Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Watermelon Slices

I'm back! I feel like I haven't posted in so long. Yesterday was my first official day in my classroom. And boy, was I busy! I was trying to get everything organized and all my things moved in. I didn't have a free second to take pictures of the art project. But that's okay because it took us two days to do it, so now I have the finished product to share. It's nothing new or exciting. Just watermelon slices made out of paper plate halves. But I did something a little different for the seeds. We painted the plates yesterday and today I wrote the children's names on them.
(You might notice pieces missing from the watermelons. We'll get to that in a bit.)
The kids used a glue stick to trace over their names.
And then they put black seeds on over the black lines of their names. I just cut out a few different sizes of seeds -- this was all free-hand cutting, for I wasn't going to trace and cut a hundred tiny seeds!

They also colored ants on Monday and I put chunks of their watermelon in the hands of their ants.
I found the ants here and just printed it out and blew them up to the size I needed. I think they are so cute! And then I added this:
Here's how it looks in our room!
Last year I used this as my end-of-year display, but I used stencil letters to write out "Any way you slice it, Pre-K was a blast!" and the teachers were the ants.
Oh, Miss Sara, I miss you!!

I mentioned in a recent post that my director chooses the weekly themes and this week's theme is Summer Fun Memories. I will also be doing sun prints and rainbow pasta art. When I took this job I was worried about doing projects that I've already blogged about, but I can't let my blog rule my life, right? So if I have repeats in class, I will find an older project to show you. But it will also force me to come up with new projects for old themes. That should be fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dramatic Play Jungle/Rainforest

Since I showed you our cute sloths yesterday, I thought I'd show you what our dramatic play area looked like at that time. I found "jungle" bulletin board paper at Michael's and had a 40% off coupon, so I couldn't resist buying it. I turned our kitchen set around and wrapped the paper on the back. Then I taped on huge animals that I had printed out on my computer. I used clip-art from a greeting card software program I have and then printed them poster size, so I had to fit them together like a puzzle. And I added some grass that I cut from construction paper.
I also wrapped paper around the thing that holds our dress-up clothes.
From the ceiling, I hung strips of green paper and stuffed animals.
On the ground, I put out a green sleeping bag and a bunch of library books about the animals that live in the jungle. I also had two pair of binoculars for the kids to use. Everyday we added our art projects to the jungle area. (You can see parrots and frogs on display in the first picture.)
Many, many (MANY!) years ago, I used some of the big animals for our Safari week, since some animals live in both places. For that I taped the animals onto light blue paper
and didn't have anything hanging from the ceiling. Then I made a jeep out of boxes. Yes, a jeep! I don't know what I was thinking.
I put 4 little chairs inside the jeep and again had binoculars for the kids. It turned out very cool (it even had a steering wheel!), but only lasted that one week because I had painted the boxes so they became soft and bent very easily. But the kids liked it while it lasted, and I am so glad I took a picture of it!
Click here to see our safari crafts!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sleepy Sloths

For our Rainforest theme last year, we learned about sloths. I've done the rainforest theme several times, but this was the first time we closely studied sloths. So interesting! I got the idea for this craft from somewhere, but the link I have no longer works. I did change a few things, though. I don't have step-by-step pictures, but it's pretty easy. I traced the kids feet (with shoes on) on brown paper. This would be the sloth body. Then I made arms/legs (long ovals cut from brown paper) and claws and little oval-like shapes for the face. We had also painted jumbo craft sticks with brown paint the day before we made the craft. Ready for a picture of what they look like when it's all put together? So cute...
I hung them from the ceiling. The craft stick is a branch, obviously. The face can go on either the heel or toe part of the foot. And they are adorable. Check out some of these faces!

They make me smile!

Fun Fact: Sloths are very, very slow animals. They even sneeze in slow motion! (My kids had fun acting that out!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stick Paintings

I started at my new center today! It's going to be quite a different experience for me, I think. I'm used to 20+ kids and now I will never have more than 13. I'm guessing we are going to have a lot of fun. This week I am shadowing the teacher I will be replacing, so I will show you art projects I've done in the past at my old job. And then next week I'll get back to weekly themes.

What I'm going to show you today is something we did last week. A girl had brought in Fudgsicles for her last day. After the kids finished eating them, I noticed how cute the sticks were:
See what I mean? Cute. They weren't the normal popsicle sticks. So I had the kids save them and I washed them. I didn't have enough to use them for a craft (helicopter, anyone?), but I thought they'd have fun painting with them. So that's exactly what we did.
It's always fun to paint with something other than a paint brush. And the kids really enjoyed it!

Have you ever been using (or eating) something and thought, hey, this would be perfect for an art project?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sand Art

This is just a quick post to share our last Desert theme art project. It's nothing that hasn't been done before. I put out glue bottles and bowls of colored sand. The kids could make designs with the glue and then sprinkle the sand on top. Then they had to quickly shake off the extra sand. If they took too long, the glue would drip down the paper! Although, that can look cool, too. The picture below is of a cactus in the desert. Even though I never said they had to make something that went with the theme, I sure love it when they do!
Tomorrow is my first day at my new center. I am so excited!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Desert Sunsets

A few days ago we did a project involving coffee filters. Instead of coloring them with markers and spraying with water, we used droppers and colored water. To make a sunset sky, we used red and yellow water. The kids picked up some water in the dropper and slowly squirted it onto their coffee filter.

