Everything You Need to Know You Can Learn in Kindergarten!

Come join our class of kindergarteners as we learn to work together, grow into voracious readers, become authors of our own original stories, and feed our natural curiosity about the world by developing as scientists.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Caterpillar Collages

Caterpillar Collage

We made caterpillar collages in the style of Eric Carle this week. We used tissue paper squares (greens and yellows). We glued the squares to white construction paper using liquid starch. While that dried we painted tan construction paper with brown tempera using textured rollers. The next day we traced 5 small circles onto the back of our painted paper and cut them out. We also traced a leaf onto the back of the tissue paper and cut it out. We glued the circles in an overlapping line onto our tissue paper leaf. Finally, we added details with black sharpies.

Jose cutting caterpillar pieces

Naythan and Adriana

painting with roller

Alex adding details

Monday, April 16, 2012

Caterpillars in the Classroom

I ordered caterpillars a day or two before we left for spring break expecting them to arrive at my house just before we returned to school. Unfortunately, they were delivered the first day of our vacation and I spent the next nine days hoping the caterpillars would stay caterpillars until I could get them back to school for the kids to see. They did. Yea! Of course they are about ten times the size they were when I got them. I think they're going to make chrysalides within the week.

Our five chrysalides

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?

Ja'lilah's portrait
We made the cutest big book, Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be? I asked parents to send in a baby picture of their child. My husband scanned the photos (which were all different sizes) and I printed them out as 4"× 6"s. Then I returned the original photos to the parents. We did an interactive writing of the question "Baby, Baby, Who Could You Be?" I photocopied the interactive writing for each child. On a piece of construction paper I glued a student's baby picture in the middle and the interactive writing "Baby, baby, who could you be?" around the photo. Then the class made self portraits. I found this portrait idea on Deep Space Sparkle. We traced circles or ovals for our heads, drew our necks, and ears. Next we painted our portraits with tempera paint in skin tones. When they dried we used crayons to add our eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, lashes, and hair. The portraits were glued to the back side of the construction paper with the student's baby picture along with the student's writing "I am -------. That's me!" and a recent photo. I added the student's name cut from scraps of painted paper along the side of the page. For students who didn't bring baby pictures (my partner had a few), I did a directed drawing of a baby and glued it in place of a baby picture. We laminated the pages, assembled them into a book and it's a very popular read in our room.
Front: Ivonne's baby picture
Back: Ivonne's portrait
Fabian's baby picture
Fabian's portrait

Directed drawing of baby

Omar's portrait before laminating

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Flower Collages

To go with our plant unit we read The Tiny Seed and then created flower collages. This project took three to four 20 minute lessons. First we used watercolors on watercolor paper to make two sheets of painted paper, one with greens and one with purples, or pretty petal colors. Before the paint dried we sprinkled salt on our papers to create texture. The next day we did some splatter painting on white construction paper. Because I have kindergarteners, I took the painted paper home and drew eight to ten petals on the colorful sheet and two leaves and a stem on the green sheet. Finally the kinders cut out the pieces and assembled their flower onto their splattered paper. They added a teacher made watercolor center to their flower and soil along the bottom of the project.

Planting Sunflowers

Jonathan and Nestor picking their seeds.
Bryce and Vanessa pushing their seeds into the soil.
Watering with spray bottle
Natalie and Ivone waiting to water their seeds.
Fabian, Mikkie, and Jayden observing their seeds.
We planted sunflower seeds recently. I harvested the seeds from my garden last summer and supplied all of kindergarten with seeds to plant. We used clear plastic cups, garden soil, mammoth sunflower seeds and spray bottles of plain water. My kinders had a great time being gardeners. The planting process was new to most of them. I was pleasantly surprised when the seedlings came up so quickly (over the weekend) and beautifully. Every single child had at least one seedling. Many had three or four (They were supposed to plant two seeds). My students were better than me at remembering to water our sunflower everyday. They even took turns carrying them outside to get some sun each day. I had to send our plants home ten days later because they were getting too tall and our cups were beginning to tip over.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dr.Seuss Tribute

Our Seuss fish in the office
In March, we read lots of Dr Seuss books. One of our favorites is One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. We did a directed drawing of a Dr. Seuss fish. I found this lesson on Deep Space Sparkle. Some students drew a swimming fish. Others drew a standing fish. Then we used fine tip sharpies to trace our pencil drawings and erased the pencil lines. Next we painted our fish with watercolors. When they were dry, we cut the fish out and glued them to red or blue construction paper. Finally we wrote about our fish. "My little fish said, '_________'." We were learning the words 'little' and 'said' that week. We cut the words apart and glued them back in order on our artwork.
My little fish said, "Kiss me and hug me and eat".
My little fish said, "I want a cookie".

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Watercolor Penguins

Last December we learned all about penguins. To culminate our unit we learned how to draw penguins. Like all kinder art, this project took a few days. First we did a directed drawing of several penguins. The students drew with pencil and went back to trace over with black fine tip sharpie. Next, after erasing the pencil lines, we used crayons to color the beaks and feet orange, the belly and eye white, and the sun yellow. Then we used black watercolor paint to finish our penguins. Finally we painted the background - Antarctica - with a blue watercolor wash. And as always we wrote about our penguins.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kindergarten's Got Something to Crow About

Some of my class with our scarecrow bulletin board

Back in October my partner did a great directed drawing with her class. I thought they were so cute, I did it with my class as well. We drew scarecrows. The directed drawing took one to two 15 minute lessons. Then came some teacher prep -- in front of the TV that night I traced the students' scarecrows exactly as they drew them onto fuzzy colored paper. Over the next two days the class used oil pastels to color their scarecrow and add crows and other finishing touches with a black oil pastel. On a separate day they wrote about their art. The project got such rave reviews, we displayed them in the office. No one could believe that kindergarteners were capable of such awesome art! But its all them!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A rocky start turns into an exceptional year

Well, I started the year with a different partner teacher and more kids than I had textbooks for by far. About 3 or so weeks later, class size went down when a new class was added. However my partner moved out and the new teacher moved into my room. There was chaos briefly. But we muddled through and it didn't take long for this to become the best year yet. Its amazing how much of a difference an enthusiastic partner with a similiar teaching philosophy can make.