Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #4 Wednesday PM

During our fourth week on the farm we continued to explore life cycles of plants and animals. How do birds differ from mammals? What happens in soil and how does a seed become a plant? We discussed what scientists do and how we are scientists on the farm. We also revisited the idea that we all speak different languages, including our animals on the farm.

During our arrival time, we voted on apples or cherries. Over the past two weeks we have been visiting the beautiful blossoms on our apple and cherry trees, along with our hardest working creatures on the farm, our bees. We signed in by hunting for a rock with our name on it and matching to our name on paper. Farm Sprouts were then invited to take their special name rock home with them. Many Farm Sprouts reported that these name rocks would be added to their rock collections at home. Children had an opportunity to revisit our “Count the Chickens” game and to explore play dough with various tools.

We gathered as a group on at our classroom duck pond and welcomed Ms. Carmen to meet and say hello to our Farm Sprouts. She kindly supported us this week while Ms. Brooke was in Maine. We practiced saying “Hello” in different languages.

“Hola” – Spanish

“Labas” – Lithuanian

“Kon’nichiwa” – Japanese

“Bonjour’ – French

We also played a game called “Barnyard Babble” and practiced speaking the different languages of the animals on the farm. We read the book, What Do Scientists Do? by Daniel Jacobs. We learned that we are scientists here at Tollgate Farm. We look and listen, measure and take notes, watch how things change, draw pictures, ask questions, and work together to come up with answers to our questions, just like scientists do. We referred to the visual evidence of our scientific work we do at the farm, by noticing the photographs, journal entries, and questions and quotes on our Wonder Wall. Before heading outside, we took a look at a robin’s egg shell that a Farm Sprout discovered last week. We noted its blue color and small size. We observed what a chick might look like inside its egg at Day #14.  We also checked on our incubator to see if the environment inside was warm and moist. We are learning that these are important conditions for the healthy development of our chicks. All was still quiet inside! We wonder what we might find next week on Day #21?

As we headed outside, we checked in on our sunflowers in the greenhouse. We observed white roots popping through the bottom of our newspaper pots. We revisited the “Fab Five” things that plants need to grow in nature and thought: Maybe our sunflowers are starting to need more space? We took a peek at our phototropism experiment and one Farm Sprout said, “Look it’s tipping towards the light!” What is phototropism? Read on here to find out more or just take a look at what is happening in the photo below!

For our Garden Snack this week, we had a very special visitor, Robin Danto, an Extension Educator with the MSU Extension Health and Nutrition Institute. We explored the idea of “Eating from the Rainbow” as we engaged in some great activities. Color races and bracelets had us practicing our colors and associating fruits and vegetables with the colors. We munched rainbow salad as we listened to “Vegetable Party” by Laura Doherty. We practiced the saying, “Don’t yuck my yum!” to keep us focused on staying positive and adventurous when faced with new foods or foods we tend to scrunch our nose at when placed on our plates. And Farm Sprouts were adventurous! Most tried something new! Thank you, Ms. Robin, for guiding us through this week’s Garden Snack and providing us with great resources, including coloring books!

Ms. Robin recommends the following books to continue the conversation at home:

Growing Colors by Bruce McMillan

We Like to Eat by Michigan Fitness Foundation

A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian

I Can Eat a Rainbow by Lizzie Swan and Marlowe Beckmann

In the animal barn, we met Gracie, a mama goat, and discussed how mammals are covered in fur and make milk for their babies. We noted differences between mammals and birds. We learned about a mother goat’s teats and udder and practiced how to milk, using our upside down thumb as an udder and our other hand and fingers to open and close around our thumb. Our Farm Sprouts were then invited to take a turn milking Gracie and some of us were very adventurous! We visited with our friends the goat kids and discovered a couple of hens had made nests in the straw and laid an egg in each nest.  Outside the animal barn we got a chance to visit with our lop-eared rabbits, Eleanor and Opal.

We headed back to the classroom to wash up and find a shady place to journal. We relaxed under the evergreen trees near our pond and drew pictures and took notes, just like scientists. We read, Whose Egg? by Lynette Evans (a lift the flap book). Whose eggs do you think we found in the gardens by the offices? Thank you to the Grady family for donating this book to our program! It surprised us to learn that a platypus is covered in fur and lays eggs. We took a short pond walk and discovered a large snapping turtle milling about in the cattails. We wondered what that egg-laying creature was doing in there? We look forward to discovering what is happening in our incubator with Farm Sprouts this coming week!

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”– Jane Goodall

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Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #4 Wednesday AM

During our fourth week on the farm we continued to explore life cycles of plants and animals. How do birds differ from mammals? What happens in soil and how does a seed become a plant? We discussed what scientists do and how we are scientists on the farm. We also revisited the idea that we all speak different languages, including our animals on the farm.

During our arrival time, we voted on apples or cherries. Over the past two weeks we have been visiting the beautiful blossoms on our apple and cherry trees, along with our hardest working creatures on the farm, our bees. We signed in by hunting for a rock with our name on it and matching to our name on paper. Farm Sprouts were then invited to take their special name rock home with them. Many Farm Sprouts reported that these name rocks would be added to their rock collections at home. Children had an opportunity to revisit our “Count the Chickens” game and to explore play dough with various tools.

We gathered as a group on at our classroom duck pond and welcomed Ms. Carmen to meet and say hello to our Farm Sprouts. She kindly supported us this week while Ms. Brooke was in Maine. We practiced saying “Hello” in different languages.

“Hola” – Spanish

“Labas” – Lithuanian

“Kon’nichiwa” – Japanese

“Bonjour’ – French

We also played a game called “Barnyard Babble” and practiced speaking the different languages of the animals on the farm. We read the book, What Do Scientists Do? by Daniel Jacobs. We learned that we are scientists here at Tollgate Farm. We look and listen, measure and take notes, watch how things change, draw pictures, ask questions, and work together to come up with answers to our questions, just like scientists do. We referred to the visual evidence of our scientific work we do at the farm, by noticing the photographs, journal entries, and questions and quotes on our Wonder Wall. Before heading outside, we took a look at a robin’s egg shell that a Farm Sprout discovered last week. We noted its blue color and small size. We observed what a chick might look like inside its egg at Day #14.  We also checked on our incubator to see if the environment inside was warm and moist. We are learning that these are important conditions for the healthy development of our chicks. All was still quiet inside! We wonder what we might find next week on Day #21?

As we headed outside, we checked in on our sunflowers in the greenhouse. We observed white roots popping through the bottom of our newspaper pots. We revisited the “Fab Five” things that plants need to grow in nature and thought: Maybe our sunflowers are starting to need more space? As we hiked out to our C.S.A. field, we enjoyed the puddles and practiced saying “hello” in our different languages to the mammals and birds we encountered.

For our Garden Snack this week, we harvested asparagus with the Sustainable Agriculture team! We learned that the asparagus plants in the field are just 3 years old and how to harvest the asparagus so the plants stay healthy. We had the opportunity to taste freshly picked asparagus that we harvested and washed ourselves! We also tasted cheese from the MSU Dairy Store, a product that comes from the milk of mammals, like cows, sheep, and goats.

In the animal barn, we met Penny, a mama goat, and discussed how mammals are covered in fur and make milk for their babies. We noted differences between mammals and birds. We learned about a mother goat’s teats and udder and practiced how to milk, using our upside down thumb as an udder and our other hand and fingers to open and close around our thumb. Our Farm Sprouts were then invited to take a turn milking Penny and some of us were very adventurous in giving it a try! We visited Eleanor and Opal, our lop-eared rabbits, and visited with a group of baby lambs at the fence.

We headed back toward the classroom to enjoy our snack and to draw pictures and take notes in our journals, just like scientists. We read, Whose Egg? by Lynette Evans (a lift the flap book). Thank you to the Grady family for donating this book to our program! It surprised us to learn that a platypus is covered in fur and lays eggs. We look forward to discovering what is happening in our incubator with Farm Sprouts this coming week!

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”– Jane Goodall

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Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #4 Tuesday PM

During our fourth week on the farm we continued to explore life cycles of plants and animals. How do birds differ from mammals? What happens in soil and how does a seed become a plant? We discussed what scientists do and how we are scientists on the farm. We also revisited the idea that we all speak different languages, including our animals on the farm.

During our arrival time, we voted on apples or cherries. Over the past two weeks we have been visiting the beautiful blossoms on our apple and cherry trees, along with our hardest working creatures on the farm, our bees. We signed in by hunting for a rock with our name on it and matching to our name on paper. Farm Sprouts were then invited to take their special name rock home with them. Many Farm Sprouts reported that these name rocks would be added to their rock collections at home. Children had an opportunity to revisit our “Count the Chickens” game and to explore play dough with various tools.

We gathered as a group on at our classroom duck pond and welcomed Ms. Ellen to meet and say hello to our Farm Sprouts. She kindly supported us this week while Ms. Brooke was in Maine. We practiced saying “Hello” in different languages.

“Hola” – Spanish

“Labas” – Lithuanian

“Kon’nichiwa” – Japanese

“Bonjour’ – French

We also played a game called “Barnyard Babble” and practiced speaking the different languages of the animals on the farm. We read the book, What Do Scientists Do? by Daniel Jacobs. We learned that we are scientists here at Tollgate Farm. We look and listen, measure and take notes, watch how things change, draw pictures, ask questions, and work together to come up with answers to our questions, just like scientists do. We referred to the visual evidence of our scientific work we do at the farm, by noticing the photographs, journal entries, and questions and quotes on our Wonder Wall. Before heading outside, we took a look at a robin’s egg shell that a Farm Sprout discovered last week. We noted its blue color and small size. We observed what a chick might look like inside its egg at Day #14.  We also checked on our incubator to see if the environment inside was warm and moist. We are learning that these are important conditions for the healthy development of our chicks. All was still quiet inside! We wonder what we might find next week on Day #21?

