Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Spring Enchanted Fairy Garden

After we finished our jungle unit, we were entering spring here in Louisiana, so we decided to evolve our jungle into an Enchanted Fairy Garden.  We added more flowers to our vines, added colored tulle to our ceiling for mystical and magical feeling.  We created a garden as our hallway display (see Hallway Displays 3).  Then each child made a fairy which hung in our room.  

Our Fairies

We provided tutus and wings for the girls to dress up in.  The boys had Peter Pan and Mad Hatter outfits to wear.  The children played tea party in dramatic play, in their enchanted fairy garden.  We made fairy houses out of styrofoam cups and bowls decorated by the kids.  The children also painted egg cartons to create caterpillars.  

We also made a "butterfly bush".  I painted the children's feet the colors they chose and used their footprints to make butterflies.

The children loved their enchanted garden, and were sad to leave at the end of the year.  It was so pretty, we hated taking it down after the school year ended.

I hope our enchanted fairy garden inspires you to bring some "magic" into your classroom this year.  


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jungle Fun

Wow!  I can't believe it's almost 2015!  Half the school year is already over, and another calendar year is on it's way out.  Back in February, we studied the Jungle for several weeks.  We decided we really wanted to "bring the jungle" to our students, since there was no way to bring the children to the jungle here in Louisiana.  So we decided to decorate our room in a jungle theme.  We used items we both already had at home such as Crystal's cheetah pillows, fake flowers from my wedding and my king size black canopy.  

We twisted brown bulletin board paper into vines and hung them from the ceiling.  We added a lot of green leaves on the vines.  I also made some tissue paper flowers for the some of the vines. (not shown, we also added several large sections of green paper to make the jungle canopy.

Our loft was turned into "Baloo's Block Bungalow".  

On the other side of our loft, Crystal made a waterfall.  First she put up brown bulletin board paper and painted a stone
design on it, she then added turquoise bulletin board paper for the water.  Then we added the fake flowers I had from my wedding.

We turned our dramatic play center into a Jungle Tour company.  We made binoculars for the children out of toilet paper tubes, cheetah duct tape, and yarn.  We made mini tiki torches using cheetah duct tape covered styrofoam cups filled with orange, yellow and red tissue paper to resemble fire.

Crystal turned the front of some of our shelves into jeeps.  Our children brought stuffed jungle animals to school, as did we, so there were animals to see on the "jungle tours".  Our children had a lot of fun taking each other, and visitors such as our principal, on jungle tours.  We also made some jungle animals at art to display around the room.  We made lions, giraffes, chameleons, elephants, monkeys, toucans and tree frogs.


 We also did a jungle explorer writing activity. **** Original idea seen on Buzzing About Second Grade blog!!!  Go to Buzzing About Second Grade blog for copies of the report, pattern and directions!!!   And we did a project about the four layers of the jungle.

We enjoyed the jungle unit, and can't wait to teach it again in the new year.  I hope this year's kids enjoy it as much as last year's kids did!  


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hallway Displays Part 3: Enchanted Fairy Garden

  To end our school year, our last hallway display was an Enchanted Fairy Garden.  The sign above our display said: "Welcome to our Enchanted Fairy Garden where learning is MAGICAL!"  Our children made giant flowers, ladybugs, snails and dragonflies.  Crystal made some giant mushrooms to complete our garden.

  To make our flowers, the children painted a bowl and two large pieces of white paper with several different colors. I then cut each child's paintings into flower petals.  Then the petals were hot glued to the bowl each child painted. I used green bulletin board paper to make the stems and leaves. 

    In between the mushrooms, we added flowers the children had made showing how a flower grows and labeled with a flower's parts. (flower, leaves, stem, seeds, and roots)

  The one small flower in our garden was painted by my son, who visited us during the school year occasionally, as he was too young for our preschool program.  I'm excited because he gets to be in the three year old program this year.  :)

  We made our dragonflies two different ways - one was done using tissue paper to make them colorful, the other one was made with only glitter to look more like a real dragonfly.

  The dragonflies were made using tongue depressors, glitter pom poms, google eyes, glitter, paint, glue (school and hot), pipe cleaners and transparency sheets.  I drew the wings I wanted, then used the copy machine to transfer them onto the transparency sheets.  I was able to make four sets of wings per sheet. Each child made two dragonflies - one with tissue paper, and one without. The children used a paintbrush to paint glue on the wings.  They applied tissue paper and then glitter to one, and just glitter to the other pair of wings.  They painted two tongue depressors on both sides.  I used the hot glue gun to complete the dragonflies by glued the wings and pom pom onto the dried tongue depressor.  And then added eyes to the pom pom to finish the head.  Pipe cleaners were cut and bent to form small legs for the dragonflies.  The pipe cleaner legs were hot glued to the bottom side of the tongue depressor.

