Sunday, October 24, 2010

"F" Week and Community Helpers

I love the letter "F" and I really enjoy talking about "Community Helpers"! I know, I say that all the time, but I really do enjoy them. Both remind me of my Dad. He was a Birmingham City firefighter for many, many years so I love getting to tell my students some of his funny stories. We also enjoy "Fabulous Firehouse Friendship Fruit Salad" for our special cooking snack. It is a fun sharing snack! Everyone brings in their favorite fruit! We talk about sharing while we cut up the fruit and throw it in one huge bowl. Then everyone gets a giant spoonful! YUMMY! It is always an adventure when the fruit starts coming in on friday morning. There have been years when literally EVERYONE brings in apples! This year it was grapes, we had lots of grapes!
One our of special craft projects this week was our shape firetruck. On Monday we made our fire! It was our fun squishy painting. We squeeze on red, yellow, orange and little brown paint onto a BIG piece of paper. Next, we cover it with clear plastic wrap and squish the paints all together. After several days the paint is dry enough to cut into the shape of a flame. next comes the firetruck! I loved hearing the students tell me the shapes as we glued and glued and glued. We also had a lot of fun on our "FABULOUS FUN FRIDAY" (yes, that is what we call it each week!) pretending to be firefighters. We headed outside armed with chalk and dishwashing bottles filled with water. (By the way, those bottles are really heavy!) First we all drew FIRE on the wall!Next, we grabbed the bottles and put out the fire!As everyone knows when you are outside AND your have chalk you just HAVE to write on the driveway! We had a great FABULOUS FUN FRIDAY!

During the week we worked on our "Fat Frogs". This is one of the alphabet projects that has really evolved over the years. I started by using an Ellison cut out of a frog, sitting on a lily pad. I eventually found the picture of a fat frog and we color him by placing him on top of sandpaper and rubbing him with a green crayon. Then one year we added the water (painted with a fork of course!). Last year the five flies, using fingerprints, were added, and finally this year four friendly fingerprint fish joined the party. FUN, FUN, FUN!
Oh, and we named him Fred!

Thanks for coming by and checking on us.
Next week . . . "G" week and the "Great Garbage Games"!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Wall Hanging

Since our school is located in a very large Baptist Church here in the Birmingham area, we don't usually do a lot of Halloween crafts and activities. But, children enjoy Halloween, so I wanted to find one that made everyone happy. Last year I was trolling the 'ole Oriental Trading website and came upon this (item # IN-48/4670 in case anyone wants to order the kit) -

I really like this but it doesn't leave much for the students to do. So I developed my own. Here is our take on "Shine with Light of Jesus". The children of course did there own painting. I cut out the title and verse with my fun craft scissors. The eyes are crosses from our wonderful Ellison die cutting machine. The finished products will be sent to the laminating machine first thing Monday morning and then I will add a nice ribbon to hang it with. I don't laminate a lot of our work, but I think this is a keeper! I hope the parents enjoy them as much as I do.

Here is the title at the top.

My favorite part - the saying at the bottom!

Don't you think this will look wonderful hanging on the door? I DO!

THANKS for stopping by and looking.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Our Favorite Game

I made this color game a few weeks ago and my class loves it! I call it "Color Sorting". It is so simple to make and everyone wants to play with it. The base is .an old carton from our crayon box.

I cut out colored paper and glued it to the bottom.

Next a gathered all the different colored bottle caps I could find.

And I let the children sort!

As the year progresses I will change out the paper in the bottom. First I will have an all white background with just the words of the colors (red, blue, orange, etc.). Next, I will swap it out for the Spanish version. Simple, cheap and lots of fun! What more could you ask for???

FALL and "E" Week!

Our school is located in central Alabama so that means we don't get to see much ice and snow in the winter. But autumn more than makes up for it. We have studied autumn for two weeks now and I personally think we could have continued our discussions for at least another week. The children have really enjoyed looking at the leaves and seeing all the different colors. We actually found a PINK leaf! You should have seen the faces of the girls! WOW! Now of course the boys are on a hunt for the blue leaf!

While my husband and I were working last weekend at the lake I came across some amazing items that I bagged up and brought to school. I think they made the interesting leaf people. I don't really think there is much to say about this art work except meet the 2010 leaf people . . . .

Don't you just love her hair bow????
The boys of course added buttons!

If you closely you will see the faces were made from tree bark! Oh, a very special thank you to my partner in crime, Mrs. Christi! She found the amazing arms for us. They are actually the dried out stems of her day lilies! LOOK, they look exactly like hands!

