Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Painting with household stuff

I read an article in Parent's Magazine that said when your child says the "b" word, "I'm bored," give them household things to play with.  Like the wisk or a papertowel roll.  Well we had these things laying around, not in the trash yet. 
So we painted with them.
It was fun to wonder what print it might make and if we changed the tube if it would make a different print.

Proof for Educational Creativity

     I have long been saying creativity is important in education.  I one day hope to prove it to most of the population on teachers, parents, child care centers, and others in the school community. 
     Schools can be compared to businesses with a product in mind.  Schools and teachers are the producers and children are the products.  We all know we want children to be productive citizens of the community.  We have all said it at one time or another.  Maybe, not even knowing what we are really saying.  I want us to all look at the type of child we are producing in our schools. Though the world needs the fast food service worker, the librarian, the newspaper reader, and the button pusher, is that our goal as teachers to produce them?  Or, do we want to produce the inventors, writers, creators, designers, and, yes, politicians?
     I challenge you to decide which type of person you produce when you give a paper with pre-made sentences and one word missing or blank lines for practicing penmanship.  Is that going to be our future Coldecott or Newberry winner?  By cutting out art projects and giving a paper that says color 1's blue 2's red and 3's green.  Is that going to produce our next designer?  By not allowing children to experiment and explore items around them.  Is that going to produce the engine that runs on trash?  If we tell children to sit down, be quiet, and listen to me.  Is that going to produce the next president of the United States or civil rights activist?  I think MLK would beg to differ.
http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/think/methods.htm#i  sites
 "An important goal of education is helping students learn how to think more productively by combining creative thinking (to generate ideas) and critical thinking (to evaluate ideas).  Both modes of thinking are essential for a well-rounded productive thinker, according to scholars in both fields"
     Because of all the testing pressure to have the best scores, I think we have forgotten that we are trying to produce the best child.  Tests can't even work at a fast food restaurant.
     My goal as a teacher is to try to be creative, or a problem solving, teacher who can encourage children to do their best thinking and learning.  Then they could pass any test.

Beg, Borrow, And Steal

     When I was in college, one of my professors told us in order to be a good teacher you need to beg, borrow, and steal ideas from others.  I like to call it being inspired.  Sounds so much nicer.  Are any of our ideas really original?  I started to wonder.  I take ideas I see and fine tune them to work with the children I am teaching or change them to fit a theme.  I'm not sure if any of my ideas are really original.  And, if they were, I'm sure someone around the world has the same idea.  With the Internet being able to connect us, it is hard not to look at an idea and say, "hey I do that in my classroom."  As I share my ideas, I hope I can give credit where credit is due, but somethings I just don't know where the idea came from.  So, I give anyone permission to beg, borrow, steal, or be inspired by my ideas.  Just remember to have fun.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Father's Day presents

I found this cute Father's Day t-shirt at Walmart.  It comes in Grandpa too.  I just thought they were cute, so I bought them.  They come with the paint to put hand prints on the t-shirt.  I did my older daughter's hands and my baby's feet.
It would make a cute card.
I also like this idea to make a key chain out of your child's foot print.  She used shrinky dink materials.  You do not have to go out and buy the plastic.  You can use any plastic container.  Like a salad bar container.  Arby's puts their bake potato in them.  One year we asked them to donate some for a Christmas ornament art project, and they gave us a whole case.  very generous.
I'm going to do this for my parents, who live far away now.  Great keep sake. 
Check out directions here

Some tips when making shrinky things
Use permanent markers.
Make sure you put it in oven marker side up.
Preheat oven.  You don't need it to be really hot, just consistent.
Make them bigger before shrunk, the hole for the key chain needs to be about 3 times the size you need.
Don't panic!  It looks like it is going to shrivel up.  I've ruined a few things trying to get it to go back straight.
When they flatten they are done.  Use a spatula to take it out. It will be hot.
You may have to do more than one to get it right.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Invisible Names with water color paints

To introduce watercolor paints to my class, I would do this invisible name painting.  First write the child's name using a white crayon. 
Then, explain water color paints as, "dip it in the water, dip it in the paint, then put it on your paper.
I found these little 2 inch water color paints on clearance at Walmart after Valentine's Day.  In the classroom, I would have individual cake paints in cups, each with a separate paint brush that matched the color of the paint.  It keeps the paint from mixing and encourages sorting colors.

