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Archive for the ‘Acers’ Category

Spider facts and frogspawn

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Acers started their morning with an exciting discovery today! When we looked in the pond to check on our frogs, we found that they had laid some frogspawn. Everyone was really keen to look at it, so we  took turns to kneel down and had a very close look. We could see the little black dots inside the  eggs, which will develop into tadpoles.

Acers really enjoyed the predator and prey game introduced last week, and were keen to play again today. This time, they were much quicker at reacting and at working together to keep the mouse safe from the owl!

After our game, we gathered round the log circle to discuss spiders…then everyone went looking round the site to find a special spider fact. We took the facts back to the log circle, and took turns to read them to the class.

Once we’d listened to and discussed all the spider facts (like-male spiders are smaller than female spiders, spiders have 48 knees, they have hairy legs, they have 2 body parts and 8 legs, they have eyes, a mouth and a stomach in the front body part, they make silk, which comes out of the back part of the spider…) we all stood around  the web we made last week and took turns to crawl under to take off more spider facts. We matched these with the first set, trying to remember who had got each spider fact.

Acers really enjoyed their independent choices in Forest School today. The mud kitchen was very busy producing all sorts of muddy dishes and the digging pit was a hive of activity-all on a  worm finding mission!

Fire strikers at the ready!

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

What a fabulous example of resilience and pride in your work! Watch these videos of  two children learning to use a fire striker independently… and listen to what they say when they finally light the cotton pad   ❤️

Acers Spider Web

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Acers started off the morning being very clever! Several hands shot up when asked if they could remember the special names we used to describe some of the woodland creatures last week…and they correctly recalled the words ‘predator’ and ‘prey’. We talked about which animals belonged to each category and then introduced food chains…all helping to sort the food chain of owl-mouse-worm-leaf, from top to bottom.  (please click to enlarge the photos)

We played a  fun game, where one person stood in the middle of a circle pretending to be an owl, and the rest of the class were trees. We used a small mouse toy, and threw it from one tree to another…whilst the owl tried to intercept and eat its prey! This game was great fun..and got us all thinking carefully about where  to throw the  mouse.

Next, we looked at some pictures of spiders and webs, and learnt a few facts about spiders. Then we all worked together to make an enormous web!

We had to work as a team, share, take turns, use our problem solving skills and create a string web together…

Whilst everyone got to choose their own activities, some children took turns to practise fire lighting skills, using the flint and steel…

During reflection time at the end of the morning, everyone talked about what had made them happy. We had lots of super responses, such as ‘when I helped make that web’, ‘when I swung really high on the swing’, ‘when I lit the fire’, ‘when I made mud cakes in the mud kitchen’.

Predator and Prey

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Today, Acers learnt the words predator and prey, discussed what they meant and talked about  which woodland animals were predators and which were prey. They also learnt two new games that helped them to understand how smaller animals have to find ways of avoiding being caught!

First we discussed the owl and the mouse. An owl hunts at night and has very good hearing, so the mouse has to be very quiet when hunting for food. The ‘owl’ stood in the centre of our circle with a blindfold on, to recreate the dark night and the ‘mouse’ had to creep very quietly to take a pine cone for  it’s dinner. Sometimes the mice were too noisy and got caught!

Our second game, called fox and rabbits, involved a lot of running around! The rabbits moved from one side of the area to the other, eating the green grass. As soon as they heard the call ‘Run rabbits, RUN!’, they quickly ran to a mat (which we pretended was a hole into their warren). The fox ran after them…if they reached their rabbit hole they were safe, but if not, then the rabbits were eaten by the  fox! Everyone really enjoyed this game.

Next we divided in two groups. The first group worked brilliantly together, to make this land art picture of one of our predators…

With it’s big bushy tail, four legs, two pointed ears, sharp teeth and long whiskers…it’s easy to see that it’s a fox.

The second group sat in the fire circle, practicing with the fire strikers. They all had a turn at pulling up lots of strands from a cotton wool pad, and then lighting it with the flint and steel. We’ll be using these skills in the coming weeks.

Valentine’s Hearts

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

It was too windy today to go out into the woods, so we stayed in Hollies instead and spent the morning creating Valentine hearts!

We use some Willow cuttings from the Forest School garden, to create these beautiful hearts…

We started by twisting wire around the bottom and middle of 2 willow sticks, then bent the  tops around and tied them on, in order to create the heart shape.

We also made these heart shaped bird feeders, using cranberries and cheerios.

We hung them up on the willow tunnel at the end of the morning…

We also drew what we loved about Forest School, and made these lovely natural hearts using a selection of resources.


Soup and croissants on a cold day

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Acers were brilliant this morning! They listened carefully to all the safety instructions and behaved perfectly around the  fire-circle.

We learnt how to use the fire strikers to start a fire, we sorted sticks into the  correct sizes and we all helped to add sticks to keep the fire going.

Once the fire was strong enough, we poured some soup into the dutch oven and placed it on top of the fire…

Then we wrapped croissant dough around some long, clean sticks, whilst we waited for  the soup to cook and the fire to die down a little. We held the dough over the embers and watched as they cooked and changed colour.

We all tried some soup and croissants-they were delicious and certainly warmed us all up!

Squirrel Obstacles, a Wormery and Sorting…dead or alive!

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

This morning, Acers began their session fulfilling a request from last week-which was to play ‘1,2,3…where are you’. They took turns to hide and respond to the  call of ‘1,2,3 where are you?’…with a loud shout- ‘1,2,3 I’m here!’ Everyone really enjoyed calling out or listening for where the hidden sounds were coming from!

