Friday, October 22, 2010

Preschool - Birds, Week 2

Day 1: Birds of North America

Today was supposed to be about birds in our area, but somehow it ended up being more about the bird songs of North America.  We first looked at a little fold-out bird guide specifically for Utah called Utah Birds.
Who knew there were so many!  We picked out the ones we had seen before outside.

It was kind of long and involved, but having Ella help keep Alex focused allowed us to get through it all.

Then we read the book Birdsongs.

Then we went to the computer, and using the Web site What Bird, we listened to the bird calls of the birds mentioned in the book and ones we have around here.  Then the kids picked their favorite bird of the ones we've talked about and I printed out that page from a bird coloring book you can find here.  Alex picked the crow and Ella picked the Bluejay.  

After they finished coloring we read the book How Robin Saved Spring.

Ella is in love with this book.  She's crying right now because I won't read it to her.  (She's being punished.  I promise I'm not just ignoring her for the computer.)

Then we gathered up paper and pencil and took our bird guide and headed outside.  We walked around the neighborhood trying to find as many different kinds of birds as we could.  We had to be really quiet to find them.  Ella kept telling me to make my flip flops be quiet.  We found a magpie, robin, chickadee, sparrow, and quails.  It was a bad time of day to do this.  The next morning on the way to the bus stop we saw that many birds in one minute.  Oh well.

Field trip time!  We went to the Tracy Aviary.  Most of the birds there are from around the world and not just North America, but since everyone in the family was home today, this is the day we decided to go.

The kids loved the condor.  Ella declared it her favorite.  Alex first loved the pelicans, and then changed his mind to the peapock, as he calls it.

There were actually really attentive and interested in all the shows and talks we went to.  It was a lot of fun, especially watching Anton get whacked in the head by the great horned owl in the birds in flight show.

When we got back the kids helped Grandma fill the birdfeeder in the hopes of seeing some birds in our backyard!

Day 2:  Birds Around the World

Since we saw a lot of different birds from around the world on our field trip the other day, I didn't spend a whole lot of time introducing them.  We went straight over to the map with our hefty Complete Birds of the World.

I printed out little discs with a different bird on each one, and we looked the bird up in our book.  Each bird showed a map of where the birds live, and we would stick the disc up on our map wherever it belonged.  Some birds lived in more than one region, so we would pick the biggest one.

After we'd stuck up all the birds I'd printed out, we played a game where I'd flip the pages of the book and Alex would stick his hand in to stop me.  We would look and see what bird it was and where it lived.  We are really familiar with Madagascar and Australia now.  Who knew they had so many unique bird species!

Here's the bird discs if you want them:

I've labeled their names and where we stuck them on our map.

After that we read the book The Emperor's Egg.

Which was written at the perfect level for Alex.  Then we read Mud City: A Flamingo Story.

This one was a little above his level.

And that's all we did today.  A nice laid back day.  

You want to know what makes me super happy?  Alex was "reading" the book The Lion and The Mouse (I say "reading" because it has no words), when all of a sudden he screamed, "LOOK!"  I jumped out of my skin and turned to see what the matter was.  He pointed to a picture on the page and said, "It's a great horned owl!"  And sure enough, it was.  So he must be learning something!

Day 3: Birds of Prey

The end of bird week!  I actually liked spending this much time on one topic.  My kids have really absorbed it.

We started today with the book Amazing Birds of Prey.

We just looked at the pictures and talked about the different birds that are considered birds of prey and how they eat other animals and have special claws and so on.

Then we read Good-night Owl.

And talked about owls sleeping at night.

A bit above Alex's story level.  I think if I'd spent some time talking about Native Americans and their culture and such and the desert, this would have meant more, but it wasn't really about how birds of prey act or anything like that.  Oh well.

Then we waited for Ella to come home to finish up our school day.  I had ordered some owl pellets from Home Science Tools, and we dissected them!  

The kids lasted about one minute doing this.  

Ella was disappointed that my big end of week surprise wasn't coloring.  Alex started doing his, but as soon as Ella abandoned, he did too.  He probably would have sat longer otherwise.  So I ended up doing all the dissecting of one pellet, and I left the other one for Anton to do when he gets home from work.  It was pretty tedious, so I would leave an activity like this for older kids.  Though maybe my kids' little hands would have been an advantage!

There's all the bones I found in my pellet, and you can see all the fur in the bag above the plate.  I would never have guessed this much stuff would have come from a pellet smaller than a golf ball.

Look at the teeth on that thing!  Speaking of teeth, Ella lost her first tooth today!!

(Excellent photography by Alex)

Here's all the bones laid out in their skeleton shape:

It's either a mouse or a vole.  The only way to tell the different is from it's teeth, and they're so small I couldn't tell whether they had roots or not.  Plus, I think this guy had at least 6 hands and feet from the number of minuscule bones I pulled out of the pellet.

So I thought this was pretty cool, but probably not for preschool!

And that ends our bird weeks!

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