Friday, May 28, 2010

rock - cloth - flowers

I got a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my birthday last week. They weren't going to last through the weekend though and so . . . I brought them to school today and let the littles use them to make banners. To start, I cut old t-shirts from the rag bag into rectangles. (I usually use muslin for this but didn't have any.) Lay newspaper on a hard surface and place the cloth on top of it. Have a little arrange flowers on the cloth and then cover with more newspaper or rags. Next, have the little use a rock to pound on top of the cloth and transfer the color from the flower onto the fabric. Hang it up and let it dry. That's as far as we got today. Next time we will gather sticks to glue the fabric to. Here's what we have so far . . .

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ranger Rick collages

Someone donated a pile of old Ranger Rick magazines. Today we cut out our favorite animals and then glued them (along with some pre-cut colored cardstock) on black construction paper to make an animal collage. The animal photos were a great way to boost vocabulary and it was interesting to see how much some of the littles already knew about many animals that we don't often talk about.

this girl

This girl is beautiful - inside and out.

This girl is overflowing with creativity. It bubbles out of her in songs, poems, paintings, and in almost everything that she touches.

This girl's joy is contagious.

This girl cares deeply and isn't afraid to show it.

This girl isn't afraid to be herself 100% of the time.

When this girl gives a gift, she gives of herself. She'll paint you a picture of something that she knows you love. She'll make you a CD of your favorite music - or better yet, music that will become your favorite. She'll write you a song and call you up and play it for you on the ukulele.

And when my day is especially long, and I'm so tired I don't think I can go another step, and the universe seems to be out of whack, all I have to do is see her smiling face and hear her sweet voice and somehow the air seems a little bit lighter and the planets somehow realign in my world.

I'm so happy and blessed that this girl calls me mama.

Monday, May 24, 2010

the little band

Yes, I'll admit it. I have a special place in my heart for books that I first discovered and loved alongside a little Leslie. The Little Band by James Sage and illustrated by Keiko Narahashi brings back all of those sweet memories of sitting together, Mama and baby, pouring over book after book. What a dear story about a mysterious band of children dressed as flowers who march through a town playing wonderful music.

Today I shared the magic of The Little Band with my band of littles. Afterwards, we carried some of our instruments outdoors and, despite the morning heat and humidity that is south Florida at this time of the year, we had a rollicking good time! Back indoors, we made drums (from oatmeal containers) and guitars (from tissue boxes). I'm always a little amazed how something as simple as a tissue box with a few rubber bands around it can bring such delight to the littles. And this is why I teach preschool . . .

Sunday, May 16, 2010

trying to hold their interest for a few more days . . .

Trying to find things to hold the littles interest with only a few weeks left in our school year. Not always an easy task but last week I did manage to come up with a couple of new things that seemed to do the trick. The first was a giant cardboard cut-out of a person. Sort of a gigantic paper doll. They are decorating our cardboard friend with markers and paint and whatever else they can find on the art shelves. (I'll try to remember to snap a photo this week.) A group of girls in the room thought this was the coolest thing ever. And I liked that it was large enough so they could cooperate and collaborate, exchanging ideas and compliments. (I found the cardboard cut-out at my local teacher store. It was about $4.)

I also threw some of these rubber band paint brushes on the art table with plates of paint and some large sheets of paper. I made the brushes with rubber bands in various sizes and wooden craft sticks. In the past I've used tree twigs as the brush handle but these seemed to work well. A few of the littles thought this was a very cool way to paint. One little boy who never pays much attention to the art table stayed there all morning.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I love it when you share something that you think is absolutely fabulous with someone and they "get it". You are both shaking your heads in a knowing way. You are both thinking, "Yes, this is really great, isn't it?" There is nothing better than when I get that feeling with the littles. When we are on the same page. Today was one of those days. I read one of my favorite books of all-time: The Paper Princess by Elisa Kleven. I purchased this book for Leslie when she was a little. We spent hours sitting together pouring over the amazing mixed media collages. Over and over I read the story of the little girl that creates a magical paper doll who is swept away with the wind. There is something about this book that just makes you want to create something. Today the littles sat mesmerized as I read this magical book. Their eyes were glued to the pages as I held them up a little longer so they could take in every playful detail. I love it when they are truly engaged. And I love, love, love that they were intensely engaged with this particular book that I hold in such high esteem :)

I had some multi-cultural paper doll cut-outs in my stash. They found their way to the art center today and several of the littles made their own princes and princesses. So sweet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

shades of blue

We experimented with combining white and blue paint and black and blue. The littles correctly predicted that white and blue would give us "sky blue" :) and that black would make dark blue. One of the littles added extra black and it was a very dark blue indeed! I'm not sure what it is about activities that combine science and art but my current bunch of littles cannot get enough
"art experiments".

color families

The primary colors are fine but my littles appreciate the really big boxes of crayons and they want to know all of the color names. Blush, olive, blue bell, raw sienna. Even the newly named unmellow yellow and macaroni and cheese. We are becoming experts in color mixing and this week we had a color sorting center where the littles got to sort paint chips and crayons into color families. "Should this crayon be in the blue family or the green?" One little put it in between since she thought it should be in both. After sorting the crayons we bundled them by family and taped them together for some coloring fun.

When I go to kindergarten . . .

I asked the littles to draw a picture of what they will look like in kindergarten. At different times during a couple of days I made sure I had a few moments with each of them to ask, "What will you do in kindergarten?" They all seem a little worried about having to be well behaved next year! I love how their self portraits and comments show their little personalities so well.

Friday, May 7, 2010

science lab: color mixing

materials: test tubes, eye droppers, plastic cups, magnifying glass, trays, and tub tint tablets

The littles explored color today. They loved playing scientist - mixing, pouring, and examining. Science is always a popular center in our class but today that was especially true. Color mixing eventually morphed into potion making. Fun stuff :)

happy mother's day :)

Today the littles celebrated their mamas. We invited the moms to school for muffins and juice and presented them with some sweet surprises we've been working on. We made cute teapots, butterfly handprint cards, and each little completed questions about mom and drew her. The morning was a big success but I was surprised that many of the littles had a really difficult time when the mamas left. They loved having their mamas at school but seemed a bit thrown by the change in the drop off routine.