Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Six Books about Summer


Twenty-three. 23. Two tens, three ones. TWENTY-THREE school days left until we are out for summer. Sure I've enjoyed my kinders, but I'm ready to pass them up to the lovely ladies in first grade. They're ready. So for the next few weeks, we are going to enjoy some fun activities and we're going to start thinking about summer!

I thought I'd begin my summer-is-coming celebration by recommending some books you might want to read to your kiddos. I've linked them all to Amazon so you can take a quick look. 
  









If you'd like writing prompts to go with these books, check out this collection. You'll find 17 super simple prompts. Even if you don't have these titles, many of the books will work with summer-themed books you have on hand. Keep your kids reading and writing for only $2.50. Click to grab it on TPT. 


Here's a peek inside:


I'd love for you to drop me a note when you use these with your kids.
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Blogger Buddy Wednesday 4/23

It's Wednesday and that means it's time to share something fun or inspiring that you saw on another blog this week. Remember, primary teachers hold hands and share AND they are very good at following directions.
1. Share something on your blog that you liked on a friend's blog.
2. Ask permission before you snag photos from the friend's blog.
3. Always put the friend's blog button and link it.
4. Always put the linky image linked to this post.
5. Make sure you link up below!

My blogger buddy this week is a super cool, coffee-drinking, app-loving first-grade teacher. Meet Stacy from Funky Fresh Firsties.

I'm sending you over to read her post about her current favorite apps.

Now that's a gal that knows how to work smart! Thanks, Stacy! Guess which app we have in common?!
If you want to feature a blogger buddy, link up here:
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Sunday, April 20, 2014

My Peeps on Pinterest Linky


All of my favorite peeps are on Pinterest!
You can find me here…

And all my peeps here…



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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed


I call it "soul teaching." The moments when you choose an activity, lesson, project, whatever…to feed your own teaching soul. Something that is authentic and valuable and worthy for the children to do. And you choose to do it so at the end of the year you can leave knowing in your heart that you and your children did something beautiful. 
My most recent "soul teaching" project was for my kids to paint these flowers. Because here's the real deal: I have 26 kids, the room is too small, we don't even have room for art or an easel, we are in the midst of end-of-the-year assessments. STOP! I NEED BEAUTY! 

Here's how your kiddos can make Eric Carle flowers inspired by The Tiny Seed. 
Click to get book from Amazon.

For inspiration, we watched this video in which Eric Carle shows how he paints his papers.


First, have each student paint two papers.
I provided tempera paint and finger painting paper. I used this kind of paper because it is thin and shiny. 

A student paints red, yellow, or orange all over one piece of paper. This is for the flower. She then paints one of the other colors on top of the wet first coat. I encouraged the students to paint swirls, dots, stripes, squiggly lines, etc.

Next the student paints a piece of paper solid green. Since the paper was slippery, the brush itself leaves nice texture lines in the paper. Plus, you know how kids paint…side to side, in circles, then up and down. It's fun to watch their concentration when to our eyes the painting looks so random.




Next, the students will prepare the pieces for their collages. I did provide patterns for the petals and the flower center. I felt like the kids would need some help with how big to make the flowers to they filled the background pages. Have each child trace a center and petals on the BACK of the painted papers. 

Now for the cutting. Each child should cut out the center and petals. My kids were surprised to see how their petals looked after cutting them out. Next each child should cut out a stem and petals. I did not provide patterns for these as you'll notice in the photos.

Here's a cute moment when some of the boys decided to compare their stems to the art in our big-book version of the story.


This is an important step! Direct each child to arrange her collage pieces (petals, center, stem, leaves) on the background paper. When she is pleased with the arrangement, then she can glue. I want the students to learn that artists are thoughtful about their work.


After arranging the pieces, a student may glue. Provide brushes and glue that has been diluted with a little bit of water. A student paints the glue on the back of the collage pieces, making sure to go all the way to the edges. He should press the pieces flat onto the background paper.

Last step! Splatter paint the flowers and background paper to resemble the cover of The Tiny Seed.


After the project, you'll have lots of scraps. I'm putting these in our art center to inspire more collages.

I took a picture of each child's flower so that I can upload them into artsonia. I'm thinking the art would make great Mother's Day gifts. Drop me a note if you decide to do some "soul teaching" with this art project!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Let Them Play! Future Engineers

So we were waiting for the call to go get our class pictures taken and I said, "Play with your cubes for a minute." (My kids keep about 20 cubes in their work boxes for math lessons and down times.) My sweet precious child that has severe language delays made this and explained it to the class.
Open window. Toss out lesson plans. 

"Who else can build a machine? And while you're at it, get out your journals and write about it. Oh, and can you accurately record the number of cubes needed to make your machine?"
I love moments like this.





The bottom if you press it will turn into a rock collection and it measures and it learns about rocks.
This is a water machine. The water is dripping. This is a juice machine.

This is my ice cream machine. But lift and this comes out easily. This is my ice cream grabber.

I made a helicopter. (10 yellow 17 green)
Different day, another happy play moment:
Have you had any "let them play" moments recently? Leave a comment!
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