In Focus

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dear Families and Friends,

Fourth graders get the Big Idea. At this morning’s meeting they identified the commonalities between a gall and a wildlife sanctuary. “At Wheeler Bay animals are safe, and they can survive there.”  “A gall can keep you warm, and it’s insulated during the winter.”  “A sanctuary is a habitat. All kinds of animals can live there safely.” 

Then we asked them how humans can care for animals. “Jocelyn said they don’t always mow the lawn so ducks can eat the grass.”  “They don’t care if squirrels eat the bird food.”  “They make bird houses and bring in sand for the turtles to lay their eggs.” “They made a bridge so that eels can leap over and then drop down into the stream.” “They made bat houses hoping that bats might come there.” We were impressed by kids’ connections and inferences.

After Avis demonstrated how to draw an animal portrait, the class dove into their individual creature investigations. Each child worked first on the whole and then zoomed in to make its features. When they took a look at their peers’ work they couldn’t help but marvel at the the accuracy of classmates’ representations. What kids had to say at the end of their first morning of animal exploration was just as  astounding.

“When the snapping turtle opens its mouth it has a little beak.” “I used a lot of brown and some reddish brown on my American kestrel.” “The bobcat gets its name from its short tail.”  “Wolves all have ranks in their packs. They get them when they get older. The male alpha has a higher rank than the female alpha.” “I found out that dragonflies don’t have antennae.”

We heard kids talk about being persistent and making multiple tries. We saw them ask for help on their animal’s features. Mrs. MacCaffray sang their praises,“Look what you can do when you really focus in!”


Every chance children get to experience nature is an opportunity for them to notice the magnificence of small things. Their artwork takes the process one step further.

With respect and delight, Nancy, Susan, Avis, Alanna, and Dee

4 thoughts on “In Focus

  1. These lovely photos really capture the days ‘focus’, and the attention that the students gave to their work. This class is so engaged in the project.

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