You really need to encourage the child to use enough water but not too much or the paint can seep through the crayon.


This is a cute idea for summer travel.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rainbow Milk

A visitor from the Booneshoft Museum in Dayton, Ohio use to come to our school each year and do this experiment with 4 year olds.  She called it Rainbow Milk, but I'm sure it is called other things by different people.  My child loved watching the colors circle and said,  "It looks like a rainbow." 
Supplies: Whole milk, food coloring, dish soap (dawn works best), food coloring, and a shallow bowl or plate with ridges to contain liquid (At school, we used petri dishes.)

You need to have whole milk because it has the highest fat content.  Having it warm is suppose to help, too.

Pour milk in bowl and put a drop or two of food coloring in the milk.  If you only use primary colors, you could relate this activity to mixing colors.

This happened when we put the color in the too warm milk.  cool
Add a drop of dish soap in the middle and watch the colors swirl.  The colors will disappear, swirl into each other, and mix.  Eventually, the colors swirl together so much that it turns gray.

Scary Things

When I asked my child what she would like to learn about, she said, "Scary Things."  So we are going to do some Halloween activities in May.

Ghost Book
We read Five Silly Ghosts Playing Tricks at School by Steve Metzger.  It is a copy cat book of 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.  It has ghosts doing some bad things at school and then getting hurt.  Good book to reinforce rules.

Ghost Puzzle
I'm not sure where I got this pattern, but it spells the word ghost when it is put together.
Ghost Foot
We then made a ghost by tracing her foot.   I really wanted to see how her cutting skills were.  It is a nice assessment in October of who can cut because you have to turn the paper.
Ghost Game
This is one of those file folder games.  Someone made me this one for me.  The child is suppose to match the ghosts to the same colored windows in the haunted house.  My child likes to make up stories and play with the different ghosts.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

7 Things to teach your kids this summer by 24/7 Moms

I love this.  These moms have a live webcast, I'm going to try and watch this week.  Tuesdays 6pm & 8pm PST.  I have to figure out what time zone I'm in first.

1. TEACH Generosity - Watch neighbor’s pet, offer to water lawns, deliver cookies or dinner to someone in need, offer to mow neighbor’s grass…

2. TEACH Independence- Tie shoes, potty training, riding a bike, expand boundaries; take a babysitting course, Drivers Education.

3. TEACH Practical Life Skills- Learn to cook/ clean/ sew (sewing on a button), gardening, open a checking account.

4. TEACH Responsibility- Learn to pick up after themselves, create homes for belongings, give weekly responsibilities to help things run smoothly-laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning up backyard/bedroom.

5. TEACH Family Values- Implement a Family Night, game night or devotional night as a family.

6. TEACH Fun- do the unexpected, ice cream for lunch or dinner or backwards dinner- dessert first then main meal, flashlight tag, play practical trick-rearrange bedrooms, or do something fun together -take a pottery painting class, learn to bowl, take tennis lessons together, go on a girls’ day out or date your sons.

7. TEACH to the Imagination- schedule uninterrupted play….one day without TV, games, electronic devices… bring out the paper, colored pencils, paint. Prepare a dress up box. Read a book together about pirates or Christopher Columbia and sail away on a boat…the sky is the limit, create a high school memory book, or learn a new craft- knitting or beading.

Educational Toys?

Bouncy Balls

I got make your own bouncy ball kit free somewhere and just never used it till the dog got hold of my daughters bouncy ball. 
It came with 2 bags of crystals and a mold.
The directions were simply add crystals to mold and hold in water for 1 minute.

Then out pops solid bouncy ball.

My daughter keeps asking can we make another one?
No, there is no more stuff.
Ironically, I saw this post on hoe to make a homemade bouncy ball.

