Toledo Campus
(419) 866-1931
7115 W. Bancroft
Toledo, OH 43615-3010
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Perrysburg Campus
(419) 874-9385
13587 Roachton Rd.
Perrysburg, OH 43551-1154
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Sassafras

Wendi Rowland

Wendi Rowland

Sarah Duvall

Sarah Duvall

Sassafras Room is a Children’s House classroom on the Toledo Campus. Sarah Duvall and Wendi Rowland are the classroom’s co-teachers.

We have “traveled” far and wide this year in the Sassafras room filling our passports with stamps from across the globe.  Our latest addition was the stamp of South America.  In small groups we began to learn the name of the countries in South America.  We looked at several books to find out more about the land, people and animals of our neighbor to the south.   We saw tall, snow-covered mountains, hot tropical rain forests, busy cities and remote villages as we looked through the books.  Being the animal lovers that they are, the children were anxious to learn more about the rain forest and all of the unique creatures that call it home.  More on that in the next post.  Not all animals in South America live in the rain forest, some live high in the mountains as well, such as llamas and alpacas.  The children had the opportunity to feel just how soft and warm the fur of a llama is when they held a toy llama made from real llama fur.  Something else the children found interesting was the fact that our Spanish teacher, Brianne, spent much of her childhood in the country of Uruguay.  We learned that in most countries the people speak Spanish-just like we learn when Brianne comes to our room!

We have waited a long time, but it truly feels like spring now!  We have been taking advantage of the nice weather spending  a little extra time outside.  The children have enjoyed being able to take their work out to the porch.  They have also enjoyed the beautiful flowers growing and blooming in our garden.  Thanks to all their hard work in the fall we now can appreciate the daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and alliums.  It was the perfect time to add some new work to our science shelves to learn more about flowers.  In small groups we learned about the different parts of a flower.  We “dissected” a daffodil and found the stamen and pistil.  We learned the scientific word for petals-corolla.  There was a matching work added to the shelf to help the children learn the name of the flowers growing in our garden and other springtime flowers.  Also on the shelf were several white carnations that were a part of an experiment.  One carnation was placed in a vase with clear tap water.  The other carnations were placed in vases with colored water.  Then we waited and made observations over the next few days.  The children could record their observations by coloring a carnation to match what they observed.  What we discovered is that we didn’t have to wait long.  One carnation began to change in a matter of minutes!  It was fun to watch the changes that occurred over the days.

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The children were eager to make predictions about what might happen.

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A student records her observations of the carnations.

Our passports are filling up!  From Australia we traveled to the continent of Africa.  First we found the continent on the globe and then compared it to the puzzle map.  The children discovered there are a lot of countries that make up Africa.  In small groups we read the story Bringing Rain to the Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema.   The main character in the story is a man named Ki-pat  who shoots an arrow into the the clouds and makes it rain.  We talked about the seasons of Africa, the wet and the dry season, and compared it to the four seasons we have here in Ohio.  We also learned that the story took place in the savanna, or the grasslands, of Africa.  The children were able to look at the pictures in the book and see how the dry season effects the savanna and the animals that live there.  We talked about migration and the reason why animals migrate.  Using a natural colored raffia to represent the savanna in the dry season, each child had the chance to help fill in a portion of a map of Africa to represent where the savanna is located by gluing on small bits of the raffia.  When this portion was complete, we saw there were still other areas of Africa not covered with our “grass”.  We then went on to talk about the desert areas and the rain forest that cover Africa as well.  To represent those areas we added sand for the deserts and leaves for the rain forest.  The children really enjoyed the process of creating this map.

In addition to the group lesson, many other works were added to the geography shelves.  Flags were available for the children to color.  They could do some matching work with animals of Africa.  But, by far, the most popular choice was pin pushing African animals.  Several children pin pushed out so many they could make a poster that looked like a scene from the savanna!

One work that was added to the geography shelves included several objects and cards about ancient Egypt.  Objects such as the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, the mask of King Tut and a sarcophagus could be matched to a card that pictured the object and included a brief explanation of it.  The children were very interested in this work, even though it was a little difficult to understand some of the concepts it represented.  (Some of the objects were images of a few of the gods the ancient Egyptians believed in.)  To help it all make more sense, we read a simple book about King Tut and the man who discovered his tomb. The children were fascinated to learn that King Tut was just a boy when he became the Pharaoh.  They were also very curious about all of the things discovered in his tomb and why his tomb had been hidden.  We learned a little about pyramids and mummies (Mummies are real, zombies are not!  And mummies don’t chase people around like they do in Scooby Doo!)  Many children created their own pyramid out of paper.  Some children also made a nemes-the headdress depicted on the mask of King Tut.

 

A few weeks ago, on an afternoon when the weather was nice, we ventured out to play. Some of the children were playing and some offered to help with a little spring cleaning of the porch.  As we swept the leaves from under the shelves we made a wonderful discovery-a toad!  Mudbud, as he is affectionately known to the children of Sassafras, has ever since been a part of our room.  His habitat is a large tote with plenty of dirt, leaves and sticks.  There is also a dish a water for Mudbud to soak in and absorb water.  (Did you know toads don’t drink water with their mouths?)  The children have really enjoyed having Mudbud in the room.  His presence has encouraged a lot of curiosity and new work was added to the science shelves in response.  The children have learned so much from the work and through observing him.  For example, the concept of camouflage,  the life cycle of a frog/toad, and what makes an animal an amphibian.

 

The best part is watching him eat.  The children sit and wait patiently and quietly for Mudbud to see the mealworms move.  Then, in an instant, out flicks his tongue and his eyes blink as he enjoys his meal.