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Monday, 2 March 2015

Reflecting on our sessions this term in Hazel Group.

Hazel group having been reflecting on what skills they have acquired so far this term and what they would like to learn in the coming weeks.

Haaris has enjoyed learning how to climb trees, drinking hot chocolate and playing hide and seek with his friends. He would like to have a party in the woods.

Arebah has enjoyed climbing trees,  finding a rock with interesting properties, and taking part in the hibernation challenge. Next she would like to build a mud slide, find out more about the birds living in the woodland and discover new plants.

Lizzie liked climbing trees as she had never done it before. She would like to see a badger as they sound beautiful. She would also like to walk on a tightrope as it sounds fun.

Sannaullah enjoyed digging for worms with his friends and playing kings. Next he would like to make woodland jewellery and look for wildflowers and animals.

Aisha has had lots of fun climbing trees. getting stuck in the mud and making pancakes. She has also enjoyed splashing in puddles. Next she would like to make a kite and hunt for spiders in their  sticky gluey webs.

Nellie-Jo enjoyed learning how to make fire and using a rope to climb a hill. She would liketo build a mud castle,plant some flowers and learn more about woodland birds.

Eesa liked digging for worms and lighting the fire. He has also enjoyed taking photographs and videos of our Forest School sessions. Next he would like to make some woodland jewellery and look for wildflowers and birds.

Phoebe liked using the binoculars to observe a nature as well as climbing trees and collecting natural materials.  She would like to do some foraging and rope balancing.

It looks like we have some action packed sessions ahead.

Nest Building

Our groups this week have been observing how the woodland is changing as we prepare to wave goodbye to Winter and usher in Spring. As we took a moment to absorb the sights and sounds, the children noticed the birds in full song all around them. We shared out thoughts about why we might be hearing more birdsong than we had last term.

Some of the children thought there may be more birds in the woods because it was getting warmer and they could find food. 

We moved on to talk about how birds would be beginning to build nest ready to lay their eggs in the Spring. The children shared their thoughts on what would make good nesting material. Anisa and Maryam decided they wanted to build their own nest. They collected sticks and laid them in a crook of a tree. They added moss and leaves to line the nest and keep the eggs warm. Anisa said that she wasn't going to use holly in their nest as it would hurt the chicks when they hatched.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Marshmallows in the woods

The last few weeks have been particularly chilly at Forest School. The children learning about ways to keep warm including wearing lots of layers and doing activities that require us to keep moving. Today, we decided it would be good to take our fire kit to the woods to help us keep warm. 

Damien did a sterling job wheeling our kit all the way to the woods. We found a suitable spot where the ground was flat and free from trip hazards and set up our fire circle. We played the change places if you are... game to reinforce our rule about walking around the outside of the fire circle. Next talked about what we might need to light our fire. Near to our fire circle, we found some weeds with a few fluffy seed heads remaining. Along with a little cotton wool from our kit, we used these to catch the spark from our fire steel and ignite our fire. Maryam developed a good technique for creating a spark with fire steel and was able to share her skill with other children in the group. 
With us, we had some silver birch twigs  that had been collected earlier in the year and dried out at school. Silver birch makes excellent kindling as it has a lower water content than some other hard woods and is rich in oils. Once the fire was established, the children ventured off to find a stick on which to toast their marshmallows. They had to find a stick that was at least as long as their arm and as thick as their thumb (The staff helped the children to identify that the sticks chosen were from non-toxic trees). Once a suitable stick was found, the children used peelers to remove the bark from the sticks. 

As we toasted our marshmallows, we heard a sound overhead and looked up to see skein over geese flying noisy across the sky. We discussed where the geese may be flying to. The children decided that because it was so cold where we were, the geese may be flying off on a holiday to somewhere warmer.

After the toasting was finished the children took it in turns to pour water on the fire to extinguish it and shared with the group what they had learned. Once all the fire kit was safely packed away, some of the group were keen to finish the session with a game of 123 where are you. Meanwhile Maryam chose to study the ice crystals that had formed on the woodland shrubs.


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Snow Rolling

This activity grew out of some of the group wanting to make snow angels. One of the children decided to roll along the snow after making their snow angel. Another child noticed the pattern that was being left behind as they rolled. The desire to roll began to spread among the group. A few of the children held back at first but finally couldn't resist getting in on the roly poly fun.

Mudsliding in the woods

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Our Kenning Poems

Our wild weather walk around the locality has been inspiring us to write Kenning poems. Here is a taster of a few of them.

Tree  smasher, 
House  crasher,  
Water splasher
Bin trasher,

By Haroon

Fast trotter,
 Great racer,
Mane swinger,
Tail wafter,

by Hannah 

Puddle  splasher,
Big  trotter,
Hole  maker,
View  looker,
Wind  seeker,
Human  dragger,
Scent finder,

by Aatqa

Fast trotter, 
Racer winner ,
Fast eater,
Tail wafter,

By Paige

Feathery swooper,
Noisy pecker,

By Moniba

Tree  squeaking,  
Wind  blowing,  
House  smashing,
Water  floating,

By Luqman

Earth scraper,
Leaf lifter,
branch waver,
Hail dropper,
Hood dragger,

By Jessica

Friday, 23 January 2015

Snow much fun

This week, our woodland was transformed into a winter wonderland. As we walked down the bridleway into the woods the children squealed with excitement exclaiming that it was like entering Narnia. We ventured through the enchanting scenery to a part of the woodland that some of the group had visited before. Along the way we spotted the patterns and trails of animals and other visitors to the woodland.

Sycamore and Beech group both chose to visit their woodland playground area where they had created a mud slide in the autumn, the perfect place to build a snow slide. 

Following on from our session last week when we discussed our basic survival needs - food, water, warmth and shelter; this week we thought about how inhabitants of our woodland meet their survival needs. We have been thinking in particular about how some animals survive the winter months by creating food stores and hibernating. 

At the beginning of the session the children were set a challenge. In pairs, they were given a warm bottle of water. They had were invited to imagine that it was a woodland creature and choose a place where it could keep warm over the winter. Some of the children decided their animals were owls and hunted for hollows in trees to hide them in. Others decided that their animals were moles and foxes and would be more sheltered underground. They covered them with soil, moss, twigs and leaves. Once their animals were safely stashed, the children went off to explore the woodland.

Holly group found glass-like sheets of ice that had formed over their favourite splashing puddles. They were fascinated by the air bubbles trapped in the ice.
Taking care of our basic needs

Checking the temperature of our 'hibernating animals'
Walking in to Narnia

Snow sliding