Plants and Dirt

Dear parents,

We began our week reading Soil. We read A Tree Is Nice and All About Seeds. We have also been reading The Giving Tree.

We got our seeds out of the window for a close-up examination to see if any changes had occurred. Many seeds had sprouted. Some children squealed with delight at the sight of roots and stems. Each person got to fill in a square on our chart indicating growth.

After reading Buds we each got a flower bud that had fallen from our tree. The children investigated their buds, pulling off petals and finding little green parts inside. We saved the parts for further observation.

We read chapter two of Soil. We decided to fill four jars with dirt from the yard to compare them, as the book suggested. The childrenchose to fill the jars with dirt from the sandbox, by the brown
square, beside the bush, and by the swings. We compared the four kinds of dirt. Children noticed: "they’re cold", "them look like little boulders", "the dirt is wet", "the sand is heavier than the dirt", and "the dirt is more thicker". The complete list is hanging in the classroom.

The next day we added water to our jars of dirt and looked again. What do you see? Answers were: "the first one is the fastest soaking up water", number four is darker", "I see chunks of dirt in this one", and "I see some bubbles". Many more answers are also hanging in the classroom.

We reviewed our book Soil and children recalled names for different layers of soil. They also remembered what soil is made of: dead and decaying plants and animals, and rocks. This sparked a conversation about death and people being buried in the ground. Someone told us their grandparent had died and was buried in a coffin in the ground. Another friend said a pet had died and was buried too. Someone added that we are also animals. We remembered our pumpkin we left in the garden in October and how it had decayed.

We read about another experiment in the book, and while outside in the sprinkling rain, we collected rocks. When the rocks had dried the next day, we scratched them together over white pieces of paper to see if anything came off. We observed bits of rock and dust on the paper. The
book told us this is another way dirt is made.

This week we were supposed to do tree rubbings, but we never got to that, because of the 1965 book Soil, now on the Old First Best Seller List! We followed the class's lead and left (part of) the schedule behind in a cloud of dust. Literally.

Last Friday Frankie, Anna’s brother-in-law-to-be, came in and played the saxophone for us. The class was pretty much thrilled. We had quite a few dancers. Frankie explained about the different types of saxes, showed us how the reed is used, let children push buttons, and told us why Charlie Parker is called Bird. He played several songs and explained that he made mistakes but in jazz you can just improvise and blend them in. A couple of times when children were taking turns
talking about instruments they have at home, one person kept raising her hand and asking for more music. More sax!

Next week more growth.

Have an amazing weekend,