April 2016 archive

Exploring Down Under(ground)

This week, the Beavers’ focus went underground.  With their affection and interest in all types of “creatures,” it was no surprise that the discovery of a baby slug and two dead Carpenter bees set the Beavers on an exciting adventure to unearth as many critters as possible.  

To frame their research we posed the question, “Why underground?  What lives down there and why?”

  • Tea – I think we’ll maybe find treasure. I think there might be treasure hidden somewhere in the Garden somewhere, in the Imagination Station because one day i found a plastic ring in Imagination Station on the slide.  There might be a treasure for kids
  • Emerson: If we keep digging in the same exact spot we might get to gems or the underworld or one goddess that lives underworld so we maybe get to that if we keep digging!
  • Arjun: I found treasure this morning, a painted rock.  I think it came from the underworld.
  • Ezra: I think I’ll find more treasure.  I think treasure is leaves.
  • Milo: We keep digging really deep, you know what we might find? Another land, you know the earth is a circle so there is lands under us, there’s not heaven under us, under the south pole there’s actually, there is where people are dead, because that’s the deepest island ever it’s all under everywhere under Earth.
  • Elfie: Maybe we could dig in the same spot and find maybe the Earth.
  • Ruby: We might find a treasure chest with golden necklaces  and a golden arrow.
  • Vivian: We might find a treasure chest with gold coins in them.
  • Jake: So everybody knows under the ground is the bottom of the earth and if we dig that far then we might get to outer space.
  • Harry: Maybe if u dig so deep you can find a brown circle.  Underground is real brown circles you know.
  • Tea: Someone told me one day that there is a world under, some people believe this it might not actually be real, but under the ground there is an underworld that has lots of fire and if you do really mean things you go down, that’s what people believe and if you are up, that’s where the angels live in the clouds.  I think only the angels are true I don’t think that the mean stuff are true.  If we dig and dig and dig i think we might it might actually be real.
  • Alex:  Maybe if the whole people in Packer maybe they will say they’ll help us dig in the same spot so we can dig all the way underground.
  • Jalen: I think we will dig underground because I think we’ll find some treasure.
  • Lucia: We might find a train station.
  • Harry: Another train station!
  • Lucia: Because trains are underground.
  • Charlotte; I’m adding on to Lucia’s idea, i don’t think that’s going to happen because if u dig and dig in the sidewalk that would happen, but since we aren’t digging the sidewalk and were digging in random dirt i don’t think we will find a train station. I think if we keep digging in the random dirt we will find a worm party.

At their core, children are natural researchers.  They wonder about the world around them and construct knowledge as they explore.  As we know, getting your hands dirty (both figuratively and literally) is vital to learning.  Not only is mud play joyful and loved by ALL children, digging in the dirt has many positive effects on the immune system, mood and health.  In an urban environment, we have to work all the harder to find outlets for children to relish in nature.  Countless studies have been conducted to prove just how vital “getting dirty” is for children, including this study conducted by the National Wildlife Federation.  When your children expressed an interest in digging down deep, needless to say, we took the plunge right alongside them.   

A core component of the Reggio Emilia approach is building connections between the natural world and the classroom. With the provocation of a few shovels, (Ezra’s “digging light” as they called it!) a tank and some magnifying glasses, the Beavers set to work.   Over the course of the year the Beavers have constructed lots of prior knowledge about “creatures.”  Beginning first with their interest in imaginary creatures and then transitioning into an interest in “living creatures,” we observed your children’s prior knowledge motivate their interests to a new context.  As we observed, the process of digging and the act of “unearthing” proved to be both about discovery and theories. The following pictures show some of the fervor with which they worked.  

 

As the Beavers explored, many inquisitions emerged.  Children are natural scientists, classifying, sorting and experimenting as they work.  When Emerson suggested that we bring the “creatures” upstairs for further exploration, agreements were made about how best to situate these critters in our classroom.  When Milo asserted, “We can’t put the worms from the Garden into our compost bin because they’ll fight with the other worms,” the Beavers agreed and a decision was made to keep them in their own separate bin.  With materials at the ready, the children set to work to sketching, observing and classifying the creatures they had found.   Theories about what creatures wanted, which creatures were poisonous (don’t worry none of them are!), and how the creatures might interact with one another were abundant.

