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Salmon are amazing creatures. 

Any creature who jumps up waterfalls in order to get back to their birthplace is worth learning about. 

Salmon Stream by Carol Reed-Jones is an ideal picture book to help young children learn about the life cycle of the salmon. 

Salmon Stream
author: Carol Reed-Jones
illustrator: Michael S. Maydak
publisher: Dawn Publications, 2001

Learning Magazine Teachers’ Choice Award
CBC/NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book

summary   Fast-paced prose and brilliant illustrations follow the salmon from their form as eggs in a stream to the wide ocean, eventually making a hazardous journey home to their stream of origin. As in her earlier best-selling book, The Tree in the Ancient Forest, author Carol Reed-Jones uses cumulative verse--a literary technique that is not only enjoyable but suggests how interconnected salmon are with their habitat. At the back is a section on salmon facts and what makes a good habitat for them, teaching the basics of ecology and why clean streams and waters are so important.   -- Dawn Publications

from Dawn Publications: https://dawnpub.com/activity/salmon-stream-activities/

After reading the book, we got ready to code our friendly salmon from the ocean back to the stream where she was born, so that she could lay her eggs (and die).

We got our our coding grid.

 I made it out of a heavy piece of paper and marked the squares with electrical tape.

Before we could code our fish "home", we had to create the journey.

What would be in between the ocean and her gravel bed -- the kids really wanted a waterfall, fish ladders, a tunnel/culvert.

How could we represent a waterfall, or fish ladders?  Loose parts to the rescue. The kids made a lego fish ladder, and a blue scarf and tin cans became a waterfall.  Driftwood and building blocks completed the "obstacles".

Then we started talking predators. Kindergarten kids can be pretty blood thirsty! But it made for more interesting coding, so ... we had a mama bear and 2 cubs, an eagle, a couple orca, a seal and a shark. The kids were a bit frustrated that the ocean animals had to stay in the ocean.  But we had to think like scientists.

Once the grid was all set up, we were ready to get our salmon to her spawning grounds.

We code with arrows.  Click [here] to print the set that I made to go with the grid.

Each child had a turn to put an arrow on the grid to help our mama salmon get upstream.

There was lots of discussion how to best make the journey.

Sometimes a wrong turn was made, and we had to "debug" the code. 

Just before our salmon was about to be coded to her spawning ground there was a shout - "eggs, we need red eggs". There was a bit of a scurry around the classroom as a gaggle of children looked around to see what could be salmon eggs. Red beads. Then we needed gravel. And still water. 

Then we could finish our code. 

We loved listening to Bobs and Lolo sing Run Salmon Run.  There's also an app.  Full disclosure - the song can get stuck in your head ... for days.


place based art

Reading The Six Cedar Trees by Margot Sandahl and Celeste Aleck, made us think about cedar trees.

They are all around us, but we hadn't really stopped to look at them with curiosity and creativity. 

As we looked carefully at the cedars in our school yard, we saw their beauty -- and wanted to make some art.

The 6 Core Competencies are at the heart of the redesigned BC curriculum.

They are designed to underpin and arch over all learning K - 12.

The Six Cedar Trees  is a book built on the Core Competencies.

The Six Cedar Trees
by: Margot Landahl and Celestine Aleck
publisher: Strong Nations Publishing, 2017

summary: Eagle perches himself in a grove of cedar trees high above a school playground. He explores the characteristics of 6 different Pacific Northwest animals and connects them with strengths  we grow in ourselves  (the core competencies).

Who would have guessed that the common garden snail would inspire great art.

As part of our snail inquiry/investigation/curiosity/learning, we wondered about how we could be snail inspired artists.

When we did some research, we discovered that we were not the first to be inspired to creation by the garden snail.

One of our favourite books is Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo. All right - it's one of my favourite books - but my enthusiasm is contagious - so the kids love it too.

