Preschool Summer Camp Art Projects

As promised, I am sharing the Mondrian Inspired Cross Canvas projects that we completed during our summer preschool art camp.  I teased you above with our Red, White, and Blue themed art project in progress.  Keep reading to see how that one turned out.

Mondrian Inspired Cross Canvas
Mondrian Inspired Cross Canvas

Most of our students painted every section of their canvases.  I put out the colors one usually sees in Mondrian works, but a couple students got creative at the end and created a new color.  I was not surprised since we did have color mixing practice during this camp and the new color was this student’s favorite color.

Creating A New Color
Creating A New Color

I did have a few students who were younger who had projects that looked like this one.  I think they are very beautiful as well.

A Little More Abstract
A Little More Abstract

In order to make these cross canvases, we purchased the canvases from the local craft store.  I used blue painters tape to tape off the cross design.  Students used acrylic paints to paint their projects.  We let them be finished whenever they said they were finished and asked again the next day if they wanted to add more if they had not painted the entire canvas.  We were okay if they said they were finished then.  No pressure, just fun.

Now what were we doing with that top photo of our work in progress?

Fireworks Craft
Fireworks Craft

I drew black lines on the black paper with sharpie marker.  (For one student I drew in white crayon since the child has some vision issues.  I could probably have used white crayon for all, but I was not sure how the project would turn out yet and did not know if the crayon would end up showing up.)

Students drew on the lines with colored glue bottles.  I had red and blue glue ready for them.

After the glue lines were drawn they sprinkled red, white, and blue sand on the glue.  We started out with small spoons, but then decided to just try using fingers and that worked just as well and kept some of them from going too overboard with the sand.

Finally, we shook off the extra sand and set it out to dry.

Firework craft
Firework craft

I had never done this particular fireworks craft before and was pleased with how it turned out and how it kept the students engaged.  It even seemed pretty sturdy to take home once it dried.

Now that camp is over I have been busy working on new projects for my shop.  Be sure to head over if you are thinking about the new school year already.  If there is anything you don’t see that you would like, or a different color scheme, please feel free to contact me.  July is my time to create.

My latest listing is below.  Two more calendar sets and then I will set up a bundle for the year.

Transportation Calendar Set
Transportation Calendar Set
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Preschool Summer Art Camp

Art camp was this month with preschoolers ages three through five.  I filled the room with many art centers, including three easels.  This meant six spots for working so I had to think up some different ways to use them.

Contact Paper and Foam Pattern Blocks
Contact Paper and Foam Pattern Blocks

I have used contact paper on my easel with foam pattern blocks in the past.  However, this time instead of having a picture to match the students could create whatever they wanted to make.

Chalk and Dry Erase Easels
Chalk and Dry Erase Easels

I also set up one easel with chalk and an eraser and another with dry erase markers and an eraser.

Painting Easels
Painting Easels

The side facing the main part of the room was the painting side.  On the first day of camp I offered two shades of paint and long artist brushes.  The second and third days I offered different painting tools for variety.  I sent home many artist’s creations during camp.

Clay in the Sensory Bin
Clay in the Sensory Bin

So students could experiment with clay and clay tools I set it up in the sensory bin.  In the photo I had not taken the clay out of the bag yet.  At the end of each day I covered the clay with a damp paper towel or two and covered the bin.  I did need to spend a little time training in proper use of the tools so that stabbing was not the only technique attempted.  I was pleased to see that one of my students who generally does not like to touch play dough decided to check out the clay during art camp for quite a while.

Sharpies and Photo Paper
Sharpies and Photo Paper

When I purchased ink I sometimes get packs that are good deals that include photo paper.  I rarely end up using the paper so when I noticed a suggestion to use photo paper and sharpies, I thought art camp would be a good week to try it.  I made up a couple sample ideas and just let the kids who were interested draw whatever they liked.