This idea that different species of worms may fight with one another, kept on emerging.  To test this theory we set up a little social experiment with our wormies. When we asked them how they came to the conclusion that the worms would fight, here is what they said:

  • Charlotte: milo told me they might fight
  • Milo: Well Cate or either Téa told me they fight.
  • Cate + Tea: I didn’t say that, I don’t know

Where did this information come from?

  • Harry : Maybe from the computer

How can we tell the worms are different?

  • Milo: Because one is long and one is short
  • What do you think will happen if we put them together?
  • Beavers: They’ll fight!
  • What about those mysterious creatures we’ve been finding what are those?
  • Arjun: Magnets, they are poisonous.
  • Why do we think they are poisonous?
  • Arjun: Because they play with worms.
  • Ruby: Because they bite, they might bight a worm.
  • Téa: They might be poisonous because they are white, and a lot of white stuff that I have are a little poisonous . Let’s say that one persons is a bug, who wants to be the bug? Arjun! Since he’s the teacher of the day, and let’s say I’m a worm and I’m squiggling through the dirt, and I see something coming up ahead, and whiting goes a little deeper and they might go up and bite the bottom.Vivian: Alex said if you step on it they’ll kill you.Alex: I actually learned that from Arjun.
  • Arjun: It got caught in my brain.

Does anyone think they aren’t poisonous?

  • Steelo: They aren’t poisonous because not all white stuff is poisonous.
  • Ezra : I think because some stuff are also white.
  • Steelo: Like a white cup!
  • Jake: I think they are not poisonous but everybody thinks they’re poisonous but if you touch them they do something. But I touched the magnet and Arjun touched the magnet and they don’t actually make you die.  They just make you a little dirty.
  • Emerson: when I picked one up it bit me on this hand but it wasn’t poisonous because i was holding it from Imagination Station to down the side. Because I was testing it and it didn’t poison me.
  • Elfie: I think when Emerson was holding the thing it bitted her so I think everything doesn’t have to be poisonous if it just bites you.
  • Ezra: Only a rattlesnake is poisonous.

Another context we provided the children to be able to continue their “digging,” was at the Sensory Table.  Filled with our vermicompost, sticks, stones, scoopers, shovels, and plastic insects, the Beavers enjoyed getting their hands dirty in the compost our worms had worked hard to produce.

In other activities from the week….

The Beavers found some dead carpenter bees near Imagination Station.  We set them up in some glass dishes with our light projector for some light provocations.  We provided different materials with which to sketch and sketch onto, such as pencils, chalk, sharpies, corrugated cardboard, and graphing paper.

We also started making terrariums using recycled seltzer bottles.  Layering stones, Spanish moss, charcoal, and our very own vermicompost, the Beavers created beautiful recycled planters.  As the plants grow, we will track the progress!

Some other photos from our work this week … playdough, intricate block structures, and more!

As requested, here is the recipe for “Dirt Playdough”:  Remember, there is no such thing as too much glitter!

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Playdough-Play-doh/

Finally, we had some incredible new this week … just two days into her maternity leave, Denisse entered the hospital and had her beautiful baby boy!  Liam Christopher McDermott was born on April 28th, 2016: 7 lbs, 9 oz, 100% Beaver!  Below, watch the video that Denisse sent us to let us know she was in the hospital, as well as the Beavers’ reaction!

We taught your children, “The Green Grass Grows All Around,” which quickly became a class favorite this week. They choreographed some pretty adorable dance moves to this oldie, but goodie!   Here are the lyrics so you can sing along, as your Beaver performs their dance for you!  

The Green Grass Grows All Around

Téa’s family shared an exciting video with us!  Téa’s Uncle Tyler runs a farm in New York State that has a composting site used to keep the plants and animals on the farm healthy.  Here’s the video that he made especially for the Beavers (and that the Beavers watched this afternoon!)

CLICK HERE!

We hope your weekend is filled with lots of time in the digging in the dirt! With a chance of rain on Sunday, don’t miss your chance to rescue some worms!  Happy digging!

 

 

SPRINGing Into Action!