It's a good idea to put construction paper under the coffee filter to absorb the water. Otherwise you'd have a huge mess. Once the kids filled up their coffee filter completely, we let them dry. Then I cut off about an inch from the bottom so it would be flat. And I also glued it to white paper. It made the colors brighter than when the coffee filter was by itself. After nap, the kids added cacti and a "ground" that I had cut from black construction paper.
They turned out so pretty because in some spots the red and yellow mixed and made orange. And no two sunsets were alike.
Last year we did this for our Wild West theme, so I had also cut out cowboys and horses!
What a lot of work that was! If you have a Cricut machine, then it would be a breeze. But all I have is my scissors, so I kept it simple this year.

Side note: I think I must have put in a lot more food coloring last year and that's why the Wild West one is so bright. So I guess if you want it extra bright, use lots and lots of food coloring!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Alice the Camel Puppets

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I've been busy getting ready for my last day, which was today. It was hard to say goodbye to the kids and my co-teacher! But now I'm back with a bunch of art projects for my Desert theme and I will share them with you over the next couple of days.

First we learned all about camels. Then we made camel puppets! This puppet craft took me a whole week to figure out. I knew what I wanted to do, it just took a few trial-and-errors to get it right. First I drew a camel without the humps. I separated it into two parts: the head and front legs, and the tail and back legs. For the middle, I folded a brown rectangle accordion-style.
The X's are where the kids attached the rectangle with glue. Then they could decorate humps any way they wanted. They glued 2 of the humps on, one toward the front and one toward the back. The third hump was for the middle, but it needed to be detachable. So I used some yarn and taped it on. Then I added a tiny bit of poster putty.
I also attached jumbo craft sticks to the legs for handles.
Now here is our Alice the Camel story:
Alice the camel has 3 humps.
Alice the camel has 3 humps.
Alice the camel has 3 humps.
Go, Alice, go.
Alice the camel has 2 humps...
Alice the camel has 1 hump...
Alice the camel has no humps...
'Cause Alice is a horse, of course!
Doesn't my helper have on a beautiful dress? Oh, I miss her already!
Anyway, this is what the back looks like when Alice only has two humps:
You use the poster putty to stick it to the back and it's out of sight. To go from two humps to one, you just move the craft sticks closer together and the middle rectangle folds up. And, well, you have to bend down the humps to go from one to none. Anyone have a better idea? I think if I do this again, I will make the camel on white paper and the kids can color that as well, instead of just the humps.

Another quick camel art project we did involved sand. I put out two pictures of camels, one with one hump and one with two humps. After the kids colored them, they painted a mixture of glue and water on the bottom of the paper. Then they sprinkled sand onto it.

Fun Fact: A camel's hump stores FAT, not water!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Prickly Cacti

Before I show you today's art project, I have some news to share. This is my last week with my Pre-K class. Yes, I am leaving. I have a good reason, though. I currently work 20 miles from home and the commute has gotten to be too much. Especially in the winter. So when a pre-k position opened up at a center 5 minutes from my house, I took it. I will still be doing the same things and hope to continue my blog, but two things will be different. I won't have a co-teacher, which means I'll have a new theme for you every week instead of every other. And the themes are center-wide and chosen by the administrator. She is open to new ideas, so I'm hoping I'll still be able to do the themes I love. I am excited for this change, but sad to be leaving my class. It's at a good time, though. Most of them will be leaving for kindergarten in a couple weeks.

But back to the blog. Today we started our Desert theme. I taught the kids about the Saguaro cactus and then we headed to the art table to make our own.
I drew a cactus on a piece of paper and put out some crayons. I knew I wanted a bumpy texture for the sand and cactus, but I didn't have any sand paper. Then I noticed our walls are textured! So I let the kids color on the walls!
Ooh, they loved doing that! They could also color other things in the background. Then I put forks in green paint and they pressed the forks onto the cactus. I also printed out an actual picture of a flower that grows on Saguaro cacti and each child glued one onto their picture.
We had colorful cacti, as well.

Fun Fact: It takes 60-75 years for the Saguaro cactus to grow its first arm. A cactus that has 5 arms is about 150 years old! Oh, and those white flowers? They bloom at night and last less than 24 hours.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Glitter Marble Painting

Today we did marble painting -- with a twist. I put some marbles in a bowl of glue. The kids picked up the marble with a spoon and plopped it on their paper, which was in a box.
After moving the box to get the marble to roll around their paper, they added glitter.
Then they shook off the excess glitter and this is what was left: 
This is similar to our Glitter Fireworks. In fact, many kids said it looked like fireworks. However, it's more abstract and you don't get huge globs of glue that take days to dry because the kids aren't squeezing from a bottle. The glue actually slows the marble down and you have more control than when using paint. (If it's too slow, you can add some water to the glue.) And the finished product is so sparkly!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Another End-of-Year Display

Oh, I have so many of these! This one is from several years ago. As I've mentioned before, I never thought I'd be sharing these pictures with anyone. I took them only so I'd remember what I've done. This was taken in my living room. I never took a picture of it once it was displayed at work, so this will have to do. But first I should give you a little background. We do a lot of dancing in my Pre-K. And I don't mean to Barney or The Wiggles. I'm talking 80's. Yes, 1980's. One of our favorites is "Footloose." So I used that for my goodbye display once:
I printed out letters from my computer and cut them out. It reads, "We gotta cut loose, Footloose, Kick off our <name of center> shoes!" It's like the kids are saying, "We're outta here! Time for kindergarten!" I also took pictures of the kids dancing, cut them out, and put them on scrapbook paper.
How cool is that? I love how they look like they're floating among the "bubbles." I also cut out some musical notes.
And then I printed out a little note from the teachers:
Back at school I had the kids each decorate a picture of a shoe. We had all kinds, from flip flops to cowboy boots. Then I hung those up with the Footloose display. It turned out really cute. I wish I had taken a picture of it. If only I had known I'd become a blogger one day...