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BirdNote in the Classroom - Jessie Soder's Class

Kids love BirdNote!
© Sean Nielson View Large

Jessie Soder is bringing nature into her classroom. Students in her 4th and 5th grade classes in Gustavus, Alaska, are studying the birds of their region. They’ve designed a yearlong scientific study to identify plant communities with the most birds – and why. Students collect data on field trips and listen to episodes of BirdNote twice a week, where they learn amazing facts about species including the Spruce Grouse.

Full Transcript



BirdNote In the Classroom: Jessie Soder’s Students

Written by Chris Peterson 

Students interviewed by Lynne Jensen

This is BirdNote!


Students in Jessie Soder’s 4th and 5th grade class in Gustavus, Alaska, are studying the birds of their region. They’ve designed a yearlong scientific study to figure out what plant communities have the most birds and other animals and why. They collect data on field trips, and twice a week, listen to episodes of BirdNote. 

Here’s Jessie:

“We saw some Long-tailed Ducks on one of our field trips and so we wanted to learn more about them, and so I found an episode about Long-tailed Ducks and we listened to that.”

Her students delve into the BirdNote archive. Let’s listen: [call of Spruce Grouse]

Student 1: “That’s where I found out that the Spruce Grouse…in the summer it eats bugs and insects…and in the winter all it eats is like spruce needles and that’s pretty hard to digest, and that’s not that rich in nutrients, so it has to eat a whole bunch and its gizzard actually grows just to digest spruce needles.” 

And another: [call of Black-capped Chickadee.]

Student 2: “I learned some stuff about a Chickadee.  When it goes to sleep, it shoves itself in a tiny little crack in a tree and it drops its body temperature 18 degrees and shivers through the whole night to keep warm.  And it’s just amazing what birds do to survive.”

Jessie Soder is bringing nature into her classroom.

“I feel really strongly about helping students understand more about where they live. You know, I didn’t know much about using BirdNote when I first started using it, and we just started listening to episodes and the kids loved it!”

See photos of the project and share this episode with a teacher, at


Special thanks to audio recordist Justin Smith and videographer Sean Neilson.

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Spruce Grouse [2389] recorded by H. Lumsden.  Ambient created from Boreal Chickadee [77204] recorded by C.A. Marantz. Call of Black-capped Chickadee [1106942] recorded by R.S. Little.

BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

© 2013 Tune In to    April 2013   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# soderj-01-2013-04-12   soderj-01 

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