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.