Art Centers to Go

 

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I like to have several different kits made up ahead of time that I can easily grab and go on beautiful weather days. Nothing quite says spring to me than a picnic blanket and some simple art projects! (The picture linked here is from a community gathering where we made memory pages for a family that was moving away. The actual art to go kits are much smaller but I don’t have pictures to link YET.)

Ascetically I like to use wicker baskets for bringing out the goodies. Though in my teacher storage area I use cardboard shoe boxes, plastic sweater boxes, or small fabric totes to assemble my “grab and go” items.

The “Art Centers To Go” are also great to use indoors for multi-age programs that need quick to set up and cleanup activities to use while younger children nap.

I also love these “art centers to go” as gifts for children or families. Imagine the fun of having a pre-made kit for a car trip, the kiddo waiting for their sibling’s soccer practice, or for a fun project at the hotel.

Be sure to pack enough materials that the number of children creating can be engaged, but keep it clutter free so it is still inviting.

Rotate out the bins so children are excited to see what in the kit this week! Here are some bin ideas to get you started…but really the sky is limit!

Drawing Bin: various types of paper, markers, crayons, ruler, pencils, erasers

            Collage Bin: scrap paper, scissors, fabric squares, ribbon, buttons, feathers, glue

            Eco Creation: tape, scissors, rulers, recycled paper tubes, cardboard, and encourage kids to raid the recycle bin to find even more treasures.

            Spray Paint Bin: several empty spray bottles, liquid water color or food coloring, paper, coffee filters, & plastic stencils. Teach kids how to fill bottles, add color, and then paint!

            Play Dough Bin: dough, cookie cutters, and tools all ready to go

Watercolor Bin: watercolor paper, brushes, paints, and shallow bowls.

Card Making Bin: pre-folded cards, envelopes, stickers, markers, stamps & pads

Beading Bin: pony beads, sorting tray, scissors, string, tape

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Farm to School & Early Ed Resources

 

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Growing Minds Preschool Toolkit

http://growing-minds.org/farm-preschool-toolkit/

“All of our farm to preschool resources are compiled into our new Farm to Preschool Toolkit. The toolkit contains all of our preK lesson plans, “This Week in the Garden” activity guides, and “Farm to School Goes Home” weekly newsletters. It also includes sourcing guidance, tips for cooking with young children, and more!” Note: I sent mine to Staples to be printed since it is 210 pages and it cost me $16.

 

Multicultural Collection of Farm to ECE Books –

http://www.pareadysetgrow.org/book-list/?ct=t(Ready_Set_Grow11_28_2017)&mc_cid=93d78583de&mc_eid=b7c5f86429

“The Food Trust’s multicultural collection of farm to ECE books highlights children’s books that feature characters from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, many of which are authored by writers of color. The list also includes a number of books that are either bilingual or written exclusively in Spanish. These books cover a wide variety of farm to ECE related topics including gardening, farms, cooking, family meals, farmers markets, shopping for food and more.”

 

Farm to Childcare Curriculum Package

https://www.iatp.org/files/2014_07_16_F2CC_Curriculum_f.pdf

“Inside this curriculum package, you will find activity ideas and resources for implementing Farm to Childcare at your childcare center. Many of these resources are ready to use, while some are examples that offer opportunities for you to customize to your own context. Lesson planning charts are provided to help you introduce the children at your center to locally grown food items and concepts.” Note: I sent mine to Staples to be printed since it is 176 pages and it cost me $15.

 

Cultivating Joy and Wonder: Educating for Sustainability in Early Childhood through Nature, Food, and Community

https://shelburnefarms.org/our-work/resources/cultivatingjoyandwonder

“Engaging activities, essays, and resources that encourage children to explore and engage in the world around them. The book is the fruit of Shelburne Farms’ years of experience in early childhood education and sustainability, both on the Farm and with partners at the Sustainability Academy and King Street Center in Burlington, Vermont”

 

My First Garden

http://rodaleinstitute.org/myfirstgarden/assets/pdf/rodale-hshs-program.pdf

“Rodale Institute, the birthplace of the organic movement, has put together this resource “My First Garden,” to help teachers integrate school gardens into their classroom curriculum. This curriculum is designed for preschool or kindergarten children, but could be adapted to suit early elementary school needs.”

