Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Today we wrapped up our first semester here on the farm!  We reviewed what the class has learned about work animals.  We talked about animals that pull carts, carry packs, etc.  Guess what?  The story of the first Christmas is the perfect end to our workshop!  We focused on the work animals in the story.  We talked mainly about the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem, but we also talked about camels which carried the wise men and their packs.  Throughout the day, we came back to the Christmas story.  Our read-aloud was a version of the story of Mary and Joseph, as told by the donkey.  The kids also learned a song today. The song, the Friendly Beasts was perfect!  It tells of the animals in the stable and the gifts they gave to Baby Jesus.

The class worked with different patterns today.  They created a large ornament, and each section consisted of a different pattern.  Learning to follow steps and listen to directions is a huge part of growing and maturing!  I am very pleased with their progress so far this year!

The younger class talked more about action verbs today.  They did an awesome job with their stories!  We made a big list of all of the actions verbs used in their writing assignments.  The group really improved in their ability to recognize them! 

The older class learned about prepositions today.  They then used prepositions to make a little booklet about one of our trouble-making goats!  Their booklet contained illustrations of the little doe jumping "over" the fence, getting "into" the feed, hiding "under" a car, etc.  Who knew that goats were a perfect way to study prepositions!  They will work on finishing these up and home, and we will share them when we return on January 13th!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Today's Farm News was a long one.  A lot has happened since our last class.  We have an impending birth (Esther, the Nigerian Dwarf doe, is due to kid any time), the sale of KitKat the super friendly goat kid, some awesome Livestock Guardian Dog action, some new visitors on the farm (alpacas!), and a very sad death of a new goat kid.  We talked about the constant flow of life and death on the farm.  Yes, it is very sad when an animal does not make it.  The students handled the news very well, and we talked about the learning that takes place and new precautions that are made any time something bad happens.  These are the major teaching moments that I don't want to miss.

After getting up to speed, the class then went back to talk about alpacas.  We had discussed fiber animals in our last workshop, but it wasn't until now that the class was about to make observations!  We have three visiting suri alpacas on the farm!  The class was able to feed them, and observe their padded feet, the way they lay down in kush position, and how they lack top teeth!  The kids were fascinated!

After our animal time, the class listened as I read the story, "Blue Ribbon Alpaca".  This was an absolutely perfect story for today's lesson!  The main character in the story is a young alpaca names Josephine.  We talked about agriculture topics in the books such as sheering the fleece, bottle-feeding when the mother's milk does not come in, etc, but we also discussed major themes in the book such as rudeness and bullying, self confidence, and unconditional love.

For art, the groups talked about perspective.  The younger class worked on a horse, large and in the foreground.  They will add smaller animals in the background and paint them next week.  The older class learned how to create perspective with a lesson in fence drawing.  They did an absolutely amazing job!

The younger class talked about action verbs today.  The class came up with verbs for each of the farm animals that they have met, and we wrote them on the board.  Then, the students played a game.  Each student was given a card.  The student with the START card read her sentence first.  The class had to pick out the action verb in the sentence.  Then, they had to look at their cards to see if they had the same verb listed at the top.  If so, it was their turn to read their sentence out loud.  It was like a verbal scavenger hunt!

Our class will meet again on December 13th.  Until then, the kids will be working on a writing assignment. The younger class talked about action verbs today.  They will be writing a farm story (maybe about alpacas or work animals such as horses, donkeys, mules, or cart-goats).  The story should have some great action verbs that we can talk about in class!  (Each child will be working on his or her own level.  Feel free to help them write, dictate for them and then let them copy your words, etc.  This is stress-free and can be modified as needed!)  The older class talked a lot about the bizarre alpacas!  They learned that there are two different breeds (suri and huacaya).  We talked about different terms, odd sounds and warning calls, and interesting behaviors of alpacas.  Write a story, but be sure to use lots of adjectives.  Make it descriptive!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Workshop #3: Work Animals

We are studying "Work Animals" for this workshop, but we spent time with ALL the animals and soaked up the beautiful fall weather!

Donkeys are one of the "Beasts of Burden" that we are studying.  We talked about how they help farms all over the world plow fields, pull carts, and carry loads.

The class spent some time with the new zebu bull and heifer!

The younger class worked on horses today!

The older class finished up a previous mosaic project.