We had a great week last week enjoying this incredibly flowery time of year. We learned about the parts of a flower, including petals and pollen. It's so handy when there are so many huge and amazingly bright blooms for us to examine at hand. We did a lot of sniffing, usually to everyone's delight and occasional disgust, (one popular landscaping bloom smells unpleasantly like dirty socks we discovered.) We did some counting and graphing of flowers and flower colors from around the block. We talked about how the colorful petals and the sweet smells of flowers help attract the bees, which help the plants pollinate and turn their pollen into seeds. This is so nice and easy to observe with dandelions. We also did some more seed starting and transplanting in our little greenhouse. We made some lovely flower crafts, and we harvested and cooked dandelion greens on Friday.
We finished up our bird unit last week with some very cool bird encounters. We spotted a hummingbird sitting on a nest at Mt Tabor, in a spot that the kids could see without using binoculars. Its nest is tinier than an egg cup! We also got to see a bird up very close when, sadly, a young varied thrush hit a window and soon after died just as school was starting for the day. We got a chance to examine and hold the bird and see its feathers and beak and feet up close and feel the weight of it's body. We buried it and bid farewell together as a class. We read some really wonderful bird and nest books, and we made a nest together for circle and snack time. The birds are singing and calling and nest building and spring is in the air!
We also got to enjoy a really wonderful little personal concert from Shanley Narens, Luna's mom, on the violin and viola. We heard some beautiful classical music, and then Old McDonald complete with instrumental animal noises that were a great delight, and we all played along to the farmer's dog named Bingo. I'm so grateful to Boinoir and Shanley for sharing their talents!
This week is spring break. We have started some seeds in the greenhouse and they are coming up like crazy! We started peas and carrots outside and we will look forward to seeing them come up as well. After spring break we will focus on flowers, worms and soil critters, and butterflies, not necessarily in that order. I'm hoping that we can catch some of the painted lady migration.
The season has well and truly turned! Happy Springtime everyone! We've been busy scouting bird activity and listening to bird calls and making nests. We're starting to see and find many more flowers and different textured and colored leaves as they unfurl. We spotted a lady bug and a bee for the first time since last fall today.
We have been making some extra time to play music during these last few weeks of bird study. On Wednesday of last week we talked about woodpeckers and how and why they drum. It was so fun to follow that lesson up by having Boinoir come and play his drums and Ghanaian shakers for us at the end of the day!
This week on Thursday we will be talking some more about how and why birds sing, and we will be lucky enough to have Shanley Dellinger, Luna's mom, come in to play the violin for us. She's going to play some classical tunes, and then show us some other fun things that the violin can do. It'll be another great up close sound experience and everyone is invited to come!