Sunday, May 8, 2011

Nature Notebooks for P.O.P. Nature Study

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For anyone wanting to gather supplies for a nature notebook, here's the description for nature notebook supplied in Karen Andreola's book Pocketful of Pinecones:

Andreola writes: "Although the story is fiction, the experiences are based on my own."

So we can figure quite certainly that the format of the nature notebooks described in P.O.P. is the same format Andreola used with her own children.

POP book (pg.3)

"When I explained that they could keep a record of whatever bit of nature they found, drawing and writing a little something about what they observed, Emily was particularly keen on the idea. The set of colored pencils I gave her added to her anticipation."

POP book (pg. 8)

"Before we went outside, I had the children place some drawing paper on the clipboards. I had decided that they should leave the Notebooks safely indoors. Next I explained that their drawings would be cut out and pasted into the Notebooks, and that I'd help them write their observations under the drawing on the lines of their books. In this way they would be making a sort of nature journal."

POP book (pg. 12)

"Today was the day Don and Emily were to paste their first drawings into their Nature Notebooks...(pg. 13) Emily cut around her picture of the chicory flower in a nice neat circle. I cautioned her not to use too much paste when I saw how much was on her brush. She was an inch from pasting her flower onto a left-hand page of her book when I stopped her with a hasty "wait!..."...told her that it would be best to place entries only on each right-hand page in her book, so that there would be pictures pasted only on one side of the pages...the pages would turn more easily this way...Both children wrote the name of their flower at the left and the date on the right...The observations were to go underneath the drawing. Emily dictated to me a few words about her chicory. Then she copied them into her book from what I had written out for her."


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In P.O.P. the mother, Carol, does take Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study book to the park on their nature outings. It's a hefty book so you would need to have a backpack for it and the notebooks.

You'll want to find what works for you and your children as you go. Personally, we use very nice sketchbooks for our nature notebooks and we leave them at home. They are only taken outside to sketch in the backyard or on the patio. We also bring a magnifying glass or two but the less we have to carry, the better. I hate to hike with any type of hinderance; especially after our recent excursion in north Louisiana where we plowed up and down hills, ducking under tree limbs and slipping on rocks with a 5 month old hanging from a carrier on me (written back in 2002). Annie clutched the straps fiercely and her little bare toes gripped into my sides. She was alittle puzzled and I was overly careful of not slipping with her strapped to me. I certainly didn't need any extra luggage. And if I had allowed the kids to tote something, know what happens. Moms carry the largest purse cause they end up holding everything. :-) 

So we hike very simply.

Of course, if you do nature study in your own backyard, so much the simpler.
If the kids find a flower they want to draw, they pick it and take it home with them to draw. Bugs, worms, etc. We carry sandwich bags and set the insect free once home and drawn. (Don't forget the tweezers! though, with two boys we don't have much need for those). Come to think of it, the boys usually just pick the insect up on a leaf and shake it into the baggie.

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