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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 77- Field Trip and Christmas Miracles

Hallelujah! It's an early Christmas miracle! The sun was shining, birds were singing, and the temperature was just warm enough to not be freezing. All in all, a perfect day for a field trip! Let's go learn about Christmas trees!

Load the bus!

Another Christmas miracle, we fit 6 classes of first graders in one bus! So, off we went to the farm to learn about Christmas trees. I honestly think that the kids were more excited about getting outside than anything else.

Kittle Christmas Tree Farm is in Ringgold, GA, which is just right down the Interstate. It's a family owned and operated farm that encourages field trips. On the agenda for today was a tour of the farm with an explanation of the tree-growing process, a hayride and introduction to some farm animals. You have no idea how excited the kids were to see farm animals.

In fact, and this is a little secret, on the way to the farm the bus driver got a little lost. Now, we weren't going to tell that to the students since that would cause a riot, but while we were lost we passed an open field full of cows. The driver pulled the bus to the side of the road right next to the field and it was pandemonium!

"COWS!! Look, Mrs. Delk, COWS!"
"Hi, cows!"
"Hey guys, do you see the cows?"

So, while the driver was rechecking his directions, the students were having the best time trying to get the cows' attention. It was... another Christmas miracle. So, instead of telling the kids that we were lost, I told my students that the driver knew how much they wanted to see farm animals that he found the field of cows just for them. :)

When we got to the farm and unloaded, the first thing we did was split into three groups. Our class was paired with Ms. Payton's class. First stop- the farm animals.

 Turkeys and roosters



Peacock, rabbits

Llamas, children
(Watch out! They bite!)

After feeding the animals, and washing our hands, we moved to the next station: learning about the trees. The best part of the trek up the hill, the up close and personal view of the ...COWS!!

I'm actually a little concerned with their bovine fascination. I wonder if they know where burgers come from.

So, we trekked up the hill to hear all about the different varieties of trees that the Kittle farm has to offer. You can check their link {HERE} to see the types since I can't remember them all. One thing is for sure, my students loved finding the stumps of trees to see if they could tell how old the tree was. They learned to count the rings to find a tree's age.

 My soldiers have decided that this tree was 6 years old when it was cut. They could be on a show: CSI: Farmlife.
 Don't they look cute? Just makes you want to go out and buy a Christmas tree!

Here, our guide was telling us about the different types of pine trees they have. One tree had short, spiky needles and small pine cones.

The other variety had longer, smoother needles.
My students showed off their smarts when they recognized that cones are important for holding seeds.

Here are some more things that we learned about evergreen trees:
1. The trees go dormant (or go to sleep) during the winter and their sap goes to their roots.
2. Winter is the season to plant evergreens because the ground is still warm and that is when roots grow the most.
3. Some evergreens don't grow from seeds, they grow by clipping off a part of the tree and planting it to let the roots grow.

The last leg of the trip: hayride.

The hay was soft, the sun was bright, and the air was crisp. Perfect.

Thank you, Kittle Christmas Tree Farm!

But wait! The day is not over yet!
We got back to the school and ate our sack lunches in the classroom while we watched a short video. After recharging our energy, we got back to work.

To bring in a math focus, we talked about symmetry. Symmetry is when you can split something in two parts and they are the same on either side. Most Christmas trees look symmetrical, so we created some trees using construction paper. We folded the paper in half and cut out a tree shape. When it opened, there was our symmetrical Christmas trees!

I had some ribbon left over from an art project my class did last year, so I popped it out and my soldeirs got to decorate their trees.

Of course we can't just do an art project without pulling in a standard of some sort. So, we made a chart of Figurative Language, just like our 5th graders! We created sentences using similes, onomatopoeia, and personification.
The sentences were to be about Christmas trees, or just Christmas in general. I think we did well for just being introduced to these literary concepts! The chart and the students' trees will be in the hallway for all those who would like to visit the school!

A full day of fresh air and education. Today was a very happy Christmas Miracle!

Our Daily Brain

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