 

A Roadmap for Farm to Early Care and Education: A Guide to Understanding Farm to School Opportunities in Early Care and Education Settings

http://www.farmtoschool.org/Resources/Roadmap_FarmtoECE.pdf

 

 

National Farm to School Network – Database of hundreds of resources

http://www.farmtoschool.org/resources

 

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Farm to School

http://www.farmtoschool.org/Resources/ESSA_Toolkit.pdf

“In 2015, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and it includes many new opportunities for the integration of farm to school and ECE activities in educational settings. This toolkit is designed for educators, advocates, parents, and farm to school and ECE stakeholders to understand and act upon the opportunities ESSA provides.”

 

Farm to Preschool: Farm Field Trips (By EcoTrust)

http://www.farmtopreschool.org/pdf/states/or/State_OR_Howtohostapre-kfarmfieldtrip_v2.pdf

“Short guide to planning a preschool field trip to a farm, includes information on finding a farmer, example trip schedule, and supply list.”

 

Benefits of Farm to School (Fact Sheet)

http://www.farmtoschool.org/Resources/BenefitsFactSheet.pdf

“Farm to school programs provide a variety of benefits to students, parents, schools, communities and farmers. This fact sheet offers a research-based overview of the benefits of farm to school and a list of sources. (Updated April 2017)”

 

Growing Healthy Kids through Farm to Child Care

http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/sites/default/files/phlc%20fs%20Growing%20Healthy%20Kids%20through%20F2CC%20Oct%202014.pdf

“Next to parents, child care providers can be some of the most influential people in helping children get a strong, healthy start in life. The Public Health Law Center has developed a series of resources designed to inform and support efforts to cultivate child care settings that promote healthy eating, active play opportunities, reduced screen time, and tobacco-free environments. This fact sheet explains the Farm to Child Care movement and provides tips for child care providers about how to incorporate fresh, local food and healthy food education into their programs”

 

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Early Childhood Acronyms

Early Childhood Acronyms ~ Compiled by April Zajko, M.Ed.

An acronym is a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words and pronounced as a separate word.  Acronyms are known to cause confusion or overwhelming feelings to people new to the early childhood field. I created this list for students in my community college courses. Some of the acronyms are Vermont specific, but many would be applicable to a larger audience.

NOTE: There is ample room on the second page to add additional acronyms since this list will never be complete. ~

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AHS – Agency of Human Services
AOE – Agency of Education
ASQ – Ages and Stages Questionnaire
ASQ-SE – Ages and Stages Questionnaire – Social and Emotional
BBF – Building Bright Futures
BBF SAC – Building Bright Futures State Advisory Council
BFIS – Bright Futures Information System

BSC- Basic Specialized Care

CDA – Child Development Associate

CDD – Child Development Division (within CDD)
CIS – Children’s Integrated Services (within CDD)
CLASS – Classroom Assessment Scoring System

CSEFEL – Center for Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning
DAP- Developmentally Appropriate Practice

DEC – Division of Early Childhood

DCF – Department for Children and Families (within AHS)
EC – Early Childhood

ECE – Early Childhood Education

ECSE – Early Childhood Special Education

eMTSS – Early Multi-Tiered System of Support

ERS – Environmental Rating Scales (Related terms: ITERS = Infant and Toddlers Environmental Rating Scale; ECERS = Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale; FCERS = Family Care Environmental Rating Scale; SACERS = School Age Care Environmental Rating Scale)

FTS – Farm To School

GOLD – Teaching Strategies Gold

IPDP – Individual Professional Development Plan

M.A.T.C.H. – Mentoring, Advising, Teaching, Coaching, Consulting, and Helping
NAEYC – National Association for the Education of Young Children
T.E.A.C.H. – Teacher Education And Compensation Helps
TS Gold – Teaching Strategies Gold

TSG – Teaching Strategies Gold
VtAEYC – Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children
VCCICC – Vermont Child Care Industry and Careers Council

VDH – Vermont Department of Health (within AHS)
VELS – Vermont Early Learning Standards

Digging Deeper Conference

 

IMG_9236.jpgI am so excited to be presenting at the “Digging Deeper Conference” that will be held at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont. This will be a one day conference on Thursday, May, 24th 2018 and there are three different tracks participants can register for!

