Saturday, January 24, 2015

Scholastic Book Orders

When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite things each month was getting my scholastic book order, and getting to pick a book to buy. As such, when my center started doing Scholastic Book Orders, I was pretty excited. About 65% of my son's Christmas presents this year came from Scholastic. I'm been making little book recommendation signs to put up with my orders, and I thought I'd share them. I'm also going to be posting some book lists with my favorite books with various themes or in various categories. If you're a teacher and don't do scholastic, I strongly recommend it. There are a lot of reasonably priced books (No David! is one dollar) and there are great rewards. Also, if you use my teacher number (1945825246) as your referring number, we'll both get 250 extra bonus points (most books are 50-100 points each).

Here are my flyers from the past few months:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ice Paint!!

Messy stuff is always my favorite, and I love doing ice paint with my class. This weekend, I did it at home too.

I forgot to take a picture before I put the water into the tray, but you can still see about how much paint is in there. You can use food coloring instead of paint (it actually mixes better, and makes the color more consistent throughout the ice cubes) but it stains like crazy, so I usually just use paint instead.
 Here's what it looks like once it's all mixed together. As you can see, I overfilled one of the yellows and one of the greens, so they mixed together when I started to mix it. When I do this at school, I do one ice cube tray for each color, so it doesn't matter if you overfill it.
It only takes a couple of hours to freeze. I put it in the freezer before nap time, and it was frozen by the time he woke up.

Ice cube paint!

 We always have a lot of fun with ice cube painting, and I really like the way the pictures turn out.

We had some ice cubes left over, so I put the ice cubes in the melted paint of a different color. That way we'll have color mixing ice cube paint next time!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Ivory Soap!

I love Ivory Soap, and it's the main ingredient in some of my favorite activities to do with kids. I recently got some Ivory Soap in a VoxBox from Influenster, so we decided that meant it was time to have some good clean fun (pardon the terrible pun, I had to).

 Posing with the Ivory Soap. We've done this a few times before, so he's always really excited when he hears what we're going to be doing.

I like to microwave it in a baking pan with medium-high sides, you can do it on a plate but there tends to be a lot of clean-up required if you do it on a plate.

 We like to watch it grow into a huge pile. This pile is way less than half-expanded, but we like to start breaking it up before we finish expanding it in the microwave.

Tearing it up is a pretty fun sensory experience in itself. It's hard to describe the texture that microwaved Ivory soap has, but it's pretty neat and I strongly recommend doing this with your child(ren) or in your classroom. 

Once we've got some torn up, he added some water to what we had while I started microwaving the rest. How much water you should add depends totally on the texture you're wanting. I would start with a little, and keep adding until it's the texture you want. 

This is how big the rest of the soap expanded. As you can see, it grows quite a bit from its original size.

This is what the microwaved Ivory soap looks like when you pull it apart.

We added more water than we would've if we'd wanted to make it moldable, but as you can see it's still a lot of fun.

Turning it into bath paint is pretty easy. Put all the mush in a blender (as you can see, the blender doesn't have to be fancy, this one is probably older than I am) and then add about a quarter as much water as you have mush.
  When it's blended, it looks a lot like shaving cream.

I added a few drops of food coloring to each. I haven't had any problem with staining, so I add enough food coloring to make the colors pretty bright.

My parents have a huge tub, so that's where we did our painting.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Emergency/First Aid Kit

I recently got Neo to Go from Influenster, and one of the things they talk about is including it in a first aid kit, which made me want to post about first aid kits.

1. Latex-free Vinyl Gloves

2. Band-Aids. I usually buy the cheap ones that you can get at the dollar tree, but I like to have some of the Band-Aid brand fabric band aids in their too, especially if we're doing something that involves water and I want the band aid to actually stay on for a while.

3. Anti-biotic ointment. I like Neosporin's Neo to Go because I can just spray it on, so I don't have to use a glove or a q-tip to apply it.

4. Sunscreen (just in case you're outside longer than expected). Right now I'm using Coppertone ClearlySheer sunscreen. I like that it doesn't feel greasy, and for home-use I like that they have a spray-on version. For my school first aid kit however, I can't use the spray-on kind, so I use the lotion.

5. Tweezers. My favorite are Revlon's angled tweezers. I'm not great at getting splinters out, so I'll take any advantage I can, and Revlon's angled tweezers are way easier to manage than any others I've tried.

