After lots of deliberation, Operation Migration has initiated a "Plan B" of their migration. As described on their field journal,
As everyone knows, a good plan “A” should have a plan “B”. The first one never works out exactly as you intend so the second one must be flexible.
When we start our migration every fall, we begin with high hopes and blind faith that the weather will cooperate but there are never any guarantees. When, or if we will arrive in Florida is beyond our control and that is a tough pill for a team of control freaks. We manage every aspect of the birds experience from hatch and through the summer training. Then we suffer the frustration of leaving it all up to the whims of the wind. After 34 days on the road and only 52 miles behind us, it is time to consider our options. In fact, we have nothing but time to think about them.
We have never been this far behind and the polar vortex that is bringing wind and record cold temperatures to much of the central part of the continent is predicted to last another week at least. If we wait, there is a good chance that the birds will not follow us after that long on the ground and we will be back to square one. If the strong winds continue thereafter, we could be forced to make a decision, so rather than wait, we are making it now.
After checking the forecasts there is a chance we could fly Saturday – as long as we start from northern Tennessee. So we will take today to pack up and Thursday to drive to Carroll County, Tennessee and begin again. Colleen Chase and our new volunteer John Gerend, have retrieved our travel pen from the Green County, WI stopover and are on their way south. While they make the drive, we will pack the aircraft and prepare to break camp. Tomorrow morning, we’ll all load up the cranes in our two tracking vans, hitch up the pen that the birds are in now and Brooke and Walter will head to Tennessee. Once the rest of us have loaded whatever is left we will make the nine hour drive ourselves with the two motorhomes and two trailers. Once there, we’ll unload the aircraft trailer and by late Friday we should be ready to fly if it all works out as planned – he said with his tongue in his cheek.
There are different weather patterns in the southern half of the migration and it often goes faster than the first. That will give us a fighting chance of getting them to St. Marks where we can do the best job of protecting them over the winter. On their return trip they will have knowledge of the direction from which they arrived. There will be a gap in the middle of that awareness but it’s a straight run north and with luck, we will see them back in White River next spring. If we stay here they will likely arrive at their wintering grounds in crates so our plan is the lesser of two evils.
It is not ideal but it’s the best we can do for the birds and it feels good to have a plan.
SEND WHOOPING CRANE CONTAINERS BY FRIDAY!
Don’t forget to send in your sturdy reusable container for our Change4Cranes fundraiser by Friday. We can also use a few more if you have any extras. We will decorate our containers with decals and send them home along with this Operation Migration fact sheet. These containers and the money collected are due back at school by Friday, December 12th. If the container gets too full, please transfer the money to a ziplock bag (labeled with your child’s name) before sending it to school. See this page to learn more about what our students did in the past, including a hot chocolate stand and serenading Metra commuters! We are sending these containers home on Friday in hopes that children can speak to family members and neighbors over the Thanksgiving Holidays. If your child does any creative fundraising, please take a photo and email it (large resolution) to Ms. Harrison. We will collect, sort and add up all the money before we leave for the longer Winter Break. Thank you for supporting this wonderful cause!
MATH FAST FACTS
We are working to build fluency with math facts. To do so we have introduced a new activity called Fast Facts. Children complete a page of 36 addition problems and check their work using their iPad and a QR code. Our math curriculum doesn't provide much fact practice and the children are very excited and motivated by this activity. When students can demonstrate fluency with their addition math facts in both accuracy and speed, they will move onto subtraction and even multiplication/division if they are ready.
Last week in math we also reviewed adding a collection of coins together. The children have learned to sort coins by value before they begin counting. We are practicing counting by 5s, 10, and 25s. These skills (with the exception of counting by 25s) are automatic for most children. It is harder for them to switch gears when counting coins. For example, adding two quarters, 6 dimes, and 4 nickels can be challenging. If you have any opportunities for your favorite second grader to count combinations of coins at home, please encourage him/her to do so! It is especially helpful for second graders to practice counting quarters and build that memory for counting by 25s. For kids who are ready for more of a challenge, you can ask them to make change for you. Better yet, show them this real life process at a store. Can they figure out how much change the cashier will give you back? We will formally practice making change later in the year. The children need to be accurate in adding coins first.
The snow and cold temperatures have arrived and with it, the excitement of playing outside. Please make sure your child comes prepared to play in the cold, snowy or slushy conditions everyday.
Here are some winter gear tips...
- Children need a warm hats (hoods aren't enough), gloves/mittens, coat everyday. For cold and snowy days, snow pants and boots are a must!
- We recommend that children keep a stick of lip balm in their backpacks for the rest of the season so they can avoid frequent visits to the nurse for chapped lips.
- Send a extra pair of warm, dry socks to keep in your child’s cubby in case his/her feet get wet during recess.
- Make sure your child has other shoes to wear during the day. Boots get too warm and often need time to dry out after recess. Your child needs P.E. shoes everyday except Wednesdays.
- Is your child having a hard time carrying all his/her winter gear back and forth? We recommend that each child use a large durable canvas or vinyl bag (like the eco-bags used for grocery shopping) to take snow boots, pants, hats, and mittens/gloves back and forth from home to school. This way they have everything in one place and don’t have to go searching. This will help the children become more independent and responsible for their belongings as well. Please label the bag and everything in it with your child’s name. If your child loses something, please check the ESH Lost and Found - the closet across from the Security Desk in the Lobby. Each Tuesday, Lost and Found items will be placed in the ESH Lobby for parents to easily search through. Items have been organized by some wonderful parents who have donated their time and effort. Stop by and take a look if your child is missing anything!
Be sure to ask your favorite second grader about the new video we received from our video pen pals in India. After watching it, we had many questions about life in India, about the school and what the children like to do there. I have posted a link for you to see the video under the FOR PARENTS page.
Our class will attend the annual BookSwap tomorrow. Be prepared to find lots of new books in your child's backpack!
Have a great week!