We have spent the last 5 weeks contemplating what kind of pet we should get for the Garden Classroom. We had the empty tank to look at for inspiration and books to ponder featuring possible pets such as reptiles, amphibians, snails, and even dogs and cats. There are many things to consider when making such a decision: such as size, temperament, and food source. Several friends really felt an appropriate pet would be a crocodile. Really?!! Just for comparison, a plastic lizard was placed in the tank. Hmm? How long would a crocodile stay that size? After writing down the children’s suggestions for the last few weeks, a graph was created featuring the different possibilities. One child added “CTA” (for cat) and dinosaurs weren’t included since they are officially extinct although they were suggested! A “meeting” was called and about 10 children gathered in the Art Cottage to tally up the votes. Frogs were the clear winner! Hooray! I’m not a huge fan of snakes, spiders are best kept in the garden and I am quite done with snails for the time being. Then there was that “crocodile” situation. Two boys were clearly disappointed that they weren’t going to be seeing any crocs in the Garden Classroom. They were reminded by me AND several other children that, “Crocodiles bite!” Fortunately, our three new fire-bellied toads are VERY cute and interesting. The croc fans were won over!
A “meeting” was called and held in the Art Cottage where the children were invited to vote for the pet of their choice. “Frogs” were the clear winner. Most of the children were happy with this decision.
Several teachers have been asking me, “What happened to the carrots?” It is very obvious that “something” ate our beautiful crop. But this story has a happy ending! No evil squirrels invaded the garden, this time! This story started way back in March when the children planted carrot seeds in one of our raised beds. For several weeks leading up to the end of the school year, we had carefully been inspecting the progress of our carrots. We watched as the tiny sprouts slowly grew into big, fluffy, fluttery green frills! Along with watching the carrots growth, we read and reread the classic story, The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kruass. Finally, during the second week of Camp Hanna, it was discovered that the carrots were big enough for two bites! Pretty soon, the word got around and a dozen children were picking and eating the crunchy harvest! The children shared the pretty little tops with Princess, our pet rabbit!
I am very excited to be posting the first (I hope of many) news report and reflection of what the children of Hanna Fenichel are engaged with while exploring in the Garden Classroom and Art Cottage in this new format. For any of you who know me well; know this is very daunting for me! I am a technophobe and am only taking these first baby steps into the blogging world because of the encouragement from several co-teachers, especially Julie and Lisa and from our own beloved blogger extraordinaire, Kathy Strahs. Thank you!
One thing I want to make very clear, I will be posting the happenings and activities of Hanna Fenichel children using only general terms and not publishing names or posting pictures of children’s faces. I will still be focusing on the work being done by small groups of children and sharing the investigations by email!
It has been a real pleasure welcoming new and returning students to the Garden Classroom! Our mornings have been filled with many new discoveries as the children have explored the ordinary and extraordinary features of our unique and beloved upper playground that we call, The Garden Classroom.
The first week of Camp Hanna, we discovered an unusual visitor to the classroom, (what I believe was) a huge orb-weaving spider! This is a non-toxic spider commonly found in gardens. After capturing it in a peanut butter jar, we were able to view (the approximately) 1 inch spider closely using my “Dino-Lite” digital microscope. Several children were able to take pictures using the camera feature of the program. Some children drew pictures of the interesting creature. Others compared our collection of plastic insects with the spider which led to a discussion of the difference between spiders and insects. This was a wonderful opportunity for children to count and compare. Which animal had more legs? Which animal had less? Which animal had more eyes? Which animal had less? How many body parts does a spider have? How about an insect? After viewing the spider, I took it home and let it go in my front yard. That very night it spun a web that caught my husband right in the face as he left for work the next morning!