  To make our snails, the children used "paint dotters" to decorate the snails.  After laminating the painted snail, I added a pipe cleaner mouth, and pipe cleaner and ping pong eyes. (added using hot glue)

  I hope you enjoyed our hallway displays from the 2013-2014 school year.  Our new school year has begun, and I look forward to sharing the rest of what we did last year, and what we will do this year! 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hallway Displays Part 2 - Jungle

Continuing the hallway displays from my previous post, our next theme was Jungle.  After cutting a LOT of green jungle leaves, I changed our winter/Candyland tree into a jungle tree.  As we did art projects for our Jungle theme, the surrounding area was filled in with many jungle animals.  Our gingerbread house was transformed into a jungle tiki hut.  

  I removed Santa and the chimney, as well as the gumdrops.  Then I covered the roof in fringed paper, put leaves on the windows and door awning.  I replaced the candy cane poles with tiki torches.  I created the tiki torches by covering styrofoam cups with cheetah print duct tape.  Inside the cups, I glued red, yellow and orange tissue paper, fluffing it up like flames.  I then attached the cups to my brown posts (covered wrapping paper tubes).  Crystal made us a new door sign to replace our "Santa's Candy Factory" sign.  

  Our herd of elephants: Each elephant was made by painting a paper plate gray, adding google eyes, a trunk, and ears decorated with pink tissue paper.

  We then did a writing activity titled How Can You Help Get Rid of Elephant's Hiccups? after reading the book Hiccups for Elephant. Their writings were put on the elephant's body.  The body was then attached to the head they made, completing our elephant.  

  To complete this part of the display, we added tigers, chameleons, and footprint lions.

  A close up of our footprint lion.  Use the child's footprint as the base for the lion, then add tail, face and mane.  Our background was done with green and yellow chalk.

  Our herd of footprint giraffes.

  A closeup of one of our footprint giraffes.  You need two footprints.  I used the same foot twice.  Then using the same paint color, I painted leg, ears and a neck.  After they dried, I then added the brown spots, tail, and horns.  I used black for the nose and eye.  I used chalk for the grass and sky.  I had to create the color paint I used by adding yellow to orange paint until I had the shade I wanted.  The lion was done with the same paint, but I added even more yellow.

  I hope you enjoyed our jungle hallway display.  We still have our Enchanted Garden hallway display to share, as well as our Jungle classroom. 

  It's almost the start of a new school year.  Crystal and I have already been working in our classroom, getting it set up for a new year. We are excited to meet our new little ones!!  I hope this year is as much fun as last year was.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kohl's Cares

If you have, teach or are studying to teach young children, it's important to have books for them.  Great things happen when we give children a love for books. READ READ READ!  You can add to your book collection at Kohl's for only $5 each.  Every few months, they offer a different set of books and stuffed animals through Kohl's Cares.  The books are hard covered books by popular children's authors.  I have gotten some great books this way.  All proceeds go to charity.  Currently, they are selling Mercer Mayer books.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hallway Displays Part 1

  This past year, to go with our Tree for All Seasons, we based the rest of our hallway display on the current tree theme.  I'd like to share those pictures with you.  As I posted, our tree started out as a Fall tree, and we had filled it with Fall themed art projects.  Each child had made one of everything, so some of the squirrels, acorns and Fall leaves were on the bottom, as if they had fallen or climbed out of the tree.  Some were displayed as if they were falling.  We also added our class turkey at Thanksgiving time.  Each tail feather was decorated as a family project by the student and parents.  This is an annual tradition for Preschool at our school.  

    For Christmas time, we decided to add a gingerbread house to our display.  "Santa's Candy Factory" was one of my favorite accomplishments this year.  The children painted the gumdrops used on the gingerbread house. We also added a Reindeer stable.  The reindeer were colored by the children, as were the stockings hanging on the stable.  I searched Pinterest and Google for inspiration, and then we made our version of each.

  When we returned from Christmas break, we turned our Reindeer Stable into the "Relaxation Station for the Reindeer Nation."  The children made cups of cocoa, using fingerprints to make "marshmallows".  We used this activity to test their ability to count to ten.  The students also did a writing activity about 3 ways to relax after Christmas

  Surrounding our tree, we went with the Candyland theme we had based our tree on.  We added footprint penguins and giant lollipops.  The children also did a writing based on the story "The Mitten".  

  Next time, I will show our hallway displays for our Jungle theme.  I hope you enjoyed our displays for Fall, Christmas, and Winter.