So, last year I was teaching kindergarten. I had taught kindergarten (my all-time favorite grade) for many years at several other schools. However, when I decided it was time to stop commuting and move to the school I’m at now I took a position in first grade. I enjoyed teaching first grade for two years, but if I’m being honest, I spent a lot of that time angling to get myself a spot on the kindergarten team. (I’m setting the stage here… stick with me. It was a really fun, happy year. I was teaching in the room next to one of my teaching BFFs, teaching my favorite grade, in a sweet little school, close to home … Can you see it? It was happy and fun. “Sunny and Bright” if you will…!)
One of the highlights of kindergarten every year is a spring field trip to the farm. We spent about a month before the trip learning about farm animals. It was really, really fun! I wrote THIS nonfiction, close reading unit about farm animals. We used this as the basis for our unit and based everything else around it.
We used some of the photo pages from the unit to make our anchor charts. I laughed so hard the day after this one went on display. I had THREE parents write me notes that their child had gone home and asked for a pet pig the night before! Ha! We learned a lot of fun facts… (I think the favorite was that pigs are smarter than preschoolers. We had a lot of students with preschool brothers and sisters so this fact hit especially close to home!)
Okay, back to the story… So, we spent a month learning about farm animals. The kids were totally hooked. It was pretty fascinating stuff, if I do say so myself! The unit was going to end with our big field trip to the farm. Everyone was very, very, very excited. We had a ton of parents coming with us. (Many more than we usually have for trips.)
As the day of the trip got closer a few little “bumps” did start to pop up… but that’s normal. Things never go perfectly for these big trips. The biggest “bump” was that Spring Picture Day was scheduled for the same day as our field trip. (There was a major mess up with the master calendar.) We were supposed to get on the bus to leave at 7:45 am- but the earliest we could take pictures was 8:00… Minor setback… Of course, the pictures took MUCH longer than they should have and we were almost an hour late getting on the road.
However, once we got on the road we were good-to-go! It was a beautiful day and we made it to the farm relatively quickly (“relatively” still being an hour on a school bus with 45 kindergarteners… ).
When we got to the farm it was “outdoorsy magic” (and I am not an outdoorsy sort of girl!). We started with a hayride and then went into the chicken coop. Where we got to hold chickens! So much cooler than I expected it to be!
We saw donkeys, pigs & hogs. There were horses and some (kind of scary) turkeys. (Apparently, turkeys can be pretty mean and a bit aggressive. They were not my favorite!)
You know what was my favorite? Milking a cow for the first time!! For real… a real cow and real milk! We watched lots of videos about it, read books & learned a lot about the different ways cows are milked… but getting to actually do it?? Well, I don’t know what it was like for the five year olds… but for this thirty-something (lots of something) year old teacher it was quite the thrill! (In case you can’t tell… I have to work on not hiding my emotions… I should really be more expressive… 😉
So, you are probably thinking… apart from scary turkeys, this field trip doesn’t sound bad at all… no lost kids, no broken-down bus, no tantrums or breakdowns in a crowded parking lot (I had that once on a field trip to the State Fair when I taught a pre-k class for students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders… we’ll go ahead and call that the “Third Worst Field Trip Ever”… and in case you are wondering, I do not recommend taking your ESE class – or any class for that matter – to the State Fair. It sounds fun. It sounds like a great community learning experience. It’s not worth it. Trust me on this one. NOT. WORTH. IT.)
Where was I? Oh, right…the farm. It sounds like it was a perfectly nice field trip, right? Well, yes, you’re right. It was. It was lovely. We were just about to sit down for a nice little picnic lunch before heading back to school when “our Farmer” told us we had just enough time to go see the baby goats. And THAT, my friends, is where the story takes a turn.
I can hear you now. You are thinking, “Baby goats – what could possibly be so terrible about baby goats?” **That reminds me of the night when my twins were 15 months old and disassembled their dresser (after climbing out of their cribs) at 2 am. By 3 am I was pushing all the furniture from their room out into the tiny foyer in a move of total desperation. When my husband went running downstairs (to leave for work) at 7 am and slammed into a dresser (awkwardly wedged into the foyer) he made the rookie mistake of yelling “What is a dresser doing in the hallway?!?!”
Well, that was almost 9 years ago and we still tell the story of how I came running out of the bedroom, wild-eyed screaming “IT MUST BE NICE TO WONDER WHY THERE IS A DRESSER IN THE HALLWAY! I SURE WISH I HAD THE LUXURY OF NOT KNOWING WHY THERE WAS A DRESSER IN THE HALLWAY! BUT ONLY THE PERSON WHO GETS TO SLEEP THROUGH THE MIDDLE-OF-THE-NIGHT DRESSER MOVING DOESN’T KNOW WHY IT WAS MOVED!!! I SURE WISH I WAS THAT PERSON!” (It was not a proud mothering moment… but I’ve made the most of it by retelling the story 987 times… and I love a good story 😉
Okay, back to baby goats!
First, let me set the scene…the goat pen was an approximately 12×12 area. There were a few waist-high platforms/tables in the middle. There were also about half a dozen stumps that were between a foot and 18 inches high. The ground was covered with dirt, mulch and thick roots & vines.
My class went into the pen with my friend Rachelle & her class. We had about 35 kindergarteners, 2 teachers, a farmer, and 3-4 parents inside the pen. There were another dozen parents around the outside of the pen watching.
…There were also a lot of goats. There were a couple of “big goats” but the vast majority of the goats were babies. They were tiny and super cute…and they were everywhere. They were resting on the platforms, hopping up on the stumps and walking every which way. (Which means there were five-year-olds everywhere.)
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