August 31, 2015

Summer's Last Stand

Though I am excited for  another school year, the end of summer is always bittersweet. The Dargatz Family likes to ride out summer in style so we trekked to the Dells for a weekend of some of our favorite things: hiking and history. Enjoy a look at our trip in picture format. 

P.S.  -We also stopped at Stand Rock (State Natural Area) and Rocky Arbor State Park but didn't take any pictures.

Circus World Museum - State Historical Site

That's a lot of wagons!

Mini version of my favorite wagon

Dells of the Wisconsin River -State Natural Area

Rainbow rocks

Mirror Lake State Park

This tree fell right as were walking on a  nearby trail

International Crane Foundation


We saw plenty of birds but did a good deal of hiking as well

H.H. Bennett Studio - State Historical Site


Wisconsin Dells Riverwalk

Devil's Lake State Park

Baby bushwhacking

A treacherous trip up

Bopping those blazes

Making an owl

Finished product

Pewit's Nest - State Natural Area

Giving her new friend a piggyback ride

August 26, 2015

A Readers Review

Book 19 was quite intriguing. With insight on architecture, art, presidential history, and politics, it dabbled into many different interests areas of mine. It also made me really want to go back to DC! 

August 19, 2015

A Tale of Two Classrooms

This school year will be groundbreaking for me and my students. We will be embarking on many exciting educational adventures that are sure to promote academic, social, and emotional growth. Though being in charge of daddy daycare this summer is awesome I truly cannot wait to get started and see where this year takes my students, my school, and my community.

That being said, these educational adventures will be of all shapes and sizes in a variety of settings. 

The Indoor Classroom

The Classroom Zoo officially opens for it's tenth season in just a few days. Those of you who know me know I have a zoo them based on the first children's stories I ever wrote. In short, I want all who enter my room to be respected for their individuality. A zoo is full of animals with unique and amazing characteristics. Those differences make it a special place to visit.  My students also have differences and qualities that need to be respected and celebrated. A zoo isn't a zoo if it only has one same animal in every exhibit just like a classroom isn't working at its best unless each child is able to be exactly who they are.

This year, I went with an even more open concept than last year. I added different things, like a reading tent and a Lego table, and expanded on others, like my science exploration supplies and non-traditional seating. While I did leave some tables for those who prefer to sit and for potentially messy art supplies, most traditional tables and chairs are gone.
Calendar and group teaching area

Math area with my wall of champions

Building area

Imaginative play area

Science exploration supplies and some non-traditional seating

Reading tent

Guided literacy & math table

Bare (not for long) wall of student art and future home of our two tortoises

Creativity Corner

My desk (already a bit cluttered)

View from my desk

Cubby room with creature collages

The Outdoor Classroom

As I begin the forest kindergarten concept in my district, I have thoroughly enjoyed researching the concept and applying it to my own school with my very own trail design and creation. I knew it would be exciting to get the kids out in nature but I couldn't even begin to think about how many ideas I am flooded with each and every day, especially when I am lucky enough to have a child join me on the trail. In my most recent trips to the trail with my own daughter and a former student, watching the kids experience the trail and all it has to offer really opened up my eyes to the possibilities. From collecting acorns to observing deer, even as few small moments helps kids be kids while learning and growing.
Trail heading to our oak tree teaching area

I had to create the trail to go through the part of our oak savanna

A view from one end of the trail

The trail is toddler-tested and approved!

We got about 10 feet away before this cutie bounded away

Best hike leader 

Oak tree teaching area

View from under the oak

Second more open teaching area near exit/entrance

I have a feeling this is going to be a very special year. While this blog will consistently update you on my life as a father and teacher, please consider following my hiking blog, Tales from the Trails as it will focus on my outdoor adventures.

Let the learning begin!