Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Love to Write Day!

Tuesday, November 15th was national I Love to Write Day!  My students and I took some time out on the trail to listen, observe, smell and touch.  We tried to be very quiet and very still.  Good writers take time to be still and to observe.  We had our journals along, and we took notes as we took time to observe.  When we came back to the classroom we looked over our notes, circle some of our favorite ideas and put them together into poems.  I shared my notes and the making of my poem (previous post) with the students.  Some of their poems are written below. 

by Genevieve

I see a chipmunk in the bushes
the bushes have no leaves
when you breathe you see your breath
the moon is beautiful
in the beautiful blue sky
dew drops on leaves
the leaves are on the ground
this is outside

By Sydnee

Big tall trees
Berries on bushes
Birds chirping
Mud on the ground
It's cold
sun is bright
Liberty Hyde Bailey Trail

A Fall Morning
By Phillip

Crunching leaves
Foggy and misty
Cold bird cries
Dry leaves drifting down
A bare tree
A still tree
Kids crunching leaves
The brown dry leaves

The Trail
By Makaelee

Life all around me
I see my breath
in the cold crisp air
Moss in the crevices and cracks
Healthy but yet groggy
Quiet but a mystery to humankind

Dew Drops
By Zander

Wet and slippery beneath my feet
It makes the leaves look shiny
It makes the air moist

I Love to Write Day continued when two guest writers from South Haven (middle school student, Iza and her grandma Elaine Stephens) came and read some of their writing to us.  Elaine is writing a book for children about the life of Liberty Hyde Bailey.  We had a wonderful I Love to Write Day!  This Monday, my son John will be town and he will be sharing some of his poetry with us and we will share some of our poetry with him!  I Love to Write Day continues . . .  

Monday, November 7, 2011


"Of every tree, whether pear tree or elm or sassafras, the seasons make a harbinger.  I knew two oak trees intimately for some years, seeing them practically every day.  I knew their blooming in relation to each other and the shedding of their leaves.  Their autumn colors were peculiar shades and every year of the same quality each of itself. . ."  --Liberty Hyde Bailey

Liberty Hyde Bailey often wrote about his love of trees.  Our path meanders through a wooded area with a diversity of beautiful trees.  I think Liberty would enjoy our path through the woods.  We've added more trees in our opened area, thanks to Ann and Ralph's generous donation of several trees!  Last Saturday, we planted those trees and look forward to watching them grow.  Thanks Ann and Ralph!  

"I often wonder what must have been the loss of the child that had no fruit-tree to shelter it.  There are no memories like the days under an old apple tree.  Every bird of the field comes to it sooner or later.  Perhaps a humming-bird once built on the top of a limb, and the marks of the old nest are still there.  Strange insects are in its knots and wrinkles.  The shades are very deep and cool under it.  The sweet smells of spring are sweetest there.  And the mystery of the fruit that comes out of a blossom is beyond all reckoning, the magic growing week by week until the green young balls show themselves gladly among the leaves.  And who has not watched for the first red that comes on the side that hangs to the sun, and waited for the first fruit that was soft enough to yield to the thumb!"  --Liberty Hyde Bailey

If you would like to be a part of this project, join us on Wednesday, November 16th, 7:00 p.m. for a meeting at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum.  I will update you on all our progress and we can dream about more ways to bring the spirit and heart of Liberty Hyde Bailey to life here at North Shore Elementary! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What is Nature Study?

"Nature-study, as a process, is seeing the things that one looks at, and the drawing of proper conclusions from what one sees.  Its purpose is to educate the child in terms of his environment, to the end that his life may be fuller and richer.  Nature-study is not the study of a science, as of botany, entomology, geology, and the like.  That is, it takes the things at hand and endeavors to understand them, without reference primarily to the systematic order or relationships of the objects.  It is informal, as are the objects which one sees.  It is entirely divorced from mere definitions, or from formal explanations in books.  It is therefore supremely natural.  It trains the eye and the mind to see and to comprehend the common things of life; and the result is not directly the acquiring of science but the establishing of a living sympathy with everything that is . . .The proper objects of nature-study are the things that one oftenest meets.  Stones, flowers, twigs, birds, insects, are good and common subjects."  --Liberty Hyde Bailey, 1897 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Letting Go

Freed Frog
Free at Last!  My students and I let our found frogs and toads free today.  We took the terrarium to our little pond in the woods, tipped it on its side, and let our friends make their escape in peace as we headed back to class.  We hope that they find a great place to hibernate through the upcoming winter!  Maybe in the spring we will meet some of them again. 

While we were out on the trail and on our way back, we took some time to collect leaves.  We sorted them by shape in the classroom and graphed our leaf finds.  We even found the mode, median and mean.  We weren't sure from what tree every leaf came, but it was a fun way to practice graphing and looking at cool leaves in the process. 

Path Pond