Fillet of a fenny snake,In the caldron boil and bake;Eye of newt, and toe of frog,Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—For a charm of powerful trouble,Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Macbeth - William Shakespeare
There are many myths surrounding the wildlife associated with Halloween - why not dust off your detective gear and bust some of these myths with your students and children?
Nowadays, we’re a bit more clued up about our bat friends. Traditionally they hibernate from October to April as there preferred food source (insects) is in short supply, or else they will migrate to somewhere warmer where food is available. You will only be likely to see a bat in flight at Halloween if one has been accidently roused from it’s hibernation – and then it would be unlikely to survive the winter.
Most are owls are nocturnal or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) but some may be seen by day. Many species live in one place but others are more nomadic, wandering and settling wherever there is food is in good supply (small mammals, insects, smaller birds and even fish).
You might actually not see a lot of spiders outside around Halloween (due to cold nights and frost) as most have laid their eggs and died. However, you may see a few more of them in your house during this period as they move inside and weave their webs.
I've barely scratched the surface with some of these nature myths - it'd be interesting to find out what your children believe about spooky wildlife, let us know below....
There's one week to go until young people all over the country will be getting outside and counting the birds visiting their school grounds or local park by taking part in Big Schools' Birdwatch.
The chances are that you will be taking part in it too if you are reading this blog - if so please let us know how you are preparing for it!
We've heard from a few schools already who have been busy making birdcakes and creating nature areas in their school grounds to attract more birds, it's nice to know so many of you are looking forward to taking part.
It's a really good idea to start feeding the birds this week (if you haven't already) to ensure that they come looking for food whilst you're doing the Birdwatch. Let us know your ideas for the Birdwatch below or on our forum.
Many of you will be getting ready for Big Schools' Birdwatch, did you know we have a special resource pack designed for Early Years called Little Schools' Birdwatch? The contents of the pack differs to the main Big Schools' pack as it contains resources targeted to younger children, including easy to handle bird ID cards, with simple information on the back, a counting chart with mask making activity. The pack also includes teachers' notes and everything you need to know to be able to take part (and wildlife expertise is not needed!).
There are a couple of simple activities you could do with this age range to prepare for your Birdwatch:
Make some bird cake
Making bird cake is a great activity that is bound to get everyone in the mood for birdwatching! The ingredients are really accessible and there's no need for any sophisticated equipment, just a pair of hands, a bowl and some bird seed needed. Of course you could spice your recipes up a bit with some reduced salt peanuts, dried fruit or cheese - simply follow these easy instructions!
Turn your classroom into a bird hide
Why not change your classroom for the event, and turn it into a bird hide? You could camouflage some large sheets of paper and stick them to the windows, remembering to leave slits at different heights for the children to look out from. Why not go the extra mile and make some trees for your walls adorned with some bird art work?
Make some binoculars
Complete the Birdwatch experience by making a pair of binoculars out of cardboard tubes! You can download the instructions here.
Illustrations by Andy Hamilton and Anthony Rule. Photo credit Caroline Offord.
So you may have done your Birdwatch and submitted your results already, or perhaps you are still getting ready for it by learning about the birds that are likely to visit your school grounds.
Either way, here is a great quiz provided by Education Quizzes to test your student's knowledge of what they have learned!
I have selected the most common garden birds quiz here, but there are some harder ones if you look at the British Birds page, there's up to 30 quizzes to choose from!
Let us know how many you get right......
A HUGE thank you to the Diss family (especially Matilda, Finty and Arthur) for their efforts in raising money for our Birds of Prey appeal! We were thrilled to hear your story this week, and we hope it will inspire some of the people who visit this blog to get out there and step up for nature!
This is Matilda Mary Diss, aged 9. Yesterday my sister and I made lots and lots of cookies and fairy cakes to sell on the roadside outside our house, in aid of Birds of Prey. We made our money boxes by colouring them in and gluing them together. We then set up a big table and stools outside our house and made a clear sign for people to read.
The next step was to start baking. We started at 9.30am making fairy cakes which had six eggs in them and cocoa and pink food colouring, as we wanted to make marbled fairy cakes. We got them in the oven as quickly as we could so that we could sell early. In the end the fairy cakes were ready before the cookies which was funny really as the sign said we had cookies and cakes for sale. Luckily no customers came to start with and we were able to get the cookies made using butter and sugar and flour and an egg and dipping them in melted chocolate so they looked really yummy.
Our first customers were my little brother Arthur and Daddy, they bought cakes and one biscuit and said they were delicious. The next customer was a couple who were enjoying a bank holiday walk and our little brother Arthur called them over to buy something from our cake stall. We forgot to tell them that the money was not for us!
Later our babysitter came and bought 10 biscuits and 10 cakes, we were delighted and shocked and worried our stocks would run out too early. We must explain that we live in the middle of nowhere! However Arthur and Finty did a good job of flagging cars and people down to purchase the cakes. We even had two cyclists who came back with money but sadly we had sold out and we were very embarrassed but they still gave us some money for Birds of Prey.
We enjoyed the day very much and we are delighted to let you know that we raised £27.24 we think this is fantastic. Mummy said she will donate the ingredients so we had a pure profit of £27.24. We will be sending you a cheque for this amount soon.
We hope this helps.
Love from Matilda Diss who made the cookies (aged 9), and her sister Finty Diss who made the cakes (aged 7).