Thursday, September 24, 2009

Apple Quilt

Along with our apple unit we made these apple hand prints. They are arranged on a bulletin board to look like a quilt. I will save them and use them in a memory book to be given out at our closing ceremony.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cylinder Blocks

I have been collecting oatmeal, hot chocolate, Pringles and whey powder containers all summer. I added them to the block area this week and the kids love them! They can build castles and taller towers! All I did was leave the lids on and put some light blue contact paper around the outside. My students really enjoy building towers that are taller than they are! ( I even saw them take out the measuring tape and "measure" their towers). I really enjoy that they make so little noise when the towers fall.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly

There was and Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly is a wonderful repetitive text story. And now Scholastic Book Company has published a series of these stories to go with each season. It is simple, fun and a great comprehension skill to create story props in order to retell the story. I made an old lady prop out of a mini garbage can and drawing old lady features on the outside of the can making sure to position the mouth on the opening of the can.
I then made animal cards with pictures and labels for the old lady to swallow. The students take turns feeding the old lady. They love it! It is easy to modify this for any other "Old Lady" books.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archembolt and Lois Ehlert is a popular first week of school/alphabet book and it is fun to retell the story though art. For years I have used this wonderful book and tried to get my kindergartners to trace and cut out their hand print during the first week of school. The result was, I spent a lot of time tracing student's hand for them and coaching the cutting process. I realized that there has got to be a better way to do this project without unrealistic expectations on the children's fine motor skills! After a bit of reflection I decided to try a new way of creating the leaves of the coconut tree. I already pre cut the trunks so that wasn't the issue and I want the children to practice cutting with a manageable project.
So, this is what we now do: Each child receives 2 small green square of paper for the 2 leaves.

The child then cuts the corners off the squares of paper. I demonstrate this first .

Then, if the child is feeling fancy they can add some "fronds" by cutting slits into the sides of the leaf. Viola! A simple and cool coconut leaf.

Millions of Cats

I love matching literature with phonemic awareness and art projects! I was given this idea from Sister Marybeth Schraml (an amazing teacher!)
When I introduce the letter Cc, I read the book Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag. We then create our own cats. I prepare a number of tracers for the body of the cat (shaped like the letter Cc) and the cat's head. The students then trace and cut the 2 pieces using wall paper. (Or any other kind of fancy paper you have available.)
The students can arrange the body and head cut outs in a variety of poses. This adds an element of choice to this project and gives each child a chance for self expression. The students then glue the pieces onto a background paper as desired. I like to use black because it really emphasizes the pattern on the wall paper. Then a face is added. I like to use this opportunity to talk about details in drawing, like whiskers and eyebrows etc.

Here are 2 examples of different poses.

The finished product is delightful and winsome. The children like to see what pose others have chosen.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Apples and Pumpkins

Here is a fun way to create 3 dimensional apples and pumpkins for fall units. You will need cardboard toilet paper tubes, glue (I like to use hot glue), red or orange paint and green paper for leaves. To prepare, glue 3 tubes together to form a triangle. Hot glue the quickest way to get this job done.Have the children paint their fruit the desired color. I usually write their initials inside the tubes for easy identification.

I put a photo of each child on their apples for an apple bulletin board. The great thing about working with tubes is that they are free!