Tag Archives: art

Caps for Sale, Kindergarten and Design

Our kindergarten classes are exploring jobs and I read the classic, Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina which is about a job that is no longer, a peddler.  The students love this book, especially the part where they get to be monkeys-copying the peddler as he shakes his finger at them, etc.


Cap Design-Art in the Library

I drew a cap so that the students could design their own cap with their favorite colors, objects, designs.  The sky was the limit and they really enjoyed it.


Check out the smiling face!



His favorite thing is sharks!



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Dot Day and Google Hangout

I have been wanting to do a Google Hangout and thought a Dot Day occasion would be fun.  There is a new library media specialist, Abby,  in my school system who was willing to be a guinea pig (she’d never done one before either) so we worked out the details and gave it a whirl!

We came up with a second grade class at each location that would be attentive and interested.  She collaborated with the art teacher at her school as she hadn’t done Dot Day before.

Planning Was Important

I sent blank circles to Abby so her students would be creating dots just like our students.  I also sent questions about The Dot for the students to answer.  I chose several completed dots from our end and took photos of them as ours would already be up on the wall by the time of the Google Hangout.  Our second grade teacher had her students answer the questions and then gave me several good responses.

Abby and I tested Google Hangout a couple of days before hand to get a feel for how it worked.

Google Hangout Success

Our students were not really sure of what to expect, but they soon got into it.  They really enjoyed it.  After introductions I had our students come up and share the photos of their dots that I had printed out.

After each group shared their dots and writings we all watched a YouTube video of a reading of Peter Reynolds’ book, Ish.  I thought it continued and extended the theme of The Dot about creativity, risk-taking and art.


Watching a reading of Ish on YouTube.


Our first Google Hangout was a success!


What we looked like from the other end! That’s Kelvin reading his written response to a question.

After completing the Hangout I showed the students where the other school was located using Google Maps.  During the Hangout we each shared a photo of the exterior of our school so our students would have a context to the other location.

I will encourage my teachers to reach out to other schools or experts who they could contact and have an exchange of ideas or information.


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International Dot Day 2019

2019 International Dot Day is in the books at International Studies Elementary Charter School.  I started the week before reading Peter Reynolds’ book, The Dot, to all of my classes, explaining that they may have heard this book before, but that they are not exactly the same person as they were the last time.  The may have a different perspective as they have grown, physically, socially, intellectually and experientially.

As I did last year, every student (all 420+) colored in a dot, which was used to create a large mural in the central hall.  It turned out beautifully and the students and staff are loving it.  Several have said they wished it would stay up all year.  It does have a great textural quality to it, in addition to the amazing designs and color scheme.  It goes to show how much of an impact individual pieces have when pulled together.




Promoting Dot Day and IB Learner Profile Connection

On September 16th we celebrated Dot Day by encouraging faculty and students to wear dots.  We kicked off the day having students read a brief history of Dot Day and the global phenomenom it has become.  I made small posters with a couple of the IB Learner Profile attributes that are seen in the story (along with quotes from the book to make that connection visible).


Dots Everywhere!


At dismissal I recruited a couple of students to display a large poster and the IB Learner Profile posters so that parents could get a deeper appreciation of the themes and concepts of the book.  It was HOT but the students were troopers to stand out there!





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Summer Gig-Storytime at ESOL Camp

One of my teacher colleagues asked me to be a guest reader at the ESOL summer camp where she is teaching.  I jumped at the chance.  One, I love to read books to children and two, I would get to see some of our ESOL (or ELL-English Language Learner) students.

Their theme was underwater things, so that opened up all sorts of possibilities.  I had to plan for two groups, K-Grade 2 and Gr. 3-5.  So many books to choose from!


I am rarely in any photos as I’m usually the one taking them!

A House for Hermit Crab and More


I settled on A House for Hermit Crab for both groups and filled in a couple extra books depending on the age group.  I designed an activity for the K-Gr. 2 group to go along with the theme in Eric Carle’s book about the hermit crab.  His house is too plain.


Showing my example of my decorated shell.


So after reading the book, I asked the children to decorate their shell with things they liked or however they wanted to make it less plain and boring.  I drew a shell resembling Hermit Crab’s and made copies for everyone.  I also asked them to add themselves inside the shell.  IMG_1512

I also read, Somewhere in the Ocean by Jennifer Ward and T. J. Marsh.  I love Kenneth J. Spengler’s illustrations (as did the children) and it was good for this age group because of the rhyming words.


Shark Lady and Plankton is Pushy-Grades 3-5

I wanted to hook this older group right away so I started with Jonathan Fenske’s Plankton is Pushy.  I thought they would enjoy the humor and they did!


I followed up with Jess Keating’s biography of Eugenie Clark, Shark Lady.  This short, but engaging story of Clark’s passion for sharks was just right for this age group and setting.


I ended with A House for Hermit Crab, which was also a hit.  I had planned to have them build a house with LEGOS, but time did not permit.

I am definitely going to use these books and activities in the upcoming school year.

