Saturday, October 28, 2017

Nature's Paint Brushes

Nature's Paint Brushes

Nature provides the most beautiful prints and patterns.  I wanted to bring some of those into the classroom, and give children an opportunity to create unique designs with nontraditional brushes. 

 The plants and sticks were all collected on a nature walk.

The brushes were inexpensive to make. The only expense was the cost of the floral tape, which was $1.75 at Walmart.

 The Invitation
 I set the brushes in individual glass bottles, so the children could see each one separately and pick out the one they wanted to use.  I chose a large sheet of drawing paper to allow children room to swing, tap, and swoosh the brush as they felt fit.  We used a sheet of aluminum foil to place the paint on, but a plate would work also.

Children picked the colors they wanted to work with.
Some children slapped the paint on and others rubbed.

The long pine needles created lines across the paper.

Teacher's Tips:

~ Cover surface & use smocks
~ Sprits brushes with water to keep them from drying out

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hispanic Heritage Month

Making Tortillas!

National Hispanic Heritage Month is the period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, when people recognize the contributions of Hispanics and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate the group's heritage and culture.

Immersion through Literacy

Books are a wonderful way to introduce the many aspects of the Hispanic culture.  Some of my favorite books :

Round Is a Tortilla and Magda's Tortillas

Both of these books discuss the shapes of tortillas. Sometimes you want a traditional round tortilla, but sometimes you can become a "tortilla artist" and create different shapes.

After reading the books we discussed the term "masa de maiz" (corn flour / dough).  Children had the opportunity to ground corn to get a better understanding of how tortillas go from corn to flour to dough to tortillas.


Masa de maiz , water, and salt
I purchased a bag of maza in the Hispanic / Latino section in the grocery store.

Nice and Round

Some of the children wanted to use the tortillera to make their tortilla perfectly round.

Tortilla Artists

Some chose to use their hands to pat the maza into unique shapes.

Cooking the Tortillas

The cooking process only takes a few minutes and then the tortillas are ready to be eaten straight of the comal (griddle).

Monday, September 1, 2014

Vinyl Tablecloth Smock

1. Rectangle vinyl tablecloth  2. Bias Tape  3. Large paper  4. old t-shirt

Cut the sleeves off the t-shirt and fold it in half.  Fold your paper in half.  Place the t-shirt on top of the paper with both folded edges touching.  Pin the shirt onto the paper to keep it from moving.  Trace the outline of the shirt onto the paper using a pencil.  Cut the outline.  

My shirt was bigger than I wanted, so I cut the paper a little shorter.  I pinned the paper on top of the shirt afterwards to make sure it still had the same shape.

Fold the tablecloth over.  Pin the paper pattern onto the tablecloth.  Pin the top (shoulders) on the fold.
Cut around the pattern making sure not to cut the folded top.


Pin the bias tape around the edges of the smock. Sew once all edges are secured.  I used a zig-zag stitch to make sure I got both the tape and the vinyl in the stitch.  

Step 5:

Use the circle cutout from the neck as a pocket.  Fold part of the circle and pin in onto the smock (make sure you only pin it to the front).  Sew the edge of the pocket using a zig-zag stitch.

Step 6:

I secured the sides with elastic, but ribbon or velcro can easily serve the same purpose.  

I was able to make 6 smocks for under $15.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Keepsake Box

End of the Year Keepsake Box

After our End of the Year Celebration the children received a keepsake box that held their work that was collected throughout the year.

Donated Boxes

We want to say "thank You" to Little Caesars in North Little Rock for donating the pizza boxes used in this project.

The boxes were assembled inside out (print on the inside).  This gave us a blank box to work on.

The children's handprints were used to decorate the boxes.  

The boxes were filled with items that were collected throughout the year.

Each child received a box on our celebration day. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Number Cards

Work that is displayed around the room and on the walls reflect the value of children's interest and the process of their learning.  It communicates that their work is valued, and that this is their space.

The children have made many beautiful learning materials that are used by both the children and the teachers.

Child Made Number Cards 

The children were inspired by number cards made by the previous year's students.

"Who made that? Did we do that? I don't remember working on that?"

After that I explained that the work was done by another class they decided it would be better to make their own.

Wrote the numbers from 1 - 10 on small cards.

Illustrated a number set that matched the number.  
After each illustration the children counted to check their own work.  

Illustrations finished - now time for color!

Liquid Watercolors 

Finished Product!

We have the sweetest kids. After all their work they decided it wouldn't be right to take down the other class' work.

"They worked so hard on it for us.  They might be sad if we take it down."

After some discussion they decided to save their cards and give them as a gift to the next class.

"You can put it up next year and when they ask who made it you can say we did!"

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Light & Shadow Story Telling

There is always a voice when you use a hundred languages.  With the right materials, even the shyest of kids have a story to tell.

"Kitty, kitty where you going? Kitty, kitty where you going?"
"To catch a birdie? Fly away birdie! Fly up high to the tree."

"Get in your home and go to sleep. Sleep, sleep, sleep little birdie."

More shadow and light activities:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Birthday Calendar

Our students are always celebrating birthdays whether it is or isn't their actual birthday.  One way we helped them understand months and days better was to create a birthday calendar.

Different Types of Calendars

The first thing we did was look at different types of calendars. We discussed the holidays and events that occur during each month.  Their favorites were the ones with pictures.

Writing the Months

 Each child in the group picked the months they wanted to write.

Each month was glued to a large index card.

Drawing the Pictures

The students decided that they wanted to draw pictures that represented their favorite holidays and/or activities.

The pictures were cut and added to the index cards.

Writing Their Name

  Each child wrote their name on the month that their birthday falls on.

Meaningful Print

The month cards were place in the reading area.  Putting them at eye level makes them easy to view and invites conversation among friends.