6. Antiseptic wipes

7. Gauze pads in a variety of sizes (I've never had to use this, but I imagine that if I didn't have it in there, I'd regret it at some point)

8. Cloth tape (for use with the gauze pads, and for splinting fingers)

9. Popsicle sticks (for temporarily splinting fingers)

10. Hand sanitizer

11. Instant Cold Compress

12. Space Blanket (I've never used this either, but I think it's one of the things that's required/recommended)

13. Hydrocortizone Cream

14. Q-tips

15. Wet Wipes

16. Tissues (the little to go packs Puffs makes are perfect, or you can just throw some tissues into a ziplock bag)

17. A grocery sack to put trash in (because if you're out and about, you might not have a trash can nearby, and might not want to carry around snotty tissues)

What else do you have in your first aid kit?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Book Themed Lesson Plans

When we don't have any specific themes in mind, one of our favorite things to do is find one of our favorite books and do projects based on those.

Part 1 - Laura Numeroff 
One of my favorite books when I was a kid was "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie", so I was excited to do a Laura Numeroff theme.

 One of my favorite projects based on the series was our "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" cause and effect project. We only had about two kids that had causes and effects that made sense, but it was still fun to talk about and everyone was pretty proud of their pigs.

For "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" we also did a collage. Mine was unfinished, but everyone drew their "scenery" as a background for their moose.

The final project (which I'll add a photo of later) was science experiment pictures. I cut out beakers and tubes of various sizes, and we painted them with a combination of shaving cream paint and corn syrup paint.
For all three projects, we did a chart of our favorite types of whatever baked good was in the book. We gave three choices for each and let everyone choose their favorites. The first one we did was the Pancakes, and we had a problem with people just choosing whatever their friends chose (we only had three votes for chocolate chip, despite the fact that almost everyone chooses chocolate chip when we have choices). For our next two charts (muffins and cookies), we told them before they chose that we were going to tell our cook which were everyone's favorites so she would know which kinds to make. We ended up with much more balanced results for those two.

Part 2 - Anna Dewdney
For our Anna Dewdney books we choose three of her Llama Llama books. Llama Llama Time to Share, Llama Llama Red Pajama and Llama Llama Mad at Momma.

We had a great time making Nelly's stuffed Gnu and Fuzzy Llama. I wish I had a picture of all of them because a lot of them got very creative. We ended up with a lot of brown gnus and blue llamas, and most of them ended up with arms, legs, and ears in the right place!

We made Llama Llama Red Pajama hand puppets. We found the idea here.

Our last project was more about cutting practice than an art project, since Llama Llama Mad at Momma takes place in a grocery store, we cut out items from grocery ads and glued them into our shopping carts.

Part 3 - Some of our favorite books

Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Pemberly, we also read Glad Monster, Sad Monster. Everyone created their own monsters in a variety of colors. I would love to do this again, and if I do I will definitely post photos of the results. I loved this project!

 Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister is another favorite. We decorated our own beautiful rainbow fish.
 There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is another great book. I especially like this version. Everyone put their old ladies together, and we wrote what we would swallow if we were an old lady in the stomach.
Let me know if you want templates for anything. I try to save them. 

Self-Esteem Theme

One of the first things we did in our Self-Esteem theme was a "Self-Esteem Quilt". I think I have a picture of the whole thing somewhere, but we just made squares and tied the corners together, so I'm sure you can imagine what it looked like. First, we went around the room and everyone said one thing that they really liked about themself, something that made them special. A few of my favorites were: "I like machines", "I'm good at drawing rainbows" and "my code word" (though I'm not sure what that one meant). We clarified that it could be something about your appearance, or something that you were good at or anything about yourself that you liked. We ended up with a lot of appearance or clothing based ones anyway, but I still really enjoyed what everyone thought was special about themselves.

Another favorite from our self-esteem theme was silly collages based on the book "I Like Myself" by Karen Beaumont. We read the book a few times, and had a lot of fun with our collages.

My silly portrait.

We did watercolors based on "Stripes" by David Shannon. Unfortunately, about 90% of our paintings stuck to the wooden boards we painted them on (which doesn't usually happen, so I don't know why it did with these. My only guess is that it's because we used our scratch & sniff watercolors). 

Thanksgiving & Who We're Grateful For Projects

We love holidays in our classroom! For Thanksgiving, instead of doing all turkeys and food and pilgrims, we focused the first two weeks on who we're grateful for. The first week, we chose to do firemen, soldiers and emergency medical workers. At the end of the week, we asked the kids who they were grateful for. The most common answers we got were family members, policemen and food (which we translated into chefs and people who cook us food). Here are some of our projects:

Here are our ambulances. The template was pretty simple and the kids had fun making them! I love that every one is different, but still recognizable as an ambulance. 
Our firemen. This was even simpler template-wise than the ambulances. We had fun making these as well, and again each one is different. 
My policewoman came out a little weird. I wish I'd remembered to take a photo of every else's police officers. I found this on pinterest, and decided to do something similar with police officers.  
 These turned out really cute! I found this chef on Pinterest, and based our chefs on that. We wrote everyone's favorite thing that someone cooks for them on the chef's jackets.

One of the projects we made after those first two weeks was our little Mayflowers. I like any project that includes sponge painting, so I had fun with this one.