Bluebirds of the Meadow
Fly with the Bluebirds and Soar into Learning
Summer nears and the bluebirds start nesting along the fence line. The children are fascinated with the way they fly back and forth to build their nests. They become the focus of our next Unit Study, Bluebirds of the Meadow.
As your little bluebirds flit from place to place they will find educational activities at every turn. Your students will read about Winsome Bluebird and Welcome Robin as they sit under the bluebird house, paint with feathers, spell with birdseed and count the bird tracks. Come to the meadow. Open your eyes. Search with the eyes of a bluebird. Use your imagination. Open your wings and fly!!!
Bluebird Bulletin Board - Decoring the Classroom for the Bluebird Unit Study
At Calendar time we add pictures of birds that represent the ones seen outside the classroom window.
We add the name of the bird below its picture making this bulletin board a Word Wall for the children to use when writing. We rarely see bluebirds early in the spring but as summer approaches, more and more bluebirds are sighted.
Materials for drawing, coloring and cutting out bluebirds and other birds are in the observation center near the window.
Bird Count - Counting Bluebirds
Stand at the window and watch the bluebirds come into the meadow. They are looking for insects and a place to build their nests.
Ask the children to watch to see if the bluebirds have everything they need to live in the meadow. What could we add to the bird feeder station to attract bluebirds?
Try putting out meal worms for the bluebirds. They will have to be replaced quite often as the bluebirds are looking for live ones. Make sure not to put the meal worms in direct sunlight as they may die from the exposure.
- Feed and Count the Birds
Here Birdy, Birdy Kindergarten Telecollaborative Project In the fall a kindergarten class started a project for counting birds. They were officially joined by students from Texas, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Costa Rica . Notice that they had a b
- Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to ex
Graphing Bluebird Data
Bird Counting - Graph the Bluebirds and other Visitors
Keep track of the birds that visit your feeder with this cleaver bird counting center.
To see bluebirds you need to have a large open field with lots of insects and bluebird houses placed about ten feet off the ground facing the east. See bluebird house construction below.
Creating a Bluebird Observation Graph
- Lay a bulletin board down on a table near the window.
- Make columns with bias tape.
- Children use push pins to record the birds seen outside the window.
Even if you have a field outside your window, it will be easier for your children to count and identify the birds at the feeder nearer the window.
NOTE: Having field guides and laminated posters of common birds for your area will help in identification.
Feeding the Bluebirds
Mealworms for the Bluebirds
Bluebirds love meal worms. Bluebirds rarely eat birdseed.
They eat mostly insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, spiders, and caterpillars.
During winter months they may eat suet.
They like the fruit of plants such as flowering dogwood, eastern red cedar, holly, and pokeweed.
Mealworms can be fed from a cup hung from the porch.
You can make your own bird feeders.
Bluebirds Eating Suet
Cooking is for the Birds
Your kitchen station should be near water and an outlet. Have a toaster oven, aprons, hot mitts, bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and basic foods such as flour, vinegar, salt, and ingredients for making suet available. A small refrigerator with a freezer is ideal for doing experiments with ice.
1. Write a recipe for suet. Laminate it and post it in your kitchen cooking station. Whenever the birds need more suet you can open this station and the children can measure and mix food for the birds reading the recipe.
2. There could also be recipes for healthy cookies that could be rolled out and cut with letter shaped cookie cutters. Children at this station could cut out their names or theme related words and later share them with the rest of the class during snack time. (This station probably needs a parent volunteer.)
Binoculars are essential for looking at bluebirds and other birds in detail. Teach the children to be patient and persistent. Soon they will be experts at using binoculars and observing bluebirds.
The Woodland Cafe - A Mathematical Activity
1. Write a menu for the Woodland Cafe with pictures and labels of foods that the Woodland Creatures would eat.
2. Make sure that there are 12 items on the menu.
3. Give a value of 1 to 12 cents or dollars to each item.
4. Have chits (bills) available that have room to write down the name of the customer and two items of food ordered with the amount written beside it and a place to total the bill.
5. Using a 12 sided die or rolling two regular dice find out the food eaten and add up the total.
6. The die could tell the total amount of the bill and the students could try to figure out the two items he/she must have eaten to come up with that total.
Have twelve counters available to help them work out the problem.
Let's Write about Bluebirds! - Writing of Bluebirds in the Classroom
Write the Room Activities
Children love to wear feathered goggles and pretend to be bluebirds as they flit around the classroom reading bluebird words from the word walls.
WRITE THE ROOM: Give children 10 cut up pieces of Sentence Strips. They will look for a word to copy onto each of the cards.
They can use fun glasses to look for words:
- toilet paper binoculars,
- funny glasses etc.
- a British Style Zulu Pith Helmet
When finished they put their word lists in the Bird Mailbox and put the flag up.
NOTE: These cards will be used in the next activity.
Mailing Bluebird Word Lists
Bluebird Egg Words - Unscramble the Bluebird Eggs
Little Bluebirds find out the names of the baby chicks by unscrambling the letters to form words.
- Keep plastic Easter eggs in a nest.
- Inside each egg put the letters to form words being studied.
- Unscramble the Letters when the eggs hatch.
- Crack the eggs.
- Rearrange the letters until they form a word.
- Discover the name of the bluebird chick
The Bluebirds are Hatching
Name the Bluebird Chicks
Bluebirds on Stage - How to make a Bluebird Puppet
BLUEBIRD FINGER PUPPETS:
Have a parent volunteer help children to make bluebird finger puppets from felt.
1.Take a piece of blue felt and fold it in half.
2. Slip your finger into the fold and cut a straight line up leaving enough room to sew a seam. This will be the back of the bluebird.
3. When you get to the tip of the finger, angle the cut to a point forming the head of the bluebird.
4. Take this piece and sew up where you cut.
5. Now cut a half circle out on the fold where the tip of your finger comes.
6. Put your finger back in and draw a face directly on your finger with a pen or marker.
7. Cut out wings and sew them onto the back of the bluebird.
You now have a Bluebird Finger Puppet. Make several bluebirds and put them in the Puppet Theater below.
Bluebird Puppet Theater
1. Take a couple of tin buckets with tall grass growing in them.
2. Put an overturned milk carton between them and a 9X13 pan of short grass on top of the milk crate.
3. The milk crate could be covered in brown dirt colored cloth.
Use the bluebird finger puppets from the above activity to act out scenes from the Green Meadows. Add other birds for the bluebirds to interact with in the meadow.
Bluebird on the Wire
Nothing keeps children on task and learning like a good game.
Nest of Baby Bluebirds
Eggs in the Nest Bulletin Board
1. Make a meadow scene with a row of fence posts running across it.
2. On each fence post put a Jello box that has been decorated to look like a bluebird house with the roof hinged so that eggs can be added and taken out.
3. Each birdhouse has a number on it that represents the answer to a number problem.
4. Eggs have number problems or word problems.
5. The students put the eggs back into the right nests.
6. If you have 10 birdhouses and 20 eggs the back of each egg could correspond with the color on the inside of the roof of the birdhouse for self checking.
NOTE: Move the birdhouses often so that they don't memorize the colors instead of the math problems.
Bluebird Math Activities
Children love to practice their math facts with the Cracking Eggs Center. Add the two numbers and check by cracking the egg and looking at the number on the chick.
Store the eggs in a bluebird house and use them during Center Time.
I adapted this idea from Miss Renee's Kindergarten activity Eggshell Number Sequencing.
Bluebird Mail Learning Center
Students dress as mail carriers, passenger pigeons or Bluebird Mail carriers with mail sacks and hats.
- Take the cards from the mailbox and put the flag down.
- Deliver the mail to the correct birdhouse.
- Bird house will have signs on them that correspond to phonic skills being studied for example
-words beginning with letter b on one house and d on the other.
-verbs vs. nouns
-three letter words vs. four letter words
NOTE: Ask the students for other ideas to reuse these words.
Shadow Puppet Birds
In a dark corner or in the cave of the tree (see by River Otter Unit Study)
- hang a white sheet with a flashlight behind it.
- Cut shapes of different meadow creatures out of black cardstock.
- One student holds the flashlight.
- One student moves the puppets and tells the story.
- Two children are in the audience.
Use a timer to limit the time and let them know when to rotate roles.
Using large pieces of felt make sets of wings.
- Sew two inch wide strips of felt on the top and bottom of each wing so that the child can slip his/her arm through.
- Make two more two inch wide strips about a yard or so long attached at the shoulders only. These cross the child's chest and tie in the back.
- Make one set blue for Winsome Bluebird, one set red for Welcome Robin.
- Include a couple of pairs of bright yellow socks such as soccer socks to use for bird feet. Children can act out the roles of Winsome Bluebird and Welcome Robin.
Birds of a Feather Read Together
Bluebird Alphabet Book
Brainstorm ideas as a class for each of the letters of the alphabet. Post these ideas above the Writing Center.
Children work alone or in pairs to write and illustrate a page, cross it off the list, sign their names beside it and put the page into a folder hanging beside the list.
When all pages are completed ask a parent volunteer to bind it. Read it to the class and add it to the class library or Book Nook.
Words might include:
- A is for aviary
- B is for Bluebird
- C is for
- D is for
- E is for egg.
- F is for feeder.
- G is for
- H is for house (birdhouse)
- I is for
- J is for
- K is for
- L is for
- M is for mealworms.
- N is for nest.
- O is for oval (Shape of the Egg)
- P is for
- Q is for
- R is for
- S is for suet.
- T is for
- U is for
- V is for
- W is for Wing
- X is for
- Y is for
- Z is for
Make suggestion in the comments section at the bottom of this page to help complete the letters of the Bluebird Alphabet.
POEMS AND CHANTS: Copy poems, songs, and chants onto large poster boards and have them laminated.
READ THE ROOM: Children can use theme related pointers to read the charts with a partner.
HIGHLIGHTER TAPE: Children can use Highlighter Tape on the charts to highlight verbs, beginning letters, rhyming words etc.
Birds of a Feather Write Together - Writing about Bluebirds
Put the letters for spelling bluebird on this magnetic bird shaped board. Add a picture of a bluebird with magnet attached and the word bluebird. Children unscramble the word.
Variation: Unscramble the sentence.
Scientists now believe that birds have navigational systems nearly as sophisticated as those of commercial airlines.
Background For Teachers:
Birds are a group of animals with very specific characteristics. They are warm-blooded, have feathers and hollow bones, and lay eggs. All birds have wings, but not all birds fly. They all have beaks, but each type of bird has a different type of beak, depending on the kind of food it eats.
SCIENCE TABLE: Collect feathers, egg shells, nests, seeds, etc. Have a cage of parakeets or finches nearby. Magnifying glass, tweezers, nutcracker, lab coat, safety goggles, etc. for examining the collection. Field guides such as "The Sibley Guide to Birds" by David Allen Sibley should be handy. Record your observations.
OPERATING ROOM: With the teacher or an experienced parent volunteer, dissect a chicken, turkey, and a quail. Check for skin, where feathers attach, muscles, fat, bone structure, etc. Move the wings and see how the ligaments hold the bones together. -Dissect chicken, duck, emu, and quail eggs.
-Dissect a rabbit and any other animal you can acquire. How about clams, muscles, fish, snails, lobster, shrimp...
CLASSROOM ZOO: Compare the birds to the fish in your Aquarium, your hamster, butterfly, frog and turtle. What do they have in common? How are they alike? Record your observations.
SOIL SCIENCE: Go on a walk and collect samples of soils in different habitats. (meadow, riverbank, forest, etc) Store these samples in labeled baby food jars. At the Science Table open each one and smell, observe, touch, and rub some between your fingers to hear the similarities and differences.(Do not taste them.) Draw pictures of your observations. If they are dry try adding water with eyedroppers. Observe and record the differences. How do the different soils effect the types of vegetation growing in the different habitats and how does this in turn effect the types of animals living there.
