Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Leaf Printing with the Twos

My guest blogger, Lini, is back sharing another wonderful activity.

This week my 2s class made leaf prints, a project I have done before but with a few tweaks it was more interesting and the results more impressive than in the past.
I set out large leaves and tempera for painting. 
I encouraged the children to paint both sides of the leaf (we used paper plates to paint on).

I helped children transfer the leaf by the stem onto a folded paper closing the leaf in between.

 Using their hands, children rubbed the paper with the leaf inside, then opened it to see the fabulous print it made.

Some children wanted to leave the painted leaf stuck on the on the paper, others chose to pull it off. 

Some added glitter to finish it off.

I know it is all about the process, but it doesn't hurt that they came out stunningly beautiful!
I love them on the bulletin board, but they would also be lovely to laminate for holiday placemats. 

This morning I got a fabulous email with photo from the parent who worked in my classroom on Friday who had already done the activity with her older daughters in the morning!

Community Soup

We recently read two wonderful books for children, Pumpkin Soup, and Delicious both by Helen Cooper.
In the first story three animals engage in their regular ritual of making pumpkin soup.
Product Details
 A squabble soon arises causing a serious problem for the friends to solve.
 Product Details  In the next tale, the friends are once again in a difficult situation as they do not have any pumpkins with which to make their soup.  They have to get creative with other vegetables.
We also read, one of my favorite stories, Tops and Bottoms.  Tops & Bottoms
This is a clever story line that engages the reader to learn about roots,stems and leaves and from which part of the plant different vegetables come.

After reading these stories we started talking about various vegetables and soups and decided to make our own soup.  We made a list while brainstorming vegetables we knew until we had come up with a different vegetable for each student to bring to class.  That was 16 different ingredients for us!

 The children brought their vegetables to school on Monday.  We asked for them the day after a weekend to allow shopping time and an extra day before soup making in case someone forgot an item.  We used that day to explore the veggies...we sorted them, looked at them with magnifying glasses, held them, smelled them, and then they began comparing how heavy they were to one another.

 Upon observing this, we brought out our pan balances and the children engaged in weighing various combinations of the vegetables.

We had to be willing to allow the children to touch and explore the food and not worry about germs at this point.  We knew we would be scrubbing and pealing them.

The next day, we started our soup activity by writing the recipe together which I copied for each child.

  We set up stations for washing, peeling and chopping the vegetables. I even brought in my food processor for the tough to chop items such as the rutabaga and the children enjoyed putting the items in and watching them get sliced.

 After adding all of our chopped vegetables, we added chicken broth and put the pot of the stove to cook.

  We could smell the cabbage fairly soon.  It was certainly an interesting smelling soup and a very pretty color due to the beets.  We predicted how the vegetables would change during the cooking process.  Most of the children though they would get softer.  When it was cooked, in true community soup nature, we offered some to all the classes in the building.  The children enjoyed explaining to the younger children how we had made it.

Sadly only about 2 children actually liked the soup, but everyone did try it.  If we do this again sometime, we will think of a vegetable other than cabbage....hmmm, how could we forget green beans or peas....?!

It was a community and cooperative effort and many of these children learned about some vegetables they had never heard of or seen, much less tasted.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Playing

Preparing for a talk on how children learn through play, I was searching for a favorite poem.  I wish I could give credit to the author, but I cannot find one listed.  I wanted to share it with you...

When I’m building in the block room, please don’t say I’m “Just Playing.”
For you see, I’m learning as I play about balances and shapes.
Who knows, I may be an architect some day.
When I’m getting all dressed up; setting the table, caring for the babies,
Don’t get the idea I’m “Just Playing.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play;
I may be a mother or father some day.
When you see me sitting in a chair, reading to an imaginary audience.
Please don’t laugh and think I’m “Just Playing.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play;
I may be a teacher someday.
When you see me combing the bushes for bugs,
Or packing my pockets with choice things I find; don’t pass it off as “Just Play.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play:
I may be a scientist someday.
When you see me engrossed in a puzzle or some “plaything” at my school,
Please don’t feel the time is wasted.
For, you see, I’m learning as I play. I’m learning to solve problems and concentrate.
I may be in business some day.
When you see me cooking or tasting foods,
Please don’t think that because I enjoy it, it is “Just Play.”
I’m learning to follow directions and see differences.
I may be a cook someday.
When you see me learning to skip, hop, run and move my body;
Please don’t say I’m “Just Playing.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play; I’m learning how my body works.
I may be a doctor, nurse or athlete someday.
When you asked me, what I’ve done at school today,
And I say “I just played”; please don’t misunderstand me.
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m learning to enjoy and be successful in my work;
I’m preparing for tomorrow.
Today, I am a child and my work is play.

I am glad that my own children have grown up surrounded by people who believe in the value of play.  My own thirteen year old did not hesitate to pick up her new cell phone and in a matter of a day, she has figured out more than I know about my own phone.  "How did you learn all that so quickly", I asked her.  "I just played with it," she confidently answered.  
I hope you have found some time to play today.