Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shape Monster Glyph

A shape monster glyph is a great way to reinforce a unit on shapes. It also encourages students to follow directions, develop cutting skills, and practice counting. 

The age and ability levels of your students will determine how much you'll want to prep before hand. The shapes were drawn for the students to cut out themselves. The hair, legs, feet, eyes, and mouths were also precut. The students cut out the shape and teeth. They also crinkle folded the legs and then glued all the pieces together.

I love how much personality the monsters have! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Self-Portrait Portfolio Pages

I'm always looking for artifacts for my students portfolios. I try to find items that will be keepsakes for my students and their parents but also show their development throughout the year.

I make a self-portrait page for the fall and one for the spring and place them next to each other in the child's portfolio. This also allows me to collect data (number of body parts drawn) for report cards.

You can download the template FOR FREE here. The background is white but can be printed on colored paper or cut out and pasted on colored paper.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Preschool Self-Portraits

I love self-portraits. It always amazes me how much each child's personality comes out in their drawings. I constantly have parents asking me, did my child draw that?! The answer is yes! With the right directions/facilitation you can help each child do their best. 

I love the results of this project and it's simpler then it looks. This project usually takes us about two days. I begin by giving the child a blank piece of paper. (I use white card stock  Then I ask each child to think about what their face looks like. Is it round like a ball? Oval like an egg, etc. Then I ask them to draw their head. It's important to use permanent marker, because washable markers will run when painted over. Then I ask the child to think about what they have on their head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc. DON'T DRAW HAIR it will be added later. Last, I have them draw two lines down from their chin to make their neck.

Then, we look at our multi-cultural paints together and choose the shade that matches the closest. (You can find multi-cultural paint through discount school supply) They paint all of the white space on their head/neck. 

I cut out their portrait after it has dried and glue it down on a piece of white card stock. 

Then we work on their hair. I use blonde, black, and brown yarn. I ask them about what color their hair is, is it long or short, does it need to be braided, in a pony tail, curly, etc. This part is very teacher directed.  Some accessory ideas; colored yarn for hair ties, barrettes, streamers folded up for bows, pipe cleaners for head bands, jewels or beads for earrings.

Then, it's time to paint in the eyes if necessary. I use white acrylic, because the tempera paint lets the color underneath seep through. Then the child adds a dot with the color of their eyes. 

We added writing to our art that says "My name is ______." You can read about adding writing here.

We display our self-portraits all year in the classroom and then send them home in portfolios at the end of the year. 

Fall weather has FINALLY arrived here in St. Louis! I'm enjoying a lazy Sunday with the windows open and Cardinal baseball on TV. 

If you like the ideas found on my blog, please leave a comment and follow me! :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Integrating Writing in Preschool

As a preschool teacher, it can be difficult to find the balance between academics, social skills, play, teacher directed activities, child directed activities, and more all while being developmentally appropriate. It can be exhausting. Hopefully this activity will help you in the never ending struggle to find that balance.

*On a side note, if you haven't read Already Ready by Matt Glover and Katie Wood Ray, I HIGHLY recommend it!

There are many different facets of writing, and this activity only covers a few of them. 

It mainly focuses on:
  •  handwriting 
  • developing understanding the difference between letters, words, and sentences.
  • spaces between words
  • punctuation

To begin, I write the sentence I'm wanting my students to write and cut out each word individually. This is my model. 

Before the students begin writing, we discuss what we are going to write. I show them each word individually and we count how many letters are in each word. I remind students how each letter has a sound and we put those sounds/letters together to make the word. After going over all the words, we put them together to make a sentence. I point out the period at the end of the sentence. 

Then, I have the students copy my sentence one word at a time. We talk about how the letters look. (The letter a has a circle and a line, can you make a circle and a line?) After they write each word, I cut it out and have them start on the next word. 

When they are finished, they help me put the words together to make the sentence. While they're glueing the words, we talk about the space between each word. 

It sounds intense, but it really only took about 5 minutes per group (since this was our first writing activity like this, I only taught 2 kids at a time)

Okay, so now you're thinking WOAH you expect a preschooler to know all THAT!! Take a deep breath. It's not about the students mastering these concepts, it's about exposing them to these concepts. After seeing them pointed out in shared reading, shared writing, and in activities such as these, they'll begin to understand how our language works. Literacy Beginnings, by Fountas and Pinnell is another great read. 

It explains the importance of exposing our students to concepts such as these. Notice the word EXPOSING! I don't expect my students to know these things or even "learn" them immediately. If they are exposed to these concepts they'll pick them up when they are developmentally ready. 

I try to add writing extensions such as this one to art projects every once in awhile. The students are already engaged because it's their art they're adding to. You also get two birds with one stone because you have student art AND writing in the same display!

5 year old example

4 year old example

3 year old example

Thanks marcheseclowns for the art idea!

Happy Apple Picking!