 

Click here to register for the Digging Deeper Conference

“Digging Deeper Conference”
Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018
Time: 9am – 4:30pm
Looking for ways to integrate your classroom curriculum in the garden? Or want to learn some new strategies with introducing new foods or building confidence and strategies in cooking with our youngest age groups? Or are you hoping to connect with a local farm and not sure how or want to hear how others are connecting classrooms to farms? Join us on Thursday, May 24th for a day to discover how to bring these connections back to your classroom and everyday curriculum for place-based learning at its best!  Choose your track for the day to fully immerse yourself. Each track offers endless opportunities for learning!

Tracks

Please note that you will pick one track during the registration process. This will help support a stronger learning community and give participants ample time for experiential learning, discussion, and peer networking. View each track description below.

Fun with Local Foods Track with Abbie Nelson and Marissa Watson

Preparing and serving new foods can be more fun and less arduous, with a few tools and by involving kids in the process. In this workshop we will explore how people develop food preferences, and how we change these preferences. We will share innovations in purchasing, serving, and educating kids about local foods through simple activities and recipes.

Participants will:

  • Learn how we develop food preferences and how to introduce new and local foods to kids.
  • Practice incorporating nutrition education into food-based experiences.
  • Learn how to find and properly procure local foods.

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Gardening All Year Track with April Zajko

Do you want to help children connect to the natural world through gardening, composting, and observing the seasonal changes? This workshop will explore how to implement a year-round study of plants, using both indoor and outdoor gardening activities. Participants will leave with many ideas for creating engaging learning environments, lists of suggested plants for children, science experiments, tips for sensory explorations, and meaningful ways to get young children growing plants all year!
Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will discuss ways to incorporate both indoor and outdoor gardening concepts into preschool and kindergarten classrooms.
2. Participants will investigate a variety of ways to create engaging learning explorations to teach characteristics of living organisms and local ecosystems.

Kid Friendly Farmyard Track with Michaela Ryan and JoAnne Denee

Join Michaela Ryan and JoAnne Dennee in exploring the range of what farm and garden tasks are conducive to young helping hands. This will include an off-site visit to the farmyard at New Village Farm to explore tending chickens, sheep, cows, and goats, along with milking a cow or goat and collecting eggs. We will navigate these tasks together while facilitating a conversation about what it can be like to do so with young children. We will touch on essentials like allowing time and breath for observations with all the senses, embracing the cycle of life including birth and death, managing children resistant to engage, and building a partnership with a farm. As time permits we will explore managing other tasks with children in nature and gardens because we feel that a mix of animal care and earth care strike a nice balance of building an eagerness to work and participate in the world in young children.

A few words from past participants:

I thought the format was so well thought out.
I loved it! I didn’t feel rushed or on a time limit. It helped me to be in the moment.
This experience was super inspiring. You are deeply passionate folks teaching an important subject in a beautiful place – keep them coming!
The flow worked really well – keynote speakers, breaking out into smaller groups & moving!, coming back together, breaking out again!

Facilitator Bios:

Abbie Nelson is the NOFAVT, Food Systems Education Director, and Program Director of VTFood Education Every Day (VT FEED), a 18 year-old statewide Farm to School Project of NOFAVT, and Shelburne Farms. Abbie serves as a statewide school food system consultant and trainer involved in aspects of local purchasing and professional development with school food service. She has been working with statewide partners to advance access to local foods in institutions as a member of the VT Farm to Plate, and the VT FTS Network.
Marissa Watson is the NOFAVT School Food Programs Coordinator for VT FEED. She came to NOFA after falling in love with the Farm to School program in Georgia, where she got her MS in Agricultural Economics. For the past five years, she has worked as a farm manager for two different farms in South Carolina. Her career began in Washington, DC, with National Geographic and Discovery Television. While travelling to produce a television series, she dove into books about organic agriculture, and became hooked on the idea of making fresh food available to children and families. She enjoys working in the community to connect all kinds of people with local, organic food. She lives in Burlington with her pup Wilson, who is always a handful and always ready to play outside.
April Zajko, M.Ed. is the founder and owner of April’s Teaching Tree, which aims to help parents and educators renew their interest in connecting children to nature. April has led professional development programs for hundreds of teachers and child care providers throughout the state of Vermont, and is now exploring ways to share her courses with people around the globe ~~through curriculum downloads and online e-courses. April is a Licensed Early Childhood Educator and Reading Specialist. Her bachelor’s degree was earned at the Delaware State University, and her master’s degree was earned at University of Virginia. Her passion for lifelong learning has led her to numerous studies through Shelburne Farms, Fairy Dust Teaching, and Heart Space Yoga…as well as many other programs. Through the last 17 years, April has taught early education programs in both public and private schools. Currently she teaches preschool at a public school in Vermont. Through these various roles, she has learned many ways to connect to children and families, and loves to share this knowledge with other interested professionals. April hopes to share meaningful ways to use nature to meet early childhood standards through play-based learning, nature infused materials, and joyful learning environments!
JoAnne Dennee grew up spending her childhood afternoons bike riding away to the far edges of her suburban neighborhood to find respite in the embracing shelter of the thickets and wild places.  She has witnessed the great joy and transformative power when children experience their lives through farm, food, and forest education. She began growing food organically in children’s gardens for 9 years before moving to VT to teach at Poker Hill and then Lake Champlain Waldorf for the next 35 years. Author of  In the Three Sisters Garden she currently creates visual art from her gardens, mentors teachers in biodynamic gardening with children, and develops nutrition based programs for Common Roots VT.
Michaela Ryan: Growing up on a sheep farm in southern Quebec, Michaela Ryan found her way back to farming after spending a few years as an Environmental Engineer, a full time mother and then a Grief Recovery Specialist.  She is the founder of New Village Farm, a Biodynamic Learning Farm right here in the backyard of Shelburne Farms. She particularly enjoys working with cows and vivacious children who need a little more space than their modern upbringings often afford them.  Her inspiration to start an education farm was born of her deep love of growing up on a farm and her awareness that she is unlikely to have made it this far without the strength of will, love of the outdoors, and fundamental sense of belonging that came of it.  She is excited to share with you what nuggets of wisdom have come out of her 10 year journey of farming with children.

