Learning is messy!
This is my classroom motto. I use it a lot at the beginning of the year for students who have an aversion to getting dirty. This theme from Mother Goose Time perfectly represents what I mean when I say learning is messy. We spent the entire month making huge messes and the best part is that we didn't need to stay inside to make these messes. We did chalk art in the drive way, painted on our backs in the back yard, painted master pieces in the art center during recess. Simply put.....
It was magical.
This blog post is a picture walk summary of what we did this month. Showing children that art comes in many forms is so important. They will learn to find beauty all around them even in the most nontraditional places.
I hope you take the time to wander around your neighborhood and see the beauty that can be found with your class and remember....
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
Art is one of those times when even the most laid back of children seem to want everything to be perfect. They have an idea in their head about how they want their project to look and when it does not meet expectations it cause them to think they have failed.
Which is not the lesson we want children to get from art.
I started thinking about this when I was attempting to create the library bags my class will be using in the new year for checking out books. I had an idea in my head and I became upset because it didn't look perfect. I burned a bag completely and the iron got stuck to another bag. Thank goodness there were two extras in my Amazon order!
I hope that I am not giving off the impression that every project is perfect. Because for me it is important that you can see that everyday work in a family child care home is not always sunshine and roses. There are hard days even for those of us who love our jobs. One activity that seemed to go off the rails more than I wanted was the Stamp Printing art activity. The children enjoyed watching how stamp art was created and were very excited to try making their own.
One thing that must remembered when it comes to children's art is that they have to be allowed to make their own decisions. It can be hard to let them keep going when you see it going sideways, but if we want them to build confidence in their own decision making abilities we have to let them keep going. I do make suggestions, but I have a classroom full of strong minded, sure individuals. This is code for they think I'm always wrong lol.
The stamp making project didn't really work because the children had to build their own stamps and the prints were not coming out. I tried to explain that we shouldn't put too much paint down but it didn't really work out.
This was the final product. They were not happy. They abandoned it within minutes. Someone built a stamp castle.
This was a teachable moment. We started to talk about how it was ok if their projects do not come out the way we want them too. As long as you tried and you like it, then you did a good job. We also talked about the importance of following directions and why we do it. They spent the rest of the day giving each other pep talks about various games and projects. Including while they played school. It was adorable.
Teaching children that sometimes they will fail but the important part is that they do not give up, that they practice and try again is a valuable lesson. A lesson that can be learned with art or with the Mother Goose Time Journal covers.
Keeping Trying and.....
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
Last month was about reviewing the alphabet. In an earlier posting I spoke about my class already knew their alphabet and their letter sounds. So I found a way to expand the lesson to make review month more fun. We did it by learning sign language. But there were other ways that I expanded the Mother Goose Time theme of the month. Mainly I used the resources for children I found on Youtube. Children need to be able to see what they are learning about. For example, if they have never seen snow, doing projects on snow is going to land a little flat. That does not mean you have to give up on teaching children about snow. You just have to get creative and use DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practices ) to introduce concepts that they may have a hard time with.
We learned about 26 different animals this month through youtube videos. Short videos that give the children an insight into the animal and can be conversation starters. The channels that I used:
Sci Show Kids
Some of the videos are a bit long, so we would only watch apart of them and have a summary talk afterwards.
Another way that I expanded on lessons with the kids, was to use our loose parts in the classroom to help them develop an understanding of exactly what the animals live like.
An example of this would be using blocks to build a dam like beavers.
Pretending the Safari truck was taking baby bears to the zoo to be helped and needing to count the bears. The bear counters came with the theme box for the month.
We had a steam center set up in the classroom with nature items that were also used to learn about the different animals and habitats. Over all expanding lessons should really be about listening to the children in your classroom and following where their interests lie. We held races outside because we heard about how fast large cats run in the wild. We used the barn house in our block area to make our own zoo and pretended to camouflage to run away from predators.
Over all there are ways to make reviewing previously mastered areas fun and if you have any ideas or resources for expanding learning for your preschoolers please share them in the comments and remember.....
Live Long and Keep Teaching
When we think of the arts, we tend to think of drawing, painting and such. Many times we forget about plays,drama and acting. Which is why it was so much fun for the children to make puppets from the A to Z theme for Mother Goose Time.
I set the activity up for the children to look at different types and colors of birds. Then I had them watch a play with puppets from Mister Roger's neighborhood. After that we sat down and were able to design our own puppets with the birds and feathers that came in the curriculum. After designing our birds I gave the children time to come up with a story about their birds to present to the class. It was adorable and it was an excellent activity that helped the children use their imaginations and to prepare for speaking in front of others. I have found that if you give them small opportunities to speak in front of their friends it lessens the amount of fear they may have with speaking in front of others.
Because it was their first time coming up with their own play a lot of them were mostly about telling us about their birds, but I still would call the activity a win. I think the next time I attempt this type of activity I will come up with a play for them along with having them come up with their own. While we were able to view others do the play it would be beneficial to have them see one performed by their classmates.
If you know any children's plays that can be adapted for the classroom please let me know where to find some!
One of the ways I have encouraged public speaking is to set up an area in the classroom that is made just for them to be able to sing and dance for their classmates. I have a stage that I got from the Etsy shop Classy Stages and a Rocking chair. I use both of these for show n tell. Show n tell is an excellent activity to encourage children to speak in front of the group and share with others. The longer you do it the more comfortable they become. It is quite something to watch them become more and more comfortable. It also helps them with learning to engage with their friends in the classroom.
I hope that you enjoy the video of one of my students performing their birds play and remember.......
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
So, let me be very clear, this project scared me. As I went over the project for the day from the Mother Goose Time Lesson plan book I had a deep sense of "OMG MY FLOOOORS!!!". I had to figure out how to adjust the project so that I could save my floors.
I became the superhero of my own dreams and took all my chairs outside the classroom taped the paper to the bottom of the chairs and out the door we went! It was great! They laid on their backs and were concentrating so hard on their masterpieces. They felt like real painters. The part I did not think about was that children like to overload their paint brushes with paint and it began to fall on them! Some of them did go home with paint in their hair. I'm sure their parents really loved that!
The important part of them learning about murals is showing them that art is not limited to paper or canvas. They were able to see that you can do art outside and that buildings can be art. Hopefully this encourages them to seek out different ways to do art and to see the art in the world around them.
This was messy...and the destruction of tons of baby wipes happened along with the use of a hose to clean off the chairs, because they didn't just paint the paper, they gifted my chairs with paint also. It was hard work, but I am very glad that we did it.
I will do it again next year. It's what Superheroes do.
Check out my Youtube channel and remember......
Live Long and Keep Teaching!