"In this classroom, relationships are fostered, families are respected, and children are honored.
In this classroom, nature's gifts are valued and children's thoughts are captured.
In this classroom, learning is alive and aesthetic beauty is appreciated." -Unknown

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Earth Focus: Trees, Rocks and Taking Care of the Earth

Observing trees: identifying the roots, trunk, branches,
and leaves; feeling the trunk; comparing the trunk to
our hands; looking for insects and plants on the tree, and more.

We did a litter pick-up around the preschool and
our campus. 

We ended our day outside reading
Miss Sadie McGee Who Lived in a Tree.

The kids enjoyed it so much that they asked our
parent volunteer, Ms. Melisa to read it to them again.

My "green" tree t-shirt
Ms. Shannon let us borrow her beautiful river rocks.

I LOVE how this friend took the instructions
literally. Notice how the colors match.

We were able to borrow a rock collection from
the elementary school and Ms. Shannon let us
borrow her amazing Andy Goldsworthy book.

Rock provocation: Each child creates their own
work of art and we photographed their creation.

We then added the nature inspiration cards.

Parent volunteer, Ms. Leslie brought in some rocks
from her home. Love the mortar and pestle. She
also identified where each rock was found.

The kiddos especially enjoyed this rock, which looked
like any other rock on the outside, but had beautiful
white crystals that sparkled and looked like snow
inside it. 

Ms. Myrna had collected rocks during her visit the
prior weekend to the lake. We set up a rock cleaning
provocation. The kiddos would dip the rock in soapy
water, scrub it clean with a toothbrush, rinse the
rock in clean water, and then lay on the towel to dry.
We used these two AMAZING rock books at our
group times. 

After cleaning the rocks, each child got to hold a rock
during the "If You Find a Rock" book reading.

Ms. Myrna brought in a lava rock and
a pumice stone. The kiddos were able
to compare their weight then we did a
sink or float experiment. Many of them
were surprised that the pumice stone floated. 

We decided to make Earth crayons. The kiddos peeled
blue and green crayons, broke them, then placed them
in a small muffin tin.

We placed them in a 200 degree oven until they
were fully melted. We cooled them completely then
sent them home with the kiddos the next day.

LOVE IT!! She's got the whole world in her hands...

I saw how Play at Home Mom LLC created their own
homemade bird feeder from office supplies and items
around the house and decided we'd try it. I found an
office organizer at Walmart and the attachments there,
as well. So far so good. 

Bird seed in, ready for the birds.

I saw Juniper Moon Farm's suet feeder and decided
to create our own Bird Nest Supply Station. We
followed their guidelines of making sure the yarn
was cut between 4 and 8 inches by placing rulers
on the table and teaching the kiddos how to
measure the yarn pieces.

...measuring carefully...

...filling up the suet feeder...

...we hung it in the tree. Ready for the birds.

Our hummingbird feeder has seen LOTS
of action.

After seeing the nature chandelier's over at
 Fairy Dust Teaching, I knew we needed to create
one for our classroom. We gave craft wire to each
child and encouraged them to string the beads up
to 12 inches. Once again, a measuring activity.

If they put more than 12 inches, they could
remove some of the items. 

Carefully beading...we also had lace and
feathers available for their use.

The end result! I am thrilled BEYOND WORDS!!

We ended our week reading "One Love" by
 Cedella Marley, daughter of Bob Marley.
After reading it we listened to the song.

We did pause during the story as we heard flocks
of Canada geese flying overhead. 

These were some of our AMAZING books we read
during the week: The Busy TreeOur Tree Named Steve,
and One Love. Not pictured is A Grand Old Tree and
BIG EARTH, Little Me.

This is one of the newest crazes in the
classroom: Frigits Deluxe or as we like
to call them "Magnetic Marble Maze".

We continue to have AMAZING adventures...


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas! I pinned your post, so I would remember them for next year when we study rocks and minerals at home.

    1. Thanks!! Don't you just love Pinterest so we can "pin" ideas for later??

  2. This is such a great post. I would like to invite you to link up this post to my Money Saving Monday Link Up so others can find this great idea. Please stop by and link up.

    I hope to see you,
    Thank you,

  3. Our hummingbird feeder has been rocking away as well this year. There seems to be triple the number of hummingbirds around our home this year. Love your earth crayons! Thank you for linking up this week to our Hearts for Home Blog Hop!

    1. You're most welcome, Jill. Thanks for providing a forum for sharing.

  4. Wow! So many great ideas! I am planning to use some of them with our playschool children this summer! Thanks for sharing your post with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! Your post is featured today! Hope to see you there!

    1. Thanks so much, Hannah. I will definitely be back.

  5. What wonderful lessons!! I love all the rock activities. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

    1. Thanks so much, Carrie. We had lots of fun. My only regret is that we didn't get to spend more time working on/studying rocks. Next time we'll definitely devote more time to it.

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  7. I love the Earth crayons. I am pinning it to Pinterest.

    1. Thanks, Brenda. The kids loved seeing how the colors combined. Thanks for sharing.

  8. My kids are learning about tree care in Calgary right now. They love telling me all they learned in class about nature!

    1. I agree. It's cool how they can feel so much more connected when they can go outside and experience it up close and personal.

  9. I am so happy reading and seeing the pictures posted above. Often our children idolize their teacher and with this activity that they have, I am pretty sure that the kids learn from it. Instilling good information is really very nice most specially that there is a visual aid to what they have discussed. They will start to learn to appreciate our nature and then will soon love it. Thanks for sharing this, Ms Barbara. -www.plantmegreen.com

  10. Barbara, your blog is so inspiring and full of creativity!
    Me and my pre-k'rs are doing the 2 Earth weeks based on this post!
    Thank you so much for all the great ideas!!!

    1. Karen, I'm honored that this post inspired you so. Don't you just love finding new ideas and trying them with your kids? I know I sure do. I'd love to see photos from your two week study. Please connect with me through our For the Children Facebook page to share. The link can be found in the top right-hand corner of my home page.