Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Flower Fairies

I learned a new story called “The First Little Fairy” and was inspired to make
                                 my own Flower Fairies.
            The first little fairy, in the story, came from a yellow flower.
But I found a variety of coloured flowers at a thrift store so made six
                                         flower fairies.
             They were waiting at school for the children to come and play.

The First Little Fairy
There was a time, long ago, when there were no fairies in the world. Mother Nature had no little helpers and had to do all her work by herself. As you know, fairies now help that grand old lady in many, many ways. They sprinkle dew drops on the grass in the early morning. They sweep the autumn leaves into piles that we can rustle with our feet. They mend broken spiders’ webs and coax shy little flowers to open every morning.
In fact, all fairies are especially fond of flowers, and that is because the very first fairy in the world was born from a little woodland flower herself. Ever since then, fairies have almost always been given flower names.
When the world was young, Mother Nature made sure that all living things knew the part they had to play on our wonderful earth. Flowers understood that they must grow and send out buds to open beautifully in the sunshine. Trees knew that they must grow straight and tall, stretching their branches out to shelter the little creatures living beneath them. Mother Nature taught the first birds to fly, so that they in turn could teach their own children. She showed them where to build their nests and how to hatch their eggs. She showed rabbits how to dig burrows and caterpillars how to turn into butterflies. There was no part of nature, from the tiniest ant to the largest elephant that was not guided and helped by her loving hands. And everything flourished.
When living things were in harmony, all was well, but soon life on earth began to change. Human beings ploughed up the earth and planted crops. They rooted out lovely wildflowers, calling them weeds. Instead they grew food for themselves and their animals, not thinking about the rest of nature at all.
Later on, humans built villages and towns. The smoke from their fires drifted up and sometimes hid the sun itself, which helps Mother Nature to give life to all the plants and animals on our planet. Buildings crushed the land beneath them, driving out the creatures that had lived where now streets and houses covered the earth.
As time went on, humans began to through garbage into the rivers, making it hard to fish to live. They chopped down trees and rooted up grasslands. Everywhere they went, they seemed to want to change Mother Nature’s careful work. The poor old lady wept to see what had become of her beautiful world.
One day, Mother Nature sat in a woodland glade and buried her head in her hands in despair. There was just too much for her to do. She could not put all the ills of the world right by herself. While she was rescuing the fish from a dirty river, little animals were losing their homes as trees were destroyed. Mother Nature knew that she could not hold back the damage caused by man for ever. She felt powerless and very much alone.
On the other side of the glade, a little flower was growing. She remembered how Mother Nature had saved her only the year before. Winds had caused a huge bough to fall from the mighty tree above, crushing her beneath its weight. Mother Nature gently lifted the branch and freed the bruised leaves of the plant. She had sprinkled her buds with sunlight and moonshine, until a few weeks later, the plant had flowered in the most beautiful way. The flower could not forget Mother Nature’s kindness.
Now the old lady sat miserably in the woodland. The little flower could not bear to see her friend so very upset.
“If only I could do something to help her,” said the flower to herself. “But I am only a little flower. I cannot move from this spot even to comfort Mother Nature. What a poor thing I am?”
Now it so happened that just at that moment, a tiny amount of stardust fell to earth. And when stardust falls on any living thing that is making a wish, the wish always comes true. As the little flower wished she could be free to help her friend, the stardust shimmered over her leaves and petals. Almost at once, the flower felt something wonderful happen.
One of her blooms began to take on a life of its own. Its yellow petals became a little dress, as delicate as gossamer. Its fragile green leaves became a tiny cloak, as light as a feather. From the centre of the flower, a beautiful face peeped out. And most wonderful of all, the stardust itself formed two glittering wings that shimmered in the sunlight.
Without a sound, the first little fairy fluttered up into the air, flew swiftly across the clearing, and settled on Mother Nature’s shoulder. She lay her little face against the old lady’s worn cheek to comfort her and let her know that help was at hand. Mother Nature was no longer alone.
“I will help you all I can” said the first little fairy. Her voice was so gentle and small that the old lady could hardly hear it.
Mother Nature looked up and thought that she had seen many lovely things, but this little creature was fairer than any of them. That is why she decided to call her tiny helper a fairy.
“I am sure that other flowers will do what they can to help you, when they see me” said the little fairy kindly. And she was right. Soon bluebells, foxgloves, cowslips, poppies and all the other lovely flowers of the world were growing little fairies of their own, each prettier and more graceful than the last. They fluttered around Mother Nature, waiting for her to tell them what to do to help make the world a more beautiful place.
And the wise old lady taught each fairy to help in the places she knew best, so that woodland bluebells became Bluebell Fairies, flying up to take food to mother birds who could not leave the eggs they were keeping warm. Poppy Fairies flutter into cornfields to warn the little mice who live there that the farmer is coming to cut the corn. You may have seen their little red dresses flitting through a field of golden yellow grain in summer.
As for the first little fairy, she always stays by Mother Nature’s side, helping her to talk to the fairies she meets—for sometimes their voices are so tiny that the old lady cannot hear them at all—and explaining to new fairies how the wide and wonderful world of nature works.
So, if you almost think you see a flicker of green and yellow among the leaves, remember Mother Nature and the very first fairy.