Children’s Books for Winter Studies

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Science behind snow & winter: (some of these are for adults, but the pictures are excellent to share with children)

Anderson, Maxine. Explore Winter!

Bentley, W.A. and W.J. Humphreys. Snow Crystals

Branley, Franklyn M. Snow is Falling

Callaghan, Jean Davis. No Snow for Seth

Cole, Joanna. Plants in Winter

Cassino & Nelson.  The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder

Drake, Jane and Ann Love. The Kids Winter Cottage Book

Edison, Erin. Snow

Glasser, Linda. It’s Winter!

Hernandez, Christopher. Learn about weather: Snow

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Snowflake Bentley (Caldecott Medal Winner)

Schweninger, Ann. Wintertime- Let’s Look at the Seasons

Stewart, Paul. A Little Bit of Winter

Stone, Tanya Lee. Living in a World of White- Where Survival Means Blending In

Taylor, Barbara. Hidden in the Snow

Yankielun, Norbert. How to Build an Igloo & Other Snow Shelters

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Snow, snowmen, and other not to miss winter stories:

Baker, Keith No Two Alike

Ball, Victoria. Bear’s Very Snowy Day

Briggs, Raymond. The Snowman

Buehner, Caralyn. Snowmen at Night

Butler, M. Christina & Tina Macnaughton. Snow Friends

Cartwright, Stephen & Heather Amery. The Snow Storm

Cheng, Andrea. Lemon Sisters.

Child, Lauren. Charlie and Lola: Snow is my favorite and best

Cocca-Leffler, Maryann. Let it Snow

Coleman, Michael. A Silly Snowy Day

Cuyler, Margery. The Biggest, Best Snowman

Ehlert, Lois. Snowballs

George, Jean Craighead. Dear Rebecca, Winter is Here.
George, William T. Winter at the Long Pond.
Hest, Amy. A Snowy Surprise

Hoban, Julia. Amy Loves the Snow

Hudson, Cheryl Willis. What Do you Know? SNOW!

Judge, Lita. Red Sled

Keats, Ezra Jack. Snowy Day

Littledale, Freya. The Snow Child

Lotz, Karen E. Snowsong Whistling

Maestro, Betsy. Snow Day

Mammano, Julie. Rhinos Who Snowboard

McKie, Roy & P.D. Eastman. Snow

Medearis, Angela Shelf. Here Comes the Snow

Morgan, Allen. Sadie and the Snowman

Moss, Miriam. The Snow Bear. (forest animals make a snow bear for little bear cub)

Nelson, Steve & Jack Rollins. Frosty the Snowman

North, Carol. Frosty the Snowman

O’Donnell, Elizabeth Lee. Winter Visitors. (counting book of animals sneaking into a girls home)
Preller, James. Wake Me in Spring.
Plourde, Lynn. Snow Day

Pulver, Robin. Axle Annie

Rylant, Cynthia. Poppleton in Winter

Schecter, Deborah. Cold Rose

Scherer, Jeffrey. One Snowy Day

Schertle, Alice. All You Need for a Snowman

Smith, Dick. Winter Wonderland: Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening?

