Thursday, January 24, 2019

January - Birdie in the Snow

Here are a few notes from our week of Birdie fun!

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines.

Circle Time


We got lots more snow over the weekend so of course we began this morning with plenty of outside play time!

After coming in and warming up, we read "The Oriole's Journey" and talked about birds which migrate and birds which stay here. Each child made a birdseed ornament. Thank you to the family who donated veal tallow from their family farm several years ago. We are still using it in our projects!

    Birdseed Ornaments

    This takes melted tallow, birdseed, a cookie cutter, toothpicks, wax paper, a baking sheet, and several spoons.

    Melt the tallow (we did this in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave in 20 second increments) and then mix in the birdseed. We used equal parts of tallow and seed.

    Place a piece of wax paper on the baking sheet, pour the ornament mixture into the cookie cutter and put a toothpick in the spot where you'd like to thread the ornament later. Place in the freezer to harden.

    Remove the toothpick, then thread a largish needle and slowly push the needle through the toothpick spot and tie the string to form an ornament for hanging outside.

    Wash your hands well when you are done and use a paper towel to dry them, not a cloth towel. Fats that aren't washed away thoroughly in the washing machine can catch on fire in your dyer! It's a concentrated source of energy for the birds, which also makes it fuel.

We used all the rest of the leftover birdseed to refill our feeders, then sang "Monster" from The Singing Year. After snack we had our Circle Time. We revisited our wrapping game from earlier in the year, except this time I wrapped the children up in silks and then sang to them. I chose the robin, swallow, and dormouse verses of "The North Wind Doth Blow."

At the end of our Circle we did the movement journey "Birdie in the Snow" from page 132 of Gesture Games for Autumn and Winter by Wilma Ellersiek, and then sat on the sofa and watched the birds visiting the feeder outside. We also kept a sharp eye out for those rascally squirrels!


We were so fortunate to have remaining snow in the yard this morning so, again, we began the day with free play outside. The children built an enormous snowman! When they came in and warmed up we had inside play time. I noticed yesterday during the Birdseed Ornament project that they loved running their fingers through our bowl of seeds, so I promised them we would do a birdseed sensory bin! I set up a large bin with 30 pounds of mixed birdseed (no nuts or fruit) and some spoons, measuring cups, bowls, pots, and a funnel. It was a big hit. They also really enjoyed working with dustpans and whisk brooms, sweeping up the spilled birdseed on the floor.

When it was time to wrap up our morning play time, I read the "First Snowflake" poem. After snack each child did Snowflake art with a blue piece of paper, a cotton swab, and white paint. Our poem suggested a snowflake might be "a cold little / raindrop / in her winter nightgown." We loved this image and the children made their white dots very carefully!

After our Circle Time, I explained to the children that our class will be participating in Project Feederwatch. We looked at the tally sheet (which we will complete on Thursday) and the poster of common birds which they sent us. Then we practiced our bird watching and bird identification. Some children stayed with this for nearly an hour! Each individual family can also sign up to participate. Watch your feeders as much or as little as you want. The requirement is minimal (as little as two consecutive days of bird watching, any length of time) and citizen science is so important! All of the supplies sent to you are free and the tally sheets are submitted online.


Our Mystery Sound Box game was so much fun. The children went around the classroom looking for things which would fit in a small tea tin. We arranged all of them on a towel. Each child took turns filling the tin with something from the towel while the rest of us covered our eyes. When it was time, we were allowed hear the sound as the tin was shaken. We had to listen very carefully. "What do you think might be making the sound inside the box?" With sharp eyes you can also notice what item was misssing from the towel... a useful clue!

We collected our Project Feederwatch data yesterday and today. Our final tally was

    Carolina Chickadee - 2
    Northern Cardinal - 4
    Chipping Sparrow - 1
    Dark-Eyed Junco - 1
    Male Common Redpoll - 1
    White-Breasted Nuthatch - 1

We had to shoo a squirrel away from one of our feeders several times. We put some chestnuts out for him, to try to tempt him away from the birdseed.

And, of course, today was also Stone Soup Day! As always it was delicious and beautiful. The children marveled at how the purple cabbage looked just like a rose! (And Zac loved the purple cabbage and kept eating it raw!)

Here was our list of group contributions to the Stone Soup this week:

purple cabbage
fresh cilantro
venison bone broth

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

No comments: