Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rock Star Party!

We had a Rock Star party today! The class earned it by being extra good over the past couple of months. I kept tallies on our white board whenever they worked together nicely as a class and I told them when the tallies got to the end of the board (40 tallies), they could have a party! I had to fudge it a bit because I'll be losing several kids at the end of the school year and I wanted to make sure we had the party before they left. So for the last couple of days they were earning 3-4 tallies a day, whereas before that it was usually only about 3 per week. Oh well!
I sent out invitations so parents would know all about it. The kids could bring their favorite music CD and have crazy hair, funky clothes, wear sunglasses -- whatever made them feel like a rock star!
I should have set my camera to "motion mode" because all the pictures turned out a bit blurry. Oops!
Don't you love that hat? Cracked me up when he walked in the door wearing that this morning! All in all, we had a good time. I did have to sit through a few Justin Bieber songs, but I was also able to dance to some good ol' 80's, thanks to the movies Cars and Shrek!

I also found this old picture on my computer. It's from a Rock Star party years ago at my old center. It was so cute, I couldn't delete it!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Alpha Animals

We are reviewing our letters and numbers this week. I printed out the first letter of each child's name in big block-letter form onto bright card stock.
Then, using scrap paper and pipe cleaners, the kids turned the letters into animals.
I gave them "extra credit" if they made an animal that started with that letter.
We had some real cuties! Some kids made people, which was okay because people are animals, too!

And some just kind of decorated their letter.
Whatever they chose to do, they had a lot of fun doing it!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Turtles and Cattails

Our last pond creature was the snapping turtle. I had fun teaching the kids about this guy. Our art project was very simple, but I loved how it turned out. I found a coloring sheet of a turtle (found here) and copied it so it was centered on the bottom of the paper. First the kids colored the turtle's head and legs and belly. (Our turtle was missing a tail. I wish I had drawn one in before photocopying it.) They could also make green "stems" on the sides of their paper for cattails.
Then they used corks dipped in green and brown paint to decorate the shell.

 The corks gave the shell some nice texture.
And they used pom poms (attached to a clothespin) dipped in brown paint to make the cattails.
I searched and searched for a cattail craft, but couldn't really find one. So I thought I'd give pom poms a try and they worked great!

And to top it off, corn dogs were on the lunch menu that day and one of my kids said, "These look like cattails!" So we had cattails for lunch!

Fun Fact: Unlike other turtles, a snapping turtle cannot pull its head, legs and tail inside its shell.

Dazzling Dragonflies

I am very excited to tell you how we made our beautiful dragonflies! I just made it up as we went along and it actually worked! I made my "example" at the same time the kids made theirs. I started by tracing dragonfly wings onto laminating sheets. (I used a coloring sheet from here as my template, but I moved it a bit while tracing to make sure my wings all touched each other to make it easier to cut out.) I was able to fit three sets of wings on one page. As the children came to make their project, I wrote their name next to the set of wings they chose. We rubbed a glue stick onto the wings and then applied cut-up tissue paper.
When I had all three wings filled up, I laminated them.
You could probably use contact paper, but it wouldn't be as clear or shiny. After they were laminated I cut them apart and we painted them with watered-down glue.
This is where I got worried that the beautiful wings would be ruined. I had no idea if the glue would dry completely clear or not. After the glue, we used my salt-n-pepper-turned-glitter shakers to add a little bit of sparkle.
The shakers were key because if we just sprinkled glitter from a spoon or the big bottles or even with our fingers, it would have been too much and would've covered our tissue paper completely. The little shakers let out the perfect amount.
Then we let them dry and I crossed my fingers that they would dry clear. I've used watered-down Elmer's glue for lots of things before, but it was always on paper, not something transparent. But it worked! I was excited! I cut out all the wings.
Next, we went on to the body. We used colored popsicle sticks (regular size) and used a mini glue dot to add a sparkly pom pom to one end. (I had them left over from my Horton Hears a Who craft). We also used mini glue dots to attach wiggle eyes to the pom pom. Those glue dots were a lifesaver because I don't think regular glue would've worked. Although a glue gun would probably work if you wanted to go that route.
Then we put a drop of glue on our stick behind the head to attach the wings.
And here's how they turned out:

Dazzling, I tell you! I love them! I decided to attach them to the water lilies we made earlier in the week.

For another dragonfly craft, you can see how we made them with a clothespin here.

Fun Fact: No other creature is better at hunting in the air than the dragonfly.

**Linking up to the parties on my sidebar!**

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rock Frogs

Continuing with our Pond theme, we learned about frogs yesterday. My favorite! I got the idea for our craft from Ziggity Zoom but I didn't bother making the crowns. I also enlarged it a bit so the kids could use bigger rocks. First we gathered our rocks. The kids were very excited about this. Usually they are told not to touch the rocks (they are for landscaping), so when I told everyone to pick out one rock for art, they kind of hesitated. It was funny! Once they got the perfect rock (I didn't tell them what it was for yet), they painted them any way they wanted. I told them to make the flattest side the bottom so it would sit right.
When they were dry, I told them we were going to turn the rocks into frogs! I had cut out a bunch of legs from the template, in a variety of colors. I changed the back feet a little to make them look webbed and I just used construction paper instead of craft foam.
The kids picked out which body they wanted and, using a glue dot, they attached their rock to it. Then they used glue dots to attach eyes to their rock. And a frog was born.
I think it would be cute to attach little pom poms to the rock and then put the eyes on the pom poms, but this worked well, too.

Fun Fact: A group of frogs is called an army!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Water Lilies

We started our pond unit yesterday. We made beautiful water lilies. So beautiful, in fact, that I'm going to make you wait till the end of the post to see them. Ha! I got this idea from Creativity Takes Flight. The kids started by painting a small paper plate green. I put out 3 different shades of green.
Then they used dot markers to decorate a small coffee filter.
I sprayed them with water and let them dry. Then I folded them in half 3 or 4 times and the kids dipped the ends into paint.
This is a wonderful trick one of my co-workers told me about. It just gives the flower a little extra somethin'.
When the paint was dry, I crumpled up the coffee filter carefully by gathering the middle and putting a piece of tape around it.
Then I added a bunch of glue to the paper plate, which now looks like a lily pad because I cut out a piece.
And finally I added the flower.
Beautiful, right? I hung them on my door and they are so bright and cheery! I love looking at them. I think it would be fun to float these in a kiddie pool, but they probably wouldn't last long :0)

Friday, May 18, 2012


I was so excited to teach about toucans today! I've never taught about them before so I was learning right along with the kids. I'm glad I added them to my bird unit, but that meant I had to leave something out. So I traded cardinals and ostriches for eagles and toucans this year. Our toucan craft was inspired by I Heart Crafty Things. Rachel even has a pattern you can print out! I made ours a little bit smaller because I wanted to cut two from one piece of paper. I drew a white line where the colored part of the toucan would be.
Instead of using tissue paper, we used torn construction paper. Our scrap bucket was overflowing, so I thought this would be a good way to use it up. I had a couple helpers this morning.
The kids glued on two colors of paper, one by the eye and one for the throat.

Then they added blue feet and a large neon wiggle eye. The paper plate beaks were decorated with oil pastels. (I liked Rachel's idea of watercolors, but we had just watercolored a plate for our hummingbirds, so I wanted to do something different.) And I loved the idea of tracing a hand for a tail! Oh, and we also used black torn paper to make a wing.
I had also mentioned to the kids that they could put some colored paper near the bottom, but they all forgot. Oh well. They still turned out great!

I just love those little tails! So stinkin' cute!!

Fun Fact: Toucans croak like a frog and are one of the noisiest birds in the jungle!