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Cottontail Rabbits, 8 Sept

Hello new friends!

Today our Cottontail Rabbits class had a ball with new friends! From the initial timidity of getting to know all the new faces to the giddy excitement of strategizing and chasing in our Mammoth, Hunter Mouse game, this group became at ease with each other very quickly.

Themes Explored and Skills Embraced:

Getting to know each other. To become familiar with each other, learn names and share a little about ourselves, we selected rocks with images on them and shared with the group why we chose the rock we did and why it is significant to us. This activity was a great ice breaker and helped them to see common interests and experiences.

Working together, strategy and fun in our Mammoth, Hunter, Mouse game. We played a game that was akin to Rock Paper Scissors combined with Predator Prey. Teams decided what they would be then faced off the other team to enact being either the predator or the prey being chased back to their safe zone. This game enthralled. It inspired a multitude of game adaptions and ideas with creatures like sea serpents, dragons and manta rays being incorporated and new strategies proposed to deal with stalemates. We had so many ideas we later took the game to a circle discussion to record and share each child's ideas. It certainly seems we have imaginative and innovative strategists in this group, we look forward to being able to explore games with complexity and involved teamwork in the future!

Tool work. The tool circle was popular for all. A big log inspired some team projects. Many tried tools they hadn't used before. Spencer was especially thrilled to get his new friends working with him on cutting the big log.

Creative work with planks, hammers, nails and yarn. We made planks with a symbol or image on them. Greyson made an underwater scene replete with fish and jellyfish, Aqua made hearts and Simon made a comfy bed. This activity developed confidence using hammers and nails and opened up new ways to use materials like nails and wood creatively, while developing fine motor skills and strength, as it requires some force and control to drive nails into these planks.

Journals. Journals are a wonderful tool, we will use throughout the year, for recording observations, recollecting special moments and being artistic. We made our first entry into our journals today. This open ended activity led to some choosing to draw a favourite moment in class, or a beautiful creature (the moth that landed nearby and which we subsequently investigated). Joe started his journal off with an entry about himself and forest school.

Fort building. The abundance of sticks and logs inspired some spontaneous fort building. Those hard at work on their fort are looking forward to continuing their labours next week. We will be following this interest in future classes with more materials like tarps, ropes etc. to utilise and more programming around fort building with specific challenges, discussions around what functions shelters serve and fun decorating opportunities. Fort building is a marvelous activity that most forest school classes explore and one which always leads to opportunities for student-led projects, teamwork, leadership and collaboration. It was great to see this group initiate and organise themselves in fort building already in our first class together.

Scavenger Hunt looking for specific characteristics. We utilised flash cards with qualities like "soft" "fuzzy" "spotty" "teeny" "blue" "flat" "striped" "bumpy" etc. on them to tune our observations. This group was so enthusiastic wanting another flash card after they had found a few examples to match their first card. These keen observers offered up some creative observations and demonstrated they would be ready for extension activities with observing nature and their surroundings.

Connections Questions

- Can you remember the name of someone you met in class today?

- What animals or new strategy did you suggest to include in the game of Mammoth Hunter Mouse?

- What tools did you use in tool circle? What tools are you looking forward to using next week?

- What design did you put on your plank?

- Did you work on fort building, what was your role in building the fort?

- What were some observations you made in the Scavenger Hunt, what qualities did you look for?

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