Sunday, November 28, 2010

feely boxes

I use feely boxes for science and math activities. I got this idea from Terri, a fabulous Kindergarten teacher who made her version of a feely box when she was in college. After closely examining her design I am sharing it with you. First you need a cylindrical shaped cardboard or plastic container. It should be large enough to accommodate a hand and the objects you want your students to feel. I like the size of oatmeal containers.
Reinforce and decorate the container with contact paper.

Find a fun, stretchy sock and cut off the toe. I used a pinking sheers to prevent unraveling.

Finally, hot glue (or use E6000 glue available at fabric and craft stores) to attach the sock around the lip of the container. (Terri stapled her sock on but I couldn't figure out how to make that work.) The students put their hand in the sock to feel the objects inside. I made several so that I can use them with pairs of students. Simple, elegant and earth friendly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tube Owls

I am trying to incorporate more non-fiction/ expository text into our literacy time. I found a fabulous book Incredible Owls by Justin McCory Martin (available through Scholastic book companies). The book has great photographs of different types of owls and lots of facts without being too long. After reading and writing about owls, we created our own using 2 toilet paper tubes glued together (I hot glue them in advance), feathers, a cut out of owl features (which I made, traced and copied) and fun wiggle eyes (available through classroom direct catalogues) I like how the wiggles eyes have lashes and eyelids. They make the owl look nocturnal.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Patterning stations

I made this patterning activity with foam stickers and clothespins. I hot glued to stickers to the clothespins. The children use a ruler to clip a pattern.
These giant shape stamps are perfect for little hands. Students use paper strips and shape stamps to create shape patterns.
These linking family members were a "gift" from the Highlights Magazines. These are great for patterning by size.
This patterning mat set was available through Scholastic Firefly and Seesaw book clubs. I was able to use bonus points to order the set. The shapes a foam and the patterning mats help guide students.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Water Painting

I am always on the look out for ideas to keep my students engaged in play during recess time.
I saw a version of this activity at our local children's museum. All you need is a few old paint brushes and a bucket with about an inch of water. My students love to paint the sidewalk and watch their picture disappear, only to paint new ones.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


These 3-D scarecrow are easy to make and require mostly recycled materials. I collected oatmeal cans, coffee cans and other cylindrical containers. I wrapped the containers in newsprint. Then the students used felt to create the faces. Construction paper shapes can be used as well.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May Basket

I think this is my favorite hand print project of the year!

This is a double hand print in brown, thumbs pointing up. Hands should be placed so that the fingers are intertwined. Use the finger paint technique to connect the handle of the basket with brown paint.

Students then finger print paint the flowers into the basket.

Happy May Day!

Making rain

This is a great activity to try during a weather unit. You need 2 liter soda bottles (or another type of plastic bottle). Cut the bottle in half. Put about and inch of warm water in the bottom of the bottle. It helps to color it blue (for the ocean). Invert the top half into the bottom half (with the cap on). Fill the top with ice. After a few minutes clouds will form and droplets of "rain" will form on the inverted top. It's raining!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A shout out to Dr. Jean!

Check out Dr. Jean's March '10 on her web page. She shares numerous ways to use recycled materials in the classroom. Together we can make a big difference is caring for our earth!

Free Stickers!

If you are like me, you have an over abundance of address labels sent to you by charitable organizations soliciting donations. I have so many that I have them sorted by month and more come every week! I decided to cut the picture portion off each label and use them as small stickers for sticker charts. This is a wonderful way to recycle unwanted and unsolicited labels!

Umbrella handprints

The April hand print project is this umbrella hand with rain drop finger prints. Each child was able to chose a favorite color for the umbrella. Together we painted the handle.
Then the child added the rain drops.

The total display is a cheerful addition to our classroom.

Ocean unit - informational text

The ocean unit is an excellent unit for using informational text. We used a set of books published by Scholastic about the different zones of the ocean and animals that live in those zones. I am unable to show a photo of the books we used because of copyright laws, however, Scholastic Book Wizard is located at the bottom of this blog and can be used to search for these books. ( I do not receive anything from Scholastic, I just really like the company.)

I used the table of contents with my students to chose which animal to read about first and to model that these books don't have to be read in order. After reading about each zone, we listed all the animals that live in that zone on a large piece of chart paper.

Each student received an index card to illustrate an interesting animal from that zone.

The students then glued their pictures to the poster near the name of their animal. We displayed our posters in the hallway.

We also used Dr. Jean's song called Oceans on her Sing to Learn CD. You can download a printable book to go with the song on The song is sung to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" and can be used without the CD.