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After the Fall

I knew I wanted to do some makerspace type activity after reading After the Fall :How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat.  Obviously paper airplanes would be the activity, but that wasn’t enough.  Santat takes the familiar rhyme and let’s us know what happened to Humpty Dumpty after his great fall, although in this case, all the kings horses and men (the name of the hospital in the book) did put him back together again.  But he can’t bird watch from his favorite high perch because he is now afraid of heights. So will he conquer his fear and get back up there again? And the story involves him making paper airplanes.IMG_9414

After reading the book to the fourth grade class we discussed what they thought the themes of the book were.  They decided it was about having courage and not giving up even if you fail once.

Paper Airplanes and Reflection

I asked the students to think about a time they struggled and how they resolved that situation. They drew and wrote about a situation where they struggled but kept on trying.  They then made an airplane out of their paper and flew them.  We flew them in the library, which they thought was great.  Some made adjustments to their plane design for a better flight.

My Reflection on this Activity: YouTube Instructions

I was very surprised after doing this with the first fourth grade class how few students knew how to make a paper airplane!  So, for the next class I had a few YouTube videos and websites pulled up on the library computers if students wanted to watch those.  After trying this method, I would definitely include sites with only VERY simple airplanes.  Students still struggled while attempting to follow the directions and videos.

Lesson learned: these students need to have more activities to develop fine motor skills!



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The Most Perfect Snowman

A last minute idea turned out great!  I needed a quick book and activity for third grade classes for our first week back to school after the winter break.  I perused through some new books and saw, The Most Perfect Snowman by Chris Britt.  This story is about sharing and being judged on your clothes; it’s a combination of fantasy and real emotions.  After reading this book, I asked the students to create their “perfect snowman.”

Creating Their Perfect Snowman

I asked them to think what their perfect snowman would look like.  Granted, our children don’t have much (in some cases, any) experience in building real snowmen, since it hardly ever snows in south Georgia.

I asked them to think of how their snowman would show emotion and motion.  How could they express themselves? What might they do?

They really enjoyed the freedom to be creative.  Some struggle when they have very few directions.  I did hear a few, “I may a mistake; I need a new paper.”  No, just turn it over or treat that “mistake” as an opportunity!

They loved this activity and it was so simple, construction paper and crayons.

I love their artwork, including traditional snowmen, a cowboy snowman, police snowman, teacher snowman, football player snowman and more.

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Kindergarten and Halloween

I have been attempting to give the kindergarten students more opportunity for drawing and writing in the the library.  They are currently exploring holidays in their unit of inquiry.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

img_7539.jpgAfter we read a book about Halloween, Linda Williams’s book, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, I asked the students to think of something they were NOT afraid of, that others might be afraid of. I copied a paper headed with “I am not afraid of” and asked them to draw that thing.


Today one of the kindergarten students asked when they came in with their class if they were going to “write” today in the library.  Building up those expectations!


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Kindergarten – Grandparents and The Hello, Goodbye Window

The kindergarten’s current Unit of Inquiry focuses on families and in preparation for our school’s upcoming Grandparents’ Day we read, The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster. After reading this book about a little girl and her grandparents the students drew a picture of their grandparents. I suggested they think about what their grandparents looked like.  Did they wear glasses?  Have a mustache?  Have grey hair?  I think it helped some students key in and include these details.


Created Window Frames

I created window frames by cutting a large piece of construction paper (12 x 18) in half and using a template cut openings with an exacto knife and metal straight edge.  A bit tedious but not complicated.

They glued on a window frame and created their own “hello, goodbye window.”








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Dot Day 2018

We did it!  I am celebrating International Dot Day again with our students and this year I did something a little different, creating one large art project.  I was inspired by an Instagram post by art teacher, Kristi Wenger; she did this display at her school.  First, I had to organize a lot of crayons!  This was time consuming, but very necessary.  Good thing I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts!

Some other planning was involved to get the rainbow effect, but it was worth it.


I read Peter Reynolds book, The Dot, to every class and then each student created a dot.  Over 400!



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The Enormous Turnip Meets Forces

Our second grade classes are exploring forces, especially the concept of push and pull. Georgia Standards of Excellence: S2P2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to explain the effect of a force (a push or a pull) in the movement of an object (changes in speed and direction).  I started thinking of books featuring a push or pull and thought of the traditional folk tale, The Great Big Enormous Turnip, written by Alexei Tolstoy.  I like the version illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.


After reading the book we talked about how the people pulled on the turnip, creating a great force to get that vegetable out of the ground.  We also made the connection to a similar experience they have every year at field day–the tug of war! I asked them to think of another person, animal or thing that could apply a force to get that turnip out.

Using paper and crayons they drew the turnip and how they imagined another version of the story.  For the most part they came up with different ideas, gorillas, trucks, shovels, even Big Foot (when I told them to thing of something very strong).  Some just illustrated the story (the old man, the old woman, grand-daughter, dog, cat and mouse); I guess I need to encourage them to think outside the box, use their imagination and get crazy!



I even bought a turnip as I figured few if any of the children would have eaten one.  Several had heard of turnip greens (we are in the south after all).


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