Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ready for Spring!

Today was a big day!  First of all, our doe had her kid over the weekend, so the class was able to meet all three new baby goats!  The bunnies are (hopefully) bred, and we are crossing our fingers for March bunnies.  Finally, the chicken eggs that the class set in the incubator last week are on day 7 today, which means only two more weeks until hatch!  We are ready for spring!

Although this is our chicken workshop, I wanted the class to be able to help plant vegetables in our raised beds out back.  So, to get ready, the Fayette County Farm Bureau's Women's Committee came and helped the children start the seeds!  They placed damp cotton balls down into the fingers of clear plastic gloves.  Then, they placed their seeds into each finger.  I explained that seeds can sprout without dirt, and that it would help them to see the sprouting process.  One student was quick to point out that she had started an avocado plant in this way!  I love to see those little brains making connections!

After our seed project, we turned our attention back to our chickens.  The class did some mental math to figure out how many days the eggs had left before hatch.  Last week, I explained to the kids that the eggs must be turned 4-5 times per day.  Our electric egg turned does this job for us, but in nature, the mother hen turns them with her beak!  I used models of chicken embryo development for each day that the chicks have been in the incubator.  They all agreed that as of today, the tiny chick looks more like an alien than a chicken!  The class discussed how the embryo develops inside the shell, taking in nutrients from the yolk through the abdomen (like a belly button). 

We all listened as each student read their writing assignment for the week.  They all did a wonderful job of rewriting the story of "The Little Red Hen"!  I am especially proud of each and every one of them for being able to come up to the front of the class, jump up on a stool, and read to their classmates.  They don't realize it, but they are learning public speaking skills!  After they were finished, it was my turn.  I read the story, "Interrupting Chicken" to the kids as they ate their snacks.  We talked about different times people interrupt, and why it is important to try not to (unless there is an emergency, of course!)  

The day started off chilly, but by the time snack was finished, we were able to head out and see the animals.  The students compared the combs, tail feathers, and body structure of the roosters to the hens.  We talked about the different types of chickens, their behavior, and how to care for them.  The kids were also able to meet the baby goats!  We recently disbudded two of them, so the (human) kids were able to see that they made it through the process just fine!  I told the class the story of how my turkey laid her first egg last week... on the roof of the barn!  I showed them where she tried to make a nest, and how the egg rolled down the roof onto some leaves.  Then, I showed them where she made her new nest.  At the back of the barn, under a ladder, she found a little spot to hide away.  We peeked in and sure enough... an egg!  Spring, here we come!

Finally, the class was able to get back to their chicken craft.  They painted, taped, and painted some more.  These little hens are going to be adorable!

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