As well as being a perfect story for reading, watching (the BBCOne production is delightful), and retelling -- it is also a perfect story for learning story elements.

a growing collection of play dough and loose parts invitations

Aliens in Underpants play dough invitation

play dough: play dough: kelly green Wilton food dye, green and blue glitter
underpants - laminated
cut garland, cut straws
pipe cleaners, strange shapes
wiggly eyes

Chinese New Year play dough invitation

play dough: red icing dye with red and gold glitter
red and yellow craft sticks
red, gold and black  cut up bead garland
red and black buttons
red gems and diamonds
red and yellow lids
gold coins (would love to get some Chinese coins)

make Chinese lantern art
create a Chinese New Year sensory bin
learn some Chinese writing

Christmas tree play dough invitation

play dough: kelly green Wilton food dye, green and blue glitter
I did not have vegetable oil in the house, so found a recipe 
using coconut oil at come on ilene 
cut up garland
gold and silver decorations
mini cookie cutters
tree cookie cutters (many available at Bulk Barn)

dinosaur play dough invitation
play dough: purple food dye, purple and fuchsia  glitter, lavender essential oil
big dinosaurs
little dinosaurs
little rocks
bigger rocks
glass gems

make a dinosaur bones sensory bin

fall playdough invitation
play dough: copper food dye, nutmeg and cinnamon, gold glitter
plastic leaves from the Thrift Shop
gold and copper garland
small sticks
fall coloured buttons
fall coloured gems 
fall table scatter/vase filler from Michaels

gingerbread play dough invitation
play dough: recipe from Mama.Papa.Bubba. with the addition of copper and gold glitter
cut up garland
mini cookie cutters
gingerbread friends cookie cutters
extra plates and trays for cooking and serving cookies

Go Away Big Green Monster play dough invitation

play dough: kelly green Wilton food dye, green and blue glitter
golf tees, rocks, caps, marker lids, pattern blocks
popsicle sticks, cut up garland, wooden cubes
in white (sharp white teeth)
purple (straggly purple hair)
yellow (little yellow eyes)
teal (long bluish-greenish nose)
red (big red mouth)
green (big green face)

Go Away Big Green Monster art and story activity

Gruffalo play dough invitation

reused the gingerbread play dough
purple - lids, craft sticks -  prickles all over his back
green -lid, beads, buttons -  wart at the end of his nose
white - glass gems, rocks, shells, lids, golf tees -  claws, horns, teeth
orange - lids, glass gems - eyes
brown lids, beads, glass gems - fur
black - lids, spools, glass gems - tongue

enjoy some Gruffalo Crumble

green play dough invitation

green and nature play dough creations
play dough: green with bitter
cedar boughs
twigs (arbutus)
red twigs
cedar branches
nuts (with the shell on)

create a green sensory bin

Halloween play dough invitation 
play dough: purple food dye, purple and fuchsia  glitter, lavender essential oil
cut up garland
eyeballs and googly eyes
plastic spiders and critters

ice cream play dough invitation

play dough: rose food dye, strawberry flavouring, lots of glitter in all colours
cut up garland
cut up straws
coloured blocks
gems and sparkles

ocean playdough invitation 
play dough: blue Wilton's food dye
small aquarium rocks
assortment of Toob sea creatures
ocean coloured gems
laminated ocean pictures from Nurture Store

play in the dirt play dough invitation

coffee play dough  - recipe from Kids Activities

snowman play dough invitation
play dough: bleached flour play dough, iridescent glitter
cut up bead garland
big bead garland cut into individual beads
small rocks
googly eyes
cut up orange pipe cleaners

space play dough invitation

play dough: black liquid watercolour and food dye, blue and gold glitter, tiny stars
space printables from Picklebums
plastic astronaut figures
cut up garland
glass gems, beach glass, plastic disks from Christmas tree garland
star cookie cutters

spider play dough invitation

play dough: purple food dye, purple and fushsia  glitter, lavender essential oil
googly eyes
black, orange and purple pipe cleaners
cut up straws
laminated paper spiders
plastic spiders
next time will add small sticks and cut up bead garland

spider web art activity
another spider web art activity
spiders and spouts in the sand table

sunflower play dough invitation

play dough: buttercup Wilton's food dye, lemon essence and gold glitter
gems, buttons,wooden blocks, shells, lids and other loose parts
in yellow, green, black, brown and ivory

create a beautiful sunflower sensory bin
paint sunflowers like Vincent Van Gogh

Todd Parr inspired faces play dough invitation

play dough: blue food dye, blue glitter, lavender essential oil
recycled lids
building disks
cut up big straws
cut up garland
wiggly eyes
cut up pipe cleaners

more Todd Parr inspired feeling and faces activities

Valentine's play dough invitation

play dough: pink play dough with red and pink sparkles
cedar boughs
twigs (arbutus)
red twigs
googly eyes
glass gem hearts
cut up heart garland

Valentine's play dough invitation II


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