What is Underneath?

This term our kinder inquiry project is titled ‘What is Underneath?’ We began with a class discussion and drawing of all the things we thought might be under our skin. This was a fantastic insight into their prior knowledge. The children were most interested in bones; how they look and how they move. We borrowed a skeleton from our local high school, which the children named Frank, and did some amazing sketches. We used a variety of materials to create skeletons; foil, clay, pasta and collage. Some of the children finally created a beautiful wire sculpture which is hanging in our kinder. The children then began to discuss how our brains send messages to make our bodies move, and how this relies on the heart to work. We had many theories: that we have an extra bone that is sent around our body, that our legs can read or that we have a special gel that tells us what to do.

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Pinch Pots

Pinch Pots

This week my students have enjoyed sculpting and painting mini pinch pots for their mums in anticipation of Mothers’ Day.

We used Das air dry clay in both white and terracotta and I allowed for roughly 200 grams of clay per student. The instructions for the pinch pots were very straightforward, we simply rolled the clay into a ball then stuck in our thumb to create a hole. Then, by holding the clay in one hand and turning it constantly, we were able to use our other hand to thin and even out the edges of the pot. Some students were especially creative and turned theirs into heart shapes or their mother’s initial. Others used tools such as wooden skewers and texta lids to make patterns and marks in their designs.

I was able to discuss connections with this project and our new science unit ‘Materials and Their Properties’ by teaching new vocabulary such as ‘malleable’ and ‘pliable’. It’s always nice when topics are interrelated!

After two days of drying (the weather has been cold lately) we were ready to paint. We opted for neon colours as well as some beautiful metallic copper, gold and silver paints.

There were some beautiful results!

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Q and U

Q and U

In spelling this week my Grade Fours celebrated the wedding of Q and U. This memorable occasion was, of course, to remind students that these two letters are always together in words. Students worked together in small groups to design and construct a QU wedding cake out of plasticine.

Some groups even challenged themselves to decorate their cake with QU words – can you spy a question mark, an equals sign, an antique chest of drawers, a queen’s crown and a quaint man’s black hat?!

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Here’s hoping this creative, hands on task will strengthen their spelling skills and see them never separate Q and U again…’til death do they part!

Verbs with Tin Foil

Verbs with Tin Foil

Can you guess each action?

We chose our favourite verb and then made these tin foil sculptures to represent the action.

We’re about to begin our unit on narrative writing – I’m thinking these tin foil on black paper collages would make excellent illustrations for their stories when published into little books…? I’ll keep you posted!

Thank you Mrs T for the pinspiration!

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Learning through Play

I am lucky enough to have the very talented Mrs B working in the room next door to me. Each week she is determined to create a new and exciting play space for her Kinders and ‘playgroup’. Often the play spaces are left for a few weeks with subtle changes, maybe the animals change or something little is left for the children to discover. This week she focused on frogs but some horses crept in too! For the babies we found some great bead mazes from our local tip shop and pom-poms with cardboard rolls! It is true as early childhood teachers our occupation is play.

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Wool and Stick Initials

Wool and Stick Initials

These beautiful, rustic creations were undertaken as a First Week of School activity. Students were asked to construct their first name initial out of sticks from the playground and then wrap them with colours and patterns of their choice.

Such a straight-forward sounding activity in fact evolved into a lesson in problem solving, patience, perseverance, collaboration, cooperation and knot tying. Upon completion of my 1000th knot for the day, I felt I had got to know my new students quite well – those who could cope with challenge and those who needed more guidance; the perfectionists and the more abstract thinkers; those who could tie a knot and those who could not…

The end products were well worth the effort!

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Easter with Toddlers

This Easter is a little different from others… Because now I have a toddler! Evie is almost 2 and right into anything messy. My aim today was to create a few Easter drawings for her great grandparents. We ventured into painting with brushes and using the most fabulous drawing product I’ve come across, Crayola Twistable Slick Sticks. Painting was great fun but wow it covered me, her and the deck! The crayons were a delight and although a little messy they were so smooth to draw with. The slightest touch and they produced beautiful marks. Crayola suggest using them on all sorts of surfaces. I experimented with them on tin foil and they shimmer; perfect for Rainbow Fish art? Might try that at school.

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Sustainable Classroom Ideas

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If your students are anything like ours, they love to use paper hand towels by the truckload. For a more sustainable solution, invest in some cheap face washers (or better still just cut up some old towels). These can be used over and over and require a wash or soak in the sink every few weeks depending upon grottiness levels. They’re also ideal for the art studio where students can use them for wiping brushes between colour changes.

Spring Art

Spring Art

With our extremely talented, sculptor-by-trade, prac student, Miss Purcell, our students were inspired by an art table filled with colourful, cellphones, tissue papers, glitters, straws, pipe cleaners, paints and other Scrapheap materials. The base for their spring flowers was a paper plate. As part of our science unit on living things and life cycles students had learnt the parts of a flower – stamen, petals, pistil and sepal, and were asked to incorporate these features into their sculptures.