Bubble Painting
Bubble Painting

I realized that none of the teachers in our school had done bubble painting this year, so I tried that the first day.  As one usually finds, the projects that are not the first ones turn out a little better as the teacher gets the kinks out.  The kids had a blast blowing bubbles and we did not get too much mess (or any paint sucked into anyone’s mouth.)  Definitely process art.

In my next post I will share our big Mondrian inspired canvas project.

 

 

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Cleaning and Rearranging My Preschool Classroom

Preschool graduation has come and gone.  Now is the time to clean and rearrange my preschool classroom.  I was fortunate enough to have a great helper along with two preschool student helpers work on scrubbing down all of the chairs, tables, and shelves in my classroom.

Stacked and clean and out of the way for the moment
Stacked and clean and out of the way for the moment

The chairs were in a lovely circle around the circle time rug to dry, thanks to my young helpers who pretended it was a castle.  I stacked them so I could do my rearranging and vacuum all the bits of Magic Eraser from the rug.

The photos in this post show the aftermath.  Now I am ready to start rearranging to get ready for Art Camp next week.  My preschool has three day camps each week of June; I will be teaching the first two this year. I will be using three easels, although only two were in the room when I snapped some photos.

Dramatic Play area looks rather empty right now, but soon will be filled with an ice cream shop
Dramatic Play area looks rather empty right now, but soon will be filled with an ice cream shop

The corner will become the ice cream shop.  Thankfully we already had a bin full of items to create the shop that we have used in other years and I will be adding just a few finishing touches to it before camp starts.

I will be spending tomorrow morning in my classroom, hoping to get most of the way ready so that I won’t have too much to think about when next week rolls around and it is camp time.

Does your school do anything different in the summer months?

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Road Trip to the Book Fair

Silly Book Fair Visit Photo
Silly Book Fair Visit Photo

On Saturday my youngest daughter and I decided to take a road trip to the Green Valley Book Fair, near Harrisonburg, Virginia.  We generally visit the book fair once or twice a year in conjunction with a trip to visit relatives.  However, I recently saw a book that we really wanted at least two copies of advertised on their facebook page as being available this time, so we decided to just make a day of it together.

 

Photo borders to add to my collection from the Green Valley Book Fair
Photo borders to add to my collection from the Green Valley Book Fair

The Green Valley Book Fair is not to be missed if you are a reader and especially if you are a teacher.  This time I mostly picked up items for my daughter and for some summer reading, but I also managed to get some photo borders for my classroom as well as some geoboards.

Three Summer Reading Selections
Three Summer Reading Selections

For my summer pleasure reading I grabbed three books, one of which I finished before we had been home for 24 hours.  I picked up a copy of Fahrenheit 451, The Long Walk, and Stalin’s Daughter.  I read The Long Walk Saturday afternoon, evening, and finished it Sunday morning before church.  Since my husband has seen the movie and appreciated it, I will probably watch that soon as well as part of my summer break.

The book that we just had to have copies of was Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.  We borrowed a copy from the library after reading Between Shades of Gray.  My daughter really wanted a copy for herself and we decided that my other daughter will gift a copy to her history teacher as an end of the year gift since she read Between Shades of Gray at my daughter’s suggestion earlier in the year.

What are you reading this summer?

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Happy Easter with a Calendar Freebie Reminder

Easter board

Today I am having some quiet time at home with no children to prepare myself for the Easter celebration tomorrow.  It is a beautiful, sunny day and the grass is mowed thanks to my oldest daughter.  My youngest helped me sell some items on Craigslist, which has helped with spring cleaning as well.

Above you can see the artwork of my students in preparation for Easter.  We made the palm leaves for Palm Sunday and the crosses as we discussed Good Friday.  The crosses were made with painters tape and the idea was to dab the paint with the circular sponges with handles, but my students all had other plans, which is okay.  I just laughed at myself because it was one of the very few times that I made an example for them to see of what it might look like when it would be finished after the tape was pulled off.

I have also been hard at work this week on my Teachers Pay Teachers shop, adding lots of alphabet goodies, including a massive bundle of everything alphabet that I have created so far.

