We had a very eggciting month in May as our baby chicks were born! We incubated ten chicken eggs for twenty one days and they hatched into six fluffy chicks called Fluffy, Little Timmy, Cheddar, Nuggets, Sockie and Sonny! Our eggs were incubated at 37.8 degrees celsius inside a manual incubator and we had to ensure there was enough water in the gauge to keep the humidity at the right level. Each day we turned the eggs at least three times and we numbered them on one side and put an ‘x’ on the other to ensure we knew which egg was which! We did all of this to minic what would happen in real life with a hen! Usually a hen sits on the eggs and keeps the eggs at the right temperature as well as turning them several times a day with her feet to ensure that they develop properly. The hen’s feathers are slightly damp underneath which ensures the correct humidity for her eggs too!
After about eight days of incubation we were able to see some veins inside our eggs when we candled them. This involving shining a torch through them in a dark room.
On day fourteen we candled them again to reveal much larger dark shadows that were beginning to move!
We did our final check on day eighteen which showed our chicks having great fun moving around in their little eggs.
For the last three days, we didn’t turn the eggs anymore in order for the chicks to get into the right position for hatching. On day twenty-one our first egg pipped and the rest soon followed. A ‘pip’ is when the chick makes its first crack of the egg with its egg tooth (a little tooth on the top of its beak which breaks off post hatch – specially designed for cracking shells), it does this to give itself more air to breath. Inside the egg, there is an air sac which the chick will breath from before it pips. After the chicks pipped their shells, it took about ten to twelve hours for them to fully hatch. Making the first pip is hard work and they need to have a good rest, absorb the rest of the egg yolk through their belly buttons (their food) and conserve their energy for their big hatch.
The hatch itself doesn’t take too long, maybe an hour at most! The chick has to work its way around the whole shell before using its back, neck, wing and head to push itself out of the shell. Inside the egg, the chick’s head is tucked up underneath its wing to protect it – hence why you might have seen the wing come out of the shell first in our Twitter videos – @MsOlsonsClass.
The chicks did not come out of the shell looking all fluffy! Their feathers were actually soaking wet!
We left them in the incubator until they had dried and fluffed up and then we transported them into a suitable box. We hung an infrared heat lamp over the box to keep them cosy and gave them lots of food and water. A normal lamp wouldn’t work as well as the little chicks would find it too difficult to sleep with the harsh light. The chicks grew so quickly and began to get their wing feathers after only a couple of days.
They could often be seen preening themselves to change the fluff to feathers! After five days our chicks went to a lovely new home with lots of other chicken friends but every student in the school had the opportunity to visit them before they left and were given a chance to name them!
Besides all of the chick news, we actually did so many other things in May that we need to tell you about too! In May we were learning all about transport. Each week our Aistear corner changed into a different vehicle! We had lots of fun playing in the bus, racing car, train and aeroplane! We constructed different vehicles using a variety of different materials including Lego, Duplo, polydrons and stickle bricks. We mapped out journeys in small world using our mats, vehicles and trains to travel around the town and we did some cut and stick activities including labelling a car, sorting vehicles by air, land and sea and labelling an aeroplane. We created our own small world group pictures and labelled all the vehicles. Finally we made 2D shape vehicles by drawing around shapes and creating a picture with them!
In English, our reading is steadily improving day by day and we are really enjoying reading our books. We are continuing to revise all our phonics, tricky words, Dolch words and blending words to enhance our reading skills even further. We were so lucky to be invited to paired reading with sixth class in our brand new outdoor classroom! We really enjoyed it! We are making great strides with our writing too. Monday to Thursday we do writing stations – we do one station each day. Usually our stations are: news writing; complete the sentence; sentence writing (we build the sentences with flashcards and then write them into our copies) and a CVC worksheet (consonant-vowel-consonant three letter words e.g. cat). We are working on dictation at the moment, each morning we practise writing a few words and on Fridays we put those words together to make a sentence. We also love to do free-writing when we can write about whatever we like unaided. This month we focused on stories involving journeys. We liked listening to ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and ‘The Snail and the Whale’ by Julia Donaldson.
In Gaeilge we are continuing to learn our songs, poems and phrases about An Aimsir (The Weather) and we are about to start Siopadóireacht (Shopping). In Maths we revised sorting and sorted shapes for up to four properties – colour, shape, size and thickness. We also did lots of addition sums within 5 and 10, practised our number formation, made sets within 10 and revised our 2D and 3D shapes. We also learnt about data and gathered and represented data about boys and girls in the class, eye colour, hair colour, shoe colour and favourite treats. We represented the data on pictograms.
Most of our S.E.S.E learning this month was learning about our chicks but we also learned about vehicles and transport and we looked at transport in the past. We learnt about the life cycle of plants and sunflowers before planting our own sunflowers too.
In Art we made egg box Dublin Buses and paper plate sunflowers as well as the couple of pieces we made in Aistear up above. Take a look!
In Music we learnt songs surrounding the theme of horse and ponies. The songs were lots of fun and we liked pretending to be horses whilst singing! In P.E. we were so lucky to have Coach Steve from Shankill GAA back in with us to do a few ball skills sessions. We also did gymnastics with our teacher and learnt how to do a forward roll as well as having our weekly sessions with Coach Ed.
We hoped you liked reading about our time in school during the month of May. We will have our final blog of the year up during the last week of school. We cannot believe our time in Junior Infants is nearly over! We are getting so grown up! Finally, here are pictures of hopefully many more picnics to come!