Gingerbread Field Trip

Not only have the students been listening to different versions of the Gingerbread Man, but they have been studying architecture in Art Class. Students created their very own gingerbread house with the help of Mrs. Guay, our art instructor.

Mrs. Guay and I thought it would be incredible for the students to see a large-scale gingerbread house in person.  A special thank you to the Four Seasons Biltmore for making this happen for us! We hopped on the bus and headed over to see the magic.

The theme for the Biltmore’s gingerbread house this year was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The children were amazed at the amount of detail!

We even had a chance to speak with the head baker who designed the gingerbread house!


This is what was needed to create the gingerbread masterpiece!

Then, we went on a tour of the kitchen where all the baked goods for the hotel are made. The highlight of the kitchen tour was of course…

getting to go inside the freezer AND

the refrigerator!

Next, students were taken to the dining room and given hot chocolate and a giant chocolate chip cookie! Who could ask for anything more?!

I was very proud to hear lots of “pleases” and “thank you’s.”

The trip ended with each student choosing a Beanie Boo keychain. This was definitely a trip to remember. Thank you Four Seasons Biltmore for giving such a special holiday experience.


Pumpkin Patch

Our first field trip of the year was a huge success! The kindergarteners traveled to Lane Farms for a very special field trip. We toured the farm, took a hayride, and chose a perfect school-sized pumpkin. (Wait until you see for what these pumpkins will be used!) Enjoy the pictures!

What makes a field trip successful, fun, and educational? First, I always provide students with clear expectations and as much information as possible before embarking on the field trip. I also strive to keep trips active, organized, and as short yet meaningful as possible. Finally, scheduling this field trip to the pumpkin patch first thing in the morning made the patch less crowded and less hot. For me, I easily could keep an eye on the students because there were fewer outside people. In and out, but FUN for all!

Lane Farms

We had a wonderful field trip to Lane Farms. The weather was perfect, and the pumpkin patch was near empty for most of our time there. Mrs. Lane even had a scavenger hunt for us to do! Look at all the things we found:

We saw a donkey.

Students took turns driving the tractor.

The students played “Scarecrow Says.”

We went took a hayride!

And, each student chose a pumpkin to bring back to school.

We will be using these special squash to help us with a quick learning unit on pumpkins where the students will record their information in these pumpkin books.

Happy fall!

What is a Good Citizen?

Being a good citizen is an important part of being a part of Laguna Blanca School. We strive, campus-wide, to be the best citizens we can be. Positive character traits are discussed weekly at our Tecolote Tuesday meetings, as well as during our Swooper Citizens lessons. Last week, the kindergarten and first-grade class had the chance to see a good citizen in action in the community of Santa Barbara. We were invited to visit the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol and were treated to a very special tour of the Harbor Patrol boat.


While the first graders toured the boat, the kindergarteners enjoyed snack down by the waterfront.

I also read the book, Officer Buckle and Gloria. “Officer Buckle is a roly-poly bloke, dedicated to teaching schoolchildren important safety tips, such as never put anything in your ear and never stand on a swivel chair. The problem is, Officer Buckle’s school assemblies are dull, dull, dull, and the children of Napville just sleep, sleep, sleep. That is, until Gloria the police dog is invited along! Stealthily pantomiming each safety tip behind Officer Buckle’s back, Gloria wins the children’s hearts. Meanwhile, Officer Buckle assumes the cheers and laughter are all for him. Children will be highly entertained by the laugh-out-loud, adorable illustrations in this 1996 Caldecott Medal winner while learning the value of teamwork and a pawful of nifty safety tips.” (Ages 4 to 8) –Gail Hudson

The students thought the book was hilarious!

When it was our turn, we made our way to the Harbor Patrol boats and were greeted by Officer Nathan, who spoke to us about what it means to be a good citizen.

Then it was time to board the boat and learn about what Officer Nathan and the other members of Harbor Patrol do and the tools they use.

The students were very impressed with all the tools on Officer Nathan’s tool belt.

Each student took a turn “driving” the boat.

Then they were able to use the water hose!

This field trip was truly a “hands-on” learning experience for the kindergarteners. Thank you, Officer Nathan and the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol!