Spring Calendar Numbers

Don’t forget to check out my spring calendar freebie, even if you just want to save it for next year.  I hope to add a bunch of new calendar sets soon, so if you have any in mind, please let me know.  I am currently working on one with insects.

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Penguin Week in PreK

This year we have had an entire week dedicated just to penguins.  I was excited to bring out my life size penguin creations that I have saved from when I taught sixth grade many years ago.  (See, there is sometimes a good reason to save things.)  I have fond memories of teaching middle school and love seeing my current students measure themselves against an emperor penguin.

Are you taller than an emperor penguin?
Are you taller than an emperor penguin?

If you notice there is a small photo of the penguin nearby.  This is just one of many photos of real penguins hidden around the room for our penguin search dramatic play.  I found the penguin photos here.  I created a check sheet for the students to carry around the room on a clip board, along with binoculars and gloves, to search for many of the kinds of penguins.  Along the way nearly every student became an expert at putting on winter gloves.

Ice fishing with a chinstrap penguin
Ice fishing with a chinstrap penguin

Besides searching for penguins, my students could also go ice fishing.  Inside were laminated fish with staples in them to make them stick to the magnetic pole.  (I gave up on having any type of magnet stick to laminated items a while back.  Staples are much cheaper and don’t fall off.)

Counting practice with penguins
Counting practice with penguins

I had some penguin counters to use with this spinner game, so I added it to my math and fine motor area.   You can find it here.  I like finding games that I can use fun counters with since the three dimensional counters attract the students even more than any clip art can.

Penguin counting puzzle
Penguin counting puzzle

This is how this puzzle was left at the end of the day, but I did have several students work through getting the puzzle into order from eleven to twenty to make the penguin picture.  It did help to have some numbers drawn along the side of the board.  I laminated and put magnets on the back of this puzzle.  I am finding that my students do better with these types of puzzles on the magnet board because they do not slide around as much when they are trying to line them up next to each other to complete  the puzzle.  This puzzle comes from here.

Insta-snow and Penguin tube
Insta-snow and Penguin tube

My director bought us some insta-snow to try out, so I added it to my sensory bin, along with a tube of penguins.  I found photos to match the penguins in the tube and hung them above the bin.  Several students matched them up and asked me the names of the different penguins while playing.

Sensory Writing Center
Sensory Writing Center

We also had some sensory play at the writing center with baking soda and white hair conditioner.  I used some penguin and fish alphabet letters I found here to have students choose which letters to write, although many tried out letters in their names instead.  The students enjoyed this so much that I promised to move the baking soda and conditioner over to the large sensory bin the next week so they could play with it in other ways, rather than just flattening it and drawing letters.

Penguin life cycle and polar opposite on the pocket chart
Penguin life cycle and polar opposite on the pocket chart

At circle time we used the pocket chart to go through the emperor penguin’s life cycle.  We also read some books and tried balancing bean bags and balls on our feet to pretend to be a daddy penguin.  The cards at the bottom were photos of opposites in Antarctica.  I was able to go through these cards with a few of my students during centers time to introduce the idea of opposites.

Penguin poke pin
Penguin poke pin

One of my fine motor activities included using our poke pin.  I found this penguin, which several of my students started to work on but did not finish.  I think that preschoolers probably need smaller poke pin projects if we want them to complete them.  I just encourage my students to work on them and come back again another day add some more holes.  I also had some half sheets of letter review available for students who wanted a smaller poke pin project.

These are just a few of our penguin centers.  We also did our sponge penguins again.  You can see an example of that from last year.  We also ended the week with black and white day and a penguin snack.

Do you have a penguin week in your preschool?  What is your favorite activity?

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Bears and Hibernation in Preschool

We often do a hibernation theme in January.  This year we focused mostly on bears, but also included discussion of other animals that hibernate through our question of the day, some hibernation songs, and books that we used.