We also have a class pet! He is a caterpillar that we have named "Creek". (A little background on the name. I decided that since caterpillar begin with the letter "C", his/her name should start with "C" too. After several minutes of listening the to the "C" sound the children started coming up with names. Soon "Creek" popped out of Isaiah! That was it, everyone loved it!)

We put fresh leaves in his little house each day and we are patiently (?) waiting for him to start spinning his cocoon.

This week we also did a pretty amazing "E" experiment. I call it "Can we get an egg into a bottle?" Really good instructions are found here -

Yep, that's me! Lighting a small strip of paper towel for the experiment!

The children, and a few teachers, really loved it. It is very simple and FUN!
Next week is all about Community Helpers and the letter "F"!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"D" Week and Fall Theme

Been way to busy lately so this post is once again late, sorry. This week ended up being too short. Fun but way too short. We are our of school on friday for what the public school were calling "Fall Break". WHATEVER! I headed to the lake for a little R&R with hubby.

For our "Fall" activity this week I copied a wonderful idea from I altered it a little. Here is our take on it.

Start with a paper towel tube. I cut the bottom and stapled it to a piece of cardboard (okay, it was really the back of a cereal box). Paint it brown. Let it dry. Split the top and fan it out.
Add leaves! On her site Carisa made this with her own children and used fake leaves she bought at the store. Well, since I have an entire class I decided to use real leaves. Hope you like this!Since we were out of school on friday we didn't have a cooking session :(
Next week though, next week!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall Leaf Man

I just had to go ahead and post what I think is the cheapest and cutest fall project. Here he is (or in some cases "she"). I call him "Leaf Man".
I will confess that it takes a lot of glue but he is well worth it. He is made from leaves and sticks from my backyard. Everyone gets to pick out their own leaves, acorns and sticks. I even have pine straw for his hair.

Another great project is our squishy leaves. Everyone gets to pick out several different colors of paint and blop them on the cut out leaf. (I find that using poster board is best.) Then we cover the leaf with clear plastic wrap and squish it! I love the look on their faces when they see their leaf once the plastic wrap is removed. It is truly a work of art. Here are a couple from last year.
Here are the leaves displayed on the wall.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will try one or both of these great projects!

Birthday Calendar

I have a very hard time each year trying to make a cute display for our birthdays. I know there are all those charts that you can buy. They are very cute, but just not me. This year I think I finally made one that I will use again.

I found the elephant on-line and enlarged him on the copier. I think next time I will make the ballon on plain paper and mount then on black cardstock. This way they will "pop" a bit.

"C", Triangle and Yellow Week

"B" week was going to be hard to follow. But, I think we did a great job trying! This week it is all about the letter "C", the color yellow, triangles and the number 3! Oh, and don't forget our topic of the week - transportation. WOW, that is a lot to squeeze into one week.

Let's start out with Mrs. Karen's surprise! I found my son's old catching gear and brought it to school. It was still a little stinky, but no one seemed to care!

One of our fun projects this week was a cool looking car. Check it out and please notice that we used all of the shapes and colors that we studied, red circles, blue squares and yellow triangles!
Our special snack this week was a wonderful car cookie! I guess we could have just bought some cookie dough and cut a car shape but that's just not us. We made our from graham crackers, round vanilla wafers and yellow icing. They were a big hit!

Our two science experiments this week were a lot of fun. The first was ISO/THIXOTROPY. huh? Corn starch and water! :)

Here are my instructions -

Procedure: Place about a cup of cornstarch (aka corn flour) in a large bowl and add about a ¼ cup of water to the cornstarch. Keep adding water until the mixture appears somewhat thicker than pancake batter. With your hands, take a handful and knead the mixture, like you would bread dough. As the mixture is agitated or squeezed, it will become firm as long as continuous kneading or pressure is exerted. As soon as the pressure stops, the ‘batter’ will revert to its original form and ‘pour’ through your fingers. Even though the cornstarch and water is a liquid, you can form the stuff into a ball if you can squeeze and knead it quickly enough. The sensation of this in the hands is unique and must be experienced to be believed. It feels great!

