Monday, February 25, 2013

Paper Cut Portraits and More

This activity was such a neat process!  It took us multiple group lesson sessions with only 1 adult helping.  This was a K12's 2nd grade art lesson (we changed it a bit due to amount of paper I had available, instead of a self-portrait we just did a portraits.  Two did their own likeness.). I would agree that it's best for 2nd grade up but I had a preschooler (pretty much hand over hand) and a 1st grader that had success with it.  The kids loved the end product!  I loved having them on my walls. :-)
4th grader                  1st grader
 Notice the cowlick on the fourth graders.  :-D
 3rd grader
     2nd graders
 Loved the glasses!
preschooler (with lots of help)
This was the third or fourth project we did with faces.  They have come a LONG way.  Shape of face, filling up most of the paper.  Facial feature proportion and location, etc.  A tip for you, if you do this type of collage, have them look in a mirror and compare their pointer finger with the sizes and location of the facial features.  It helps when sketching their paper cut features.  If they fill a 9x12 piece of paper, the size of their head is pretty close to the size of their actual head.  We got a multicultural color pack of construction paper from Discount School Supply.

A previous self-portrait lesson.
It happened that 3 of the 5 elementary-aged students had self-portrait projects around the same time.  So we turned it into a whole group morning lesson.  4th grader did 3rd grader's lesson because he didn't have a self-portrait project in the near future.  He loves to be able to do other's projects.
1st grader
painted, "shoulders up/bust" self-portrait
2nd graders
Full body self-portrait with drawings that interested them in the background.

3rd and 4th grader
Self-portrait-royalty.  They really had fun with this one!
This was a fourth grade art lesson that went along with African Masks. I've done this project with older school-agers in the past. It's always a favorite.
Simply choose two colors of paper. Fold one in have like a hot dog. Trace a simple half of face starting at the fold. Cut out. (A. used an Exacto knife to cut out facial features). Glue the cut out page on the left side of the 2nd contrasting color of paper, and the cut out facial features to the right side. Fun stuff! I really wouldn't suggest this for anyone younger than 3rd grade. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I'm definitely a believer of teaching phonics.  :-)  Another shout out for MVCA/K12's curriculum...their PhonicsWorks curriculum is lovely!  I so wish my other kiddos had experienced this. Not that they didn't touch on phonics at brick and mortar.  They did, but they didn't go into as much as K12's does.  The other kids are learning quite a bit from our 1st grader's lessons that is helping their spelling!  I find that my own 2nd grader tends to balk at writing and some of it is because he's a bit of a perfectionist and he doesn't like it when his words are spelled wrong.  So now we are going back and teaching phonics rules.  Here is a few of the activities we've done for 1st grade with regards to phonics.  I wish that I took more pictures of some of the phonics things we do. Oh well, that's the way it goes. This is just 3 of many.
Contraction Caterpillar
Self-explanatory :-)
Broke the paper into 4 categories for nouns-
person animal, things, places
On the post-it, child dictated two nouns to go with that category.  Underneath, he wrote a verb (making sure to use the correct form of the verb) to go with that noun.  Then each day he chose one noun/verb pair from each category and wrote a complete sentence.
1.  Does it make sense? (Subject and a predicate?)
2.  Does it start with a capital letter?
3.  Are there finger spaces between words?
4.  Is there punctuation at the end of the sentence?
5.  Are your forming your letters correctly?  Do they bump the line?
(Penmanship has come a LONG way for Mr. L. So I pick and choose my battles when it comes to what I have him erase and rewrite.  Now that he's on the right track with pencil control, correct letter formation, and stamina...I want him to begin to enjoy writing vs. it just always being "hard work".  With this activity in particular, I was trying to help him move from HWT's paper to regular penmanship paper because one never knows what the future holds and he may need to know how to write on regular penmanship paper.  I do love HWT's paper though!   
 Post-Its are lovely!  Picture is poor.  Sorry! 
ed as /ed/, /d/ /t/
This was a quick activity before heading out for our Children's Museum field trip.  I wrote the sound that ed can make on post its to make 3 categories.  Then he chose an orange post-it, read the word, told me what I needed to do to make it past tense (double the letter or not) and put it in the column of the sound he heard at the end of the word.  Now when they hear a word like "helped" they are less likely to write helpt.  :-D  Why?  Because we have learned that ed can make three sounds.  We also have learned about what a base word is.  I love to hear them talk it out to themselves.  "Base word is help.  The verb tense is past.  Let me finger stretch it.  /h/ /el/ /p/ /t/.  h,, wait...I need at least one vowel in every chunk... h-e-l-p-t.  No, past tense is ed.  h-e-l-p-e-d."  Makes a BIG difference!  Now that we have a few rules under our belts, :-), I very seldom just spell a word when they ask anymore. We go through clapping out the word, finger stretching the sounds, thinking of different rules, etc.

