Monday, March 31, 2014

the three billy goats gruff: blotto trolls

This smoosh art project was a hit with both classes. Many of the children made an entire army of trolls. The process is the same for any smoosh art (aka blotto and/or  blobs), fold paper in half, work on one side, fold and smoosh. To create our trolls, the children added geometric features that were pre-cut and piled onto a tray. The paint was wet enough that all they had to do was select, arrange and push into the glue needed. Some of the children had specific wants for shapes and colors, others cut their own shapes. This is a great companion project for our week of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. As we worked on our trolls, we talked about symmetry and planning...too much paint oozes out of the edges, too little doesn't smoosh enough. The children really went to town and I wish I had more photos of their awesome trolls!

Friday, March 28, 2014

the three billy goats gruff: pet trolls

For our week of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, along with all the bridge building and storytelling, we got to making and painting trolls. This project may look familiar to you as it is one often used by teachers to promote fine motor skills and use up older play dough which is exactly why I decided to do it and it fit right in.
The children loved making trolls out of the dough and random scraps of feathers, toothpicks, and pipe cleaners. If you do this project, you can have your children help you prep materials ahead of time by working those scissors skills cutting pipe cleaners and/or straws. Set up the supplies in a muffin tin for a pretty presentation and make sure to use a paper plate underneath for easy transport to a safe place for drying. The plate will also catch any bits and bobs that fall off. If you have a kiddo who really loves glue, place a sheet of wax paper on top of the plate beforehand.
The glue was also very popular and was used not only to anchor on googly eyes but to add layers and layers and layers of more dough. They took a few days and the children were ecstatic to take home their pet trolls.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

the three billy goats gruff: a playset, some play dough, and bridge building fun

I picked up this fantastic wood play set of The Three Billy Goats Gruff from etsy seller Clickity Clack  in anticipation of our week of the brothers Gruff. The children loved this set and I would often come across them reenacting the whole story from trip-trap to trip-trap.
After a dozen or so readings of the story, we got to bridge building complete with goats. The children worked at all levels of block play. Some Laying out their blocks to create a visual bridge across the water on our rug while others used long planks across shorter blocks to create their bridges. One child even used one of the goats to create her bridge. While building our bridges, I explained the difference between a bridge and a tower. We also worked on building a strong foundation for our advanced tower builders. Some of the vocabulary and terms I used were foundation, vertical, horizontal, and balance. The bridge building was a part of our math time and we spent more than thirty minutes building away.
Often, out goats would migrate over to the play dough table where the story would once again come to life. The children loved retelling and acting out the story in their play. It reminded me of how much I loved the story when I was a young child.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

playing with magnetic pom-poms

We have a set of colorful pom-poms that have had strips of magnetic tape glued to them. Sometimes they are on our whiteboard for the children to play with but I brought out our round pizza trays to see what they would do with them. We practiced patterning and made caterpillars and shapes but mostly they piled as many as they could onto the tray before putting them away so another child could play.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

three kittens: painting with yarn

Here is another art table set up we had during our week of The Three Little Kittens. Painting with yarn!
Large paper was set out with a tray and some paint. The children selected the paint colors as a group before getting down to business. I explained that instead of paintbrushes we would be using yarn. I did not go into anymore detail than that. I did however, fold the paper in half to see what the children would do and/or say about the crease.
Funnily enough, no one said anything about the crease. They just sat down and got to work. Some did one dribble of yarn while others switched to mittens or just popped their hands into the paint.
We had done some symmetrical pictures before in class so the children knew about the painting on one side aspect of this project. In different art books they would suggest you place your yarn on the paper, fold it in half then gently pull the paint ladden piece of yarn out to create a squiggle pattern. Some of the children popped their yarn down onto the paper, folded, then smoothed their hands over the paper. Later in the day, I asked what would happen if we pulled the string out before unfolding the paper? One enterprising young one tried it and this is what happened.

Monday, March 24, 2014

three kittens: more mitten fun

 The children selected a large sheet of construction paper in the color of their choice. I drew a mitten shape onto the paper in a color of their choice then they went to town with our oil pastels. Some chose to add white paint. I wish I had pictures, they were really fun and the children love a resist project.
Here we began with some pre-drawn mittens but the children wanted to make their own so we talked about how we made out patterns for our stitched mittens. They then put their hands on the paper while we traced around them. The children added scribbles with the oil pastels and then painted over them with liquid watercolor in their choice of color. As you can see, purple is really popular in our classroom.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

