art · math · STEAM · teachers pay teacher

Monster Math!

This week is all about MONSTERS! This is such a fun topic for children as they can be both fun and scary. But we will focus on the fun side! Today’s story Monster Math by Anne Miranda… read by Anne Miranda! This is a story about a Monster’s birthday and how many monsters join the fun!

Shape Monster created by Adam Ray Daniels’ Cartoons for my TPT store kits

So … it’s time for a favorite activity and character: Shape Monster! Shape Monster Shape Monster munch, munch, munch? How about about a (color) (shape) for your lunch! This is a common kindergarten shape activity, but can so easily be adapted!

I’ll share with you a few ideas on how you can use the shape monster today.

Create simple shape monsters (or complex if you want). Put them onto bags or onto empty boxes to make the shape monster’s lunch bag/box. Label each monster with a shape. (circle monster, square monster, rectangle monster etc…). Have your child find items around they can put into the shape monster’s lunch bag.

Provide your child with construction paper, either already cut into shapes or have your child cut his/her own shapes. Use the shapes to create a monster out of shapes… a shape monster! Or if you do not have construction paper, they can just draw a monster out of shapes!

Want more shape monster fun? I have two kits in my store that use Shape Monster!

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Shape Monster’s 2D lunch time mini book ($2)… Help shape monster find the shapes he wants to for lunch. Each page focuses on one shape and provides a color for each shape. And, Shape Monster himself describes the shapes attributes.

Shape Graphing with Shape Monster ($1)… This kit has your child(ren) sorting and graphing shapes. The kit includes four different graphing pages (spin and graph, color and graph, grab and graph and find and graph)

art · story · topic

Jack O’Lantern Art

It’s Friday!! Did you have fun learning about pumpkins this week? You will have to let me know which activities you tried and which types you’d like to see more of in the weeks to come!

Today’s stories:

Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell– Tim carved the best pumpkin and named him Jack. He puts the pumpkin out into the garden as it begins to rot. Tim watches Jack change over time. Watch to see what becomes of Jack over the days, weeks and months.

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson — in this informational text you follow the life cycle from seed to seed of a pumpkin. Story written in flowing and bouncy verse to match beautiful and vivid photographs.

Here is a fun song to learn and sing together.

Little Jack O’Lantern (sung to the Battle Hymn of the Republic)

  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Till somebody blew it out. (then blow out the “candle”)

Now let’s make a Jack O’Lantern!

For this activity in school I would typically give the children the option of drawing and cutting out their own pumpkin shape or using a tracer. At home, you can either let them create their own or trace something to make the basic shape (plate, bowl, or other roundish item).

  1. Determine if you want your pumpkin to be tall and skinny or short and plump.
  2. Trace/draw the outline of your pumpkin onto an orange sheet of paper… or make it a green pumpkin, or a white pumpkin… you pick!
  3. Does your pumpkin have a stem or is it a “stumpkin”?
  4. now cut out the pumpkin… only cut the outside (trust me say this as some will cut ALL the lines they drew!)
  5. Now design the face of your pumpkin.- you can either cut pieces out of yellow, white or black paper and glue it onto the pumpkin or cut the pieces out of the orange paper. I show the children how to bend the paper to start cutting into where you want the openings.
  6. Use markers or crayons to add the pumpkin lines, color in the steam, and add more details
  7. If you cut out the eyes, you can either leave them or back the pumpkin in yellow or black paper to see the depth.
art · teachers pay teacher

Scarecrow Direct Drawings

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you know I love doing direct drawings with children. While I wholly see the value of open ended art projects and suggest them on a regular basis, there is much to be learned and gained by following along with direct drawings!

Art for Kid’s Hub has THREE different scarecrow drawings! Check them out here, here and here. While they are not the only direct drawing available on-line, I used their links with my classes often and even my pre-K kiddos could follow along with the drawing steps, with limited support! I love that he encourages the students to try and reminds them it is ok for all the final products to look different… it’s about having fun.

But, let’s talk through how to draw a scarecrow step by step together! Directions inspired by First and Kinder Blue SKies Scarecrow Direct drawing freebie

hold you paper vertically (tall)

In the middle of the page draw a large smile line

On top draw a flat rainbow line touching the tops of the smile line

from the ends, connect back to the smile line with slight curves

now draw the top of the hat, I like to open this up to let the children be creative. I point out where the line should start (where the smile and rainbow lines connect)

draw two parallel lines at the bottom of the smile line, making the neck

from the bottom of that, draw lines parallel with the bottom of the page all the way to the end of the page

below that draw two shorter parallel lines to make the arms

from the end of those lines, draw perpendicular lines going to the bottom of the page

Now for the fun!

