Every morning for the past five days, the FIRST activity the kiddos want to do downstairs has been to watch the birds with our bird chart in hand. Katie calls it our “bird show”; Eric points and babbles happily. Seriously, they aren’t tiring of it either. Katie says watching the birds is “better than TV” (of course I agree—no surprise there!), and we have seen many different kinds in our backyard, birds we didn’t even know we had. We made a journal entry in our nature journal/field notebook about all the types of birds we have observed. We are contemplating a trip to buy different kinds of feed that might attract even more variety. This morning, we ate breakfast outside and tried closer observation; alas, the  golden and house finches were a bit more wary and the spotted towhee didn’t come out at all. All three of us are very passionate about our birds right now. So much to wonder at and learn about in this world, yes?

The bird show

Eric holds the California bird guide. Just like Katie, Eric loves for me to point to every bird in the guide and tell him the names…

Our Monday morning preschool started off well this week. We wrote down the birds we saw during the bird show, and we also diagrammed the parts of an apple blossom in our journal. Thank you, friend Susan Jaehn for this idea! Along with our flower blossom, we colored, cut out, and glued a bee into the journal. We’ve been talking about the process of pollination, and Katie correctly answered the question: “How do bees help an apple to grow?”

One of our books for this unit is The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall (illus. by Shari Halpern). The following project is totally not mine—I found the idea in several other places online. It was a great preschool project for Katie. The Apple Pie Tree is all about how an apple tree (and a family of robins nesting in it) changes over the four seasons. We have read this book several times now over the past few weeks, and so yesterday we finished our culminating activity:

We made our own apple trees for each season, one in each quadrant of butcher paper. We are going to watch our apple tree in the backyard this coming year to see if it, too, changes with each season.

When Daddy came home from work, Katie showed him her apple blossom entry in her nature journal.

We also worked on math and counting and are drilling initial blends in phonics.

As September is winding up, I have started planning and setting out our materials for our next month of study. I am planning to break October into smaller units: a moon-themed unit and a botany/harvest unit. I have some of our reading selected, but I am still searching a bit. Everyday, I have renewed appreciation for my elementary school colleagues. The amount of prep you do is staggering. It takes me enough time to print, cut out, and laminate materials for just one student; you all do it for 20 or so students! There was quite a bit of prep in high school English, as well, and of course, the immensity of the grading of essays and writing rec letters took hours and hours. Still, prepping for multiple preschool subjects, while really fun, is also so much work and takes a great deal of forethought. Elementary school teachers, my hat is off to you!