"In this classroom, relationships are fostered, families are respected, and children are honored.
In this classroom, nature's gifts are valued and children's thoughts are captured.
In this classroom, learning is alive and aesthetic beauty is appreciated." -Unknown

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tissue Paper Rainbow Art

We've been doing lots of reviewing as our school year winds down. We recently had a day to review colors (English, Spanish, and ASL) and I wanted a colorful art activity available to the children. I recalled an activity we had done some time ago that involved tissue paper pieces, water, and paper, so I began pulling the supplies to get ready for the children. We used trays (that had originally been drawers to a drawer file system), added art paper, put out multiple colors of tissue paper that had been torn or cut into small square-like shapes, and had water ready in a spray bottle. This is the provocation which greeted the children upon their arrival.

We encouraged the children to spray their paper lightly to help the tissue paper stick to it. Then they began choosing their colors and layout.

They were amazed when they began seeing the colors "bleed" from the tissue paper onto the art paper. It was interesting to see the blending of the colors like the pink and blue shown below.

After they were pleased with their arrangement, we encouraged them to once again spray the paper with water. We then laid the papers on a drying rack. The photo below shows what the dry art looks like on the drying rack.

Once it is all dry, the tissue pieces readily fall off and are discarded. The below photo shows the result after the tissue paper is removed.

Below are more samples of the dry art and after the tissue paper is removed.

What a beautiful project that each one is individually unique. It's also a great fine motor activity as the children work to move the tissue squares between their index finger and thumb to lift one piece at a time. What a great and colorful activity for our Color Day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Open House

For many programs, Open House is about recruiting and getting enrollment revved up for the next year. Since we are located on the same site as a K-8 school, we coincide our Open House with theirs and ours. While it is an opportunity for prospective families to check out the program, our main goal is for the currently enrolled children to be able to be a docent and show their families around the class, at the work they've done, and the things they enjoy doing at school.

The children were so excited to share with their families and we had been working on lots of projects and I had been planning the displays. Much of what I'm posting wasn't available for families to see when they picked their child up that day, but miraculously appeared before they returned that evening. Many of my parents hang out for a bit when dropping off/picking up their child and have the opportunity to engage in activities with their child and see projects and things they've been working on, so I like to make sure there are always some surprises in store for them when they come to Open House.

Each child and myself chose the color of their handprint to make
a very vibrant and welcoming sign for their families to see as
they arrived in the evening.

We had our digital frame out for all to see, a sign-in sheet for
attendees, and the gorgeous flowers a family donated to us for
the special event.
We had completed our Painting to Music project. See our blog
post from April 21st to read more about how this all came to be.
Each child chose two paint colors and if they wanted to paint while
listening to slow or fast music, then they got busy painting and
creating on their individual canvas.

Here's a little closer look. I took photos during the process and
then asked each child about it after their painting was dry to get
feedback and thoughts about it. We included both the photos
and the documentation in the display.

It was really interesting to see how each child chose
to paint. Some of them began with a drawing, but then
decided to cover the entire canvas, while others stuck
with their initial interpretation. It was entirely up
to them to determine what their process would become.

I posted this information to explain to families how our project
came to be.

We displayed the paints we had used and had the two musical
selections alternately playing through the entire evening so the
families could hear the music that their child chose to use.

We had just completed the GEMS: Ant Homes Under the Ground
unit so we had to share out anthill complete with tunnels, chambers,
guard ants, scout ants, housekeeper ants, nurse ants, the queen ant,
eggs, and a yummy caterpillar snack. Each child created their ant
with the appropriate body parts and decided what job their ant
would have in the anthill.

We documented the Ant study through photography
and documentation and had it out to share. I found
this cool ANT font free online. I thought it was the
perfect accompaniment for our display.
This anthill display came with the kit and changed almost daily
with overlays showing new concepts and terms as they were
introduced. On  the final days the children were able to see the
food (grasshopper and caterpillar) in the chambers, as well as the
queen laying eggs and the nurse ants caring for them and moving
them to the egg chamber.

The children were also able to share their bean/plant growth that we had posted in the windows, as well as taking the families outside to see our newly planted flower garden. We had a great evening sharing all that we had done.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Flower Petal Sun Catchers

Awhile back I saw an idea to make a sun catcher using flower petals on Pinterest. I made a few changes and modifications to what I saw and came up with a project for our class. 

A gracious parent brought in a variety of beautiful flowers. We set up a provocation with the flowers, paper plates with the centers cut out, Contact paper (sticky side up), and glue.

The children were told that we needed their arrangement to be as flat as possible and were encouraged to pull the petals apart and place them any way they liked onto the sticky Contact paper. Once they were done with their arrangement, another piece of Contact paper was placed (sticky side down) onto the original piece, sealing the flowers within. The children spread glue around the white edge of the plate and placed another cut out plate on the original one, which sealed everything inside. 

When the glue was dry we used tape to adhere the colorful sun catchers to our classroom windows. Beautiful!!

I love it when we do a project that the process is unique to each individual, their tastes and liking AND it produces a beautiful end product. This is that kind of project.