Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Art Show Success... and a Freebie for you because I am in a GREAT mood! =)

   The Art Show today was a SUCCESS! It took place this afternoon and I did not realize just how excited my munchkins were until today. All I heard was "The Art Show is today!" "What time is the art show?" "Where is our Artwork?" "My mom said she's coming to the Art Show",etc....
   And once naptime was over and snack was was time!
   As I said in my last post, it was such a fun experience to expose the kids to abstract art and have them create their own masterpieces!
Take a look at our Art Gallery wall:
Here is what I think (of course!) was the highlight of the Art Show!! 
My kids learned about the abstract art of Kandinsky and painted their version of Concentric Circles!
The other 4 year old classroom created masterful Self Portraits:
One of the 3 year old classrooms also focused their art skills on Self Portraits:
The other 3 year old classroom created Marble Paintings and Chalk Art (not pictured):

   After that, we parked ourselves on the floor in front of the stage to enjoy the music of Saxman Slim.
He was awesome! 
 He played children's show tunes and had the kids guess the show. 
   And then he provided some sunglasses and hats for all the kids, along with some fun dancing music towards the end of his performance. (I am so glad I am able to post these incognito photos!)

   I had SOOO much fun, getting down and dancing with my kids.I probably looked like a dork, but I was having tons of fun!
    It was a day where I was, once again, reminded WHY I became and why I choose to remain a PRESCHOOL teacher. The fun and excitement never stops!  =)

   So because I am still in a good mood, I am posting a Groundhog Day FREEBIE for you!

Click on the Groundhog to get your FREEBIE!!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Little Artists Loving Abstract Art!

   Ever been so excited to share something that you could not wait until you found that spare moment in your day when you can blog about it?
   Well I had one of those days today!
   My little preschool munchkins are preparing for an Art Show this week! 
   As soon as my director told me about this event, I was online looking up some awesome art ideas for my kiddos to do. Last year, I gave my preschoolers some art experiences focused around Michaelangelo and Da Vinci.
   Seeing that this year, I have a few kiddos who are hesitant to do artwork because they feel they can never do it “right” – even though I always try to leave art open ended. Anyhow, I know they needed something that they could all feel successful with. 
   And what better way to do it than with Abstract Art!
  One of my favorite abstract artists is wassily Kandinsky. Last week we learned a little about him and I briefly tried my best to explain the concept of abstract art and explained that in Abstract Art, you can never make a mistake!!
  I showed them a picture of Kandinsy’s “Concentric Circles” Painting. They noted that he had painted all circles AND that it looked cool. Then I told them that it was their turn to paint some cool circles!

   This past Sunday, when I was able to finally drag myself out of the house, I took a trip to Michaels to find supplies for our next art project. Since this is an Art Show, I want to make it special for the kids and want to have them create a piece of artwork that would last and that parents could display for years to come!
   And well, being me,I want to do something different and have my kiddos' artwork stand out among all the rest! 
(I just have that in me to stand out and do things differently...some could see it as a bad thing and call me a show off. BUt who cares right?)
   So I decided to splurge and buy some thin and small 6x8 canvases (which came in a 5 pack for 5.99 but was cheaper with my Educator discount) and some .69 vibrant acrylic paints-- cuz you know, washable tempera paint gets boring!

   The first thing I did was instruct the kiddos on how to secure masking tape onto the canvas and then I gave each one a few strips and allowed them to put the tape on in whichever way they wanted.

   Then I put out some small containers filled with paint and gave directions to paint the shapes they made with the tape.

   I loved it so much I knew my little one would enjoy it too.
   So while I was cooking dinner, I put her to work!

    After making one, she wanted to do another. I think she got a little carried away the second time around!

   After she was done painting, we let both of them dry. Acrylic paint is awesome because it does not take very long to dry.
   And TA-DA!! 
   Check out that smile on her face!!
   In doing all of this and seeing little faces light up as they admire their work, makes my heart smile. 
   It is SO Much FUN to give kiddos these types of art experiences and expose them to different types of art.

   ** Sorry, I will not post the end products of my preschoolers masterpieces until the day of the Art Show.**

So, stay tuned!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Interactive Polar Bear Learning Fun with the little one!

   Well what a relaxing weekend I have had! Seeing that I was sick and "voiceless" for about 3 days, I stayed home (and even used my first sick day this school year) to try and recover and rest my voice. Because as a Preschool teacher, you NEED your voice or else you are useless in the classroom! Well, at least that is how I felt when I was at work attempting to make it through the day on Thursday!!
   Now I am feeling a bit better and I just wrapped up my lesson planning for the week, so I am prepared for tomorrow- well, at least until those munchkins walk in the door!
   Anyhow, I was able to get some learning fun done with my little one at home on Friday. (There was no sense in taking her all the way to the daycare, which is 10 minutes from my school but 25 minutes from home). But after awhile of playing and watching tv, she was getting restless.
    Earlier in the year, I subscribed to Scholastic Weekly Reader (only 2 issues though; one for the classroom and one for use at home) and I never really used it much...until Friday.
   Since I was not able to speak very much or very loud, I decided to pull out a Scholastic reader and jump on my laptop to utilize the online component that comes with my subscription.
    We LOVED it!

