Show Grade Twos a Nest, And They’ll Draw It!

Teachers, when you have that short bit of time to observe a Live Eagle Cam with your class, log into one of these two spots and have your students make observations, write about the eagle behaviours, draw them, paint them…it’s so beautiful to watch!

Either today or tomorrow or the day after that, the eggs should hatch at Duke Farms.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/eagle-cam

OR

Decorah…at…

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/eagle-cam

The weather today has been quite lovely at Duke Farms in Virginia.

Eagle March 23, 2016

Horrible weather…sleet…rain…slush and wind in Decorah.

Rain and Snow on Decorah

Grade twos made amazing observations of the eagles, rubbing off their chalk every time Mom changed her posture in the nest and began to sketch again.  After the sketching practice, the students added their colour with different media.

Thank you for your class, Elisa!

Threes!

I haven’t written many blog posts lately!  I’m very busy teaching a four month grade three contract these days.  I began the last week of February.  I really enjoy my students, but we are super busy!  Each student, taking on an altar ego and the mantle of a super hero means that school is a very busy place.  When not a super hero, then there are always the roles of mathematician, engineer and wildlife biologist to fulfill!  It’s a busy life we live.

As a result of all of the ‘busy’, my body flops onto the red sofa shortly after dinner and sometimes I even nod off.  I just can’t even believe what heroes teachers are to take on such a huge part in children’s lives.  Since retirement, I think I’ve become one of the most outspoken advocates of teachers I know.  It’s one thing to support teachers in theory; it’s another to know and understand what they are living each and every day.

In the morning we have quiet focus time on the mat…I log onto Duke Farm’s Live Eagle Cam, much as I did during my grade one contract a couple of years ago.  I made up a booklet that was grade specific, using the content provided for a higher level study.  Duke Farms provides a wealth of information.  This year we have two eggs on the nest and the weather has been brutal in the east.  We have some sad moments as we observe female or male sitting until their own bodies are absolutely covered by snow.  I think I captured a screen shot one day…yes…here’s the nest on March 1 and that snow crept up a few times so that only the adult’s beak was exposed.  The children seem to be enjoying observing life on the nest and I am holding out hope that the eggs will successfully hatch over the coming week.  Here are the blog posts directly from Duke Farms.

March 1, 2015 Duke's FarmsI have a few photos of my little nest, but it hardly captures the intensity of the space when the children enter and begin swirling through their day.  There is never a pause.  There is so much to learn.

In the morning, each morning, for just about ten minutes, I read aloud from the BFG by Roald Dahl.  When I asked my adult daughter what she remembered about grade three, she told me that she remembered Roald Dahl and all of the wonderful books that he wrote.  And so, just for wind down time, the children and I are sharing those words.

The BFG makes us laugh…and he shares some very intelligent, however nonsensical, words.

quote-dreams-is-very-mystical-things-the-bfg-said-human-beans-is-not-understanding-them-at-all-not-roald-dahl-222445DSC_3020 DSC_3019Books for inventions and schematics of every kind…this week…a dream making machine.  INVENTORS! DSC_3014

DSC_3015 ??????????

Each pod of desks is a city in India (Mumbai and New Delhi) or the Ukraine (Kiev and Odessa) or Peru (Lima) or Tunisia (Tunis).  The students are just getting their pavilions researched and constructed.  This makes it very easy for calling up a rep from each city to pick up things or deliver things to their group.  They share responsibilities and connect it to their place in the world.  Sorry for the out-of-focus photo…will try to get a better archive.  Most of the art has been collaborative to this point.  This Klimt tree will be evolving over the seasons.  A place to publish descriptive words and elaborative detail.

DSC_3013 DSC_3012 DSC_3004Students collect bling for all sorts of everything and post them on their plain-jane brown paper wrap Super Three frames.  By end of year, these will be the most highly decorated frames in existence. The students are wildly motivated.

DSC_3011 DSC_3010

DSC_3009 DSC_3007 DSC_3006 My brother and father both sent explanations of their military medals and ribbons so that I could share with the students what an honour it is to be decorated. I showed these to my students and explained what a sense of pride is felt with such achievements.  They were very excited about the possibility, as Super Threes, of receiving such as these. While having gold star days are an every day occurrence, receiving a ribbon is more special and rare.  I’ve got a huge stash of them and jot down the reason for each ribbon presentation on my note cards.  The children have to then share with me what they are going to do to earn the next.  Again, every child receives recognition and praise.

Dad's Medals DSC_2642Our class medals and ribbons.??????????Our gathering place.

DSC_3002We keep many different publications going…books of THREE (a place to look at why Three is such a powerful number), WHEN-THEN books When__________ (teacher provides an action) Then___________(what action results, giving students opportunities to explore how choices and results connect) and Save the Day booklets (students explore how they want to use their super powers for good).

DSC_3034?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? DSC_3027The students are engineers. After the students tested for stability in a large, medium and short cylinder, they had opportunity to explore how to increase stability.  Whoosh!  They are some sort of inventors.  At the end of the frenzy, they decided that the base of a structure should be wider and heavier and include some sort of connecting material in order to be more stable. :0)

DSC_2974 ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? DSC_2985 DSC_2984 DSC_2983Thanks to all of you peeps who have supported me and shared your wisdom.  You know who you are!  And, no, you won’t be seeing many updates!  Now, “Come, MAX!  Let’s go!”