Stringer, Lauren Winter is the Warmest Season.

Waddell, Martin. Owl Babies.

Voskoboinikov, Valery. The Icicle

Walters, Catherine. When will it be Spring?

Weinberger, Kimberley. Winter is Here

Yolen, Jane. Owl Moon.

Bears and animals in winter:

Alborough, Jez. Where is Teddy?

Arnosky, Jim. Every Autumn Comes the Bear. (also includes pictures of ravens, bobcat, raccoon, chickadees, deer, bunnies, fox, & grouse. Simple text make it a great preschool read aloud.)
Bancroft, Henriette and Richard Van Gelder. Animals in Winter.
Benjamin, Cynthia and Jacqueline Rogers. Footprints in the Snow.
Berger, Melvin & Gilda. What do Animals Do in Winter? How Animals Survive the Cold
Bland, Nick. The Very Itchy Bear

Boring, Mel. Rabbits, Squirrels, and Chipmunks.
Brett, Jan. Annie and the Wild Animals

Brown, Tom. Nature Observation & Tracking.
Burns, Diane and Linda Garrow.Tree, Leaves, and Bark (Take Along Guides)
Carle, Eric and Bill Martin, Jr. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?
Coleman, Michael. A Silly Snowy Day

Crossingham. What is Hibernation?
Denslow, Sharon Phillips. In the Snow. (chickadee, sparrow, cardinal, crow, squirrel, bunny, mouse & possum. Very simple text and engaging illustrations.)
Fisher, Ron. Animals in Winter.
Fleming, Denise. Time to Sleep.
Galdone, Paul. The Three Bears

Graham-Barber Lynda. The Animals’ Winter Sleep

Hall, M. Hibernation.

Henkes, Kevin. Old Bear.

Holmer, Marilyn F. Beaver Stream (very informative, beautiful illustrations)

Kosara, Tori. All About Hibernation

Krauss, Ruth. The Happy Day

London, Jonathan. Froggy’s Best Christmas (froggy, beaver, turtle & bear get to experience their first Christmas since they woke up from their winter naps.)

McPhail, David. Big Brown Bear.

Meadows, M. Hibernation Station.

Messner, Kate. Over & Under the Snow. (includes information on: red squirrels, shrews, deer, deer mice, voles, shoeshoe hares, bullfrogs, beavers, red fox, chipmunk, black bear, and bumblebees.)

Moore, Eva & Joanna Cole. The Magic School Bus Sleeps for the Winter

Moss, Miriam. The Snow Bear

Murray, Marjorie Dennis. Don’t Wake Up the Bear!

Numeroff, Laura Joffe. IfYou Give a Moose a Muffin

Rosen, Michael. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

Rustad, Martha E.H. Foxes and Their Dens.

Salas, Laura Purdie. Do Polar Bears Snooze in Hollow Trees? A Book about Animal Hibernation.
Schaefer, Lola. Deer. (Great pictures, clear language that answers kid’s common questions about deer.)

Schecter, Deborah. Winter is Here (emergent Level A reader)

Souci, Daniel San. North Country Night.

Tagliaferro, Linda. Bears and Their Dens.

Waddell, Martin. Can’t You Sleep Little Bear?

Walters, Catherine. Time to Sleep Alfie Bear. (Set in the summer but a great book to share if you are learning about bears)
Wilson, Karma. Bear Snores On.

Wright, Maureen. Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze!
Yolen, Jane. Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep. (black bear, frog, bat, snake, turtle, gopher, skunk, badger, beaver, mouse, toad, & chipmunk)

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Animal tracks:

Arnosky, Jim. Wild Tracks!  (amazing book with fold out pages of life sized tracks)
Arnosky, Jim. I See Animals Hiding.
Benjamin, Cynthia and Jacqueline Rogers. Footprints in the Snow.

Boyle, Doe. Summer Coat, Winter Coat: The Story of a Snowshoe Hare

Dendy, L. Tracks, Scats, and Signs.
Dodd, Anne Wescott. Footprints and Shadows.
Dorros, Arthur. Animal Tracks.
George, Lindsay Barret. In the Snow: Who’s Been Here?
George, Lindsay Barret. In the Woods: Who’s Been Here?
Hulbert, Laura. Who Has These Feet?