It was a wonderful, busy, week in the Beaver lodge!  As always, we were buzzing with activity.  The Beavers relished every opportunity to take full advantage of this beautiful spring weather with lots of time outside.  

Firstly, thank you to all of our parent chaperones who accompanied us on our field trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park!  It was a wonderful opportunity to spend some time outside, exploring one of our local public parks while simultaneously servicing our community.  The Beavers arrived with enough time to explore Slide Mountain (a fantastic playground with lots of places to explore – and lots of slides, of course!)  before beginning our Earth Day activity. Karla Osorio-Peréz, the volunteer coordinator at Brooklyn Bridge Park, gathered the Beavers and our parent volunteers in a circle to lead us through the activity of the day: Mulching!  Karla explained that mulch is full of vitamins and minerals for plants, and that placing mulch around the root of any plant will help it grow bigger and stronger.  The Beavers chimed in, “just like vitamins help our bodies grow!”, and, “We have mulch in our Garden!”  They then eagerly got to work, putting on gardening gloves and grabbing big handfuls of mulch to spread around the base of the trees and plants near Pier 6.  After the activity, we enjoyed lunch at the picnic tables near Pier 5, and finished our Brooklyn Bridge Park excursion with some more play time.  The weather was glorious, and everyone had a smile on their face as we got our fill of the sunny, beautiful day.

On Monday, we gathered all of the data from our compost surveys last week, and observed what the results told us about the current composting situation here at Packer.  During Choice Time, the teachers prepared a large poster to visually represent the data from our surveys.  We called over each child to look at a survey, and to place a dot sticker in the corresponding section to represent an individual’s response.  By looking at the finished chart, the Beavers were able to see that although everyone would like to compost at school, only two people in the Lower School actually participate in composting.  We then posed the question:  If we know everyone wants to compost, how can we help them learn more about the process?  Pearl suggested making posters and flyers to “spread the word” , and thus, a flyer making project began!

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In half groups, the Beavers practiced writing some keywords about compost by preparing our flyers.  Each child wrote the words “COMPOST” and “BEAVERS” in the appropriate spaces of our flyers, so the posters read, “A fact about COMPOST, from The BEAVERS”.  We then engaged in a discussion: What are the most important facts our community needs to know about composting?  What do we want people to remember?  How can we convince the Lower School that composting is easy, and can be done in our school space?  After contributing their many ideas, the Beavers and the teachers selected the six facts that they felt were the most important for the beginner-composters in our community to know:

  1. Worms can eat all kinds of peels
  2. Worms can eat garbage to make compost
  3. Vermicompost is better than regular dirt
  4. You can use worms to compost!
  5. Compost does not smell bad!
  6. Worms have five hearts!

During Choice Time the following day, we decorated the flyers to further illustrate these important facts.  On Thursday, in small groups, the Beavers embarked to canvas for our Lower School Compost Initiative!  As they traveled through the hallways of the Lower School, they were eager to engage members of our community in discussions about composting, explaining that we want everyone in our school to compost because “it’s really pretty easy,”, as Cate said.  Téa mentioned, “It’s just best for the earth to make the earth more beautiful”, and Ezra added, “The worms just stay in the bins, they don’t go anywhere.”  All in all, the Beavers contributed a convincing argument in favor of starting a school-wide composting project.  Stay tuned for our next steps in the process!

On Tuesday, in honor of Election Day, the teachers planned an election of our very own.  As many of the Beavers have their own opinions of the presidential candidates (and have already been quite vocal in their preferences for the next presidential candidate), we decided to bring the notion of an election to the whole class.  After discussing what happens during an election, we announced that during Choice Time, we would vote on two very serious platform issues:  More Choice Time Minutes vs. More Garden Time Minutes.  At Morning Meeting, the Beavers had the opportunity to give a statement in order to convince anyone who was undecided.  Below, watch some examples of persuasive debate by the Beavers:

After voting, they received an “I Voted!” sticker, which the Beavers proudly wore all day.  In the end, “More Garden Time” won, 12:7!  

