Monday, October 13, 2014

Urgent Need for Four Winds Volunteers

The Four Winds Nature Program volunteer does not require a science degree or a teaching certification; just an interest in learning, sharing and being involved in your child’s classroom. Volunteers are supplied with all the materials and trained for each lesson.

During the 2014-2015 school year the Four Winds Nature Program will be studying Patterns in Nature with 5 units:

All sorts of Insects -Tuesday, September 9

Animal Disguise/Surprise -Tuesday, October 14 ***This Tuesday!!!***

Tracks- Tuesday, November 11

Snow- Tuesday, January 13

Nests-Tuesday, March 17
***all inservices listed above for volunteers are from 830am-10am at SATEC (Town School).***
We urgently need volunteers in all K-6 classrooms.  Please spread the word and get other parents, grandparents, or those who have a love for science involved.  Sadly, our volunteer numbers have declined and we need you.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Info for September Four Winds

  • The information below can be forwarded and shared with the teacher of the class you are volunteering in.  They can also subscribe to the blog and get it automatically.  
  • There is a link to view the training video and the other units for the year  
  • The materials box should be put together by the end of next week.  In the mean time, please come to the training tomorrow 9/23 830 at City School (please RSVP--we will only have it if there are enough volunteers signed up) or watch the video of the 9/09 training
  • ANY help is welcome with getting the materials box together, please contact me if you are interested.


Four Winds Nature Institute
4 Casey Rd. Chittenden, VT  05737

Patterns – All Sorts of Insects – Teaching Outline

FOCUS: Honeybees, grasshoppers and butterflies are all insects, yet they look and behave very differently from each other. So what makes an insect an insect, and how is it different from other animals? Insects all share the same basic design of three body parts, six legs, wings, antennae, and compound eyes. Variations in the size and shape of these parts account for their great diversity. We’ll learn to recognize common groups of insects by their characteristic features and watch them outside as they go about their daily lives.

Puppet Show ‘Toad Gets Bugged’:  to meet some different kinds of insects, learn basic insect anatomy and observe the variations that distinguish one group of insects from another.

Build an Insect:  to construct a felt model of an insect and note the variation and diversity in insect anatomy.

Sorting Out Insects: to notice similarities and differences in insect anatomy and to sort insects into groups based on similar features.

Insect Safari: to explore different habitats and observe evidence of insects and other arthropods living in the schoolyard.

Journal Activity: to record observations about an insect.

Go Wild:  to demonstrate respect for other living things by carefully releasing study insects outdoors and to observe different patterns of insect movement.

Creepy-Crawly Circle Drawings: to review basic insect anatomy while creating new and unusual insects.

Upper Grades Challenge - Insect Census:  to survey insects in your schoolyard using pitfall or funnel traps to collect insects.

Insect Safari, Journal Activity, Go Wild, Insect Census Upper Grades Challenge

Unit Concepts/Ideas: 
  1. All insects have the same basic anatomy or body design.
  2. Variation in size and shape of body parts accounts for insect diversity.
  3. Insects are grouped according to similarities in their anatomy or the way their bodies are designed.
  4. Insects collected for study should be carefully examined, then returned to their natural habitat.

Unit Vocabulary: arthropods, exoskeleton, head, thorax, abdomen, antennae, simple eyes, compound eyes, spiracles, ovipositor, elytra.
Science Grade Expectations
Grades PK-K  Insects are living animals. They need food, water and air to survive.

Grades 1-2  Insects are a group of animals that all have the same basic body design.

Grades 3-4  There are many different kinds of insects; they are grouped according to similarities in their anatomy.

Grades 5-6  Insects are classified into basic groups; insects in each group share some distinguishing characteristics.

Science Skills:
  1. Comparing and contrasting the body design of different kinds of insects.
  2. Active listening and discussion to learn about similarities and differences in different groups of insects.
  3. Using a hand lens to observe live insects’ body design.
  4. Using tools to collect and observe insects outdoors.

Vermont Standards: Inquiry 7.1, The Living World 7.13, Natural Resources and Agriculture 7.16, Listening 1.13, Questioning 2.1, Sustainability 3.9, Understanding Place 4.6
New Hampshire Standards: Science Process Skills SPS1, SPS3, SPS4, Life Science LS1, LS2, LS3
New York Standards: Standard 4: The Physical Setting; The Living Environment. Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design. Standard 6: Interconnectedness: Common Themes. Science Process Skills based on Standards 1, 4, 6 and 7.


Copyright © Four Winds Nature Institute – 8/13

Please respond

The Four Winds trainer is willing to come to SACS tomorrow, September 23 from 830-1030am for a training on the September unit.  She is willing to come for a GROUP of volunteers.  Please RSVP ASAP to me so I can let her know today.  The topic is Insects and should be super interesting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Calling All Four Winds Volunteers

So the trainer from the Four Winds Institute apologizes to us all for not communicating today's inservice sooner.  I was inadvertently removed from her email list over the summer.
What does this mean for all of us who were not able to make the inservice??...

She is willing to some to SACS (yes, our school) to do another training inservice.  The date is Tuesday, September 23 from 830-1030am.  The unit is on Insects (very interesting).  She is willing to come for a GROUP of parents.  Our attendance at trainings has been slim----people assure me they are watching the video of the training and getting into classrooms with the material we are paying tuition for.
So, I need an RSVP from everyone and anyone who can make the rescheduled training on Tuesday, September 23 from 830-1030am.
Please respond by this Friday the 12th to my email
thank you all for your patience and understanding.  Let's have an outstanding Four Winds year!!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Late Notice, Apologies, Please Read

Apologies for posting this so soon to the training.
I just found out about the inservice this evening and had been awaiting information from the FWNI for the 2014-2015 school year.  I will post the remainder of the trainings shortly.

***I need people to take notes at the inservice, help get the materials box together, help co-coordinate???  I am working daytime tomorrow and cannot attend the training.  I would really appreciate any parent volunteers who have free time during the inservice to attend represent SACS. ***

Thank you all for donating your time, resources, and patience (with my disorganization).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Four Winds Help Needed

As some of you may know, Rachael Carr, who helps co-coordinate the Four Winds at SACS, is unable to assist any longer with the program.  I appreciate all Rachael has contributed to our program and she will be missed.  Thanks so much Rachael and best wishes.

I am looking for an organized individual who would like to learn the ropes of coordinating this wonderful program.  I currently have 2 units to put together, Birds and Owls.  I will be working on these Thursday at school if anyone is interested in helping and learning how a Four Winds unit is assembled.  Any and all help is accepted :)

My plan is to be at school from 12-3pm Thursday in the library.  Please email me if you are interested in helping on any level.

Many Thanks, Heather Smith

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March Four Winds Training 03-18-14

This is the final Four Winds Training of this school year.

The Birds and Owls units will be on the cart for the remainder of the school year.

March 18th - Calling all Owls

Imagine the challenge of finding a tiny mouse in the grass in the dark. Now imagine that if you don't find it, you'll be very, very hungry! As nocturnal predators, owls face some challenges in finding food and a mate. We'll look at some of the characteristics that help owls be successful. And we'll determine where on the food chain owls fit when we dissect a pellet to see what these nighttime hunters are eating.

As always, we video the Four Winds Training sessions.  The DVD's are located in the folder taped to the front of the Four Winds cabinet (adjacent to Mrs. Biggie's office).
Please send me an email to sign up for date and time you would like to sign out the cart.  I will add the arranged time to the calendar on the cabinet.  

Thank you all so much for the time and energy you give to the Four Winds program at SACS.  
Anyone interested in assisting in preparing the unit box, please let me know.