Sunday, 18 November 2012

 Tie Dyed Socks

To culminate our color unit in Science, we decided to tie dye.  Most of my angels do not need yet another tshirt, but I have noticed a few too many toes and heels making daily debuts, and we live in an area where extra socks are necessary after our outdoor recess. So we tie dyed socks. (Teacher tie dye tip#1...ensure the socks are mostly cotton)
A battalion of parent volunteers arrived for our tie dying event and they were able to get the students through in assembly line fashion. Gotta love our parent volunteers! (Tip #2.. get the socks really, really wet before spraying them with fabric dye.)  The students LOVED this activity and were so proud of their socks. They wrote about the procedure in their journals and required zero prompting. They sketched their socks in their sketchbooks and after a week, we took the socks off the clothesline and they were bubbling over with excitement. They put their socks on and they had fun sliding around on the floor. Great opportunity to introduce Sock Hop and talk about the good old days. We sat in a circle and they compared their socks and then we read Robert Munsch's Smelly Socks, definitely not a book to read first thing in the morning.  But was a fun way to end the day and they wore their socks home to 'surprise' mom and dad.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

 Skiing Turkeys

My sweet sister and her daughter were here for a one week vacation this past week.  I was very sad to leave them at the airport last night; it was such a great week. In the midst of my sister's visit, we both celebrated our birthdays.  Happy birthday to us. We decided to commemorate our birthdays with an adventure.  I took a day off- NO, I did not play hooky as it would be rather obvious if I returned to school with a broken leg after staying at home "sick"- and we went skiing.  Yes we did! We enjoyed an amazing day of excellent skiing and finished our day with a delicious meal at one of my favourite restaurants in the mountains. 

My sister on the slopes. She really does have skis on her feet.

What does skiing and snow and birthdays have to do with turkeys?  Not much, but the beginning of our ski season usually coincides with American Thanksgiving. And I am definitely thankful my sister came for a visit and I am very thankful she is still MUCH older than I am!  I thought I would share the easy turkeys we created last month when we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada. 

An oldie but a goodie.

We busted out the smelly markers-something my little angels were thankful for.  The kids put a few colors on the coffee filter and then we sprayed the filters with water and the students watched, oohed and aahed as the colors ran together and made new colors.  Once the filters were dry, we cut out a
the turkey from tracers and then glued the turkeys to folded tag paper and made them into Thanksgiving cards for their families.  They wrote thankful notes on autumn themed paper and we glued the notes inside the card. 

A Cute Little Turkey

Our Colorful Gobblers

Now I must stop procrastinating and get back to my progress reports.  Hope you are all having a fantastic week!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

 Rainbow Colored Pumpkins?

Rainbow colored Pumpkins?

We read The Bumpy Little Pumpkin one morning and discussed how every pumpkin is different. Don't you just love Little Nell?

The Bumpy Little Pumpkin

I came across this art activity a few months ago and we ripped it like a band-aid a few Fridays ago.  They loved working with pastels and every single angel was proud of the results. This is great for introducing line, shape, shading, primary and secondary colors. And yes, every color of the rainbow is used and my angels loved that tidbit of information. 
 I overheard one of my boys describe the drawing process to his friend; "Draw a weiner and then the bun." Sure, why not?

Et Voila, here are a few finished masterpieces:

Isn't this the bumpiest, and most adorable pumpkin?

 No Rain...No Rainbows

No Rain, no Rainbows is my classroom slogan this year. 

Every year, I spend hours and hours searching for books that have been put in the wrong buckets. Our librarian has always used paint sticks for the kids to hold their place when looking through the shelves.  I thought I'd take it a step further, personalize the sticks so each student is responsible for replacing books in proper bins. After taking a few sticks from a few paint departments,  I scored at one.  Nobody was at the paint desk, and there was a full box of sticks calling my name.  I grabbed two handfuls and ran to my car.

 Hubs dusted off the drill (ooooh, sexy) and put a hole at the top of each stick. My youngest daughter, spraypainted sticks for all of my angels in rainbow colors.   And that folks, was family craft night in Canada.   During the first week of school,  Each child took their tag to decorate.  I laminated nametags and tied them to the stick. It has worked brilliantly. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

 A New Day. A New Month. A New Blog

Yesterday was a very scary day for me. Not because it was Halloween, and not because my First Grade devils, angels were a teensy bit excited, but it was also my last day as a nonblogger. My palms were sweating, my heart palpitating, one leg had the shakes, and I needed a glass of wine (perhaps two) to calm the nerves.

Today, I was able to stay under the covers for a few extra minutes because we have NO classes today.  November 1st is a day off for the students. My district is brilliant!

As I took full advantage of the extra lounging time, my thoughts turned to November, wintery weather, warm blankets and quilts. Quilts! 
My childhood is filled with fond quilting memories.  My mother played host to many a quilting bee. Women and laughter filled our house for days.  I looked forward to dinner hour; the women would leave and I would have the quilt to myself.  I would lie on my back under the quilt 'tent' and look up at the swirls and whirls of the different stitches and be mesmerized by how different each woman's stitching was, as unique as her fingerprint.  I was always a bit sad when the quilt was finished and the laughter vanished along with those decadent little treats my mother seemed to only produce for visitors.

When I was 5 years old, my mother announced she would help me make my very own quilt.  We decided to make a 'house' quilt.  (I was a closet architect at 5- still am) We traced the little houses out of fabric and I still remember the scent of the black fabric pen with which she added the details.  Oh, how I LOVED that quilt and still do.

As I waxed quilt nostalgia, I decided November is the perfect month to introduce my first graders to the lost art of quilting. A few weeks ago, we had a fabulous field trip to an art cente and my honeys were absolutely thrilled to learn how to weave.  Since then, I have been trying to decide on an ongoing ''hands on" project.  Quilts are perfect for patterning, geometry, heritage, developing fine motor skills, art, oh soooo many curriculum connections, and every quilt tells a story. 
Here are a few books to get you started...

The Quilt Story   

I have been admiring Reagan Tunstall's geometric monthly quilts for a few months, and I am going to pop over to TPT and grab those tonight.
Reagan always has amazing ideas on her blog:

FREE!!!  (probably theee most loved teacher four letter F-word) I had a quick browse at TPT and discovered many great quilt ideas. 

Next to get donations of wallpaper samples for my students to start creating paper quilts. 

I promise to share our quilting progress.

Busy Hands...Busy Minds