This week it finally started to feel like Spring has really arrived. The sun is warm, and everything is starting to run: sap, creeks, and kids. I love seeing the K-pals in their t-shirts and snowpants, or exchanging their snow suits for rain suits! Everyone's spirits are lighter. Once this week the kids even ran out the door yelling "FREEDOM!" ha ha.
One of the best parts of the week was Monday! We were able to spend the entire day outside, only going inside to use the bathroom. Right from the get-go the kids picked up where they had left off on Friday, pointing out signs of Spring. Melting snow dripping from the roof and creating a mini trench in the ice below led us to hunt for and climb up a mountain of snow that had avalanched off of a cabin roof.
This in turn led us to follow the mini rivers of melting ice on the road all the way to the Boy's Camp Bridge that crosses a big creek that leads into the lake. We actually returned to that creek every day this week, noticing the subtle changes of each day, and developing a relationship through play and exploration to that part of the property.
Miss Fisher also picked up where we left off last week, inviting the K-pals to conduct an experiment to further our mini inquiry into buds and trees. Inspired by the Grade 3/4 class at our school who also tried this, she had our students put pieces of Romaine lettuce and carnations into jars of differently coloured water. They then made predictions about what would happen ("they will grow") and were totally surprised when the lettuce and the flowers started to take on the colours of the water. They were also quite interested in where the water had gone, having measured the initial water levels in each jar and then noticing that that level had gone down.
Are you starting to notice a theme, here? Dripping roofs, rivers of melting ice, thawing creeks, disappearing water...and I haven't even mentioned giant puddles, yet!
During the summer when I was envisioning the school year in inquiry, I had thought we would begin to study birds at this point, based on the season and the way birds and flight seem to capture the imagination of kids this age. I imagined the K-pals taking this theme and running with it into many different, rich, areas: listening for, imitating, and composing birdsongs; wondering about flight and gravity, and trying to create flying machines; becoming attached to specific kinds of birds and creating beautiful multi-media wings and giant, human-sized nests. I knew we had many bird experts in our school community who could enrich our study. I consulted with the children's librarian in town and together we collected a pile of both fiction and non-fiction books about 2 feet high! In short, I was pretty invested in this idea!
Then, over the last few weeks, Miss K. and I began dropping "hints" that we would soon be studying birds. We changed our wolf howl call (one of the ways we call the K-pals back to us from outdoor free play) to a bird call. We introduced a new song. We've paused to listen to or watch the birds around us. It's felt almost as if we've been putting out "bait", waiting and watching to see if the kids would "bite", but even this week when we found some feathers on a hike, the kids haven't and didn't really seem all that hooked.
But they are completely fascinated by water! As we wandered down to the creek for the third time this week, I said to Miss K., "I've been thinking that we should change our inquiry plans. They don't seem that interested in birds. How would you feel about switching to..." "Water?" She finished my sentence. The fact that we had both noticed the kids' interest in water without previously discussing it was exciting, and more than enough confirmation that changing our inquiry theme is the right thing to do, despite having already planned and invested so much into the bird idea. Back to the library we go!
This week we also continued our focus on data management by graphing the length of Baby M.'s foot. On Thursday, during her second visit to our class, her mom measured her again, and there was an audible gasp when the K-pals realized her foot had already grown by one whole centimetre! I'll let Miss K. talk more about all of what goes on when Baby M. visits, and about graphing with K-pals over on her blog!
At week's end now we're back to some chillier weather, but that won't stop us from diving in to our inquiry into water starting Monday! Stay tuned...
A special thanks to Miss Fisher whose last day with us was Friday. It was a pleasure to host you, Miss Fisher. You enriched our community, and we learned a lot from you. Good luck!