Raising Baby Chicks - Baby Bluebird Chicks
Of course, you can't incubate bluebirds but watching baby chickens hatch and develop will give you an idea of what is happening with baby bluebird chicks.
Help your children learn to record their observations on a daily basis.
If you are lucky enough to have bluebirds nesting near your observation window, look for ways that you can compare the development of the baby chicks to that of the baby bluebirds.
Turn your Classroom into a Meadow for the Bluebirds
Bluebirds nest in small cavities in lone trees or fence posts on the edge of fields.
The fields are full of many different types of grasses and wildflowers as well as insects, snakes, and other birds.
My classroom is filled with live trees, flats of grasses and water both in pond and stream forms.
Bluebird Meadow Flannel Board
- Set up a Flannel Board with a meadow scene
- Add plants and animals from the meadow.
- Draw or cut out pictures of bluebirds, nests, mealworms, insects, trees, flowers and grass
- Glue the pictures to pieces of felt or sandpaper
- Write the words for the pictures and glue to felt or sand paper
Children can create and label scenes of bluebirds in the meadow
Sensory Table Meadow
RICE TABLE MEADOW: Surprise your little bluebirds by dumping a bag of potting soil into the rice table. Give them some birdseed and a little water to sprinkle to make streams run through. Add Playmobile figures or other little plastic animals, small twigs, etc. and let them make up stories as they go.
Keep a cover on it whenever it's not in use. In a few days they will be surprised when the seeds sprout and start to grow. Record this growth on a chart nearby.
Corn Sprouts for the Sensory Table
Grasses of the Meadow
PLANTS: Grasses grow easily in shallow containers.
Put 1-2 inches of soil in 13X9 baking pans. Children can scatter birdseed, grass seed, or collect seeds from plants found on walks. Add some wild flower seeds. When you go on walks look for varieties you haven't seen before. Keep notes in your journal.
- Meadow - Sky Flannelboards
The meadow scene flannel board is mounted on two sheets of heavy gauge cardboard backing. Mounting is optional.
- How Grass Works
At the base of the grass plant, roots grow down into the earth. Typically, grass roots are fibrous, or threadlike. They extend into the soil like fingers, collecting nutrients, soaking up water and securing the plant to the ground. (Click on link to
Bluebirds at the Feeder
FEEDING STATION: Set up bird feeders outside near the window. See The Bird Lover's Backyard Handbook: Attracting, Nesting, Feeding by Jan Mahnken.
Write a recipe for suet in the cooking center and have children make and replace the suet as needed. Measure and record the amounts of different kinds of seeds eaten by birds daily.
Put binoculars and pith helmets in the loft of the tree (see River Otters Unit Study lens) and record your observations of the birds at the feeder.
Join the Kindergarten Class from the Here Birdy, Birdy Kindergarten Telecollaborative Project in recording the birds at your feeder at Calendar Time. (See link below)
Bluebirds in Flight
BIRDS ALL AROUND: Put plush birds by Wild Republic (See below) in the tree and a bluebird on a post out in the open.
During circle time put several of these birds in a sack. Squeeze one at a time and have them guess which one it is from the call.
In the listening center play CD's of Bird Calls (See Below)
FLYING BIRDS: Ask parent volunteers to help you make the Bird Mobiles by Anne Wild (see below). Read about each type of bird as you hang them up. Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing Birds by Jim Arnosky (see below) has beautiful illustrations and easily captures children's attention.
Use an exato knife to cut out the pieces, tape them together, punch holes out with an awl, thread some string or thread and hang them. They are beautiful and would be great hanging from a tree in a classroom that's doing a woodlands or bird unit study. This is not a project for children, however. The cutting needs to be very precise but afterwards the children will love them. I put them up while reading the Thornton Burgess books for example "The Adventures of Sammy Jay".
