here in the day school! These feature lessons, activities, centers, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today's feature: Meadowlark's Sunflower and Soil Explorations

The Magic of Plants

In order to prepare for planting in the garden, we started by talking about the magic of plants. We read stories about gardening ("The Good Brown Earth"), learned a gardening song (Inch by Inch), looked closely at seeds, and spent time talking about how magical it is that a tiny sunflower seed can transform into such a large and beautiful plant. Where do plants come from? What do plants need to grow? What makes a seed "magical”?

Planting and Watering Sunflowers

After talking about the magic of plants, the Meadowlarks actually got to plant our seeds in the garden. Each child planted at least one seed by poking a hole in the grown, placing the seed inside, and then patting down the earth to cover it. We continued to talk about what a plant needs to grow, revisited vocabulary (sprout, bud, fertile ground), and have been deciding as a class each day whether or not the seeds need to be watered. Should we water the seeds if it is raining today? How often should we check on the soil to see if it needs water?

 

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    Our Sunflower Investigation

    The Meadowlarks have had A LOT of questions associated with some of the phrases in our garden song (Inch by Inch). In particular, they have been asking a lot of questions about fertile ground and seeds. What makes up fertile ground? Where do you find fertile ground? Can a seed grow in the forest without any help? How long will it take our sunflower seeds to grow roots? We decided to pursue the questions about our sunflower seeds in more detail by making observations in the garden. The package says we should see a sprout in 10-15 days so we are checking our seeds daily, writing down our observations, whether or not we watered them, etc.

     

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      Fertile Ground

      With all the questions the Meadowlarks had been asking, we wanted to search for a better understanding of fertile ground. We set out a series of soil samples at the Science Table. One sample is basic topsoil (which we have labeled as DIRT), the other is potting soil (which we have labeled as FERTILE GROUND), and the last is duff from under the trees at Teacher Jocelyn’s house (which we have labeled as ORGANIC MATERIAL). Each soil sample is in a container that the Meadowlarks can reach into and touch with their hands. We have been asking them to pay close attention to the differences between the materials. What makes plain dirt different than the fertile ground you would use to grow vegetables? Does the dirt or the fertile ground appear to have more organic material? By presenting them with this hands on exploration, we are hoping to help them answer their own questions about fertile ground.

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      Learning Objectives

      • Identify basic needs of living things and describe relationship with their habitat
      • Describe the change of seasons
      • Builds positive emotional connections to the natural world
      • Demonstrate an interest in books, reading, and using writing for a purpose
      • Explores the features of things, using all senses
      • Engage with plants and animals in respectful way
      • Identify weather, notice changes in weather, and discuss their impacts
      • Actively participates in school-based stewardship
      • Participates in simple teacher-initiated investigations to test observations, collect data, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations
      • Formulate answers to own questions using the scientific method

      Kids-Niche Feature: Fireweed Second Grade

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      Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in our Kids-Niche Programs! These feature lessons, activities, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

      Today’s Feature: Fireweed's Boats and Trolls at Lincolnwood

      The Fireweed class has been sauntering quite a bit since the sun finally came out, and the kids have been ecstatic to be near natural water again! Combining that aquatic enthusiasm with their established love of engineering, building and refining boats made only from materials found in the natural environment seemed like a perfect activity. A few students were interested in writing letters to the trolls that (they insist) live in the area, so their challenge was to attach their messages to their boats using the natural resources. They had many setbacks and sunken ships, but all persisted in their projects until they were satisfied with the results. Hooray for spring!

      Learning Objectives:

      • Analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose

      • Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse peer partners and adults in small and larger groups

      • Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs

      • Develop, test, and improve upon a design to meet an intended objective

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      Classroom Feature: Explorers Classroom

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      Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in and out of our classrooms here in the day school! These feature lessons, activities, centers, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

      Today's feature: Explorer's Nest Building Inquiry

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      We wanted to know how birds build nests.

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      We tried gathering items and building nests on our own..

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      But they didn't stay together very well

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      So we examined some nests that birds made, and read a book about birds and their nests. 

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      We found out that birds often use mud to make their nests stick together. We mixed mud, gathered more materials and tried again. 

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      The results were much better! 

      Learning Objectives 

      Students:

      • Used observations to describe what animals do and how they behave
      • Used reasoning and deduction to solve problems (why didn't our nests stay together?)
      • Used teamwork and social skills to plan and complete a task