Add eyes, nose, mouth (ears if wanted)

Add straw coming out from under the hat

Add a flower, patch or other embellishment to the hat

Don’t forget clothes!

When you are done drawing, go over all the lines in marker or crayon and create the coloring book lines… then color!

art · story · teaching thoughts

Scarecrow!

Today we will continue our topic of Scarecrows! Here is another great story: Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant.

After listening to to this or another scarecrow story, lets do a scarecrow project!

But first… let me talk a bit about arts and crafts. Often times, teachers and parents provide all the parts and pieces of a project and then have the students put the project together step by step… this is not art, this is a lesson on following directions. While this is important too, it is not allowing your child to be creative. Some projects you can provide a piece to, but provide it in the form of a tracer and then still let your child choose how to manipulate that tracer.

When we give children materials and ideas, but then let them take it in their own direction… this is art. This is allowing your child’s creative nature to take over the project.

Ok… onto our scarecrow project. Here are a few ideas:

  • Paper Bag Scarecrow Head:
    • provide paper bag– other items you can use: construction paper, googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools (crayons, markers, colored pencils…) etc.
    • Help your child fill the bag with newspaper or plastic bags.
    • Then tie off the top of the bag.
    • Let your child have fun!
  • Paper Bag Scarecrow Puppet:
    • provide paper bag– other items you can use: construction paper, googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools etc.
    • show your child how the bag will be the mouth of the scarecrow
    • Let your child have fun!
  • Paper Plate Scarecrow Head:
    • provide paper plate– other items you can use: construction paper, googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools etc.
    • let your child have fun!
  • Construction Paper Scarecrow:
    • provide construction paper– other items you can use: googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools etc.
    • let your child have fun
  • Just Draw a Scarecrow!

So many ways to engage in scarecrow fun… your child’s imagination is the limit to the possibilities … so that means they are endless. Remember if your child is struggling, do not do it for them… show them, explain to them, provide examples, provide encouragement, ask questions (how else could you) … they need to know that you believe they are capable!

art · topic

Let’s Draw Fall

Today is a good day for some drawing fun. Want to follow along with a direct drawing?

Draw a fall tree with Art for Kids Hub

Draw a fall folding surprise with Art for Kids Hub— this one is a bit for challenging

Draw an acorn with Draw so Cute

Or… here are some of my own thoughts and inspirations for drawing… my biggest suggestion… say “Let’s draw a fall picture. What do you think you want to draw?” “Ok, what materials should we get out?

art · STEAM · story

First Day of Fall Tree

Today is the official first day of autumn! So… let’s do a fun art project. A torn paper tree. But first. Read the book Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins. This book has beautiful photographs of various trees and their leaves in the autumn.

Why torn paper? Fine motor skills!! Children need to strengthen the muscles in their hands and especially their thumb, index and middle fingers to hold a pencil. But, they are also working on their wrist and forearm at the same time. All these muscles work together while writing, cutting and coloring. Check out these preschool fine motor milestones and red flags.

Materials needed:

  • large sheet for background
  • brown for the tree
  • red, yellow, orange, green — I usually give a 1/4 sheet of each of these colors
  • glue/glue stick

Note I did not say scissors! If you have scissors around they will use the scissors, soooo do not have them out at all! Show your child how to slowly tear the paper holding it with a pincer grip with both hands. Once they see that if you do it slowly and holding the paper closer to where you want to tear they will start to see the control they have over the tears. This is a great side by side project as they will watch how you tear and manipulate the paper!

Now encourage your child to make a fall tree. Remember there is no right way to do this project… there is just your child’s way, and that is ok! If they get stuck, go for a walk and find trees that are starting to change colors or google fall tree images.

art · story

Dot Day

Today is Dot Day! It is a day to celebrate children finding that connection between creativity and confidence. It is also about how one person can make a big change in the life of a child. Let’s help every child learn to make their own mark on the world… even if it is only a dot.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

my picture is dot-ish!

Now it is time to make your dot! Will you paint a dot? Will you draw a dot? Or make paper dots? Will you make a dot out of dots? Or a dot without dots? Will your dot be big or small? Will you make one dot or hundreds of today? That is the thing we need to understand… there is NO write way to make a dot… there is just your way to make a dot!

Want to hear and share more about how we can encourage children to see their work as powerful and important. How another person can help everyone see the importance of their creative exploration? Check out the other two books in Reynold’s trilogy and even hear Reynold’s talk about how the book came to be.

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds

Click here to hear Peter Reynolds talk about how The Dot came to be.

Find more ways to connect to International Dot Day

art · STEAM

Make Pete!

Let’s end the week with a fun and simple craft project. Read or watch a Pete the Cat story, and then get ready to make Pete.