the three little kittens: painting with wool

For our second round of all things mitten I brought in a variety of other mitten titles which included this sweet little book that introduces the origins of wool (albeit in a somewhat roundabout way). I thought I would talk about wool and fibers a bit more than I did back when we stitched together our own mittens. This time we brought out our basket of wool pieces and then added a variety of bits of roving. The children then placed their pictures into a zip close bag. We added warm water and a squirt or two of dish detergent, sealed the bag and got to smooooooshing. After that we used our pool noodle pieces as rolling pins and rolled a bit more for good measure before picking up the bags and squeezing them. I had to bring the art home with me for rinsing as we do not have hot water at work (a microwave easily heats up water for us when we need it). I rinsed the art in hot water working the fibers in a bit more then lay them out to dry.
Some wool pieces held onto the roving better than others but overall we had success! The higher the wool content the better grab you will have. The blue one in the center there had only 60% wool and many of the fibers just rolled off. The one on the right was 100% wool and the fibers worked themselves in quite nicely. The children really enjoyed the process and the parents really enjoyed the product!

Friday, March 21, 2014

the three little kittens: painting with mittens

We had two weeks of mitten fun in our classroom. It was all mittens all the time. Our mitten painting accompanied The Three Little Kittens and after they mittens were all paint-goopy, the kiddos got to wash them in a tub of soapy water.
I made our mittens out of a sweatshirt I picked up from the thrift for $2. I used the patterns we made from when we stitched our own mittens and zipped these through my sewing machine. These will get double play next year when we read The Mitten. I also made some from my very favorite now-retired orange muppet sweater...sigh. I set up the table with paper, trays for paint, and a shallow basket full of mittens so that the children could pick out the mitten they wanted to use.
After the children chose their paint colors they got work. There was a lot of investigation even before the first print was made.
Some made prints across their paper (after asking for more paint). They would comment on how the colors looked on the mitten versus their paper and they would tell me how their hands felt warm in the mitten but cool when the paint seeped through. We talked about how two weeks before we used mittens in our water tray when there were big blocks of ice in it and how at first our hands were protected and warm but then the water seeped in and our hands got cold.
It was really fun to watch the variety of techniques the children used for this project. Some chose just one or two colors to start but kept adding more as they painted. Some made prints while other used their mitten hands as paint brushes swiping and dragging the paint across their paper. They had a lot of fun and took these home right away as well so sadly I have no finished photos.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

drippy icicle paintings

For our week of Snow, even though we live in a town that does not experience snow, we leaped into the idea of snow. All of the children in the class have experienced snow so it went a bit easier in my mind to talk about snow in context with their experiences. I however have not had much experience with snow. I know what it is and I have walked across the snow that remains on the side of the road up in Sequioa National Park and I once spent a morning in Idyllwild when the ground was blanketed in the icy goodness. It was fun all the same. From songs of snow, pretend snowball fights, and snow play dough we really embraced it. Here is a project I did with the children when we were talking about gravity and gravitational pull (thank you shout out to an awesome toddler teacher I once got to work with who taught me this project).
I did a demo first to explain the steps for the children. This was not a free for all art project. I don't even have photos of the finished pieces as the children took them home that very day. We talked about ice and icicles and how they form. As we talked about our ideas of icicles, I drew a line at the top of my paper and explained that we would use gravity to create our gluey icicles.
I wish I had used our boring newsprint instead of the purple paper I used because when I asked the children what color paper they wanted they all wanted to use purple as well. Not a bad thing at all but wonder if had I used the newsprint would they have wanted that as well? When you do this project, use an oversized sheet of construction paper if you have it and fold it in half keeping the crease at the top. This will make the project a bit more sturdy. You may even want to use cardboard and have the children paint their cardboard ahead of time. Ooh, I might do that next year! Have your kiddo draw their glue line near the top. It's their project so try not to correct where they think the top of their paper is. This is a good tool for gauging whether or not your kiddo understands locations...IN, OUT, TOP, BOTTOM, ETC.
After they draw their glue line, have them stand their paper up and let gravity do the work. There will be some dialogue which will invite inquiry and more for discussion. Some of the children had great long lines dripping down their paper while others did not. One of the children figured out how much glue you drew determined your icicle lengths. See? Cause and effect, Awesome!
Next up came the sprinkling of salt and glitter...of course. Each child got their own wee bowl of salt mixed with a hefty does of glitter in their choice of color from silver, iridescent, pink, blue, and/or purple. We used our pinching fingers to sprinkle the glitter across the page.
Some of the children chose to draw additional lines and dance with gravity again. It was a lot of fun and the conversations that carried on throughout the day seemed to focus on the wonders of gravity.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

oh the fun that we had: colored egg play

I whipped up a set of rainbow fried eggs to go along with our reading of Green Eggs and Ham. The children color sorted, matched, and play acted with the eggs all week. It was loads of fun and they most definitely DID like their eggs without ham.