Five For Friday, Summer Projects, and an Ocean and ABC Book

Hello Friends!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday today.  I can tell it is the summer because I have to think what day of the week it is when I get up in the morning! My days are filled, but not scheduled; so many days drift into one another and when I really have to know what day it is, I have to stop and think. Sooooo different from the school year when EVERY minute is scheduled and the worry of whether everything you have planned will get done!

So...... my 5 points are definitely random today!

1.  My school garden is growing - yay! I did not plant it until after school was out and I do not have any little ones helping me with it this year - boo hoo! So when I planted, I had to think ahead to things that would be growing when school started and the types of things we could use in our science curriculum at the beginning of the year. So, pumpkins were an obvious choice with the hope that we might get a pumpkin this year! I also planted spices whose leaves have a smell. I thought we could do a "smell" scavenger hunt. I was given a free gourd plant, so I planted that in the garden and thought that if it grows a gourd, we could discuss how people of long ago used plants for vessels and food......

2.  This is the first summer for  a LONG time that I am reading purely for pleasure; no book studies or professional reading. I DO plan to do some professional reading this summer, but for now, I am just enjoying the pleasure of reading. Let's see...... here are a few titles.....

The Memory Child by Steena Holmes
The Collector by Nora Roberts
The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
The Line by J.D Horn
The Source by J.D. Horn

As you can see, I have been reading purely for fun...... I should get on to professional reading in a few weeks!


3.  One of my goals this summer was to get my 20 gallon aquarium set up. I did it! Unfortunately, I started with 6 fish and now have 3 (sad face). BUT,  I am not giving up! The fish that are presently swimming in there are Rosie Barbs and VERY aggressive. I did not know this when I purchased them. I just thought they were pretty and I loved that they were in constant motion. So, now I have to find some fish that will be able to stand up to these little bullies..... that is my next step in this project!

 4.  One wonderful thing about the summer is the freedom to enjoy time outside on the patio or on the front porch.... ahhh........ a Chai Tea in the morning and a lemonade in the afternoon..... Love it!

5.  I HAVE been busy! Cleaning closets, dusting cobwebs, going through clothes......... I also have been creating new resources! As with most kindergartens, my students make an alphabet book. I have been doing this with my students for YEARS and finally, took some time this month to create a resource to share. If you read my blog, you know that I love giving my students step-by-step illustrations to draw and/or create their pictures. In this resource, there is a step-by-step drawing for each letter of the alphabet as well as SH, CH, TH, PH, OW, OO, and the Long Vowels. I also love giving them words that they can read when creating their letter picture. Since we start with the letter A, we start out with a simple 2 word sentence and then progress to 3 sentences when we get to Z and the digraphs. I have included this option in the packet as well. I put their pictures in a binder and at the end of the year, they have a cute alphabet book to keep and share....

I also just finished another "Let's Make a Book" resource. This one is about the Ocean For Little Kids. In this resource, students learn about the Ocean Zones and the animals that call the ocean their home. I taught this unit to my students this past Spring and they LOVED it! We made a big book usig 12" x 18" construction paper, color coded the pages by ocean zones, stapled the pages together, and 'Voila!', they had a fun Ocean Big Book to take home and share! Yay!
Here is a page that one of my sweeties created. It's a bit different than the one included in the packet because my kiddos are my guinea pigs and I changed the words and some of the animals after we finished the unit!

So, that's it for now, my friends!  Make sure that you drop on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to read more fun Five for Friday posts!

Until next time!


Making Paper Mache Apples with Kids

Hello Friends,
I thought I would share how I do a Paper Mache apple with my kiddos.

I have been doing Paper Mache with my class for MANY years! Through much trial and error and the help of a long ago co-worker, I have found a way that makes this process something that can be accomplished in a day rather than over the course of a week. I make this Paper Mache apple with my kindergarten every year. I have no extra helpers; it's just me and the kids! It does take a little bit of time to get it all set up, but once that is done, the process goes fast and the kids are proud of their little Paper Mache apple! Please note that this is a SOLID Paper Mache apple. You do not poke a balloon with a pin and you will not be able to add beans or stones to create a maraca.

  Let's begin with supplies needed:
1.  Newspaper
2.  Masking tape
3.  Paper Mache Paste  
We use Elmer's Paper Mache Paste. We purchase it from a school supply catalog, but I am told you can also get it at Walmart. One thing to be leery of is using wheat based paste. With so many allergies these days, use caution if you mix the paste yourself.
4.  SOLID WHITE paper towels - No designs at all
5.  NON-BLEEDING tissue paper - This is important! Make sure that your tissue is non-bleeding; tissue paper that bleeds will spoil your product. 
6.  You will need something to cover the tables that your kiddos will be working upon. We use plastic tablecloths because the paste does not adhere to plastic as easily as it does a paper product.

