Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nature Journal: Leaves and Seeds

I'm not a morning person. But at the beginning of the year I committed to taking kindergarten gent to the neighborhood school bright and early two mornings a week to take PE with a morning kindergarten class. The walk home from the school has been worth groaning my way out of bed on PE mornings. Fine young gent and I talk, really talk. He's a sharp and curious young man who asks lots of interesting questions and shares interesting ideas.

The path to and from the school winds through a leafy neighborhood and along a bike lane behind a church. Every couple weeks, give or take, we discover something new that inspires us to explore. We saw a downy woodpecker one morning and spent half an hour poring over bird and nature books trying to identify and learn about the woodpecker we'd seen. Another morning we spotted our first robin of the spring. And last fall we got up on a sparkly cold day which we soon discovered (upon arrival at the school) to be a no-school day, but we saw a beautiful frosty spiderweb.

This morning, fine young gent noticed as we passed beneath a tree the giant "star leaves" over our heads. I noticed helicopter seed pods on a stalk and plucked them. We found two more completely different maples on the way home, each with leaves and seed pods of different sizes and colors, but with the same basic shape. Kindergarten gent spent half an hour on his nature journal tracing, coloring, and comparing the leaves. Then we oohed and aaahed over what we saw under the microscope.

I let him take some pictures of the leaves to print and paste into his nature journal.
Fortunately, I took some myself first.
Notice that this picture is much clearer than the picture of his journal. Somehow something got smeared on the camera lens. Which probably has nothing to do with the fact that while I was talking to his younger brother, this fine young gent was taking very close up pictures of his breakfast.

This school year has been a wonderful adventure. In teaching my children I've discovered or rediscovered some of my own passions too, and it's been a joy to share those passions with my children, to see the joy and excitement light their faces, to hear them say, "Mom, can we get out the microscope?" and "Mom, look at this!" and "Mom, I just figured this out!" We've got a nature hike planned on Friday with some dear friends, and I can't wait to see what we discover next.


Mom2Morgan.Dylan said...

I think this is where I go wrong with my kids. Instead of researching the hilicopters, I would peel them apart and stick them to our noses. ;o)

Cathy said...

LOL! We do that too. ;-)