Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Scales and Hooves

Last year I did a large letter cut-out art project to go with each of our alphabet letters.  This year, instead, I'm being a little more flexible and doing various projects that focus on the letter or animal that we are learning about. 

"F" is for Felt Fish

This was a fun, colorful, project with a sensory aspect to it.  
Here's what you need:

*Printed fish pattern (Google "Fish Pattern" and you have all sorts of choices)
*Large sheets of construction paper
*Various colors of felt, cut into scale shapes
*White glue
*Googly eyes


We cut out the fish pattern and the students were given the choice to glue it to a larger sheet of construction paper.  Then they added the felt fish scales and googly eye.  Some of the students who glued their fish to the paper used markers to draw other things that might be under the water with their fish.  

The felt was a different type of texture for us to work with on an art project.  The kiddos liked picking out what colors they wanted.  We also had good practice squeezing white glue out of the bottle to make dots.

Hoof Print/Foot Print

Our animal for letter "G" is a goat.  I was racking my brain and the internet for ideas with no luck, (there really aren't that many goat art project ideas out there) so I got creative with a science/art project.

I prompted my kiddos with the question: "Do goats have toes?"  Then we discussed how goat feet are different from our feet.  

To help visualize what a hoof print looks like I decided to make my own hoof print stamp.  

First, I printed out a pattern of a goat hoof print (gotta love Google images!).  I cut the pattern out and traced the shape onto craft foam.  (I had pretty thin foam, so I tripled the foam up so it was thicker.)  Next, I glued the foam onto a plastic lid to form my stamp (note: if I do this again I will make the stamp a little smaller so it will be more relative to the size of the kids feet - this print is from one giant goat!).
For the project I showed the kiddos a picture of goat hooves and what it looked like when the goat left a print.  Then I had them use the stamp and a large stamp pad to make their own prints on a piece of paper.  

My adventurous students went one "step" further (ha, ha I made a punny!) - they let me paint their foot so they could make their own foot print next to the goat hoof print.

When the project was done we could compare and contrast the differences!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Target Practice

Throwing things seems to come naturally for kiddos - in fact just today I had a student who chose to throw things all over my room and ended up having a big clean-up job at the end of his adventures.

A few weeks ago we put some structure to the tendency to throw things by playing a game.

First we had to create a target.  I got a piece of recycled poster board and drew 4 shapes on it.  A few of my students helped to color in the shapes.

Next, I took the target outside to our playground and taped it on the building wall (using Mavalous tape - have you used this stuff?  It's AWESOME - this tape lasted us multiple times of taking the target off the wall and putting it back up again and it's still sticking on a wall in my closet for the next time we use it).

I placed a container of bean bags about 5 ft from the target and we took turns throwing bean bags to see which shape we could hit.  The students would practice their shape names with each hit.  I watched their accuracy and had the more experienced throwers see how far back they could stand and still hit the target.

It was a great way to work on throwing skills and practice shape recognition!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alligator, Bear, Bumble Bee

I'm thankful that every school year is a little different.  Different kids make for different dynamics in the classroom which leads to different learning activities.  It takes a season of trial and error to figure out what activities will engage a group of students.  I've been "learning" my class; their interests, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes.    When I'm planning I try to balance between activities that I know will engage the kiddos and activities that are a little more experimental - so we can all expand our boundaries a little.  

Here are some activities we did while reviewing the letters "A" and "B" that were new to my curriculum this year:


To create the container I enlarged a picture of an alligator on our photocopier and then traced it onto a piece of green card-stock (if you want the alligator to last longer than 2 weeks I'd recommend using heavier cardboard or laminating)  I then taped the alligator to a plastic container to create a space to catch objects.  We tossed plastic apples (from our housekeeping toys) into the alligator's mouth - nom, nom, nom! (inspiration was from here)


I love the idea of using contact paper sticky side up (inspiration @ Teach Preschool - search "sticky table").  This was our first experience with the sticky table this year and it was fairly successful.  I really liked that the contact paper gave traction with our ity-bity bear counters - lots of help for small, uncoordinated fingers.  


For a group activity I used some bear sorting cards that I made on Publisher.  To begin I placed one bear of a different color in each pocket on the chart.  I passed out a small number of bears to each student and they had to bring the bears to the pocket chart and match them to the correct row.  After we had matched all the bears we looked to see which color of bears "won" - practicing comparing sets!


Product Details The book "Bee-Wigged" is hilarious on a variety of levels. Jerry Bee is an enormous bee that has no friends because everyone is scared of enormous bees.  Jerry's life is transformed with the discovery of a wig...  We read the book together and made our own bumble bees that looked like "Jerry Bee" (minus the wig). 
To make these bees I used:
  • Yellow construction paper, cut into a large oval (body)
  • Black construction paper, cut into strips and accordion folded (legs)
  • White construction paper, cut into small circles (eyes)
  • Markers (to draw a face)
  • Black paint (to add stripes)
My students chose to complete this project in a variety of different ways - they turned out really cute.