1.  The solid white paper towel must be torn into smaller pieces. I usually ask my students to do this. I tear the paper towels at the perforations and put an empty bowl in the center of the table. My students tear the sheets into small pieces and add to the bowl.
2.  Mix the paste. I use a whisk while adding water. This helps to keep the paste smooth. Your paste should be the consistency of thin pudding. It is better to have it too thick than too thin; although either is okay. Thinner paste takes longer to dry. Make sure there are no lumps in your paste because these do not disintegrate after drying.
3.  Cover the tables. Put a bowl of torn paper towels and a tray of paste in the center  of the table for everyone to reach.
4.  Decide what colors of tissue paper are needed. When I am making apples, I use apple colors - green, red, and yellow. The tissue paper must also be cut into small pieces and placed onto a tray. Set the trays aside. 

Okay.... now that you have your supplies gathered, let's get started........

Step 1:
Crumple newspaper into a sphere shape. Use masking tape to maintain the shape. Cover the entire sphere with masking tape.

Step 2:
Once the shape is covered with masking tape, it is time to cover it with WHITE paper towel. 
To do this, dip a piece of paper towel into the Paper Mache paste. Attach it to the shape over the masking tape. Do this until the entire shape is covered with white paper towel. It is important that the paper towel is wet and smooth. Encourage children to overlap their pieces so that the entire shape is covered with paper towel and is wet.


Step 3:
Once the shape is completely covered with wet paper towel, it is time to add color with NON-BLEEDING tissue paper. This is the BEST way to do paper mache! When you use tissue paper, you do not have to wait for the structure to dry so that it can be painted. You add the color with the tissue paper! This is SO COOL!! This is why your tissue paper must be non-bleeding because when you are adding the paper to the apple, it is wet and you do not want the paper to bleed.

Step 4:
Find a spot to lay the apples to let them dry. I usually write each child's name onto a Styrofoam plate and lay their apple upon the plate. (The apple will stick to a paper plate. ) It takes 1-2 days for the apple to dry; dependent on the humidity level. When the apple is dry, hot glue a brown stem and a foam leaf to the top. It is done! Yay! The best thing about doing Paper Mache this way is that you do not have to wait for the apple to dry and THEN get out the paint to paint it. The mess is completed in one setting! Also, the apple is solid, so if your little ones drop it, it won't break. The color also stays, so it lasts a very long time!

Until next time!


Summer Bucket List and Five for Friday

Hello Friends!
Yes, it's me - finally I am writing a post! It has just been CRAZY this past month.... and now, I have a a couple months to breathe and re-boot! Our last day of school was Tuesday and I am still in "gotta get it done now" mode! It always takes me a few weeks to remember that I don't HAVE to get it done on the weekend....... hopefully this will hit me soon!

I started thinking about what I wanted to accomplish this summer and thought that I would create my Summer Bucket list here while also linking with Five For Friday.

1.  Keep my EIGHT flower beds under control - EEK! I LOVE to garden, so this is not a hardship for me except that with 8 flower beds, I cannot work on all of them on the same day. It is not hard work, though, because I have perennials. Every summer, they wait patiently for me to finish school and then when I have time to weed and thin, they pop their pretty faces out and welcome me back!

The poinsettia in the pot is 2 years old and bloomed this Winter! It still has some red leaves!

2.  Revive my fish aquarium. This is a 20 gallon tank and I was going to put in a garage sale, but after re-thinking it, I am going to set it up again. I have had fish since I was 13 years old! This is a hobby that I am not ready to give up yet! Presently, it is sitting in the sun in my back yard...

3.  Take this poor Silhouette off the shelf and LEARN how to use it - gheesh.....

4.  Read everyday! My class gave me an Amazon gift card that I used to buy a Kindle Paperwhite. My old Kindle was accidentally broken and I have missed it so much! It came today and I am charging it up now!

5.  Eat healthy, exercise everyday or at least Monday - Friday, and try to release anxiety that is always there during the school year. I love my job, but I NEED these few months to re-fuel. I stopped at school this afternoon to get something that I had forgotten and everything was already moved out! Seeing all my classroom piled into the hallway and an empty room made me think that I needed to break away for awhile; it will be there in August, right?

I also will be working on more units this summer. I am giving myself a week before I start on them. I am not attending the TPT conference in Las Vegas this summer; it just isn't going to work out for me. I feel sad because I would love to meet some of the awesome people who write for TPT. But there will be other times and I can live vicariously with them through their blogs and Facebook posts!

I am participating in another Bright Ideas Linky which is scheduled for June 21. That should be fun! I love all the ideas in this linky! 

Make sure you visit Doodle Bugs Teaching and read some fun Five For Friday ideas!

 Until next time!