    First, we read the Weekly Reader booklet about Polar Bears and did a graphing activity.
   Then we jumped on my laptop and read the Weekly Reader again (online) and then watched a video of the Arctic and the animals that live there. We even played a little game! 
    It was all pretty fun and interactive and she loved being on mommy’s laptop.
    After all that online fun, she made a polar bear painting with some stale marshmallows we found in the cabinets! Apparently someone had left the bag open last weekend… Oops...
    And when she went down for her nap, I know I should have taken a nap too, to get some rest, but I took advantage of the time and was able to start on some fun Valentine’s Day activities!  

   I can't wait to finish them up and post them on TPT later this week!
    So, Friday was a VERY productive day off!  =)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Penguins & Polar Bears and... A Cold?! "Oh My!"

   So…Last week and yesterday, many of the kids were coughing and sneezing and spreading their little kiddie germs all over the room! Seems as if they passed along their germs to me and then stayed home! I only had 10 of my 18 kids show up to school today!  The temperature these days has been VERY bitter cold! I do not blame  them for staying in bed!

  I feel like I have been run over by a truck and to make matters even worse --- I think I am losing my voice. Yup, killer throat pain. =(  I have been debating whether or not I really should take a day off tomorrow or Friday. Heck, I deserve a day off… I have not taken a single day off yet this school year!
   Anyhow, since I was feeling the cold coming on this past weekend, I was in no mood to do any really detailed lesson planning…Which was fine, because we need a review week anyway! So that is what we are doing this week! Good thing I did not carry on with my next big unit and over plan…since a lot of my munchkins would have missed it all!
   Anyhow, we engaged in some fun Arctic animal artwork during our Arctic Animal study last week. I tend to be a little biased when it comes to this topic, as all I want to focus on is Penguins and Polar Bears… I know, I know - bad teacher!
   I did discuss all types of polar animals this time around, BUT the best artwork was centered around Penguins & Polar Bears.
We had such a fun time playing with puffy paint (shaving cream and glue) when we made our snowman a few weeks ago, we had to do it again to make a Polar Bear. I gave the kiddos an outline of a polar bear and allowed them to play with the puffy paint mix and then had them finger paint the bear.

   I have a lot of munchkins who give me the “I don’t know how” answer all the time when asked to draw something, so I thought it would be a good idea to try to encourage their drawing skills by focusing on the shapes of things. They each got a sheet of paper with an oval on it.  They were told that the oval was the body of the penguin and they had to finish the penguin from that point. We discussed how the the beak and feet could be make from a triangle shape or straight lines. There was black paint, orange paint and had cotton balls at the art table, readily available for their use.
   They went right to work!

   Cute, huh? 

Some munchkins simply watched what other kids were doing and followed their lead, but they all made one! 
And they were all super cute! 
(I wish I could post pictures of all of them!)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Letter Aa is for Apple, Alligator... and Arctic Animals!

This past week in our curriculu,m, we were to learn about the letter Aa.

   Here are the activities the little munchkins did for the letter Aa. They used apple pictures to make the letter A and also made an Alligator head by finding teeth that had the letter Aa on it.

What else starts with Aa?  ARCTIC ANIMALS!

    Like how I squeezed my own theme in this week?  =)  I do it all the time!

   Teaching little ones about animals is always so much fun. I love the look they get on their faces when they learn new facts about animals.
   This past week I saw those faces a lot as I taught them about the Arctic and the Antarctic and the animals that live there.
   Before we went into depth about the different animals that live in these cold regions, we explored the climate and what can be found in that type of environment.
   I extended the learning to our water table, that I turned into a Polar Ice Land! I froze water in ice cube trays and in a big bowl and added polar animal toys into the water table. Man, did I have some issues trying to get the kids to take turns for the first few days!  No one ever wanted to leave the water table. (Don't ask why the kiddos pictured don't have smocks on... I just noticed it too!!)

   It was too bad that I had to step in and regulate though when, even after reviewing the rules, I still had a few kids licking (YES- licking) the ice cubes and even throwing the ice cubes against the wall to watch them break!  I guess they were just experimenting, huh?

   I also used these Polar Animal Spelling mats that I found at 2Teaching Mommies blog, which is a blog I visit frequently because I love her units! 

   Click on the picture to download your own free copy of this Polar Lands unit! I will be using some of the material in this unit with my little one at home too!
   This week, they also continued to work on matching number to set. I created these simple Snowflake puzzles for the classroom, for the winter season.
          You can purchase your own set here, on SALE this week only, in my TPT store.

   There is so much to learn about the Arctic region and the life there. It's too bad that I do not have enough time to dive into it as much as I would like to.... But as always, I will do what I can!  =)