Monday, March 31, 2014

Corn in the Sandbox

Yesterday I shared a picture of the plants that were growing in our sandbox.  The sandbox has been closed for two weeks and there was lots of moisture that allowed popcorn kernels to sprout. 
       It gave us a great opportunity to explore plants this morning.
  IMG_1804 IMG_1805
Carefully pinching the base of the stem and pulling it gently out of the sand.
We could still see the kernel plus the long roots that were covered in sand.
The children still wanted to dig so they carefully worked around the plants. 
           Although some did get pulled for investigation.
So others practiced their planting skills by poking a hole in the sand and placing the plant back in then patting the sand around it so it stood up straight.

I’m not sure how long the plants will last in the sand box.  My guess would be a day or two or until a small child comes along and pulls them all out.

I wonder if we should try growing popcorn kernels in soil to see if they grow just as fast.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What Happened at School during Spring Break

The past two weeks has been our school district’s spring vacation.  Tomorrow will be our first day back and I’m looking forward to it.  I enjoy the time off but also really like my job and the all the people that come in to play.

   While we were away change has been happening in our classroom. 
                     The first is our spuds have sprouted. 
Tomorrow we’ll spend some time ‘hilling’ the potatoes.  This means we will pile soil around each of the stems so just the top leaves are poking through. 
We hill the spuds for a couple of reasons:
1) the loose soil encourages the potatoes to expand easier
2) to keep the potatoes well covered so they are not exposed to the sun and turn green, which are not the best to eat.
3) hilling keeps the plants better drained and more productive.
Plus it's fun to get our hands in to the soil.

Another change are our daffodils, they have started to bloom.
We’ll take paint, pencils and pastels outside for an art session in the garden.

One final change is something we didn't plan.
The sand box has been covered for the whole two weeks and it looks like some
       popcorn kernels were left buried and have now sprouted.

I hope to get some photos of the children (and adult's) faces when they see that our sand box is now a jungle.  I wonder what they think we should do with the plants.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Train Noise

As the children played in the train and we looked at books about steam
trains we noticed that a bell sits on top of the train.  I had one hand bell in
my storage room and the children took turns using it.
They rang it and rang it.  Luckily it wasn't a loud, clangy sound.

That night I asked my husband if he could create a stand to hang the bell.
      This is what he came up with – fantastic!
A string is attached to the bell and is strung through the roof to the inside. 
                 It makes a lovely ‘ding’ sound.

           Choo, choo!  Ding-ding!  Off we go!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cardboard Train

     Now that the ticket station is open and running we needed a train.
I had a spare box squirrelled away in the storage room that would work.
     IMG_1358 IMG_1359
Building the train took a bit of designing.  We chose where the windows
           and door would be first, drew them then cut them out.
                   But what kind of train would it be?
After playing with several types of trains and reading books we decided
                      that it would be a steam train.
    IMG_1364  IMG_1365
                         A smoke stack was added.
                                 Time to paint.
          I put it to the children what colour they wanted the train
                     and white was the preference.
     One of our favourite activities is getting the paint rollers out
               and painting anything so there was lots of help.
The children used blocks to make the track in front and behind the train.
       Cotton was added for the steam coming out of the stack.
And we had just enough time to make wheels and add tin plates for lights before our morning ended.  I wonder what we will add, if anything, tomorrow?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Renovations to the Castle

The children’s interest in our castle is slowly fading but we don't want to take down the castle quite yet.  Instead of clearing it away we’ve decided to renovate.
Some of the children have expressed interest in trains so we decided to change the castle into a ticket station.  We started by cutting off the crenelations along the top and paint the walls red.
I moved a shelf around to block the drawbridge so we needed to cut a new door.  Like any old castle it had an inside wall so now it has two doors.
         A window was added to sell tickets and a sign was painted.
IMG_1440 IMG_1445
                We were almost ready to open for business.
Inside the station we added a small table and chairs under the window.  Cash registers (one is never enough) and an open and closed sign.
      A clock and schedule were created and pockets to hold tickets.
                 Finally we were ready to open for business.
              We’ll be back to share how we made our train.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Planting a Promise Update

We’re half way through our Spring Break and I’m still catching up on blog posts.
                    This activity we did just before our break.
   planting a promise  IMG_1751
I was worried that our daffodils might bloom while we were away so we did
                       one last check and measure.
       The stems are getting tall and we can see a bud forming.
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We recorded what we saw; the height and what the plant looks like.

      Our new graph that shows the growth of each child’s plant.

The side note in pink explains that it snowed a lot on those dates and
                slowed the growth of the plants.