Building Bluebird Houses
How to Build a Bluebird House
At the time that Thornton Burgess wrote about Winsome Bluebird and Welcome Robin, bluebirds were common. With habitat loss, pollution and the introduction of the English Sparrow, Bluebirds have become quite scarce.
Some children would love to learn how to build a bluebird house. One year we visited a local farmer and bluebird enthusiast who took the time to show the children how to make bluebird houses. We now have several along the fenceline of our meadow.
Photo Credit: How to Build a Bluebird House
From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
All About Bluebirds
Discovering Bluebird Eggs
What will you discover when you peek into the bluebird house? Why, four blue eggs tucked snugly into a nest of woven grass. Remember it is best not to peek often as this will scare away the bluebird parents.
- The Bluebird Box
FAQ's, articles and photo gallery about bluebirds and bluebird boxes.
- Flash My Brain - Create and print your own Bluebird flashcards.
Flash My Brain allows you to create and save your own sets, play more games, save and view your study progress, print in a variety of formats, generate iPod flashcards, and access 100,000s more flash cards. You can manage flash card decks, splitting
eeBoo Counting Birds are large 8 X 10 wall cards featuring Cardinals, Hummingbirds, Wrens, Sparrows as well as the numbers 1 to 10. Hang these posters above your math center or use them with younger children for as a learning center where you put the numbers in order. Use small birds or Unifix Cubes for one on one correspondence activities and then pair them up to see which numbers are odds or evens.
Create your own decks of cards with a bluebird theme. Make cards to play all the familiar games such as Go Fish, Concentration, Memory, or Bingo.
Birds in the Trees - A Cooperative Game for Little Bluebirds
In this variation on Musical Chairs there are no losers; everyone gets to play.
1. Talk with the children about protection. Trees form a shelter for birds in a storm.
2.In this game some children will be trees and others will be bluebirds. When the music plays it is sunny and the birds fly through the trees. When the music stops, it signifies the calm before the storm when all the birds need to seek shelter under the trees.
3. After each round a tree becomes a bird until all the trees become birds and the teacher is the last tree.
How to Draw Birds
Draw a Bluebird
Label the Bluebird - Bluebird Word Wall
LABEL THE PARTS OF THE BLUEBIRD: Attach a large picture of a bluebird to a magnetic board, filing cabinet or tray. Use magnet words or cards with magnet strips attached to label the parts of the bird. Have a Bird Field Guide handy.
Bluebirds are Egg Layers - Are Bluebirds Oviparous Animals?
When studying birds, such as bluebirds, I like to diverge a little and learn about all the other oviparous animals, animals that lay eggs.
Even if you can't find bluebird eggs, quail eggs, duck eggs and emu eggs can often be found to bring in to class.
- Put them into a paper sack and play 20 Questions with the children so they can guess what is hidden in the sack.
- The questions can only be answered with a yes or no.
- This develops a lot of excitement and anticipation.
- We then estimate the circumference and weight and then check our estimates with a tape measure and scales.
- We compare this data with data about bluebird eggs.
- Each of the children gets to hold the eggs and then we dissect them very carefully looking at the membrane, the yolk and the white parts.
How to Make an Origami Bluebird
Bird Games and Toys
These are games that would make great Learning Centers or games to be included in Literacy Bags. Look at these games and toys to see what children can learn about bluebirds from them. Hand a child one of these toys and ask them. You will be amazed at the learning that can come from playing together.
Children Draw Bluebirds
Children can use their talents to illustrate journals, books, posters, etc. It also helps them to develop better fine motor skills for handwriting.
Read a book about drawing birds by Ed Emberley or show them the video above. Drawing birds is just a matter of putting together various geometric shapes and coloring them in.
Teaching children how to draw bluebirds encourages them to enjoy illustrating books they write about the birds they are observing and studying.
Birds of a Feather Draw Together
ART CENTER: Besides having lots of paper, writing utensils and craft supplies, provide a basket or shelf of books on how to draw. Find step-by-step directions for drawing bluebirds and post them above the art table. Keep a 3-ring binder with similar directions of other animals. Laminating them will not only make them last longer but allow your young artists to trace over the examples with dry erase markers.