Ocean arts and crafts

This octopus/squid is made from 3 cardboard tubes glued together and then painted the desired color. I added the large wiggle eyes using a hot glue gun to ensure they eyes stayed glued. The students cut 8 tentacles out of recycled packing material, however, paper, laminating film scraps, yarn or ribbon could be used. I also glued the tentacles on using a hot glue gun. I hang these on bulletin boards using thumb tacks, giving a 3-D effect.

The hand print crab is another fun ocean craft. While the students are working on something else, I call them one at a time to the art table. The students choose the color they want and I paint both their hands and place them, finger spread apart and facing out, thumbs up, on the paper. When the paint is dry the students add eyes, claws and other ocean scenery. I like how they reflect student's individuality.

The jelly fish begins as a black line master that students dot or sponge paint. I used laminating film scraps as the tentacles and allow students to tape their own tentacle onto the body of the jellyfish. We hung these from the ceiling clips.

The ocean display bulletin board showcases much of our work. The star fish and snorkel masks came from black line masters that the children colored. The eye mask of the snorkel shows the ocean animals the child would most like to see and was part of a journal activity.


In honor of our ocean unit I created this mini ocean/water table as a dramatic play area. I used a large plastic storage box and filled it with about 3 inches of water. This is enough water to play with but not so much that it is easy to splash it out of the container. I used food coloring to dye the water blue.
I taped bubble wrap around the desks that hold the water table to help minimize spilled water and to make the area more thematic.

I added different types of containers, scoops, eye droppers, corks, basters and plastic ocean animals. The children really enjoy this sensory play and use problem solving skills when filling and emptying containers.

Management tip: I limit the number of students who can use the table to 4. I keep a check list of students who have used this area so that each student has the same number of turns.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shamrock Handprints

The hand print project for March is this festive green shamrock. After painting the child's hand green, I stamp the hand 3 times, fingers pointing toward the center of the paper, creating the leaves. The teacher or student can add the stem. We created the project quilt by alternating the shamrocks and tube leprechauns.

Animal Hospital

Children love animals and they love pretending. I created the animal hospital so that they could practice being veterinarians. This area includes an office desk complete with post it notes and animal themed papers, because every office has forms to fill out. The animals in this hospital include puppies, kittens, monkeys, birds, fish and rabbits.
The doctor tools are arranged on a tray for easy access and clean up. Dress up scrubs are available too.

Animals can be carried around in re purposed lunch boxes. Plastic containers serve as water and food bowls.

Q and U's Wedding

A wedding between letters Q and U helps reinforce these two and partners in words. It is a fun celebration with a literacy twist. Here are some ways we celebrate in my class.
The big Q and U are all dressed up and ready. Q's wedding veil is made of tulle that I found at thrift store.

I copied picture cards of words that start with /qu/ like: question mark, queen, quail, quilt and quarter. The gift boxes are CD gift boxes. I put enough pictures in each box so that each child could have a copy. As the gifts were opened, each child received one that he/she later glued to a Just Married paper, shown in the picture.
The girls made veils with sentence strips and real tulle. A little tulle goes a long way!(I learned the hard way that the veils should only be shoulder length, or they will get stepped on.) The boys made bow ties with tissue paper and clipped them onto their shirts with clothes pins. We had a real ring pillow and used plastic champagne glasses for the reception of milk and cookies.


After the big 100th day celebration, Zero the Hero stops visiting and numbers ending is zero lose some of their enticement. I had the student make dazzlers on the 110th day of school to remind them that they are getting dazzlingly smarter every day!
We used clean baby food jars, added sticky back pictures, confetti and glitter. Then we placed the top on securely and shook them up. Dazzling! I showed the students that when they brought the dazzler home, they could fill it with water for more shaking fun. They were encouraged to ask an adult to check that the top was on tight!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I will follow Jesus

This activity helps illustrate the theme of discipleship. I use it during Lent. Each student creates footprint stamps by making a fist and using the pinky side of the fist to stamp the foot and a finger to stamp the toes.
The footprint lead to a cross picture but this activity can be modified to fit any bible story.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

George Washington Portrait

In honor of President's Day we talk about the different presidents especially noting the observable differences between our 1st president and our current president. We talk about portraits and photographs and illustrate our learning by creating a portrait of George Washington. Each student traces and cuts out a circle on a white piece of paper and glues it to a base piece of construction paper. A face is then added to the circle.
A collar is created with half paper doily.

Then we add a powdered wig by using cotton balls or quilt batting. I make sure to tell the children to glue the construction paper and not the cotton.


This is a fun idea for a Valentine card for Moms and Dads. First create a boarder on a sheet of construction paper with a pattern xoxo (hugs and kisses.) Then create a lips stamp by filling a ziplock bag part way with water. Dip the bottom in paint and stamp onto the paper. The seem on the bag will create the defining line on the lips.