Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mt. Vesuvius: Butcher Paper Mountain

 Submitted by Linda
When you're a teacher, you end up with a reputation over the years for certain things that you 'always' do in your classroom. These things often become an annual tradition because kids will ask, "When are we going to do the _____?" Or in my case, "When are you going to make the big volcano?"

For years, and years, I've made Mt. Fuji as part of my environment for our study of Japan.  I learned this trick from my colleague Elaine, who can literally create anything out of butcher paper.  

My Mt. Fuji is hanging over the door to our 'middle room', which is between two kindergarten classrooms. If you peek carefully, you can see that through Mt. Fuji, is an exit through another volcano (in this case, it's Mt. Etna in Italy - not geographically correct, but fun nonetheless). In the middle dark portion of the volcano, we have a red light bulb and a model of the inner parts of a volcano. It's very exciting for the kids to walk through the volcano.
 So when I decided to teach Italy this year, I knew that Mt. Vesuvius would make an appearance. This photo shows it 'in process', but you get the idea.
Because it is an active volcano, I added some lava just for fun.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Happy 80th Birthday!

 Submitted by Linda
My mom-in-law has a big birthday tomorrow, the big 'eight-oh'!  We had a family gathering last Saturday to celebrate. Here is Craig with his mom. You can see where he got his beautiful eyes!
A custom card was the order of the day for this wonderful lady, so again I used Memorable Moments, with Flower Shop and Petite Petals. I love these colors, especially the Pool Party with the Crisp Canteloupe ruffled ribbon.
The highlight of the day for everyone was seeing most of the great grandchildren gathered together. The mommies and daddies plopped them down and we all quickly snapped some photos. Grandma Ginger has a total of 15 'greats', so you can see that three are missing.
Such cutie pies! Here's to many more 'Happy Birthdays', Ginger!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Taking Italy to Kindergarten #2: Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii, and Mosaics

Submitted by Linda
I will confess that I'm not super great at history. In fact, I think that my Oregon public school education was lacking, because I was an adult before I knew the difference between all of the U.S. wars. Or maybe I was a student that was lacking, since I do seem to  remember a lot of report card comments about too much socializing. Either way, I'm now playing catch up on world history. And as an adult, I find history much more relevant and meaningful than I did in my younger days. 

I didn't know much about Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii, except for this painting that my kindergarten friends get to see and experience on our annual Huntington field trip. It was painted by Joseph Wright near 1776, and depicts the famous eruption of 79 AD. Though he spent several years in Italy, didn't see Vesuvius erupt while he was there.
I was so looking forward to seeing Mt. Vesuvius, that I eagerly snapped this first glimpse from the bus window.
In Pompeii, we had a walking tour of the ruins that was fascinating! Here you can see the street signs (wordless, because of lack of literacy).
So much of the people's stories can be deciphered by the ruins - where and how they lived, what they did for a living, and so on.  We saw some casts of people, made by the ash as they were dying from the gasses. Very sobering and moving.
I love this shot of the ruins in front of the mountain.
Now, let's take a quick time out from Vesuvius for a minute!

 One of the art forms that is visible all over Italy is the mosaic.  This rooster was outdoors on a building in Venice.
These next two were on the floor of the Vatican Museum.

Mosaic even makes its way into advertisements on the sidewalks!
This beautiful fountain was in Northern Italy, in the lake city of Stresa.
So,  let's get back to the mountain! After our tour, we stayed at a hotel right on the Bay of Naples with another gorgeous view of the mountain and the ruins of Pompeii and the new city of Pompei (notice the new spelling).
I decided to have my students create a mosaic of the scene pictured here. I chopped a zillion tiny squares of papers, and began with one group of six students on just the foreground. It was hard to be patient and glue one square at a time. Now look below at the final products: Just for fun we added a tiny bit of lava erupting. I love how they made the green bushes and trees right above the rocks in the foreground.
Throughout our stay at that hotel, I saw various views of Vesuvius, so each group of six friends made a different view, using different colors, for their mosaic.
This pink one was very early in the morning, as the sun was rising.
The picture below shows the view with the blue ocean in the foreground, as well as the version showing the ruins of Pompeii in the foreground.
On the far right you can see the sunrise version!
I love how these turned out, though I will confess we worked in small groups several different days to create each portion of the picture. I like it that they don't all look exactly the same. If you look carefully in the above photo at the mosaic to the left of the thermostat....you will see a very organized careful artist who created her mosaic in mostly an 'AB' pattern. Love it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Taking Italy to Kindergarten: The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Submitted by Linda
Many of you know that I had the privilege to visit Italy for two weeks this spring with Craig, who was taking a group of APU Alumni, friends, and parents. He travels a lot, and now and again I get to join in. This was definitely a "bucket list" kind of trip for us. The only problem is that a visit to Italy remains on my "bucket list", because I am so eager to go back again.

Of course I was amazed by the art, history, and architecture, but the warmth of the people, and their hospitality spoke my love language. How could you not enjoy a place where people want to feed you their amazing food?

Since I was released from school to go, it was important to me that I returned with resources and knowledge to teach my students about Italy for our Multicultural Day, which always happens at the end of May. Perfect timing! For years and years I taught about Japan, but this trip converted me to the way of the Italians.