Democracy is an important part of any classroom, and honors the voices of all students.  As the Beavers often engage in voting, and are used to assessing the general interests of our community and classroom through graphs, the teachers feel that it is important to engage them in the rule-making and implementation of rules in the Beaver lodge.  Recently, MagnaTiles has been a highly coveted material during Choice Time.  Since our collection is limited, at times, disputes arise over what to build, who gets how many tiles, and how to take the structures apart.  Given these obstacles, the Beavers unanimously expressed an interest in holding a community meeting to generate new rules for MagnaTiles during Choice Time.  The teachers were incredibly impressed as your children took turns to express their opinions,.  They also showed active listening skills, synthesizing the opinions of their peers and responding to them appropriately.  The conversation was positive, encouraging, and fruitful.  Below, watch a video clip of some of the Beavers expressing their ideas and concerns:

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Lastly, we had a surprise visitor during Morning Meeting today.  This morning, a couple of the Beavers found a small mouse near our attendance chart.  Although it was still alive, it was stunned and looked rather dazed.  We placed the mouse in a jar, sent it some kind thoughts, and passed it along to Lynnette Arthur, so the Puppies could observe it as well.  As the children are natural caretakers, they wanted to keep it as a pet.  We explained that city mice are not the safes pets for humans, and we released it outside.  Not to be deterred, the Beavers worked together during Choice Time to create a “mouse habitat”, in case Little Mousie (as it has affectionately been named) decided to make a return.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

4.15.2016

What a week! First of all, a huge THANK YOU to the entire community for joining us for such a fun celebration and for your amazing secret keeping skills! Wow! We are in awe that this was genuinely a surprise for our sweet mama-to-be! Thank you for being a part of such a wonderful baby shower! Denisse was overwhelmed by love for all and truly touched.  A special thank you to Jennifer and Jess for their extra efforts in making the morning a success!  

Watch Denisse’s reaction … she had no idea!  Link here: Surprise!

It was a very busy week with lots of projects to further enrich our composting efforts.  To kick start the week, we set up several experiments to test some of the theories we have about compost.  One thing we have heard about compost is that vermicompost is one of the most nutritious fertilizers.  To test this idea we planted two lima bean seeds.  One was planted in our vermicompost, while the other was planted in dirt dug up from Packer’s garden.  We asked the question: Which plant will grow better, vermicompost or dirt?  We discussed that an important step in the scientific process is making a hypothesis or a guess.  Your children illustrated their ideas and dictated their predictions.  

Which plant will grow better vermicompost or dirt?

Alex: I think the [vermicompost] will turn this seed into a rose.

Steelo: The vermicompost will grow bigger and the dirt will grow smaller.

Ava: These are plants growing [in dirt], but these are flowers blooming [in vermicompost]!

Cate: I think vermicompost will turn into flowers and dirt will turn into leaves.

Asher: I think the dirt will grow bigger.

Pearl: The vermicompost is going to grow prettier and the dirt is gonna grow less pretty.

Ezra: My hypothesis is that the vermicompost will grow bigger.

Vivian: I drew it really high because my plant [in the vermicompost] will grow a lot. That’s my hypopasus.

Téa: I thought the compost was gonna grow better because it was pooped out by worms and it’s the best dirt there ever was.

Harper: I think the dirt will grow better because I use dirt at home for planting and my plants grow really big.

Lucia: I think vermicompost will grow bigger because ‘vermicompost’ is a longer word.

Arjun: I think they’re gonna grow both.

Carmen: The vermicompost will grow better because the earth will have more dirt and compost.

Emerson: The vermicompost will grow better because it’s healthier for plants.

Jalen: The vermicompost will grow better because the dirt is this big, but the vermicompost is THIS big.

Milo: The vermicompost will grow better because it’s healthier for plants.

Jake: I think the dirt will grow better puz the dirt is what persons usually one.

Charlotte: The vermicompost will grow better because we’ve worked harder on it.

Ruby: The vermicompost will, because it’s healthier for plants.

Elfie: The vermicompost will because it’s prettier to touch and healthier.

Harry: Well, every time I plant with vermicompost it only grows this big, but when I plant with dirt it grows SO big.

It has been so fun to watch your children and their excitement about their lima bean plants.  Everyday they have eagerly checked them for progress and provided them water for growth.  We have not seen any sprouts yet, but we’ve continuously reminded your children, scientists often have to be very patient! We’re hoping for some signs of growth next week!

