Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Color Exploration

Colors affect us in countless ways - mentally and physically, consciously and subconsciously. When children have an opportunity to explore color they increasing their understanding and appreciation of their surroundings.

My teaching is a reflection of the many influences.  I have been privileged to work with some of the greatest teachers around.  I also follow many wonderful blogs that inspire me daily.  The following are a few of my own activities and some that I have borrowed from other educators / moms.

Color Wheel

The Color Wheel shows the relationships between the colors. 
The three primary colors are redyellow, and blue; they are the only colors that cannot be made by mixing two other colors. 
The three secondary colors are green, orange, and violet; they are each a mixture of two primary colors. Their hue is halfway between the two primary colors that were used to mix them. On the color wheel, the secondary colors are located between the colors they are made from.

1.)  Natural Materials - great thing to keep in mind when going on a nature walk  2.) Recycled Materials - newspapers, bottle caps, fabric  3.)  Different colored items found around the classroom / house  4.) Paint: watercolor, tempera, finger, etc

Color Mixing

Color mixing becomes a natural next step once they are familiar with the color wheel.

1.) colored dough  2.) watercolor - mixing on trays and paper towels / coffee filters  3.) transparent colored paddles / plexiglass  (light exploration)  4.)  Ziploc bags & plastic wrap  5.) colored ice cubes 

I recommend having a system available for students to record how they created each color. 

We usually introduce color mixing in the fall.  We combine color mixing and still life drawings.  One of the easiest introduction to these skills are PUMPKINS.

Color Mixing: Pumpkin Still Life
red + yellow = orange (pumpkin)
blue + yellow = green (leaves)
yellow + red + blue = brown (stem)

Color Collections

Children enjoy collecting items. It doesn't matter if it's a scavenger hunt or sorting items.

We usually have a designated area in the room for the children to collect their treasures.  Items are found around the room / school, outdoors, and home.

When the students decide they are finished collecting items we take a picture and either frame it or turn the pictures into a class book.

Colored Collage

Color collages are similar to color collections.  One big difference is the items are permanently glued or taped. 

Light Play

Light is a playful and inventive way of exploring color.  Color can be projected into an area where the child can become part of the color. They can manipulate the light to create new colors.

Sensory Table

Color can make a sensory table pop! The color attracts curiosity. Curiosity leads to investigation. Investigation leads to understanding.

Color and Emotions

Color is associated with mood and behavior. The language of color has even entered our vocabulary to help us describe our emotions.  You can be 'red' with rage or 'green' with envy.  We often speak of bright cheerful colors as well as sad or dull ones.  A 'grey' day may be depressing and result in a feeling of the 'blues'.

One of our favorite books that relates color to emotions is I Am A Rainbow, by Dolly Parton.

Color & Emotions Activities:

  • Color poems: What does the color remind you of? How does that make you feel?  How does that color feel physically? Etc.
  • Feelings Class Book: When you are happy what color are you?  When you cry what color are you? On your birthday what color are you? Etc.

Awesome Books

Friday, November 15, 2013

Leaf Man

An Invitation to Explore Leaves

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is a beautifully illustrated book about a leaf man that is blown by the wind far away from home.

The children had the opportunity to explore the woods behind the school.  They gathered leaves, berries, sticks, seed pods, and acorns.  They sorted the items to be used in their project.

A beautiful display inspire children to create. 

The children used the natural materials to create their own leaf people.

Completed Leaf People

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Word Cards

Inspiring Children to Write

Clip Art: Mycutegraphics

To help inspire my children to write I add word cards to the writing area.   Children are able to choose the card theme and the word they want to write. 

Stages of Writing:
(Adapted from Project ELIPSS, Macomb Projects, Western Illinois University)

Scribbling: Emergent writing - random marks or scribbles
Mock Handwriting or Wavy Scribble: Children produce lines of wavy scribbles as they imitate adult writing. 
Mock Letters: Children attempt to form alphabetic representations, which also often appear in their drawings. Children make letter-like shapes that
resemble conventional letters. 
Conventional Letters: Children’s first experiments with real letters are usually the letters from their name or a family member's name. As children’s mock letters become more and more conventional, real letters of the alphabet begin to appear. 
Invented Spelling: Once children are fairly comfortable writing conventional letters, they begin to cluster letters together to make word forms. 
Approximated (Phonetic) Spelling: Children apply sounds to letters to approximate the spellings of words. Beginning sounds are used first, ending sounds second. 
Conventional Spellings: Children’s approximated spellings gradually become more and more conventional. The child’s own name is usually written first, followed by words such as mom, dad, and love. 

Mock Letters

Transition from Mock Letters to Conventional Letters

Download Word Cards

Adventure Card
Christmas Card
Farm Card
Playing Card
Spring Card
Thanksgiving Card
Valentine Card
Winter Card
Fast Food
Feelings Card

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Meaningful Print

Heart Words

Heart words are created by the students.  They are words that have the most meaning to each child.  The words chosen are unique to each child.  This experience gives the children the opportunity to reveal to the community what is important to them, what puts their mind to wonder, and what they think about.  Aside from this emotional connection, heart words provide an entryway into literacy.  Learning to read and write becomes easier when the words come from a place of love rather than a rote list.  Slowly, the children learn the letters in their heart words and start to hear and learn the sounds that each letter makes.

Description borrowed from a NAREA participating school.

We display this sign above our heart words

Each child's heart words are held together with a binder ring.  I add a small picture on the bottom to help them find their words. 

Examples of words that the students use: favorite color, foods, toys / special people in their life /  silly words like capow! / etc.

The heart words are hung in the writing zone, but the students take them to whatever area they need them.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Print Conveys Meaning

Teaching children that letters form words, words form sentences, and that those sentences carry meaning can be a very abstract concept.  This is why I introduce it with printed words coming directly out of their mouths.  

I started this process the first week of school.  I gave them a large sheet of watercolor paper & crayons and had them decorate it anyway they like.

The next week they added watercolor.

On the third week I interviewed them.

The last and most fun step is to get the kids to pose with their mouth open.  Print and cut the outline of their head and then glue their responses .

Each child had an opportunity to "read" their sentences to their friends.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pete the Cat

Rocking In Our School Shoes

We love reading Pete the Cat books! That cat really does LOVE his shoes and so do we!

After reading Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, I took a photo of everyone's shoes.  

I made a Powerpoint with the pictures and displayed it on the Smart Board.  As each shoe was displayed we answered the following questions:
1. What kind of shoes are these?
2. Do you wear these shoes when it's hot, cold, or both?
3. Are these shoes best for walking or running?
4. Do these shoes belong to a boy or a girl? How do you know?
5. Who do these shoes belong to?

Class Book
I printed the slides from the powerpoint and made a class book.

Shared Writing
We graphed each child's shoes by color.  We then wrote how their shoes got to be that color.  For example:  Angie stepped in a pile of ketchup (she has red shoes)


Download free Pete the Cat Activities and songs: