Friday, September 28, 2018

Leaf Man

Since fall has officially started (even though it doesn't quite feel like it yet here in Texas), we read this story:

The author has some amazing illustrations of leaf cows, birds and of course the Leaf Man. We took a walk outside to find materials. The students then created a self-portrait using their materials. They never cease to amaze me with their creativity.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Giving Tree Ethics

I love introducing Shel Silverstein's the Giving Tree to my students.

Our reading response activity had to do with Ethics. The students wrote whether they thought what the tree did was right or what the boy did was right. And then they made an argument to support their opinion. The consensus was that the tree was right to share. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Critical Thinking with Mondrian

I truly believe that art is an important part of our curriculum. Children should not just be taught to be creative, but they should have opportunities to see what that looks like. They should be given opportunities to express themselves in different ways. My students go to art once every 6 weeks and even though it's not part of our district curriculum's focus--I find ways to sneak it in.

Today we learned about the artist Mondrian and about primary colors. The students looked at works by the artist and we learned a little bit about him. We looked at his paintings and talked about how it made us feel, what it made us think of. Then the students made their own versions. I did cut out the shapes and lines, but I made various sizes and thicknesses so they really had a lot of latitude in their creations. When they were done I asked them to think about why Mondrian used line and primary colors the way he did.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

If I Could Build A Car

I expect a lot from my students! I am often pushing them to the top of the Bloom's Taxonomy concepts and asking them to invent or create something new. Since they haven't had a lot of experiences doing this, it is really challenging for them. We did an activity recently-we read a story about a girl who made a doll out of an apple. I asked them to write about a new way we could use an apple-not a doll, not to eat, not to cook. I would say about 90% of the class wrote that we could use it to eat or for a doll.

So I realized I need to give them some context, some inspiration. We got a bunch of titles that encourage the maker spirit. I read them:

It's a story about a boy and his ideas for a car he is inventing. The vocabulary was a little above the heads of my Kinder students, but it had a catchy rhyming pattern so I think it still worked.

Then I put out various materials and asked them to build a car with a new invention on it. Some did like the story and made a car that went on water. Some made flying cars (hello Jetsons anyone :). But I think giving them that scaffolding first actually helped them not feel so overwhelmed when I said "invent". I also gave them some pictures of vehicles they could use to see how everything worked.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Celebrating Dot Day

I was in a technology training years ago and the presenter read this book to us. It became one of my all-time favorite stories to share with my students.

Just make your mark and see where it takes you.

The author has created a day each year to celebrate this story and our class, along with many other classes around the word celebrated this story. I dressed up in my dot dress and set up cups and plates for them before they came in. You would have thought I planned the best surprise party ever-their faces when they walked in! They were so excited.

We read the story and discussed it and then they made their own dots two ways. First we drew them simply with crayons. And then they made dots with food coloring on tortillas-because who doesn't enjoy activities with food, right?