Sunday, January 27, 2013

Super Solar System Fun!

Children are amazing and talented creations and given the chance anything can happen.  Each year I become more and more impressed with my classroom when we discuss the Solar System.  This year is NO exception.  To be honest, I came into this week a little less prepared than usual.  We were suppose to do a new unit on dinosaurs, but we changed at the last minute because our older classes had it planned (oops on my part!) and our school resources would have been over extended.  No problem, I love the unit on the Solar System so we blasted off to the moon!  Because of Martin Luther King Day, we were out of school on Monday, and our week started off on Tuesday talking about the sun!

This is one of those art projects that is super simple BUT enables the child to use so many different skills.  We started with a circle (cut by the teacher from poster board), the children put big blobs (that is their word) of paint onto the circle.  We used yellow, red and some very SHINY, FUN gold!  I cover the circle with plastic wrap and then . . . .


FUN, FUN, FUN!  This is a great sensory and fine motor activity rolled in to one!  Next, we carefully removed the plastic wrap and laid the (very) wet circle onto a black sheet of construction paper (covered in glue) AND

the children added the sun rays!  We tried to practice our "pencil skills" while we were painting our sun rays by letting the children use a small paintbrush.  Some of the rays were long and other were short, but it didn't matter, they were all wonderful!

During our circle time this week each child was assigned something from our solar system.  All week long the child was referred to by his/her planet name, moon, asteroid or comet.  Each day we added a new fact about the planets.  My class was like a bucket of sponges, I literally could not tell them enough information!  They wanted more and more!!!  By the end of the week no one had names anymore, just solar system references.

We also worked on our writing skills this week and made a rocket. 

I found this on PINTEREST ( My Solar System PINTEREST board ) last year and made a few changes.  Each child counts the number of letters in their name and then picks out that number of squares.  Next, the child writes the letters of his/her name on the blocks and glues them to a piece of black construction paper (really long names may require more than one sheet of paper).  The bottom of the rocket reads, "My name is _________ rocket blocks long." The children count the blocks and write in the number.  This is such a special piece that we did not show our parents, we are keeping it for our Spring Art Show so shhhhhh. . . keep our secret!

We also talked about the moon this week.  I am very fortunate to have some amazing posters from my husband's uncle.  He worked for NASA in Huntsville, Alabama in the early years of the Apollo projects.  My class really enjoyed looking at them, especially the ones of the astronauts and the moon's surface.  We also spent a great deal of our day counting backwards and yelling "BLAST OFF!".  It was a fun way to line up or change activities.  Our art project on this day was to fly to the moon and we did!

The children made the moon by painting a black circle with silver paint.  Next, they sprinkled sand on top of the wet paint - INSTANT MOON! 
The "fire" shooting out of our rocket is made by letting the children mix red and yellow paint right on the paper. 
(NOTE: The white circle is really a photo of the child's face. I removed it for safety reasons.)

Our Fabulous Fun Friday was all about the moon!  We started out with plain old rocks (THANKS TIFFANY AND CHAD!)
Added some shiny silver paint mixed with silver glitter paint, glue and some tissue paper.

The results were marvelous!!!!

This rock is done without the tissue paper.
This one has tissue paper and lots of paint.
It was still very wet when we left on Friday!
Our science project this week was really run AND messy.  We mixed 1 part sand and 1 part corn starch together for . . . .
It was a lot of fun PLUS everyone got to take home a bag!
WOW, we sure packed a lot into four short days didn't we????  Next week is our unit on dinosaurs so I better head off and start studying!  I'm not a big expert on dinosaurs and I want to be ready for those "tough" questions.  THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Our Wild Winter Week!

We have spent two wild weeks talking about "Winter" and the letters "S" & "W".  As some of you may know, my class and I are located in Central Alabama and winter here is . . . well. . . ummmm . . . usually just wet!  This year has been no exception.  We have had a lot of rain.  So, I tried to brighten things up with a few fun snowy activities!
One of the very first things we did was make the cutest Shape Snowman!  Everyone picked out their very own different shapes to use.
It was so much fun watching everyone identify the different shapes!  I was reminded several times that "snowmen are round like a circle", and then they would pick out a square! 
We've made this next little snowflake for many, many years now.  Our craft stick snowflake.  The fun part of this craft comes when the children mix glue and white paint together.  Of course everyone has to touch it to see how sticky it is.  Next comes the real fun - you get to "dump" handfuls of Epsom salt all over your snowflake!  They actually have a little shimmer to them.
During the Christmas holidays I sent an e-mail to all my amazing teacher friends and asked them to save white wrapping boxes (the kind you get at the stores for clothes) and newspapers for me.  Of course my friends came through for me AGAIN!!!  I tapped the white boxes together with a little tape and . . . .
INSTANT FUN!  We now had the ability to build an ice fort!!  YES!  The boxes lasted about 2 weeks and then they started falling apart.  That was ok with us because by then we were moving on to something new.
Again, we don't really see snow in Alabama so we had our on snowball fight using newspapers!

For the past 4 years I have made our infamous "southern snowman" and for the last 4 years the great state of Alabama has brought home the National Championship trophy for college football (three for Alabama and one for Auburn).  Hmmm . . . I see a pattern!!!  Do you think the coaches should be giving me a percentage of their salaries????
Guess not!  Here is this year's official snowman -

And of course, here he is in his official "University of Alabama" gear!  To make things even better (could they be?) we were also studying the number 15 (as in this is the 15th National Championship for the University of Alabama).

Another fun activity we did to get our imagination going was to make a snowman/snowgirl with our palm prints. 
I love this activity because the children's imaginations really get a good work-out.  Besides picking out their favorite scarf, hat and buttons, the children decide on their own names for their snowman/snowgirl.  I always love seeing the different amounts of snow the children put on their creations.  By the way, the snowman on the left is in a "windy snowstorm"! 
Since last year's class had so much for with our "sticky box", I had to make another one this year.  (You can find the details of our sticky box here Sticky Box)  I changed things up a little and let the children used some old foam letters we had laying around. 

Everyone loved finding the letters of their names and their favorite colors!  It was such a big hit we are sharing it with our friends in the four-year old classes!
We talked about the letter "S" a lot during our Winter Week and we decided that our favorite "S" word was "SNOWMAN/SNOWGIRL".  We ended up our discussion about the letter "S" by making a "s"illy "s"nowman/"s"nowgirl out of toilet paper rolls.
I love the faces!!!!
We got a little "wacky" during our "W" week and painted with worms!  Don't worry, we didn't use real worms, we used some of my Dad's old plastic fishing worms that I brought home from the lake! I have a funny feeling he would love knowing how we used them because WOW, we had fun!

The end results were "w"onderful!

We had a HUGE surprise on Thursday, January 17, 2013 in Alabama . . . . we had SNOW!  Yes, real snow.  Do you know what happens in Alabama when it snows?????  We all leave our classrooms and go look at it! 

Yes, snow is THAT rare in Alabama.  Moments are this picture was taken we decided that we could not wait another second!  We went back to our classroom, got our jackets and headed out into the wintry mess.  OH THE JOY! 
Thank you for visiting with us I hope you COME BACK SOON!