Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Turkey Talk!

Today, we learned all about turkeys! 

The day started with a turkey coloring sheet, while we waited for all of our friends to arrive.  Once we were ready to begin, we had a great discussion on turkeys.  Before we jumped in, the kids had to learn a new word: domestic.  The class learned about the differences between wild turkeys and domestic turkeys, including that wild turkeys are smaller, have better eyesight, and can fly farther.  The students also learned that turkeys live in North America, which lead us to the wall map for a brief geography lesson!

There are different types of turkeys.  We talked about the benefits of large, fast-growing turkeys, as well as the benefits of slower growing heritage breeds.  We have Bourbon Red turkeys, which are a heritage breed that does not reach a mature weight until 28 weeks.  (Broad Breasted White turkeys, a common turkey for eating, reach a mature weight in 12-18 weeks.)

We talked about the different features of turkeys, and I asked the class to pay special attention to their heads and necks as we do our Observation Study!  The kids and I went on a walk to document our findings on the turkeys.  Lucky for us, they were sociable!  Each student was able to feed them grain, and we all sat and watched them interact.  The mature male (which is called a Tom), gobbled and put on a show!  The class learned that the turkeys that we see in pictures and in coloring books are usually "strutting" and "fanning", which means they are "puffed up" and their tail feathers are upright and spread apart.  They learned that the males put on this show when they are threatened, but also to attract the females (hens).  I compared this to cardinals, peacocks, and other birds.  Our young hen "clucked" for the kids, so they were able to compare the two sounds.  It was a great day for observations!

After recording their findings (and having a snack), the class listened as I read the book, "The Turkey Prince".  I love this book!  It is about a young boy who will one day become king.  One night, at a banquet, the pressure of public speaking got to him.  Overwhelmed, he hid under the table in the kitchen... and pretended that he was a turkey.  In the story, a man finally helps the boy by also pretending to be a turkey, making friends with the young prince, and eventually gaining his trust.  They traveled together, seeing sights and learning about different people.  Finally, the young prince was confident and ready to become king!  We had a great discussion about stress.  Everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes!  We also talked about what would have happened if the man had simply ordered the boy out from under the table.  Patience and compassion helped to make the boy a strong and confident young man!

Although there was no reading assignment for last week, a few of the students wanted to write on their own, and brought their stories in to share with the class.  I was so impressed!  They read their stories, and then we began our turkey craft.  The class made their next felt animal!  These little guys ended up too thick to be able to sew together.  We'll just alter the plan a bit, and these cute little turkeys can be stuffed next week!