Hodgkins, F. Who’s Been Here? A Tale in Tracks. (includes tracks from: cat, turkey, moose, skunk)
Jones, Jennifer. Who Lives in the Snow?
Judge, Lita. Red Sled

Levine, Lynn and Martha Mitchell. Mammal Tracks and Scat: Life-Size Tracking Guide

Miller, Dorcas. Track Finder: A Guide to Mammal Tracks of Eastern North America.
Roberts, James Nail. Whose Tracks are These?

Selsam, Millicent E. Big Tracks, Little Tracks.
Sams, Laura. Stranger in the Woods – Photographic Fantasy.
Lawlor, Elizabeth P. Discover Nature in Winter (Discover Nature Series)
Stall, Chris and Steve Whitney. New England Animal Tracks.
Wilson, Karma & Jack E. Davis. Moose Tracks!

Yee, Wong Herbert. Tracks in the Snow. (A great story to introduce young children to tracking. A girl follows tracks around her home and discovers that they are her own tracks from the previous day.)
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Polar theme:

Berger, Melvin & Gilda. What Polar Animals Eat

Black, Sonia W. Follow the Polar Bears.

Canizares, Susan & Daniel Moreton. Arctic Winter, Arctic Summer

Canizares, Susan. Who Lives in the Artic?

Martin, Bill & Eric Carle. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

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Winter clothing theme:

Brett, Jan. The Hat

Brett, Jan. The Mitten

Butler, M. Christina. One Snowy Night

Butler, M. Christina. One Winter’s Day

Kellogg, Steven. The Missing Mitten Mystery

Neitzel, Shirley. The Jacket I Wear in the Snow

Tresselt, Alvin. The Mitten

 

 

 

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Teacher’s Booklist for Winter Studies

Anderson, Maxine. Explore Winter!

Archer, Cheryl. Snow Watch

Bentley, W.A. and W.J. Humphreys. Snow Crystals

Cassino & Nelson.  The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder

Cole, Joanna. Plants in Winter

Cvancara, Alan. Exploring Nature in Winter

Danks, Fiona & Jo Schofield. Nature’s Playground: Activities, Crafts, and Games to Encourage Children to Get Outdoors.

Dendy, Leslie. Tracks, Scats, and Signs.

Drake, Jane and Ann Love. The Kids Winter Cottage Book

Garrett, Linda & Hannah Thomas. Small Wonders: Nature Education for Young Children

Hoyler, Emily & Linda Wellings. Cultivating Joy & Wonder: Educating for Sustainability in Early Childhood through Nature, Food & Community

Lawlor, Elizabeth. Discover Nature in Winter

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Snowflake Bentley (Caldecott Medal Winner)

Parrella, Deborah. Project Seasons: Hands-on activities for discovering the wonders of the World.

VanCleave, Janice. Science Around the Year

Yankielun, Norbert. How to Build an Igloo & Other Snow Shelters

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Pinecone Inspired Math

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Oh, how I love pinecones. I usually have a basket of pinecones in my classroom science center and the children love to create “forests” with them. Often the toy moose and bear find their way over the to play amongst the trees, and many other little play scenarios take shape. What I love most is how this simple collection of pinecones inspires math conversations.

Sometimes I add a simple ten frame from corragated cardboard to encourage counting groups of pinecones, as well as one-to-one correspondence. The frame becomes a ‘parking garage’ and a ‘farm’ for some children while others see it as ramp to roll the pinecones down. “Hmm…why don’t the pinecones roll straight like a ball?”

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Sorting and classifying is always great fun. These wooden crate from Melissa and Doug toys are great to for sorting (and storing). I love using the grape vine wreath as a focal point for math conversations and the children come up with imaginative ways to play with it in their forest stories. IMG_5320.jpg

Teaching seriation and measurement is great fun when you have a few ginormous pinecones like this one! Though we mostly use pinecones we have gathered around the school, I do bring in a few others to compare and contrast.

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I think it’s empowering to use natural materials in our classrooms. Children find a connection to nature and begin to see beyond the plastic and noisy toys that fill many of our shelves.

How do you use pinecones in your classroom?

Any tips for using sticky pinecones?!