I decided to make a very simple -ed sort mat for this activity 3rd grader is having a bit of a time hearing the ending sounds that -ed makes so this will work for her also.  For good measure, I think the 2nd graders will do it also.  I typed base words and they have to state what the past tense of that word is (knowing you add -ed).  Then figuring out if you have to double the last letter before adding -ed or not.  Then they'll sort it into the correct column.   
You can get download it for your own use here if it's something that may be of use for you.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Ah, I feel we have so much we could be doing but so little time.  Hopefully next year will be better!
We grew some crystals during our Rocks and Minerals unit...
It was a snow day when we were planning on doing it and 2 kiddos didn't get here.  Have two recipes we wanted to try...but we haven't gotten it done yet.  The story of what happens around here.  If we don't start or complete an extra when it is planned, the probability it won't get done is high.  Anyone else have that struggle?
We followed the recipe of 12 TBS of borax in a large jar of boiling water.  I think it was a bit too much borax...but they turned out anyway.  Remember to have your pipe cleaner design small enough that you can get it out of the jar when it has grown.  :-D  And be sure it doesn't touch any of the sides to begin with.  Use lots of food coloring...and light colored pipe cleaners for best results.
This was a very simple activity to get this idea of metamorphic rocks across.  I provided snickers and they applied heat and pressure to make a new form of rock.  :-)
So, my goal of getting a group picture each month...
yeah...January, it didn't happen.  :-D  So we can count this one...but there are two extra girls and we are missing T.  :-D  (Ice Skate birthday fun fun!)
Or this one...A.'s birthday.  Neither are all that grand...and neither were in January.  Both were at the beginning of February.  But if I hadn't said anything, noone would have known.  LOL  We'll get another one here this next week...hopefully!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lily Ponds

This was actually an Art1 lesson regarding Claude Monet's Water Lilies.  I did tweak it a bit and all of the children created one, including the preschooler.
I recommended they paint most of their paper blue first and then experiment with adding violet, turquoise, green, and white.  The next day they used green scrap paper (as you can see on of the lilies above was a piece of "painted paper"---adds a nice touch!) to cut out circles and then cut the triangle out to make the lilies.  Then they used pink and white paper to make flowers.  This one above created 3 different types of flowers! 
Unfortunately, the oldest and the youngest one's creations were completed when I snapped this picture.  I knew if I didn't do it then, I wouldn't get it done.  :-)
I find that school-agers are often hesitant about "making messes" so I would like to work more at encouraging exploration of "messy materials".   Okay, I am hesitant also..but I find I prefer to "make messes" with school-agers than preschool/toddlers because the school-agers can clean up/"handle" it a bit better.  :-D  But they really don't get a chance to "get messy" in brick and mortar.  Understandable but a little sad.  So, I had to reassure the older elementary kiddos (the 1st grade student was okay with it because it hadn't been that long since he as with me for preschool) that yes, it's okay to stick your hands in the paint, it's called fingerpainting.  :-P  Oh the smiles I saw when they finally did it!
This is one of his paintings from 1908.  Pretty!
Found a whole selection of Claude Monet's water lily paintings on Wikipedia.  Wish I had see that whole selection BEFORE I implemented the lesson!

Yummy Lunch or Snack :-)

Trying to explore with easy lunches/snacks for my school-age kiddos.  I really do not have the time that I did with my preschoolers/child care kiddos, for meal prep, etc.  So I'm always on the look out for fast, kid-friendly, some-what healthy meals and snacks.  Here's one I experimented with recently.  My kids said it as a keeper so we'll try it out with the other kiddos this next week.  :-)

Easy, you bet! 
whole wheat tortilla
vanilla yogurt
cinnamon sugar
Wrap it up and you have healthy snack, or in our case...lunch.  We added Candian Bacon and....
 hot cocoa!  :-D
This kiddo is pretty much the only one that likes hot cocoa so...the rest got warm chocolate milk.  :-)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Snowflake Souffle

Weather: Poems for All Seasons
Lee Bennett Hopkins
ISBN:  978-0-06-444191-9
This is a book sent with the curriculum materials of K12 for 1st grade.  We've been working our way through it.  Here's one of our favorite poems.
Snowflake Souffle
Snowflake souffle
Snowflake souffle
Makes a lip-smacking lunch
On an ice-cold day!
You take seven snowflakes,
You break seven eggs,
And you stir it seven times
With your two hind legs.
Bake it in an igloo,
Throw it on a plate
And slice off a slice
With a rusty ice-skate.
(The illustration shows a bug stirring withn his two hind legs.)
Catchy-isn't it?  Perfect for 1st/2nd grade humor.
So we turned it into a snowflake factory today. Fun stuff!

All of them did at least one but these were the kiddos that really enjoyed this. :-)

And, oh boy, we forgot to get a January picture.  Blah!  But we did and are having a few birthdays.  This one was from this week.
A brand new 7 year old!
(I really do take pictures of the other kids on their birthdays also...but I have been so busy that organizing pictures gets put at the bottom of the to-do pile.  This one was just from yesterday so it was on the card with the snowflakes still.)