As we headed outside, we checked in on our sunflowers in the greenhouse. We observed white roots popping through the bottom of our newspaper pots. We revisited the “Fab Five” things that plants need to grow in nature and thought: Maybe our sunflowers are starting to need more space? On our way to the animal barn, we enjoyed the puddles and practiced saying “hello” in our different languages to the mammals and birds we encountered along our fences and fields. Our baby calves came right up to the fence and followed us on our walk.

For our Garden Snack this week, we had a very special visitor, Robin Danto, an Extension Educator with the MSU Extension Health and Nutrition Institute. We explored the idea of “Eating from the Rainbow” as we engaged in some great activities. Color races and bracelets had us practicing our colors and associating fruits and vegetables with the colors. We munched rainbow salad as we listened to “Vegetable Party” by Laura Doherty. We practiced the saying, “Don’t yuck my yum!” to keep us focused on staying positive and adventurous when faced with new foods or foods we tend to scrunch our nose at when placed on our plates. And Farm Sprouts were adventurous! Most tried something new! Thank you, Ms. Robin, for guiding us through this week’s Garden Snack and providing us with great resources, including coloring books!

Ms. Robin recommends the following books to continue the conversation at home:

Growing Colors by Bruce McMillan

We Like to Eat by Michigan Fitness Foundation

A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian

I Can Eat a Rainbow by Lizzie Swan and Marlowe Beckmann

In the animal barn, we met Violet, a mama goat, and discussed how mammals are covered in fur and make milk for their babies. We noted differences between mammals and birds. We learned about a mother goat’s teats and udder and practiced how to milk, using our upside down thumb as an udder and our other hand and fingers to open and close around our thumb. Our Farm Sprouts were then invited to take a turn milking Violet and some of us were very adventurous in giving it a try! We also visited with the goat kids and some hens in the barn. Outside the animal barn, we visited with Opal and Eleanor, our lop-eared rabbits and some of our larger mammals as well.

We relaxed under the cherry tree and in the old apple orchard while journaling. We read, Whose Egg? by Lynette Evans (a lift the flap book). Thank you to the Grady family for donating this book to our program! It surprised us to learn that a platypus is covered in fur and lays eggs. We look forward to discovering what is happening in our incubator with Farm Sprouts this coming week!

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”– Jane Goodall

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Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #4 Tuesday AM

During our fourth week on the farm we continued to explore life cycles of plants and animals. How do birds differ from mammals? What happens in soil and how does a seed become a plant? We discussed what scientists do and how we are scientists on the farm. We also revisited the idea that we all speak different languages, including our animals on the farm.

During our arrival time, we voted on apples or cherries. Over the past two weeks we have been visiting the beautiful blossoms on our apple and cherry trees, along with our hardest working creatures on the farm, our bees. We signed in by hunting for a rock with our name on it and matching to our name on paper. Farm Sprouts were then invited to take their special name rock home with them. Many Farm Sprouts reported that these name rocks would be added to their rock collections at home. Children had an opportunity to revisit our “Count the Chickens” game and to explore play dough with various tools.

We gathered as a group on at our classroom duck pond and welcomed Ms. Ellen to meet and say hello to our Farm Sprouts. She kindly supported us this week while Ms. Brooke was in Maine. We practiced saying “Hello” in different languages.

“Hola” – Spanish

“Labas” – Lithuanian

“Kon’nichiwa” – Japanese

“Bonjour’ – French

We also played a game called “Barnyard Babble” and practiced speaking the different languages of the animals on the farm. We read the book, What Do Scientists Do? by Daniel Jacobs. We learned that we are scientists here at Tollgate Farm. We look and listen, measure and take notes, watch how things change, draw pictures, ask questions, and work together to come up with answers to our questions, just like scientists do. We referred to the visual evidence of our scientific work we do at the farm, by noticing the photographs, journal entries, and questions and quotes on our Wonder Wall. Before heading outside, we took a look at a robin’s egg shell that a Farm Sprout discovered last week. We noted its blue color and small size. We observed what a chick might look like inside its egg at Day #14.  We also checked on our incubator to see if the environment inside was warm and moist. We are learning that these are important conditions for the healthy development of our chicks. All was still quiet inside! We wonder what we might find next week on Day #21?