Materials:

  • blue sheet of construction paper
  • scissors (child size Friskar scissors are the best, in my opinion, for children)
  • paper to mount your Pete
  • markers or crayons
  • glue/glue stick
  • any other paper to embellish Pete’s clothes

I will share with you two ways to have introduce this activity to your child

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1– Provide templates of a rectangle (large and long/skinny), semi-circle, triangle. Explain to your child how to trace around the shapes so he/she can cut on the lines. Oops poor Pete is falling in my picture oh well!

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2– Provide a picture of Pete the Cat and have your child draw Pete him/herself on the blue paper and then cut it out.

Both Pre-K and Kindergarten children are capable of both of these steps independently! Allowing and encouraging your child to work independently will build not only the skill, but also your child’s confidence. In school, we will help a child hold scissors correctly, demonstrate how to rotate paper while cutting and provide encouragement… that’s it. They can do it. It might not be perfect, but it will be their work!

My students love having some... - Teaching Little Minds - Preschool and  Kindergarten | Facebook

art · STEAM · story

Sunflowers

At my house, we have multiple bird feeders. We love to watch the various types of birds that come to the two feeders. Some of our favorites are the hummingbirds that visit our hummingbird feeder, this is just outside my kitchen window and the suet feeder that the woodpeckers visit. But, these are not the feeders I’m talking about today. We have a feeder outside my husband’s office that holds just regular bird seed. This is in our flower bed, and it became the site of LOTS of sunflowers this year. Birds are NOT neat eaters and evidently lots of seeds got planted.

4 square of a sunflower growing

So… today we will talk about sunflowers!

Sunflower House by Eve Bunting

Time Lapse of Sunflower from seed to flower my students love these time lapse videos. It is a great way to see the progress of how plants grow. This is a great opportunity to then create a four square picture to show the progression.

Often times when we are completing an art project, I like to show the children a picture of a famous painting/art project that is similar such as Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers for this one

Vincent Van Gogh, Sunflowers - Hand Painted Oil Painting on Canvas ...
my interpretation of the sunflower from the front yard

Have your child create his/her own picture of a sunflower. Here are some ideas:

  • have paint? use a fork to paint the petals — combine yellow and orange to add depth to the picture
  • have paint? squish a toilet paper tube into a petal shape and use this to stamp the petals
  • paper plate– paint or color a paper plate yellow, cut triangle out to form petals. fill center with black paper or paint
  • construction paper– cut strips and create loops to make petals or cut out petal shapes
  • How to draw a sunflower by Art for Kids Hub
  • Or just put out a variety of art media and let your child be as creative as he/she wants!
art · letter of the day · teaching thoughts

Letter of the Day– Uu

I hope you are still enjoying the letter of the day activities. I need to start thinking about what we will do next as after today we only have Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy and Zz… that’s it! Any suggestions on where to go from here? My goal is to continue with some review and then take time off in August so I can switch gears and then begin again in early Sept to match what I’m teaching in school.

So here we go… Uu

Jack Hartmann’s Uu song

Printing the letter Uu

Capital U- start at the to go straight down almost to the bottom, curve in a smile line, go straight back up to the top

lowercase u– down, curve, up, down on the same line to leave a tail

Activities today— Unicorns!

Unicorn Day by Diane Murray– the most important part of unicorn day is to have fun! When they discover an impostor in their mist… what will they do?

How would you celebrate unicorn day? Have a day for rainbow, glitter, and all things fun.

Never Let a Unicorn Scribble by Diane Alber (read by Diane Alber!) The little girl gets a unicorn and wants to teach it to scribble, but others say she should not… will the unicorn scribble?

Children often need permission to be creative. When children draw we need to recognize that it may not look like what adults expect it to look like, but it is perfect to the child. Children need to feel pride and acceptance in the drawing stage they are already in!

There are typically 4 stages of drawing development .

  • Scribble-(18 months to 3 years)–random exploration of art materials. This helps develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor dexterity, independence and much more
  • Pre-Schematic Stage – (2 to 4 years)– drawing are simple, but are begin to look more like objects. Color plays a more important roll. Most drawing is outlines. People are heads with arms and legs (Mr. Potato Head people). This continues to work on the previous skills, but adds in observation, problem solving and pencil grip work
  • Schematic Stage (5-8 years)– more details are added including background and correct coloring. Learn to draw things in a specific way and use it over and over (always draw a house the same way etc). There are typically stories to go with the illustrations. They now work on trial and error, patterns, and interpreting illustrations
  • Pre-Teen Stage (9-11 years) –Drawings are more detailed, realism and spacial perspective. This is that point where children typically feel they can or CAN’T draw.