from "Best Loved Magical Tales for Bedtime"

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pendulum Play

                             We built a pendulum using PVC pipes.
 IMG_4630IMG_4631IMG_4632 (2)
          We learned to set up blocks and other items to knock down. 
We learned how to pull the pendulum back and let it go, or sometimes run with
                                       it through the blocks.
                              Then we set up more blocks
                                  and even more blocks
                            Then we knocked them down again.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Measuring Spuds–Day 2

This morning a new child measured our three designated potato plants to see if they grew overnight.  And if they did, how much?
                                      Plant #1 grew 3 cubes.

                                     Plant #2 only grew 2 1/2 cubes.

                               Plant #3 grew just two cubes. 

IMG_4860For a total of 6 cubes tall.

This was an awesome and fun math activity.  Next time, so more children could take part, I would give them a plant of their own to measure and track.

Unfortunately we won’t be able to continue as today was our last day before Spring Break and I added the rest of the soil. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Measuring our Spuds

Our potatoes sprouted just over a week ago and we have been hilling them
                                           as they grow.
   This morning I set up an opportunity to measure using unifix cubes.
 IMG_4783 IMG_4784IMG_4786
After adding the last block he spent a bit of time moving the tower back and forth as if he was trying to decide if it was the right height.  We talked about the height, was it too tall or just right?  If only we had a half block.
After deciding he had enough blocks he traced the tower on to the paper then counted how many.  We did pretend that the top block was just a half and recorded it that way.
He measured all three plants that I had labelled and graphed them.  We will measure again tomorrow to see if there is any difference in one day.
   I purposefully chose three different sized plant for measuring.
                       Will the plants catch up in height?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fizzing Rainbows

I saw this great idea over at Fun-a-Day and felt that it would be a great
                      activity to do with our big buddies.
I spent part of an afternoon helping the grade 7s make the rainbow cubes.
The recipe calls for baking soda, jello powder and water.  We hid pony beads, matching the colour of the jello, in each cube.  Once all the trays were full they went in to the freezer.
Each buddy group had a tray, a baggie of the rainbow cubes, a bottle of vinegar, eye droppers and pipe cleaners.
They took turns squirting the vinegar onto the cubes and watching the reaction.
                The jello powder provides the rainbow bright colours. 
When we were making the cubes we could really smell the fragrances of the jello. 
            But once we used the vinegar that was all we could smell.
We caught a few buddy partners listening to the fizzing sound of the cubes.
  As the cubes started to dissolve the children started to see the beads.
They carefully picked them out and set them aside till they had two of each
         They then took their beads and threaded them on to the pipe cleaners
                           making bracelets, one for each buddy.
                  From fizzing rainbows to beaded buddy bracelets!