Thursday, July 28, 2011

Magic Nuudles

No, that is not a typo. Have any of you ever used Magic Nuudles before? They are a biodegradable building material and they are so simple to use. I just put a bunch out on a table, added some wet paper towels, and the kids got to work.
All they have to do is touch the tip of one "block" onto the wet paper towel (you do not want to dip them in water) and they become sticky.
They will stick to each other and windows. And skin, according to the directions. We had many creative masterpieces when art time was over.
A flower:

A caterpillar:

A monster:

An airplane:

And the most original piece of art of the day, something I've never even heard a child mention before, let alone build, a Chinese number:
And the best part is instead of throwing it away (which we all know many parents do because they can't save all the art projects), the kids can put it in the sink, run water on it, and watch it disappear!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kids Say...

Here is an idea I think every teacher or parent should do. Whenever you hear something cute or funny that a child says, write it down! I've been doing this for the past 7.5 years and before the kids go off to kindergarten, I send all the quotes from that year home. I actually make a yearbook and the quotes go at the end of the yearbook. Parents LOVE this! I stumbled upon my yearbooks this evening (yes, I make a yearbook for myself, as well!) and thought you'd enjoy some of the things I overheard throughout the years. So in the words of Julie Andrews, these are a few of my favorite things quotes:

"When someone is fat, it's not nice to call them fat. You should say plump. Unless it's a girl. Then you call her pregnant."

"Miss Betsy, I don't know how this happened, but my shoe is in the toilet."

"There is a bad word in my book. Ass." -(it was a book about animals)
"It's okay if you're talking about animals. Just don't say that about people." - me
"Well, my mom calls my dad an ass."

"I thought you were going to marry me someday." - me
"Yeah, but when I'm a grownup, you'll be a grandma. And when I'm a grandpa, you'll be dead!"

"If you eat junk food, you'll grow side to side."

"The doctor put a baby in my mom's tummy."
"No, God did that!"

"My heart hurts." - kid #1
"The inside or the outside?" - kid #2
"The inside." - kid #1
"It means you have too much food in you and it's getting blocked." - kid #2

"When I grow up I'm going to have a baby and get stretch marks."

"My little cousin is getting her head appetized." - (she meant baptized, in case you're wondering)

"Did you just call me woman?" - co-teacher
"Yeah, 'cause you're giving me a hard time!"

"So you're a kid?!" - (said to me after my dad visited my class)

"I can use any color I want. I'm the boss." - me
"You're not the boss. Bosses are mean to people."

"My dad always says, 'Keep track of your things.' That's what you gotta do, Miss Betsy." - (after I misplaced something)

"Whose art project is this? I can't read the name." - co-teacher
"Oh, that's mine. I wrote my name in Japanese."

"My mom didn't have her stomach cut open when she had a baby. She screamed."

So there you have just a little taste of what I hear during my days in the Pre-K. I hope you enjoyed them!

**Linking up to Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together!**

Monday, July 25, 2011

Shel Silverstein Booklet

A few weeks before I started this blog, I did a Shel Silverstein unit. I recently came across some pictures of a project, so I thought I'd share that with you today. Every day during circle time of that week, I read from Shel's books. Sometimes it was poetry (A Light in the Attic or Where the Sidewalk Ends, for example), and sometimes it was a whole story (The Giving Tree). If it was a collection of poems, I would take the funniest ones and print them out on my computer. For art, the kids would get to illustrate the poems. Each day I would have about 4 different poems at the coloring table. They could choose to do as many as they liked, and most kids did them all every day. Here are a few.
The one about a man with 21 hats and a man with 21 heads:
The one about a man whose beard went down to his toes:
 The one about being eaten by a boa constrictor:
And here's one of my favorite silly poems:
It's called the Naked Hippo.
Let us make a pair of pants
For the poor old Hippopotamus
To cover his hide - once we decide
Exactly how big his bottomus.