I decided to use our tent to act as a cave to go along with our hibernation and bear theme.  When I found a few different ideas online that related to We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, I knew our pretend play would revolve around that book.  I found printable signs to hang around the room for each place in the story.  I also discovered a map that was meant to be used for retelling the story, but we used it as our actual map, finding each place in the room as we searched for the bear in its cave.  In addition, I found some story retelling puppets that I trimmed and laminated to make badges to each child playing would know which part he or she had.  The photos of each item will lead you to where I found these items.

Bear Hunt Cave
Bear Hunt Cave
Bear Hunt Snow
Bear Hunt Snow
Bear Hunt Map
Bear Hunt Map
Bear Hunt Name Tags
Bear Hunt Name Tags

For our fine motor and math center I discovered a winter themed Cariboo game and a roll and cover game.  My students had enjoyed Cariboo in December so I decided to pull it out again with these winter themed cards. Since I had a few students out during the week I was able to spend some time playing the roll and cover game with individual students to check on number sense.

Winter Theme Cariboo
Winter Theme Cariboo
Roll and Cover Bear Hibernation Theme
Roll and Cover Bear Hibernation Theme

We worked on a few crafty projects during our hibernation week.  The easel was set up on one side with q-tips, white paint, and black paper.  The students enjoyed experimenting and did well writing their names with the qtips when they were finished.  We also painted a box with a heart on the lid to go along with our study of the visit of the three wise men.  We put a heart inside that said, “I give my heart to Jesus” after discussing the gifts the wise men brought and what gift Jesus really wants from us.

Qtip painting on easel
Qtip painting on easel
Epiphany Craft
Epiphany Craft

My students really enjoyed several of our songs during this week, including:

Bear Hunt by Steve Songs

What is your favorite hibernation activity for preschool?

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Creating a New Student File

At the beginning of the year you are busily making lots of things with students’ names on them.  You think you are just about ready with everything when in walks your director or principal with news of a new student.  Suddenly you need to have one of everything ready for the new student.

Here are some things I keep in my new student file in the classroom and on my computer that will hopefully give you some tips to make getting a new student a little easier.

For your computer files:

Coat hook name labels
Coat hook name labels

Coat hook labels

Cubby labels with Question of the Day name tags above
Cubby labels with Question of the Day name tags above

Cubby labels

I learned to save my file with a sample name on the coat hook label, cubby label, and anything else that I want to actually match up the font size and color.  You would think you would remember the font size or the name of the font, but when a new student shows up midway through the year you may be testing out different sizes and then getting frustrated when you print it out and it just does not match.

If you like the coat hook and cubby labels here, please check out my Ocean Theme Decor Bundle.  I set up the file so that you will automatically get the same size and font, but you can also switch it up and make changes if you have a favorite font on your computer.

For your paper files:

Mystery word water color name place setting
Mystery word water color name place setting

Lunch place setting

At the beginning of the year I have had my students use watercolor paints to discover the mystery word that I have written in white crayon.  The word ends up being their names, which ends up getting laminated and used by our table washer to set places for snack and lunch.  I put a couple sheets of paper cut the correct size to match in my new student file.  It would probably be smart for me to toss a white crayon in there as well.

My birthday display in progress.
My birthday display in progress.

Birthday display supplies

Height chart supplies

For my student birthdays and height chart I just write the names and information on with a sharpie on the laminated item, so I make sure I have a few extra laminated pieces in my file, ready to go.  I also make sure I have a couple extra birthday crowns copied and ready to go in my birthday file, especially since this year I don’t have an assistant that I can send down to copy one at the last minute.

Writing center supplies

I also have a writing center with student name and photo cards, so when I create these I go ahead and cut the card stock the correct size for a few extras to stash away.  That way the card stock will be the same color and the same size.

Class books

For class books I usually just make sure we create a fresh one on a new topic soon after getting a new student, but I do like to add new students into our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Look Who’s In Our Room book, so I make a complete set of supplies to make a couple pages of the book for any student who arrives after the first week of school.

Question of the Day name tags

For answering our question of the day I made up some quick name labels with different borders.  I laminated and then wrote with sharpie so that I can change as needed.  For example, partway through the year I will change them to last names to that students get used to recognizing those.

