C is for Crocus

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I eagerly await three signs of approaching spring: snowdrops, robins, and crocus. In the week before spring break, I kept asking the students if they had seen these signs of spring. We are lucky have some flower beds at the front of the school that mysteriously blossom through spring, summer, and fall. (I think there are some “garden ninjas” in the community who stealthily tend to these beds.) In the last week, during a sudden sunny break in a week of grey, we squeezed in some time with our magnifying glasses and clipboards to get a look at the crocus up close.

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The last few days of Spring Break have been beautifully sunny and the good weather should continue into our first week back at school. More outdoor learning – here we come!

Happy Spring to everyone!

Pinecones

In February, we read a lovely book, Penguin and Pinecone: a friendship story. The story was the perfect launch for a month long focus on friendship and kindness.

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After reading the story, we went out to the school yard to collect some pinecone friends of our own. The sun had come out for the last few minutes of the day, and the students were delighted.

Since then, we have done a number of activities with the pinecones we collected.

Pinecone Printing

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Pinecone and Tree Block Play

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Pinecone Buddies

We each picked our own Pinecone Buddy, made scarves for them, and took them home.

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The students did a lot with their pinecones – visited Grandparents, went to the park, played hockey, and went for drives, to name a few.

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We took our Pinecone Buddies home. As in the story, however, we talked about bringing the pinecones back to where they belonged – a final act of friendship. So this week we brought our class basket of pinecones back to the school yard.

The students wanted to build a nest for the pinecones, just like in the story.

Goodbye, Pinecone Buddies!

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The Puddle

We had a few particularly wet fall storms last year, the kind that light up the darkening sky and send thunder rumbles across the Lower Mainland. These are followed by wet west coast winter weather. From scary storms and long grey days, however, wonderful opportunities emerge – like puddles! Our playground sometimes develops a particularly large one at the back end, and the children find many good uses for it during our extend outdoor play. They like to scoop water out of it, and swish sticks through it, but I think they mostly enjoy the feel of wading through it.

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One incident from our puddle play sticks in my mind. Some class parents had kindly donated some rain gear, including boots, for communal use by anyone who had forgotten to bring his or her own. One day, a student had no boots and hadn’t taken one of the spares, and before I could grab a pair  for her, her feet were already quite wet. The student – we’ll call her Alice – decided not to join her friends in the puddle any longer, but another girl poured bowlfuls of water onto a dry corner of the playground so Alice could still play in the “puddle” and not get wet. Wonderful inclusion and problem solving at work!

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The  the students’ joy while playing in puddles is a strong argument for including natural features, such as logs, boulders, stumps, and water, into our school playgrounds, and I hope that planning councils will take this into consideration more often. Besides, as one savvy adult pointed out, the teacher (that’s me) was probably just as happy as the children to be wading through the puddle in gumboots. There’s nothing like a good mud puddle to bring out the kid in us.