Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Playground sights

When talking about India I showed the children a little book that names the parts of venomous snakes, namely, the cobra. Mrs. T brought a selection of books on snakes from the library. Closeup pictures of hissing snakes made one child question whether the photographer was still living. After all, being that close to the pictured rattlesnake surely must have resulted in a fatal bite.

She also arranged for another teacher to show the class her two pet snakes as she fed them each a frozen mouse. Some wrote pages about the snakes, painted pictures of them and made origami cobras. Everyone made a painted, cardboard tube wiggly snake.

Then, last Thursday on the playground, a child sited two water snakes lying on plant debris that had fallen into the creek! I love our playground. It has space to run plus a wonderful mix of equipment and nature to play on and around. There's a big old silver maple tree that rains its helicopter seeds upon us. There are small cedar trees and a small Japanese maple to run around. There are piles of mulch, bars, a plastic rock wall, stairs and tree trunks to climb. The creek with its resident fish and ducks flows just outside the fence. One brave duck sits on her nest of eggs in a corner of the playground. There is a deck overlooking the creek, two slides, a sandbox and a train for fanciful adventures. No wonder every child's face is grinning as they run through the gate for recess. Kudos to J.D. for its design and maintenance.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Talking about China and India led the class to the Himalaya Mountains which stand between the two countries. We used my little Mountains book to learn the names for the many parts of mountains. Everyone made their own mountain range with paper mache over paper cones. They were painted with snowy tops and rivers flowing through the valleys.
The enthusiasm didn't stay in the classroom. On the playground the sandbox became a long mountain range. It's so nice when the children come together as a team. And so good to see their smiles of accomplishment.
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