DRAWING BLUEBIRDS: Bluebirds are fun to draw. To make a bluebird, all you need are couple of blue triangles, an orange triangle, a blue circle, a blue C, an eye dot and a few simple lines for legs and feet. Change the blues to reds and you've got a red bird. Change them to brown to make a robin.
Make your own Bluebird
Check out these step-by-step instructions on how to make origami bluebirds. Origami bluebirds would be nice hanging from the ceiling as if they looking for insects.
I like to hang them using thread and watch them move around in the breeze from an open window, fan or heat duct.
Bluebird Life Cycle Matching Game
Become a Bluebird
Every day is a great day for Dress-up. Now that you have learned about bluebirds, it is time to try acting as a bluebird. Make bluebird costumes. Dance like a bluebird. Make up plays about bluebirds. Use your imagination...
Online Bird and Word Matching Game
Match the bird to it's shadow and then match it's name to the bird.
- Birds of a Feather
Budding naturalists can have fun with abstract shapes and life sciences by playing games like Bird Watcher. Kids delight in matching the birds to their silhouettes and habitats.
Ballerinas dancing as Bluebirds
Above you see images of Alicia Markova dancing as the Bluebird in the 1940 version of Sleeping Beauty. She was a very famous dancer who later on became a ballet teacher and choreographer.
- Set up a dance floor with a bar and mirror.
- Post Alicia Markova's poster near the mirror.
- Set up a computer with the video below of a young girl dancing the part of the bluebird nearby where children can watch.
- Have costumes with blue wings and masks available
- Set up a video camera on a tripod for children to record their dances
Children love to dance the part of the bluebird
Listen to the Bluebirds
Listen to the Bluebirds
Put a CD player in the bathroom on continuous play. Play CD's of bird calls.
This idea actually came from reading the book, Cheaper by the Dozen, which is a wonderfully funny look at teaching and learning.
Father didn't allow any wasting of time so he had the children listen to French and German Language Learning records in the bathroom as they brushed their teeth etc.
NOTE: Don't watch the movie. It has no relation to this wonderful book.
Or listen to this audio file of Bluebird Calls.
How to Make a Bluebird Costurme
- Sleeping Beauty Bluebird Costume
Authentic costumes for performing as Bluebird in a production of the ballet, Sleeping Beauty.
- FamilyFun: Crafts - and More Family Fun
Dress-up as a bluebird
- Classical Ballet Tutus
Made to measure professional quality classical ballet tutus for competitions, festivals and performances. Bespoke, elaborately decorated Princess Florine tutu for the Bluebird Pas de deux with professional standard bluebird headdress.
- Boy in Bluebird Costume
Illustration of a boy dressed in a bluebird costume
Bluebird Ballet Dance
"Here Comes a Bluebird"
"Here Comes a Bluebird" Song and Dance Game
To PLAY the game
1. Choose a child to be the first "Bluebird."
2. The rest of the children join hands and form a circle, holding their hands high.
3. Everyone sings The Bluebird Song as the "Bluebird" weaves in and out
of the "windows of the upraised arms of the children in the circle. Listen to the song "Here Comes A Bluebird" so that you can hear the tune and rhythm in order to teach it to your children.
4. When you get to the words "Pick a Little Partner," the "bluebird" draws the nearest child into the circle changing this child into a bluebird. These two bluebirds join both hands and hop into the center of the circle.
5. The two bluebirds drop hands, and begin the game again, now with the partners becoming two "bluebirds." The circle rejoins hands and repeats the song. Both "bluebirds" now picking partners.
6. Continue repeating the song, accumulating "Bluebirds" until there is no circle left!
"Here Come a Little Bluebird" with Rhythm Sticks
Bluebird House on eBay
Mount a bluebird house or a series of them along the fence line of a field and you encourage these beautiful birds to choose your neighborhood to raise their young.
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