As we headed outside, we checked in on our sunflowers in the greenhouse. We observed white roots popping through the bottom of our newspaper pots. We revisited the “Fab Five” things that plants need to grow in nature and thought: Maybe our sunflowers are starting to need more space? On our way to the C.S.A. field, we enjoyed the puddles and practiced saying “hello” in our different languages to the mammals and birds we encountered. We saw a silly billy goat standing in his food!

For our Garden Snack this week, we harvested asparagus with the Sustainable Agriculture team! We learned that the asparagus plants in the field are just 3 years old and how to harvest the asparagus so the plants stay healthy. We had the opportunity to taste freshly picked asparagus that we harvested and washed ourselves! We also tasted cheese from the MSU Dairy Store, a product that comes from the milk of mammals, like cows, sheep, and goats.

In the animal barn, we met Violet, a mama goat, and discussed how mammals are covered in fur and make milk for their babies. We noted differences between mammals and birds. We learned about a mother goat’s teats and udder and practiced how to milk, using our upside down thumb as an udder and our other hand and fingers to open and close around our thumb. Our Farm Sprouts were then invited to take a turn milking Violet and some of us were very adventurous in giving it a try! Mr. Norb brought out Elmo the lamb to have a visit with us too!

As the rain started, we headed back to the classroom to enjoy our snack and to draw pictures and take notes in our journals, just like scientists.

We read, Whose Egg? by Lynette Evans (a lift the flap book). Thank you to the Grady family for donating this book to our program! It surprised us to learn that a platypus is covered in fur and lays eggs. We look forward to discovering what is happening in our incubator with Farm Sprouts this coming week!

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”– Jane Goodall

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Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #3 Wednesday PM

Our third week led us into exploring the many ways the plants and animals at the farm are connected. Which animals lay eggs at the farm? How do plants and animals move through their life cycles? How does the complexity of the life cycles of plants and animals help to create a healthy ecosystem? While this is a very involved question to answer, our play and explorations with plants and animals at the farm help to build the conceptual framework children need to understand and develop an appreciation for ecosystems and diversity of life as they move into adulthood.

Upon arrival, Farm Sprouts were invited to trace letters in chicken feed, vote for the egg-laying animal he or she found most interesting, and to care for, handle, and observe those creatures, our turtle, Coltrane, or the worms from our vermicomposting bin. We discovered worm eggs in the bin and compared them to the eggs in our incubator. They are much smaller than chicken eggs. We know that eggs come in all sizes, shapes, and colors!

We gathered as a group to begin to create our Wonder Wall, the place we make our learning visible in our classroom to everyone involved in our farm community this spring, especially our Farm Sprouts. We already observed them touching the photos and remembering some of their experiences from our first weeks as we worked to create the wall together. The Wonder Wall helps Farm Sprouts with memory recall to support them in building new connections and understandings of concepts we are exploring. They are excited to see and hear their thoughts, ideas, drawings, and discoveries are accepted and utilized to help guide our learning process. Our vocabulary is growing with each visit to the farm as we learn new words, words such as incubator, blastodisc, and oology. Have you thought about an egg lately? We will continue to include these big words and others as a regular part of our conversations, through authentic learning opportunities. We read from the book, The Egg by Britta Teckentrup and marveled at the variety of eggs and creatures who lay them. We worked on learning each other’s names, welcoming each other and sharing our favorite egg-laying creature. We peeked in our incubator to see if anything was happening after 7 days. All was quiet, so we will continue our count to see how many days it takes for our eggs to hatch. The richness that diversity of life brings to the world not just in appearance, but with the variety of sounds and words, movements and interactions, smells and textures, spur endless wonder and curiosity, as long as we take time to notice!

During our Invitations to Play, we explored eggs, properties of water and natural materials, including feathers and wool, and engaged in process art that involved play with water and color to create flowers. Who visits flowers? What happens when a bee or butterfly visits a flower? We know that bees make honey, but what else happens as they visit flowers? This is a question we hope to explore to push our thinking beyond the sticky, sweet stuff we like to spread on toast! We made some neat discoveries near the Children’s Garden!

For our Garden Snack this week, we headed out to our C.S.A. field to harvest asparagus with the Sustainable Agriculture team! We learned that the asparagus plants in the field are just 3 years old and how to harvest the asparagus so the plants stay healthy. We had the opportunity to taste freshly picked asparagus that we harvested and washed ourselves! We also tasted cheese from the MSU Dairy Store, a product that comes from the milk of mammals, like cows, sheep, and goats.

We checked in our sunflowers, sprouting in the greenhouse, visited with Coltrane, and noted our discoveries in our journals, the latter activities took place inside due to some thunder rumbling above. We concluded with our “Vinyasa Farm Flow” to show our gratitude for all we experienced together, a routine which creates a sense of community and closure until we meet again!

Many thanks to the Corrigan-Salter family for donating the beautiful book about eggs to support our learning this week and to Robin Danto for supporting our program this week.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together … all things connect.” – Chief Seattle

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