Now that the Beavers are so invested in the importance of our service project, we wanted to investigate how knowledgeable the Packer community at large is about the benefits and accessibility of composting.  On Wednesday, we toured the Lower School in small groups to conduct a survey.  We stopped into classrooms and asked the questions:  Do you know what compost is?  Do you compost in your classroom?  And, Do you want to compost at school?  These classroom visits also provided an opportunity to dispel some common misconceptions about composting.  “It’s really not that hard!”, remarked Cate to one faculty member who doubted whether composting in her office would be feasible.  “It doesn’t even smell bad!”, exclaimed Milo and Charlotte.  Next week, we will review the results of our survey and determine what our next steps need to be!

Another fact we have learned is that 1lb of worms (about 1000 worms) can eat 3x their weight in food each week!!! While we certainly feed our worms throughout the week, we wanted to test whether or not we were collecting enough food for them.  The children hypothesized at the start of the week, and then everyday we have weighed our food collections.  Throughout the week the children would eagerly check the scale, commenting on the food scrap they had put in and how heavy they thought it would make our collection.  When we noticed some discrepancies in the weight of our food collections, the children discussed, debated and decided, our scale needed “recallibrating” (yes, they understood and used this word!) and ultimately, that they had broken our scale.  Eager Beavers aggressively pushing down on a scale is not good for a plastic piece of ___________.  🙂 Amazon Prime will hopefully have us back up and running on Monday! As of Wednesday we had collected just over 2.5lbs.   

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We created a collaborative mural of a compost bin over the course of the week.  Using paint, recyclables and magazine cuttings, the Beavers illustrated what the inside of a worm bin might look like.  Flipping through endless copies of Bon Appetit (it’s a teacher favorite!), the children cut out pictures of foods that were compostable.  They were so pleased with their efforts and we loved hearing their buzz as they worked.  

We had a fun-filled, educational trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. We began our trip with a lovely picnic lunch just outside the entrance.  After setting up some picnic blankets and gathering to enjoy our meal, the Beavers ran around, fully enjoying the beautiful spring weather.  We then entered the Garden and explored the Lily Pond and the Japanese Garden, relishing the opportunity to spend time outside amongst the flora and fauna. Spring was in the air as the Beavers observed koi in the koi pond, relaxed under the Japanese gazebo, and literally stopped to smell the flowers.  We then returned to the educational center at BBG, and gathered in a classroom to begin our composting workshop.  The Beavers had the opportunity to extend their expertise as Packer’s master composters with some of the biggest players in the field. The workshop was led by Claudia Navas, an instructor with the BBG’s Urban Gardener program.  We were also joined again by Lia Raz, a Master Composter for the city of New York, who visited our classroom last week. Claudia and Lia led an engaging workshop, describing the importance of composting and how composting can help our environment and local community.   The Beavers sorted images of what kinds of household materials are compostable (and what materials are not), and then got to work getting their hands into some compost bins!  We played with worms, explored some vermicompost, and helped to support the BBG’s own collection of worm bins by adding our food scraps from lunch. The workshop finished up with a trip to the BBG’s biggest compost site, where the Beavers saw a different composting process. Using natural decomposers such as insects and worms, as well as letting the compostable material “cook”, the BBG uses its compost to help keep the beautiful plants and flowers of the garden healthy and happy.  While we learned a lot, the Beavers often responded with a resounding; “We know that, already!” to many of the questions and explanations. Both the BBG educators and the parent volunteers, were super impressed by the depth of knowledge your Beavers possess.  The trip was a fantastic complement to our service project, and really solidified the Beavers’ position as master composters!  As a class, we feel inspired and prepared to continue our composting initiative.  
Thank you to all of our parent volunteers for helping make the day a success! Our trip to Brooklyn Botanic Garden wouldn’t have been possible without your extra sets of eyes, ears and hands….  One of the best parts of the experience for your teachers, was hearing the parent buzz and questions about the prospect of setting up home composting bins! Do the ROT thing!!! Until next week…

 

 

In Other News…

The Beavers are springing into writing and recording!  From our Writer’s Notebooks to observational drawings of the spring trees in our Garden, the Beavers were hard at work this week.