A special thanks to Classroom Doodle Diva for the cute clip art girl for my blog post image at the top of the page.

What do you keep in your new student file?

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PreK Ocean Theme & Pizza Shop Sneak Peek

This past week I prepared my room for my PreK students to come have a Sneak Peek on Friday.  Since I was keeping my ocean theme from last year I just had a few updates to work on to make things fresh and new.

WelcomeSign

I needed to reprint my welcome sign since I did not have time to laminate it last year and the spots where the sticky tack was attached to the paper had that greasy look to it.  Now that it is reprinted and laminated I won’t have to worry about that in the future.

My birthday display in progress.
My birthday display in progress.

I had to do some work to my birthday display as well.  The sign had to be trimmed and laminated, names had to be added to the birthday bags, and a few bags came down since I currently have a few less students this year so far.  Will try to get a finished photo this week with the sign above it as well.

Pocket chart calendar with ocean theme months and dates
Pocket chart calendar with ocean theme months and dates

I start the year with my ocean theme calendar, but switch up the number cards throughout the year to work on different patterns and to go along with themes or seasons.

The shelf area of the pizza shop. Still in need of some more toppings.
The shelf area of the pizza shop. Still in need of some more toppings.

Since I did not have to start from scratch with my ocean theme I had some time to work on my dramatic play Pizza Shop.  I purchased Pocket of Preschool’s Pizza Restaurant set to help me add to what we already had available at school.  I love that she has all the labels as part of her set.  Labeling everything really helps with clean up since students know where things are supposed to go.

I bought the green containers and the pizza pans at Dollar Tree as well as the measuring cup and measuring spoon.  I think that trip just about used up the gift card that a lovely parent gave me as an end of the year gift.

Set up for Sneak Peek with a simple pizza collaborative craft
Set up for Sneak Peek with a simple pizza collaborative craft

I set up a quick craft to help decorate the dramatic play area with help from my students.  During the Sneak Peek I had paper pizzas with toppings to glue on using glue sticks.  Besides being a simple activity that will help decorate pretend play, it gave me an idea of how my students use glue sticks.  I can already note which ones need a few pointers.

Pizza Shop bulletin board display with student pizzas
Pizza Shop bulletin board display with student pizzas

Here is the Pizza Shop display with the pizzas my students made at the Sneak Peek.  The Pizza Shop sign comes from Sparklebox.  That one was already in our pizza prop box so I just had to put it on the bulletin board.

Look at all the toppings, but someone forgot the crust and sauce.
Look at all the toppings, but someone forgot the crust and sauce.

Here is a glance at the pizza pan full of toppings, some from a couple sets we already had, with some additional toppings I made with suggestions from Pocket of Preschool’s set.

Now to get ready for the first day of school this week.

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Back To School and Giveaway

Monday is the big day for me and the official beginning of my personal back to school.  Our family started school at the beginning of the month with my oldest daughter starting cross country practice, so getting to sleep in has been gone for quite a while for me.   Monday starts my online college course, so this week is truly my back to school week.

I will be taking a course in Christian Doctrine as I am working towards synod certification in Early Childhood Education through Martin Luther College.  This is my last three credit hour course, so I am excited to get it completed.

Ocean Theme Calendar
Ocean Theme Calendar

Back to school for me as a teacher starts Wednesday with work days to prepare my classroom.  I am sticking with my ocean theme, so just need to freshen it up and make everything that has student names on it, but we all know there is still plenty to do.  I have my calendar all ready with my ocean themed items, like the months you see.

School themed question of the day
School themed question of the day

I will also be choosing which question of the day I want to use from my set.  I will probably use this one some time the first week.

Bonus Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers

In celebration of a new school year I am having a giveaway for a Teachers Pay Teachers $10 gift card.  Teachers Pay Teachers is also having a one day sale on Monday which I am participating in, so fill your carts and watch your emails as I will send out notice as soon as the giveaway ends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner has been emailed.  Congrats to Karen S!

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