Then we gathered in the log circle to discuss today’s activities. Some children chose to help design and make a squirrel obstacle course, using any of the many resources available. We were astounded at how creative the ideas were!

We started off by making a zip wire-the children tied a rope between two trees and clipped a pot onto it. The squirrel could sit in it and whizz from one end to the other!

Next came a swing…followed by a slide- with a barrier of bricks at the end to stop the squirrel falling off!

Next they added a balance beam, then a wooden pathway and at the end it was completed with a large pole to climb up. The pole was fitted into a big hole, which took a long time to dig!

Everyone was very proud of their hard work…and we think that lots of woodland creatures might be enjoying this over the next week!

Also today, we created a wormery. We dug for soil, carefully removing any stones or sticks. The soil was placed into the  wormery, and alternated with layers of sand. We found and added lots of worms too.

Then we added some leaves and covered the wormery over, as worms prefer it to be dark. We’ll be watching the worms move up and down the  wormery over the next week or so and will making sure we spray it with water and add a few scraps of fruit or salad leaves so the worms have plenty to eat.

Lastly today, we talked about what we could see in the forest, that was living/dead/had never been alive. It was a bit tricky sometimes, but we all had a go at sorting out the things we’d found into the different groups.


Acers amazing animal homes

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Acers are proving to be a fabulous class to work with! Today they started off their morning, recapping the number line activity we did at the beginning of last week’s session…except this time we asked them to stand next to the number of animal homes they thought they could name independently…

Everyone chose their numbers well! And  if, when asked to tell us the names of the animal homes, they realised they were standing by the incorrect number, Acers children then worked out whether they should move up or down the  number line.

Last week, after our nest building activity, some of the class asked if they could make some homes for other animals…so that is exactly what we did! Mrs. Smith set a challenge to build a home that would keep a woodland animal dry, safe and warm. We looked at some of the woodland animal toys, got into teams and then worked together to make these amazing creations!

Team 1 made a home for a mum and dad squirrel. They started off at the end of the see-saw as they thought that the plank made a good roof. Then they added hay to keep the squirrels warm, planks of wood to protect them and keep them dry…and a long pathway leading up to the entrance.

Team 2 chose a mouse. They built walls from bricks, then built a roof to cover the mouse, using sticks to balance over the top of the bricks. They found a piece of artificial grass in out outdoor store and used that to make a  garden for the mouse. Then they added more planks to the roof to make sure the mouse stayed dry and finished off by making a playground complete with tunnel, and a wall all around the edge of the garden!

Team 3 looked for a tree for their squirrel…and decided on a large tree stump on the ground. They cleared out the leaves to make the inside clean, added straw to make a soft dry bed, then protected the squirrel by covering the outside in long sticks. We talked about how well disguised he looked inside his finished home!

When all 3 teams had finished, we took turns to look at each home, to ask and answer questions about it. We also decided what we liked about them all. All 3 teams were very proud of their work and enjoyed a round of applause from their classmates.

Before hot chocolate, a biscuit and our reflection time, we had the opportunity to choose our own activities. One of the  favourites today was retelling the story of the 3 little pigs in the  playhouse…there was much laughter and squealing at the naughty wolf!

Games, sorting, remembering and making…

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Acers had a wonderful morning, proving how  much they had learnt and remembered from last week’s session.

We started off with a number line activity…everyone decided which numbers they should stand in front of…depending on how many forest animals they thought they could name. We tested them out and the children were surprisingly accurate!

Then we looked again at all the animal pictures and recapped the names of their homes. Next we sorted the habitats into 3 groups-underground, on the  ground and above the ground…

Next we played the circle game introduced last week…making it a  little harder this week by calling out the names of the homes (den/warren/nest/sett etc) instead of the animal names. Acers had to look at their picture and respond to their home by running around the outside of the circle. They really enjoyed playing this game and showed us how well they are learning this new information, by responding correctly and at times very quickly!

Then we headed back to the log circle to listen to a story-‘The Best Nest’. You can listen to it here…

We looked at a real nest that had been made by a robin, and decided to have a go at making some nests ourselves. We worked together to find small sticks to make a nest shape on the ground…

The robin loved his comfy nest, complete with soft leaves to line the bottom

These boys worked really well together to make a spectacular nest, complete with a door, a long stick at the side to guard it and upright sticks around the edge to protect it!

Well done Acers…what a brilliant morning we all had.


Acers Habitat Trail

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

It was Acers first time out in Forest School today, and they worked super hard learning the names of lots of woodland creatures…and also the names of their homes. They searched high and low around the site, looking for pictures of different animals and then matched them to pictures of different animal homes and habitats.

Back in the log circle we all practised naming the animal homes…we made funny actions to help us remember and we all called out as loud as we could!

Fox-Den…Rabbit-Warren…Badger-Sett…Squirrel-Drey…Mouse-Burrow…Bird-Nest…Worm-Soil and so on!

Then we played a circle game-we all chose an animal card and listened as Mrs Smith called out different animal names (then afterwards, the name of the animal homes.) Everyone listened carefully for their animal or animal home…and ran round the outside of the circle when the name matched their picture. It was great fun! And everyone tried very hard to remember this new information.

Acers really enjoyed their independent explorations of our site too…

And they were brilliant at choosing and completing their own sentences during our reflection time…“I was  good at finding all the different animals” “I liked it when we played the game” “I was happy when I made my own animal home” “Next time I want to go on the skateboard swing”

Well done Acers…what a lovely start to the new term.