Lane Farms

We just got back to school from our first field trip of the school year…Lane Farms. The students have been BEYOND excited about the idea of a field trip, so imagine their smiles as we loaded into the school vans and headed to Goleta. We were met there by many families and by Mrs. Lane, who’s family has operated the farm since the 1800’s. She shared some valuable information with us and then sent us on our way to explore the farm. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

The pumpkins that the children picked today will be used in the classroom for several math, science, and writing activities which will be organized into a book like this:

Let the pumpkin fun begin!

Tide Pool School

The kindergartners had the amazing opportunity to participate in Tide Pool School earlier this week. (Tide Pool School is usually reserved for students in third grade and up.) They brought their new learning about oceans to Tide Pool School and put their knowledge to the test. Oh, the sea life we saw!!



hermit crabs…

a GIANT sea hare!!!!

Do I really want to hold this thing????….Yay! He did!

I was impressed with how many students touched this sticky, slimy, creature!


crabs…look at the eggs on the crab above..gigantic!

more crabs!! (This one is a male. Ask your child to tell you how we know this is a male crab….)


and sea stars…finally! We saw four sea stars! This is the first trip in three years where we saw sea stars, as they have been fighting a deadly virus since late 2013, early 2014 and have died off in mass numbers. I was so excited to see these beautiful creatures back in the inter tidal.

Do you see the tube feet attached to the rock on the underside of the sea star? Ask your child to tell you how a sea star eats its food….eeewwwww!

Students got to use nets and test tubes to collect the sea life.

We collected the sea life in buckets. Students participated in a sharing session after exploring the tide pools. All items collected were carefully returned to their habitats following the sharing session.

We ended the trip with a picnic and a serene bus ride back to school. (really! Half the students took a nap!) What a beautiful day and a memorable experience! Thank you Ms. Svedlund for organizing this excursion.

Lane Farms


We just got back from our first field trip of the year to Lane Farms. The weather was just perfect!

We enjoyed the new baby goats.


Students got to “drive” the tractor.





We tried hugging the BIGGEST pumpkins there!



We pumped water.


We even got to go on the hay ride…TWICE!! But the best part of the trip was when the students chose their pumpkins.



These pumpkins will be used throughout the next few weeks to help students explore the concepts of measurement, circumference, life cycles, and of course, the five senses!


Behind the Scenes of the Owl Field Trip

Monday was our big field trip to the ranch to check out the owl boxes. But before the students arrived, my husband John and I had some work to do!

First, we took the backhoe to the spot where the purple owl box is. The purple owl box is the easiest to access, so it is where our field trip would be. John positioned the tractor below the box, and climbed into the bucket so that he could reach the trap door on the owl box. Inside he found just a few pellets, not the amount necessary for the field trip.


So we continued our quest for pellets to the green owl box that is deep in an avocado orchard.

Jackpot! Watch as John sorts through the items inside the box. Ultimately, he cleans out the box, readying it for another season of barn owl in-habitation.

Here is a close up of the perch.


And here is the view from inside the box:



We brought some of what he found over to the other spot and re positioned the tractor. I wanted him to climb up in front of the students so that they could get the full effect!

Fast forward to Monday morning. We had a leisurely bus ride to the country with a small caravan of mom’s behind us. The bus parked at our garage/work area, and we hiked to the purple owl box. (You may remember that last year we saw bear tracks on this particular ranch road, but this year we saw only squirrels.)


Once at the owl box, John showed the students a display box that he built and our girls painted. The box will be installed on the ranch this season.


Students were able to see the perch where the owls sit and search for their prey. They peeked inside the box, and looked through the trap door, where owls nest.


We talked a bit about how owls are not able to digest certain parts of their prey, and they end up regurgitating these parts in the form of pellets. At that point, John hopped on the tractor and lifted the bucket into place.


He climbed up, opened the trap door, and grabbed the three pellets that were in the box. (I was surprised that we only got a few “oohs!” The students must have been tired from the weekends’ events!)

John placed the pellets on trays as I passed out gloves and masks to students who were interested in touching and dissecting the pellets.




We were lucky to have a mom present who just happens to be a veterinarian. She helped dissect the pellets and identify some of the bones.


Here is a skull and a shoulder blade from a rat!!



Later, we went up to the house for a good hand-washing, snack, and some more exploring. The children loved the chicken coop, where they held chickens, fed them scratch grains, and collected eggs!




Once we returned to school, we finished up our worksheets on owl pellets.




Later in the afternoon, we added information to the Dinner Time page of our Owl and Bat Notebook.



Learning in the field always leaves a lasting impression on the students!