In kindergarten, we can't get too detailed, but they all now know about the iconic leaning tower of Pisa. Many bell towers lean in Europe, but this is one of the most famous. 
Construction on the tower began in 1173, but was halted in 1178 because it was already tilting due to unstable soil.  In 1272 (about a century later) construction resumed, and at that point they tried to compensate for the tilt by making one side taller than the other, which means the tower is actually curved. Construction was halted (due to wars)in 1284, resumed in 1319, and the bell chamber was finished in 1372.

In this photo I'm holding a 'Flat Stanley' that I brought with me for a first grade student at our school.
Over the years, the tower was leaning further and further until they closed it to the public in 1990. After a decade of reconstruction and stabilization work, it was reopened in 2001.  It is now back to the same lean it had in 1838, and is open for folks who would like to buy a ticket and climb to the top.


So after a pretend airplane ride to Pisa (via Youtube), our project was to transform a paper towel tube into their own leaning tower with crayon resist. I'm sure the degree of tilt is not accurate, but they loved doing it!
Thanks to technology, and my amazing teammate Denise, the students also created postcards from somewhere in Italy that they "visited". In the foreground you can see a student in front of the tower. These are super cute - I blurred my little friend's faces for their privacy, but you can get the idea.
Stay tuned for more Italy projects!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Altoid Tins: Back to School Treats

Submitted by Linda
Here's a shot of that amazing Storytime paper I was raving about yesterday. We recently did another project with it that I can't wait to share with you.
Michelle's friend Teri is an avid Altoids consumer, and somehow I mentioned that we should be recycling those cute tins. So she started saving them for me, and I started pinning ideas on Pinterest.
Lately when I was doing a tidy in my craft room, I realized that I had about 60 tins. Time to get busy. We decided to cover them with paper, inside and out, for 'Back to School' treats for our school administrators, secretaries, and grade level team members.

We started by covering the inside with paper. There are lots of tutorials on Pinterest, but it's pretty straightforward: trace the bottom, cut and glue it inside the lid, and so on.  Measure a strip for the inside, and tuck it in with some adhesive, piece of cake, right? Since we were making a bunch, I made cardboard patterns for outside of lid, inside of lid, inside of bottom, and bottom (we had to cover the nutritional info on the bottom of the tins).
The outside was a little more concerning, because it involved Mod Podge, which is always a sticky endeavor. We attached this cute handwriting paper around the tin.
And now......wait for it......the tops. They are so cute, I saved the best for last!
A button here, an embellishment there, a tiny Tim Holz paper clip, and some brown sponging on the flashcard.
This little queen may be my fave. I think I'll save that for my (female) principal.
But what to put inside? Our research led us to put six Dove chocolates inside, which fit perfectly!
This would be a darling project for any time of year. And if anyone needs tins, I have plenty to share.

Monday, August 11, 2014

M is for Margo

Submitted by Linda
Recently, one of my teaching partners and I met with a colleague in a neighboring district for some professional collaboration. Since our school is adding a Transitional Kindergarten component to our regular kindergarten, we wanted to pick Margo's brain. Since she was busy setting up her classroom, and was still willing to meet with us and share her wisdom, I decided that some monogrammed cards would be a perfect little 'thank you' gift.

These darling papers are from Stampin' Up's Storytime line, which is ON SALE on SU's clearance rack for $4.39 (pack of 12 two-sided sheets). Click HERE to shop.

The alphabet I used is good ol' Whimsical Alphabet which is long since retired.
Colors used are Wild Wasabi, Pool Party, So Saffron, and Real Red.

One of the paper designs is a sheet full of cute flashcards. I couldn't resist these two kiddos in the wagon.
I rarely see 'teacher paper' as timeless and classic as this stuff, so I have stocked up!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Apple for the Teacher:Tri-fold Thank You

Submitted by Linda
Now that it is August, my brain begins to focus on 'back to school'. During the summer, I'm a big fan of completely unwinding and occupying my brain with other things, since during the school year, I'm pretty focused on school. This summer has been a time of relaxation, recharging and organization for me. 

That said, here is a wonderful 'thank you' idea for your child's future teachers. I received this card at the end of last year from my friend Stacey (and her kiddos), who became my friend when I was her children's teacher. This is so stinkin' cute - and just wait for the inside!

The card is a tri-fold card, and when it's opened, you see a picture of me and Kyle, when he was in kindergarten (he is now in high school). Also, you can see a handwritten message.

When you open the third side, you see me with twins Meghan and Jack, when they were in K. In the middle is a current picture, taken one recent afternoon with the kids all grown up. Meghan and Jack just graduated from sixth grade, so this family is done at Sumner, so Stacey and her crew made the rounds to distribute a card like this to every teacher that her kids had. I didn't have daughter Andrea, but her picture was in the teacher's cards who taught her. It's a fantastic project, that required a lot of pre-planning. But so precious!
Mine has lived on my sideboard all summer.
Goodbyes can be hard, but this was such a dear way to exit a school that has been part of their lives for many years. Thanks to Facebook, I can still see what these kids are up to and I love hanging out (and crafting with) their mom. So this isn't really goodbye. Thank goodness.