After our egg activities, we moved into a variety of bird-related pursuits which were mostly inspired by the books we read. We ended our block with a picnic at some nearby ponds.
From one book, Tree of Cranes, we were able to explore geography, migratory patterns, arts, and a look at specific birds, in this case cranes and other waterfowl. Since the book takes place in Japan we practiced bird origami and began drawing our own world map starting with the Pacific Ocean, the west coast of North America and Japan. I loved shifting their perspective by placing the Pacific Ocean in the middle of the map.
A common thread throughout this block was the reading of E.B. White’s Trumpet of the Swan and working on bird identification. The latter consisted of us sitting on the couch flipping though our Audubon book of birds! Speaking of which, we read an incredible biography picture book on John Audubon, but I’m not exactly sure of the title now. We also spent time on the Audubon’s website listening to bird calls, again mostly waterfowl as that seemed to emerge on its own, as a theme.
Another book that we really enjoyed was called The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks, a folktale picture book from Japan. Somewhat unplanned, but here we were again in Japan and waterfowl! We continued with our maps and also pulled out some of our Zen picture books by John Muth, Zen Shorts and Zen Ties. We enjoyed reading some haikus:
an old pond
a frog jumps into
the sound of water
Now that eyes of hawks
in dusky night
are darkened . . .
Chirping of the quails (Basho)
At Walden Ponds (here in Colorado, not Massachusetts), we spied: a dozen pelicans, a blue heron, a black cormorant, many Canadian geese, robins, red-winged black birds, sparrows, and chickadees. Ada also lost her 2nd top tooth at lunch!
I really enjoyed the flexibility of this bird block but appreciate the bit of structure. It was hard to end because we could go on and on with this type of study! Next up, sewing our first skirts and then wrapping up a couple math and language arts blocks!
A week later we went up into the mountain for a dog training class and we saw dozens of hummingbirds!