WHOOPING CRANE PARTY TOMORROW!
Don't forget that tomorrow is our Whooping Crane Party to celebrate the cranes arrival in Florida. To get ready, your child needs to wear clothing that is black, white, and/or a little red. We are going to dress and dance like the cranes! Photos will be posted later in the week.
WHOOPING CRANE RELEASE
Our cranes have finally been released into the wild. This is the latest update from Journey North:
After the Fab Five young Whooping Cranes spent two and a half weeks of down time in the pen, the team from Operation Migration announced: "It’s over. The training is done, the migration complete, and we can let these birds be wild."
The final steps began on December 7. That's when the five juvenile Whooping Cranes at St. Marks NWR got their health checks and leg bands with color codes (see their bio pages) that now identify them for life.
On December 11, the gates to freedom were opened at last. They flew circles around the pen until they got distracted by fiddler crabs and snails in the muck. The "costumes" led them on a tour of their new four-acre, enclosure to show them the salt water pond, the feeding shelter, the water bubbler, the oyster-shell roosting bar in the pond, another feeding shelter. Then came the good part: First #4, then #11, then #5, #6, and finally #7 took to the air. "They each did their aerial NASCAR followed by landings of such grace and precision they could qualify as performance art," said Brooke.
Brooke and a team of helpers from St. Marks and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will check on the birds several times a day as they get used to becoming wild. During the day, they can come and go as they please. The enclosure's four acres cover an area about size of four football fields. The top is wide open, but the sides are circled by a fence ten feet tall, with electric wire all around. Each night this first winter, the costumed helpers will play the crane call to summon the birds back to the safety of their enclosure. The cranes will roost in one of the ponds, safe from predators while they sleep. Each morning they will take off to freely explore the marsh and learn the ways of the wild. The team calls this routine a "gentle release" into the wild.
Our class will keep checking in to Journey North and Operation Migration until the cranes begin their spring migration back to Wisconsin on their own. Our efforts to count all the donations will continue this week. We will estimate the amount and then we will deliver the money to the bank over the Winter Holidays to get a grand total. We will send Operation Migration a money order on behalf of the second graders before the new year. Stay tuned...
The last couple weeks have been spent on building our "fact power." Specifically, we have been working on addition facts for the sums of 10 and 20. It's important for you child to be able to easily recognize the complements of ten (1+9, 2+8, 3+7, etc.). Knowing how to "make ten" is a fundamental building block for more complex mental math in our base-ten system. For example, if students know that 3 + 7 = 10, later on they will have an easier time understanding that 30 + 70 = 100, or 43 + 7 = 50, and eventually 300 + 700 = 1000 and beyond. For children who are ready for more of a challenge, we are working on complements of 20, then complements of 11-19.
We introduced a new iPad app called MathTappers: Find Sums. This free and fun math game allows children to make sense of their addition facts to 20, and develop accuracy and speed by keeping a record of their progress. There is also Complements of Ten: An Interactive Math Game that your kids can play online if you do not have an iPad, iPhone or iTouch. We have added this game to the For Kids page on the website. Happy calculating!
IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR THIS WEEK
Please make sure your child arrives a little early to school on Tuesday. We will be attending a holiday concert put on by the 7th and 8th Grader Choir in the Belfield Music Tower, Room 244. The concert is from 8:30-9:00 a.m. and we would hate for your child to miss any of it! Ms. Holladay will wait in the classroom until about 8:40 for late comers. Otherwise, you will need to accompany your child to Belfield or instruct them to go to the Lower School Office. Our classroom door opens at 8:20.
We also invite you to join us and the children for the Blaine Lobby Holiday Sings on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings from 8:00-8:30. During this time in December, the Lobby Sings are held three days in a row and sometimes include special musical guests! It’s a festive time for our community to come together.
We will not send a newsletter next week. We wish you all a wonderful Winter Break, joyful holidays and a happy new year. See you in 2013!
Lisa & Heidi