Children’s Books to Inspire Collecting & Playing with Natural Materials

Children’s Books to Inspire Collecting & Playing with Natural Materials

Compiled by April Zajko, M.Ed.

www.aprilsteachingtree.com

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No book list is ever complete but here is a start. I’d love to hear about books that you like to read aloud to children to inspire nature play!

 

Collections:

Collections by Margaret Ballinger and Rachel Gosset

Hannah’s Collections by Marthe Jocelyn

Look What I Found! By Deborah Schecter (Level A Reader)

Small Treasures by Akimi Gibson

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert (collection of good snowman making things)

When This Box is Full by Patricia Lillie

 

Nature:

A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play by LeUyen Pham

Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails by Betsy Franco & Steve Jenkins

Discovering Nature’s Alphabet by Krystina Castella and Brian Boyl

No One But You by Douglas Wood

One Little Balsam Fir: A Northwoods Counting Book by Lesley A. DuTemple

Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II

 

Rocks:

A Rock is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston

Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet

If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian

Let’s Go Rock Collecting by Roma Gans

Stone Soup by Jess Stockham

Rocks, Fossils, & Arrowheads (Take Along Guides) by Laura Evert

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran

 

Sticks, & Bark:

The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni

Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld

Trees, Leaves, & Bark (Take Along Guides) by Diane Burns

 

Clay:

When Clay Sings by Byrd Baylor

Clay Boy by Mirra Ginsburg

 

 

Leaves:

Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber

Leaf Man – Lois Ehlert

Leaves by Violet Findley

Leaves on the Trees by Thom Wiley

Leaves! Leaves! Leaves! By M & G. Berger

Look What I Did with a Leaf! By Morteza E. Sohi

Make a Leaf Rubbing by M. Ballinger,Gosset

The Leaves are Falling One by One by Metzger

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by S. Metzger

When the Leaf Blew In by Steve Metzger

Why Do Leaves Change Color? By Betsy Maestro

 

Acorns & Squirrels

Acorns Everywhere! by Kevin Sherry

Busy Squirrels by Melvin and Gilda Berger

Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane by Victoria Sherrow

Earl the Squirrel by Dan Freeman

Just One! by Sam McBratney

Nuts to You! by Lois Ehlert

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

Squirrels by Brian Wildsmith

The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri (board book)

The Secret Life of Squirrels by Nancy Rose

Those Darn Squirrels! by Adam Rubin

 

Pinecones:

Evergreens are Green by Susan Canizares

The Pinecone Walk by Barbara Springfield

Night Tree by Eve Bunting

 

Sand suggestions?

 

Tree Study

A Tree Can Be…. By J. Nayer

A Tree for All Seasons by R. Bernard

Acorn to Oak Tree by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Are Trees Alive? By Debbie Miller

Be a Friend to Trees by P. Lauber

Evergreens are Green by Susan Canizeres

Eyewitness Books: Trees by David Burnie

FANDEX Family Field Guides: TREES by Steven M.L. Aronson

Look at a Tree by E. Curran

Look at the is Tree by Susan Canizeres

Now I Know: Trees by Sharon Gordon

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf –  Lois Ehlert

Redwoods by Jason Chin

The Tallest Tree by Robert Lieber (board book)

The Tree by Brian and Jillian Cutting

Treats from a Tree by Susan Canizeres

Tell Me, Tree: All About Trees for Kids by Gail Gibbons

Leaves! Leaves! Leaves! By N. Wallace (all 4 seasons)

Trees: A Poem by Harry Behn

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

Who Will Plant a Tree? By Jerry Pallotta

Who Lives in a Tree? By Susan Canizares

Trees by B. Lessor

Shells:

What Lives in a Shell? By Kathleen Weidner Zoehfelf

Seashells, Crabs, and Sea Stars (Take Along Guide) by C.K.Tibbitts

Seashells by the Seashore by Marianne Berkes

Books to Inspire the Grown Ups:

Beautiful Stuff! Learning with Found Materials by Cathy Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini

The Stick Book: Loads of Things You Can Make or Do with a Stick by Jo Schofield & Fiona Dank

Nature’s Playground by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield

Play the Forest School Way: Woodland Games by Peter Houghton & Jane Worroll

Messy Maths by Juliet Robertson

Dirty Teaching by Juliet Robertson

Clay: The History and Evolution of Humankind’s Relationship with Earth’s Most Primal Element by Suzanne Staubach (reference for adult readers)