We may try this sometime.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rolling Paint

     We used a paper towel roll and toilet paper tubes (In Ohio, we weren't allowed to use these in classroom, so check your state rules before you use them.) to roll paint.
 First, she stacked them. (Fun future building toy)

 Then we painted the tube.

     Then rolled the tube on paper.  I put paper on a cookie sheet that has a boarder thinking it would keep the paper still, but I still had to hold the paper for her to roll or help her roll while she held the paper.

     The more you roll, the neater it looked.  We turned the paper and rolled the other way too. 

Wait! Don't Throw That Box Away!

Don't throw that away! 
I keep all kinds of things.  It drives my husband crazy.  But when I look at something, I see the possibilities it might have in a preschool classroom.  So when we got a walker for my baby, I saved the box.  It's large and flat.  That's hard to find.  But what do I do with it?

Giant Marble Rolling
We started by going on a ball hunt.  These are the balls we found around the house.

I opened the box like a pizza box.  Put a piece of poster board in it.  I would really like to have had large butcher paper, but poster board worked well because it didn't blow away.  We did this activity outside just in case the balls got away.
     I then put down globs of paint all over it.  Traditionally rolling marbles, I would dip the marbles in the paint then put it on the paper, but I thought that this would be easier.
Then we rolled all the different balls we found.
and rolled, she liked trying to roll all of the balls at one time.
The final product turned out so cute.  I would use it as a background on a bulletin board.

Just like a giant marble painting.

Friday, May 20, 2011

spin art without the spinner

I have always loved spin art.  I never had one as a kid, and it looked so fun. 
 I knew we had to try it.  Uh Oh. No paper plates left.  So this is what we tried.
The white one is a pop cap (soda bottle cap down here), and the purple one is the cap from gallon water jug.  I thought it would be neat to have small scale, so we could put multiple spin arts on one page.  We also don't have large paper.  We really need to find a craft store somewhere. 
The larger cap worked better because you could get more colors on the cap, but the pop cap worked better because it was easier for small hands to hold, paint and spin.

It will be fun trying to find other things that could be used.  I would like something bigger than bottle cap but smaller than plate.  Any ideas?

Eric Carle Bug number puzzle

This number puzzle was made from an old calendar that had Eric Carle pictures. I love Eric Carle books and probably have all of them.  Well most of them.

I just glued it to note cards.  I wrote the numbers 1- 13.  Laminate and cut into strips.  The children can use numbers as reference to put the puzzle together or the puzzle as reference to order the numbers.  Most kids liked trying to guess what kind of bug it was after putting each number in order.
                                                                    Finished puzzle.

C is for caterpillar

We made the letter C out of pom poms, and then made it look like a caterpillar.
K really liked doing this.  If you look real close, you can see she tried to make it a pattern of big one little one.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

10 Gifts Teachers Want.

     Are you going to buy a gift for your child's teacher?  Wonder what to get them?  Wonder what they really want or need?  Check out these 10 gifts your teacher will use.
     As I'm going through everything trying to find a place to put everything in my new tiny home, not everything is bigger in Texas, I have come across the many bottles of body wash and fancy lotion I have gotten as gifts from the kids in my class at the end of the year. 
     Parents love to show their appreciation for a teacher's good job.  No teacher is going to tell parents to stop buying them candles since I have never had to buy my own candle, and they did come in handy during the 2 week blackout we had a couple of years ago.  Just remember, since they can't keep your children, it is the memories of the children not the gifts you give them the teacher wants to take home for the summer.  But, if you want to buy something then try one of these useful gifts.

1. Stickers
     Most teachers use stickers in some way in their classroom.  For rewards, decorations for projects, and we used them to make number books and letter pages.  They are just fun.

2. Room decorations
     Every year the teacher decorates her room with colors, letters, and posters.  One year, a parent bought me the exact cupcake decorations I used to put the children's birthdays on.  I had her children 3 years in a row, so I didn't have to go buy those cupcakes to start my room decorating.

3. Gift Certificates
     Teachers usually live on a low budget so a gift card to a nice restuarant or store will encourage them to go out and have some fun.  I got one to the hair salon one year, So I went and got a hair cut to look nicer. If your whole class gets together to buy one gift card, you will have a significate amount of money to buy a nice card.