 

The Melt

For three days, Calgary has enjoyed beautiful temperatures.  It has been a long winter…lots of snow and bitter cold.  In fact, this has been such a melt that on many intersections throughout the city, the drainage doesn’t seem to be sufficient or blocked, to the detriment to some homes.

Mike Drew of the Calgary Sun captured this image of a residence in Sunnyside.

Photo Credit: Mike Drew, Calgary Sun QMI

Photo Credit: Mike Drew, Calgary Sun QMI

In the morning, Max-walking is dangerous, given that this water freezes up and leaves the sidewalks, virtual skating rinks.

Apart from these symptoms of changing weather, there are some beautiful moments in nature.  We just got home from our daily walk about Frank’s Flats and it is absolutely breath taking.  Lately, I’ve noticed magpies flying with pieces of nesting material dangling haphazardly from their beaks as they instinctively prepare their nests.

I’m a huge fan of Duke Farm’s Live Eagle Cam.  It was an awesome thing, this year, to witness the laying of three eggs.  The notations from the site are as follows and a still photo I just saved a moment ago.  I encourage my birder-readers to follow the progress of this family.  What magic to witness male and female trading off places in the nest and sharing the responsibilities for the eggs.  The history of Duke Farms can be read here.

Eagle March 10 2014And for those who think that watching an eagle on a nest is the same as watching paint dry, be advised that last year, this particular event was caught on live cam…

Update 2/24/2014A 3rd egg was laid on 2/23/2014 in the afternoon.  Thanks you viewers for your valuable observations throughout the nesting season.

Update 2/20/2014
A 2nd egg was laid the afternoon of 2/20/2014.

Update 2/18/2014
An egg was laid in the afternoon of 2/17/2014*. Snow in the nest should begin to dissipate as temps rise during the day over the next few days. The cam will remain zoomed close in on the nest bowl to aid in detection of additional eggs.

Update 1/14/2014
Soft grasses are being deposited in the nest bowl to act as cushioning and insulation, these signs are usually a prelude to egg laying behavior.

So, today…teaching grade one…while I was tempted to make art around St. Patrick’s Day, our Lenten Journey, the Stations of the Cross or Penguins!!!  I ended up following my own muse, the nesting birds.  And the children did NOT disappoint.

Where’s our teacher?  Are you our teacher? Yeah! We get to paint!

Off with the coats there, buddies!  On with the shoes!

Who is the engine? Who is the caboose?  The caboose isn’t here!  Oh, no!  Pick a caboose, will you and take this attendance down, please.

Announcements. O’ Canada. Prayer.

I saw a magpie carrying a great big branch while it was flying the other day!

IT WAS BUILDING A NEST!

It’s so warm and the snow is melting.

IT’S GOING TO LAY A EGG!

A nest is like a bowl…do you remember what horizontal means?

WIDE!! (I notice, with this response, that the grade ones have been measuring things…they have a whole new vocabulary!)

Do you remember what vertical means?  You’re right! Up and down!

Today you may choose to build a nest on vertical sky OR horizontal sky…whatever you wish.  Remember that the nest will fall out if there are not enough branches.  I’ll show you a bowl shape in some branches. (I demonstrate a BIG drawing on a vertical piece and then on a horizontal piece of blue construction paper).  Three branches will work…or four…or five.  The nest (to repeat) looks like a bowl.

Grab your chalk…you can do your sketch now.  As I’m stirring up some earth tones of paint at the paint center I ask the children if they remember the THREE steps to painting…

DIP! STROKE!

Oops!  We forgot a step!

WIPE!! 

Yes…please wipe your extra paint off of your brushes.

The students use the paint station with finesse, two hands on buckets…walking…taking turns.  Let’s use the darkest brown for the inside of the nest.  It will show that it is deep and dark…a good place to sleep.  OF COURSE WE CAN PAINT LEAVES!  I quickly mix up five different greens. Trading off begins and the paintings are set aside to dry.

We go to the reading corner to share in the rhyming poem, Five Little Penguins…yes, readers, you’ve got it…same as the Five Little Monkeys!  We talk about visits to the Calgary Zoo.

After recess and recess snacks, we add our nesting materials into the mix…talk about birds collecting strings and grass…and talk about how penguins nest.  We talk about how the Dad sits on the egg while Mama goes to eat fish…and how Mama sits on the egg while Dad goes to eat fish.  We cut and paste and then add in the birds.  BEAUTIFUL!  Let’s set them aside so that the glue can dry.  Hailey says out loud, as she’s placing her nest gently on the corner, “I love mine.”  I think to myself, “This is what’s really important.”

Printing…letter w!  Here we go!

P1150505 P1150506 P1150507 P1150508 P1150509 P1150510 P1150511P1150515 P1150516 P1150517 P1150518 P1150519 P1150520 P1150521 P1150522 P1150523 P1150524 P1150525