Friday is officially Chicken Tending day in my classroom. We have 14 chicks in two brooders in the corner of my classroom. My 28 kids incubated eggs throughout the month of January and officially became chicken tenders near the end of the month. We did not have as successful of a hatch rate as we wanted, so we decided to order day-old chicks. These chicks came into our classroom the first part of February....and yes they come in the mail in a box, weirdest thing ever! For the last five weeks, we have taken data and changed the bedding every Friday.
Friday goes a little bit like this:
7:15 - the bell rings and the excited fourth graders rush in, eagerly anticipating the job ahead. The first group of students begin to fill up the buckets with fresh bedding. The four kids chosen to carry the brooder outside to dispose of the old bedding get ready to go. In the meantime, I am herding all the chickens to one side of the brooder and closing the door. That is such a crazy task....herding chickens is about like herding cats.
7:25 - the first brooder is back and free of bedding. The original helpers eagerly pour in the fresh bedding, set the toys back in, replace the food and water and release the chickens. We watch their frenzied excitement as they peck at the new bedding.
7:30 - the kids set to work filling the next set of buckets and emptying the second brooder.
7:40 - the brooder arrives back all clean and smelling fresh. They add the new bedding, spread it all around, put the doors and the roosting bar back in and open the door for the chicks. The chicks are super excited to have the full brooder back together.
7:45 - we hurriedly get their backpacks, unpack and get all of their supplies out. After all, we have to actually learn something today! It feels as if we have been working all day and it has just been 30 minutes.
That is the beginning of our Friday, every Friday is the same until the chicks are old enough to live outside. We begin our second round of chicken tending around 11. For this round, the students have the opportunity to interact with their chick. They weigh them, measure their wingspan and measure their foot length. All of this is done while trying to control the chicken from flying across the room. At first, the chicks are so little they don't move much. Today was not the case, at five weeks old these chickens can move. Like across the room...like jump from the table and soar to find their friends. Needless to say, hilarity ensues. I laughed so hard that tears were streaming down my face. The laughter of the kids combined with the occasional squeal is the highlight of our Friday.
Friday is a great day in fourth grade and being a chicken tender makes it even better!