Bottomus! Love it! Anyway, everyday I would collect all the illustrated poems (making sure names are on each one). At the end of the week, I made them into a booklet. I made a cover for it on my computer.
Each child was named the illustrator of their booklet. It turned out to be a neat little reminder of the week and the parents loved reading them at home. I hope it's something they keep for many years.
By the way, I mentioned Shel's name on Monday, but on Tuesday through Friday I asked the kids who we were talking about. There were some hilarious names! It usually involved a Shel, a Silver, and a Stein, but in different orders. They were all giggling as they tried to say his name. But by Friday, they all had it down!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Glitter-Painted Monsters

I wasn't planning on sharing our last monster art with you because it was just painting. It doesn't need any explaining at all. But they turned out so cute, I decided to show them after all. We painted with glitter paint.
We've used glitter watercolors for a couple years now, but this glitter paint is new to the center. You'd normally not put the words glitter and monster together, but it just added a little somethin'. I told the kids they could paint whatever they wanted, but most of them wanted to stick with the monster theme. They were very creative!
As I was holding one up, I noticed that when light was behind it, it was very pretty. So I decided to turn them into suncatchers and hang them on the window.
Ignore our lovely view.
It doesn't really show it in that picture, but the paint is extra bright and shiny. And this was taken on a cloudy day. Can't wait to see it with the sun shining in.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, the SWAMP MONSTER!

That's my husband. He's in the army and had the perfect "costume" for this. Behind our center we have a nice stream. We often take the kids on walks there to look for the swamp monster. We had only been dating one month when he pulled out this suit and said it would make a great swamp monster. (That's when I knew he was a keeper!) It was great to finally have a picture to show the kids. They know it's not real but love it anyway. Whenever we go on walks, they always ask if we can go by the stream to look for the swamp monster!
To this day he is still giving me ideas for my class, always taking an interest in what I do. Thanks, honey!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Monster Cups

I got this next idea from Honey Bee Books. As soon as I saw it, I thought, "We could make monsters that way!" So I put out styrofoam cups, pipe cleaners, eye stickers, markers, and leftover dyed pasta that I stuck on glue dots.

And the kids did whatever they wanted with the supplies to make their own monsters.
I loved how easy it was for them to do.

So simple. So fun.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Push-Paint Monsters

This was a fun and easy art project. I'm sure you've all done this before. You start with a big sheet of white paper, fold it in half, and open it up again. Have several paint colors available for the kids. We used spoons to scoop a blob of paint and drop it on the paper.
Try to keep the paint close to the crease and away from the edges of the paper. Then fold the paper again and push the paint all around. I knew I wanted to cut these out, so the kids had to make sure all their blobs of paint got connected. If they opened the paper up and noticed "floating blobs" they just closed the paper and pushed some more. When everything is connected, it will look like, well, anything. But in our case, it looked like a monster!
Then I put out glue and wiggle eyes and the kids could add those anywhere on the paint.

Once dry, I cut them out and taped them onto black paper. It made the paint color "pop."

Then I cut them out again, leaving a nice black edging, and hung them on the wall.
It's a very bright display!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Scrap-Paper Monsters

So today I had to throw together a quick art project. We were supposed to have a Trike-a-thon today, therefore I didn't plan anything. But it was way too hot for kids to be biking around the parking lot for charity, so it was postponed. I ended up putting our box of construction paper scraps on the table, along with some scissors, tape and markers. The kids went to town making monsters.

I had recently gone through my lesson plan folders and threw a bunch of old and leftover projects into the box, so we had some parrots and chimp faces in there that the kids could use.

Please excuse the photos. My camera battery was very low so I wasn't taking 10 shots of everything trying to get the perfect picture. It was actually kind of nice at the time, but now I'm left with very few choices.