4. Books
     You could buy books for the ages of children your teacher has or one of your favorite new releases for the teacher to read on her summer break.  Because we don't have much time to read during the school year.

5. Small Scrap book
     One year I got the cutest little scrapbook from one of the parents who sold Creative Memories.  She gave on page to each child to put a picture and things they enjoyed for the school year.  I still look at it today and my own child likes looking at it.  I had both of her children, so I have 2 scrapbooks.  Remember I said, teachers want to keep the memories of your children.  What a great way to do it.

6. Usables
     Does your teacher use lotion in the classroom?  Buy her kind.  Does she have toys that use batteries?  Pens, glue, wipes, or anything the teacher may have to buy with her own money. Pack them in a nice storage box.  Storage is great.

7. Games or toys for classroom
     One year I got a neat little sand box with little construction men and trucks.  Every year I get it out for the kids to play with during our transportation theme.  I will always remember who gave me that and be thankful they did.  The kids love it.

8. CD's or Flashdrive
     Does your teacher take as many pictures as I do?  Well every year I have to put them on a CD so I can make room for the new ones on my computer.

9. Home made gifts or store bought home made gifts
     I love chocolate chip cookies and brownies.  For those who live in Ohio, Ester Price candy is a yummy gift.  If you could get all the parents together and have a luncheon for all the teachers, you would have made a lot of teachers happy.

10. Gift Certificates
     They are so easy I had to mention them again.  The local teacher store or book store make nice gifts.  Movie theater and restaurants encourage time for fun.  Just make sure your teacher drinks coffee before you buy a Starbucks card.  Even the grocery store or superstore cards are useful.   

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Educational products?

     While I was teaching, I had access to educational magazines to order from and the money to order it.  Now that I am not teaching, I still want to provide those educational toys and activities for my child even though I don't have the money or the space to store it.  One of those activities is a wipe off board.

      This is an alternative I picked up off the clearance rack for about $3.50.  I thought it would be great because it claims to stick anywhere and be reuseable.  Well, it comes with 2 wipe off markers and an earaser.  There are 12 flimsy plastic sheets with different borders on them.  K loves writing and erasing.  But, for the sticking to anything, I couldn't get it to stick to anything.  I think it was made for those people with stainless steel refridgerators, which we don't have.  Maybe it would stick to that.  I would like to try other wipe off markers to see if they will work too.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Creativity on Clearance or atleast on sale

    I love the after holiday sales because you can pick up left over stuff pretty cheap.  We only have a walmart and one grocery store in my city, so I keep an eye out on the clearance racks.  I also take the hour long trip to Walgreen's because it can be worth what I save.

     So here is what I found at the grocery store after Easter for $.50.  K loved them.  I have never seen them up north but I'm sure creative people could easily make them for a fun art activity.  Or, you could probably use plastic eggs.
                                           Cascarones- real colored eggs filled with confetti

     My child loves to help crack eggs in the kitchen, messy, but these were fun and a little messy.

First she painted glue on paper (my suggestion) and then just poured the glue on (her suggestion).  Her suggestion looked better on the end product.

Then crack.

                                          There was a lot of multicolored confetti in these eggs.
     She kept cracking even though I suggested saving some for later.  But, there was a lot of confetti I collected to use later.

                                   End result- even though it is all about the process not the product

     I have done my child a disservice by enrolling her in a childcare facility that did not encourage creativity.  I thought I was doing the right thing by giving her the much needed socialization being the only child in our family.  She was told which center to go to and what color to color her preprinted picture of a horse.  4 worksheets a day for a 3 year old was my first clue.  Then when we were having fun at home painting or coloring she would ask me if she could use this color or what should she do here, and the fun only lasted a short time.  So how do I fix things.  Well at home I am having "Mommy school": I didn't want her to confuse "real" school she will be attending soon with what I will be supplementing at home.  Since as a teacher I know the internet is a great resource, I also thought I would trying blogging my ideas to share and offer options of how to include a little creativity in our education of young children.
     I would encourage anyone with feelings towards early childhood education to read about this study.