Some friends built the Empire State Building during Choice Time:

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You  may notice a new addition to the Garden – the Little Free Library!  The Little Free Library is the culmination of a service project conducted by Anne Montero and Karina Copeland’s class, the Kindergarten Trains.  As the Trains explain: “A Little Free Library is a little library that people put books in.  A Little Free Library is not like usual libraries.  You don’t have to return books after you have read them.  You can just keep them and you don’t have to pay for them.  Please, will you look at home for books you don’t think you will need anymore?  If you find some good books, please put them in the Little Free Library.  Please don’t bring books that you didn’t like.  Please bring books you love and think other people should read.  We have already brought a lot of books for the little free library, but we need more books because people love to read.”

We have explained to the Beavers that the library only works if you not only take books, but also give books.  So please, look around your libraries at home for books that you once loved, but no longer read on a regular basis.  Donate them to the Little Free Library!

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Finally … Our last Teacher of the Day dance!

TOD dance

“Burrowing” Right Back Into It!

It was so nice to have the band back together again! Your children have such tight bonds and we love seeing them greet each other with such genuine joy! We spent the week catching up on lost time and hearing about adventures from over break.

We dove right back into it on Monday. When we came in at the start of the week, one of our first orders of business was to check on our worms after the two weeks off. When we opened our worm bin we realized we had a COMPOST CRISIS!!!!!  There was an attempted mass exodus from our bin. With worms slithering up the sides and crumpled in the outside corners of the lid, we realized we had a problem.  Now despite a worm having 5 HEARTS (!!!), we couldn’t allow ourselves to get emotional about this. We needed to take a pragmatic approach to problem solving. We sat down with your scientists to consult them about what they thought might have caused this phenomenon.  Theories ranged from: “maybe they’re too crowded?”, “maybe they were cold?”, “maybe they wanted to be free?”  We then brainstormed our next steps to remedy the issue. Something the Beavers have continued to observe over the course of the year is that happy worms burrow down, and unhappy worms slither up. We reframed our question: what could be making our worms unhappy? When Téa mentioned, “Maybe it’s because they’re just starving and didn’t have enough food!” Charlotte piggy backed, “Yes! They must be looking for food!” Jake chimed in, “I bet they’re hungry!” We asked them what  they like to do when  they’re super hungry. Vivian erupted, “Eat a lot!”  And there it was…we had our solution to our problem. We needed to make sure they had a big meal to make up for lost time. While we generate plenty of food scraps in our classroom, we wanted to be sure we had more than usual so we asked the Beavers to go home that evening and collect extra food scraps to bring in for our wormies. The next day, several children brought bags of apples peels, cores, and banana peels.  This has continued throughout the week.  If your Beaver did not have a chance to bring in any food scraps, please feel free to start collecting and sending them our way!

This brings us to our next question: do you compost at home? Start thinking about all of the food waste you produce at home and if there are more environmentally friendly solutions for the ways in which you discard of it. We LOVE composting in our classroom, but we wanted to survey, how many of us actually compost at home?  Many of the Beavers were reluctant to answer no because they expressed that they really love composting! We reassured them that just because they don’t already, doesn’t mean they can’t in the future.  Next week we will survey to see how many Beavers want to compost at home! Get ready to get the full court press from your Pre-Ker!

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 Over the course of the year our worms have been very busy and have generated LOTS of compost.  In half groups on Wednesday, we set to work harvesting our vermicompost (the technical term for the product of the worm castings and mulchy bedding).  After laying a plastic drop cloth down on the rug, the Beavers worked in pairs to sort out the worms and food scraps and set aside the vermicompost.  This was a huge endeavor, and the activity has extended into Choice Time for two days!  The Beavers loved getting their hands dirty!  Harry remarked, “This is the most fun I’ve ever had in school!”  In fact, the biggest challenge was staying on task and not getting distracted by the worms themselves – which are now considered the official class pet of the Beavers.  Next week we will make plans for what we would like to do with our vermicompost.