What’s going on? This experiment demonstrates iso- and thixo-tropy properties of certain emulsions (fluid mixtures).
Isotropy is the property of a fluid to become firm when agitated. This is what you’re experiencing with the cornstarch and water. You can also see this while walking on wet sand at a beach. The sand firms up below your feet as you first touch the sand and then becomes more fluid, as your feet sink into the sand, just a moment later. If you run over the sand, the sand will feel very firm. If you walk slowly, your feet will sink below the surface with every step.
Thixotropy is the opposite of isotropy in that the fluid mixture becomes more fluid (less firm) as it is agitated. An example of this is where you strike the end of a ketchup bottle to get ketchup to come out of the bottle. The striking force temporarily causes the ketchup become ‘runny’ and it flows more easily from the bottle (and on to your new clothes - white ones). Another example is the infamous “quicksand”. If you thrash around in the quicksand, you will sink “quicker” because all that wiggling causes the sand to liquefy.

Mess Factor - Cornstarch is an edible, non-staining, harmless substance (probably one of the cheapest food stuffs you can buy), but this experiment tends to get cornstarch on clothing and the floor. The other thing about this experiment is that once you’ve put your hands into the cornstarch & water mixture (aka ‘glop’), you won’t want to take your hands out. It is quite a unique experience!

Things to Remember - Isotropic = cornstarch & water or beach sand Thixotropic = ketchup or “quicksand” [think of ‘thick ketchup’ for Thixo]

Think this is too hard for a group of three year olds? Think again, they loved it and tried to say every word!

The next experiment was just as simple but it had a WOW factor that even shocked me! I call it the Colorful Mixtures Science Experiment

What You Need:

Food coloring
Liquid dish soap
Dish- wide rim
What To Do:
1) Pour milk
into a wide rimmed dish, and let sit until it warms to room temperature (THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP, the milk must be room temperature!)
2) Place drops of different food coloring in the milk
3) Place two drops of liquid dish soap into the mixture

Now stand back and watch!
Sorry there are no pictures, it is hard to coordinate photos with mess! :)
It was a great week! Next week we will be reviewing our shapes, colors and numbers while we study the letter "D" and talk about autumn! I can't wait!

"B", Blue and Squares Week

Last weekend was spent seeing my sweet son and Bill's family reunion, so there was blog time! So let's catch up!

"B" week is my all time favorite week. I know I say that all the time, but I mean it this time ;) There are so many wonderful ways to explore the letter "B". Let's start with some of our amazing art . . . .

Here we are spooning on big blobs of blue paint! Next we covered it is clear plastic wrap and rolled over it with a BOWING PIN! Yes, I was lucky enough to get my fat little hands on a real bowling pin! The children could not believe how heavy it was. They loved it!

Early in the week we made Square Sally and Square Sam. Everyone loved seeing and all the squares!

Everyone knows you can't have "B" week with a bumble bee! Here is ours

Yes, I know the bee's stinger goes on the back of the bee, but my students wanted his stinger on his nose. It is their art work after all!
One of my favorites this week was our "Butter Bean Blue Square". I drew out a large square on a piece of blue construction paper and then the children used blue glue to glue down butter beans. (the blue glue is made by simply putting blue paint in the bottom of a cup and adding glue. Then let the children stir. I love watching their faces when the glue changes color!

This was a very simple and inexpensive craft. But it allowed the children to use their fine-motor skills, which I think is very important.

Next was snack time! We ate a bowling alley of course! We used a graham cracker for the base and carefully added the marshmellow "pins".
AND the bowling ball was chocolate malted milk ball! YUMMY FUN!

Next thing you know we headed outside for a little baseball painting! Being the Mom of a former baseball player, I just HAD to find a way to use some baseballs for "B" week, so we headed outside! Here are our baseballs soaking up some lovely blue paint!

We used three different colors of blue paint! My "partner-in-crime", Mrs. Christi, patiently put disposable gloves on each child and then we rolled the baseball onto a large piece of blue butcher paper.

(Sorry for the bad picture, we were rolling on our carpool area and it is covered.) A little note for anyone wanting to do this - try to NOT do this on a windy day! We had to tape the paper down. The paper turned out so pretty that we have decided to use it for a special background during our end of the year art show!
We had one more surprise left - bottle bowling! I sent an e-mail out to my fellow teachers the weekend before asking everyone to bring in their empty 2-liter bottles. WOW, we got a bunch! So we went bowling!

One of things that truly surprised me during this activity was how everyone cheered and congratulated each other. It didn't matter if someone knocked down 1 bottle or 9 bottles, everyone yelled and high-fived each other. GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP!
"B" week was wonderful! I hated to see it end. But after "B" comes "C" hmmmmmm wonder what we will do. . . . . . .