All About Birds

First-grade students dive into the study of birds by exploring bird habitats, behavior patterns, flight patterns, migration, and human influences. Students also spend their time in our natural surroundings. The classroom is transformed into an aviary paradise and the theme is woven into math, writing, reading, and poetry lessons. Students read great stories such as "Make Way for Ducklings."

First graders are introduced to 20 local Santa Barbara birds and are asked to find similarities and differences comparing beak size, feathers, feet, body size, and the environment each bird might live in. In collaboration with studio art, students paint birdhouses or use a variety of patterned paper to create stunning bird habits. Design and sewing skills are explored as first graders create their own stuffed bird animals.

No study of birds is complete without a nature walk where students examine the diversity in our own ecosystem. With the help of binoculars, first graders quietly explore Crane's campus and beyond as they learn to identify the birds they are studying, such as woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and black phoebes. A live rescued owl has been known to visit campus to further enhance the learning experience.

As part of the culminating unit, each first grader researches one particular local bird and writes a report of that bird's unique characteristics. They present their research to all of the first grade parents in the form of a "What Bird Am I?" poem and guide a parent and student nature walk sharing what they have learned.

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