Worms have been dominating our thoughts these days.  Beavers got worms on the brain, and that’s no lie! During Garden this week, the teachers observed a group of children huddled together, talking busily and hard at work.  When we approached to see what the fuss was about, they erupted, “Look! We found a worm and now we’re making it a habitat!!!” Over half the class proceeded to work together to create a habitat that they thought would suit the needs of this living creature.  Complete with sticks, stones, “lots of dirt, of course,” a moss carpet and leaves, the Beavers thought carefully about the ways in which they could care for their new wiggly friend.

On Thursday, we had a special visitor to help us solidify some of our grand ideas for extending our composting work into the greater Packer community.  Lia Raz, a good friend of Sara’s, a Packer alumna, and a Master Composter for the City of New York, came to our classroom to answer some of our remaining questions. Here are some notes from our interview.

Teachers: What have we been working on in our classroom?

Alex: We have been feeding our worms a lot

Jake: Harvesting

The Beavers: How do worms eat?

Lia: Since they have no teeth, they suck the food scrap really hardly and pull it out and then they eat it. They have a special kind of gizzard. It has kind of sand in it and the sand scratches it, breaks it down and it comes out and it becomes castings or worm poop.

The Beavers: How do worms pee?

Lia: I am certain that they do, but I’m not sure how.

Steelo: Maybe they have a little straw they let it out.

Lia: Guess how many hearts worms have?…5!

Jake: So, even if you cut one heart of the worm they will have 4 more left!

Lia: Do you believe worms have eyes? Worms do not have eyes.

The Beavers: What happens inside their bodies? How long can they get?

Lia- They do not live very long, maybe 4 years. They can get as big and thick as an earth worm.

The Beavers: Can anything with core be composted, like corn on the cob?

Lia: Pretty much anything with a core. Vermicompost is the kind of compost you have in your classroom.

Harry: I love composting

Steelo: I like playing with worms!

Pearl: It is also really fun to compost.

Emerson: We found a worm outside at garden and we made it a worm house.

Ruby: Some of our friends made a worm habitat!

Vivian: When we build the worm thing we planted plants to let the worm play on it.

 

During her visit, Lia also helped the teaching team brainstorm some next steps for our service project and we have some amazing things planned, so stay tuned!

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Of course, we had to teach Lia our Worm Song!  For your enjoyment too here is a video and the lyrics, so you can sing along, too!

Worms Eat Our Garbage

Worms eat our garbage,

They eat it everyday!

Worms eat our garbage,

They it eat up, hooray!

Turning trash to compost, the job they do the most…..

Eat it in the morning and the noon and night.

Turning trash to compost is quite a sight!

Worms eat our garbage,

They eat it everyday!!!

If you have been thinking about making compost but think that it may be too difficult, complicated, or time-consuming … think again! While composting can be an exact science, it certainly doesn’t need to be. After all, Mother Nature does composting all the time without the help of human effort. We can join her efforts without making it a big deal. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be researching various composting methods and then show you how to make your own homemade composting bin! In case you’re interested in saving some food scraps for our classroom worm bin, please make a note that at this time we are only composting fruit and vegetable scraps.  While this is perfect for our 2000+ worms (!!!) that we have, the list of compostable materials is staggering.  If you’re curious or considering composting yourself, please see the following list.  Do the ROT thing!

Compostable Materials

  • Banana peels
  • Bread
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Dryer lint
  • Egg shells
  • Feathers
  • Flowers
  • Flour
  • Fruit scraps
  • Grains
  • Grass clippings & yard waste
  • Green plant trimmings
  • House plants
  • Hair
  • Leather
  • Leaves
  • Kitchen scraps
  • Natural fibers (cotton, linen, wool)
  • Newsprint (b&w)
  • Oatmeal
  • Paper/cardboard (shredded)
  • Peanut shells
  • Pine needles
  • Potato peels
  • Rice
  • Stale bread & cereal
  • Straw & hay
  • Tea bags
  • Tobacco
  • Protein powder
  • Vacuum bag wastes
  • Wood chips & shavings

Non-compostable materials

  • Bones
  • Dairy products
  • Diseased plants
  • Fats
  • Feces
  • Fish
  • Limestone compound
  • Meat
  • Peanut butter
  • Weeds
  • Sauces