This next one is so cute.
I mean scary. After all, it is a monster.
And the girl who made this next one put so much time into it. She kept coming back to the art table throughout the morning, adding more pieces each time.
So there you have it. A last-minute art project that turned out to be one of my (and the kids') favorite.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Shoe Print Monsters

This week's theme is Monsters! I actually call it "Wild Things" after the book Where the Wild Things Are. After reading the story and acting it out a couple times, we headed to the art table to make monsters out of our shoe prints. (I got the idea for this here.)
That big ol' foot is mine. The kids' are much cuter. The main thing I want to get across this week is that monsters are only in our imaginations and they don't have to be scary. They can be anything we want them to be. So we started with a shoe-print rubbing. I actually did this for the kids because they were having trouble holding the paper on their wobbly shoes.
After I cut it out, the kids glued it on paper and used markers to turn it into a monster.
Check out these creatures:

We had some great wild things!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

End-of-Year Display

Here is another idea for a class display. I've used this during graduation in May as well as at the end of summer. I don't have a picture of my display, but it's pretty simple. I used the poem called "Just Playing." There are a few versions out there, but the one I used appears further down in this post. I divided the poem into paragraphs, printed them out, and taped them onto bright green paper.

Then I took pictures of the kids doing things that corresponded with what's mentioned in the poem. For example, kids building with blocks, painting, playing in dramatic play, running on the playground, using a magnifying glass to look at bugs, and so on. Then I taped those pictures to colorful paper as well and hung them up next to the appropriate paragraph. The parents just loved it. Here's the entire poem:

When I'm building and stacking the blocks,
Please don't say that I'm "just playing."
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I may be an architect some day.

When I'm getting all dressed up, setting the table, or caring for babies,
Don't get the idea I'm "just playing."
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I may be a mother or father some day.

When you see me up to my elbows in paint, standing at an easel, or molding clay,
Please don't let me hear you say, "He is just playing."
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I may be an artist or inventor some day.

When you see me sitting in a chair reading to an imaginary audience,
Please don't laugh and think I'm "just playing."
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I may be a teacher some day.

When you see me combing the bushes for bugs or packing my pockets with things I find,
Don't pass it off as "just play."
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I may be a scientist some day.

When you see me learning to skip, hop, run, and move my body,
Please don't say I'm "just playing."
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I'm learning how my body works.
I may be a doctor, nurse, or athlete some day.

When you ask what I've done at school today, and I say, "I just played."
Please don't misunderstand me.
For, you see, I'm learning as I play.
I'm learning to enjoy and be successful in my work.
I'm preparing for tomorrow.
Today, I am a child and my work is play.

A similar thing I've done is a Dr. Seuss display. I chose certain parts from Oh, the Places You'll Go and did the exact same thing as above. I made the title with large stencils and printed the rest on my computer.
I just chose the parts I thought were appropriate, changed KID to KIDS, and added a little personal note at the end. I went though all the pictures I took from that year and displayed a whole bunch. Here are the parts of the book I chose:

Today is your day.
You're off to great places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.
You're on your own, and you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
You're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
Who soar to high heights.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you'll hike far,
And face up to your problems,
Whatever they are.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

I hope these inspire you to put together a wonderful end-of-year display!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Display

This display is for the end of the summer, but it takes a bit of planning so I will show it to you now. I made it about 5 or 6 years ago. I only took a picture so I'd remember it. I never thought I would want to show other people, let alone blog about it. So forgive me if my photo is subpar. I totally copied this idea, but instead of using Tinker Toys, I used straws.
Ha! I warned you the picture would be bad. I took the picture while the display was on my livingroom floor. I think I was kind of embarrassed back then to take pictures of my own displays at work. Not anymore! Anyway, I spent a few days taking pictures of the kids on our playground and at a park. Then I glued colored straws onto a big piece of felt. The sand castle was made out of sand paper (my sister Suzie actually made that!) and the sprinkler was made with glue and glitter. I added the title, "Summer playin' had us a blast!" It was a take on an ol' Grease song. Sadly, not everyone got the reference. Here are some close-ups:
I had fun making it, and I really loved it, but I don't think I would ever make another one. Now I try to put up displays mostly made by the children, not me. What do you think? Would you ever make one?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dramatic Play Beach

This week my co-teacher's theme is Seashore Fun. To help out, I brought in my big beach umbrella. My parents were getting rid of it many years ago and I knew I'd be able to use it, so I snatched it up! We put out some beach towels, the sand from our sensory table, and some small buckets, shovels and scoopers. Then she dumped in some seashells.
The kids had a fun time pretending to be at the beach!