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March 13, 2018

Art Projects to Welcome Spring and Combat Spring Fever

By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    I love spring! After the long winter, there’s nothing more refreshing than blue skies and bright, sunny days. There’s also that little thing called SPRING BREAK! This all also contributes to a perennial bout of student restlessness. To help combat spring fever and celebrate spring, here are some ideas to help draw in the attention of your students and brighten up your classroom at the same time.

    Water Lilies

    This is the first time I did this project with my students and now it's one of my favorites! I really wasn’t sure if I had bitten off more than I could chew, considering I teach kindergarten. But, to my surprise, my kids totally ROCKED this project! The flowers are beautiful. I love that they are three-dimensional and have such vibrant colors. Our school’s Art Night is next week and these flowers are going to be perfect for the event.

    I learned a few things when I made these gorgeous water lilies with my kindergartners. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time. While none of them are very difficult, there are several steps We completed our flowers over four days, and that timing seemed perfect.

    The first thing to do is paint a piece of white construction paper with blue tempera paint. I didn’t water it down at all, and I had the kids paint the paper completely — no white peeking through. Before they dried (and the paint dries quickly), sprinkle a little salt over it to create texture.

    For the lily pad, use this template or just freehand your own oval on a sheet of construction paper, one per student. Using glue, the students then covered the oval with little squares of tissue paper. I supplied them with yellow, and both light and dark green tissue paper. When it was dry, the students cut the ovals out and then I cut a little sliver out to make it look like a real lily pad. My early finishers helped their friends who were taking a little longer to finish — I LOVE teamwork! These kiddos even gave up half of their recess to help each other.

    The kids each got a piece of white construction paper on which they painted their chosen color for their water lilies (using dense colors much like they did for the water). When it was dry, I flipped it over and drew the petals for them. This was the hardest part of the project for sure. You need six large petals and six small petals to make the lily. It was even tough for me to fit them all onto one piece of paper. Older kids could use a petal template and draw their own.

    The kids then cut out the petals and began making their flowers. The large petals get glued down first, and the small petals get glued down on top of the large ones. I demonstrated how to do it, and encouraged the kids to overlap and not glue the small petals directly on top of the large ones. Another important detail is that you only put glue on the rectangular part of the petal. If they put glue on the whole petal, they will not get to bend it, to give it dimension.

    I used crepe paper for the stamen and cut one side to look like fringe. The kids rolled it up (great fine motor skill activity) and glued it down in the middle of their flower. I hadn't been sure what material to use for the stamen, but the crepe paper perfectly completed these lovely water lilies.

    My kids were so proud of their hard work, and we are excited to share them with our families at Art Night!

    Let’s Find Out

    Springtime gives teachers a picture-perfect opportunity to teach about habitats and animals. I was so excited when I saw the Let’s Find Out: Tip-toe to the Pond issue! My kids love their magazines and using this issue was a seamless way to segue from waterlilies to ponds. Let’s Find Out is a weekly nonfiction magazine with kindergarten classrooms in mind.

    Rainbow Bunnies

    Who doesn’t love rainbows and bunnies? This art project uses them both, and the results are adorable! These little bunnies brought BIG smiles to our classroom and I can’t walk by them without feeling a tad more cheerful.

    We got started by painting rainbow colored lines on our white pieces of construction paper. We used tempera paint, and tried hard to not mix the colors. My kinders did an awesome job, and while their papers were drying, we began our directed drawing lesson.

    My kids love doing directed drawing, and I love that they are so engaged. You can almost hear a pin drop — and that a rarity in kindergarten. I also love doing these lessons because it reinforces following directions and fine motor skills. But most of all, I adore the uniqueness of the art it produces.

    When we finished drawing our bunnies, we traced them with permanent markers, water colored the ears and nose, and finally, cut them out. We glued them to the rainbow papers we painted earlier, and voila!: darling rainbow bunnies for the win!

    Bunny Anchor Chart

    After reading several books about bunnies and having conversations about this cute little animal, the kids and I created a chart. My students shared lots of things they knew about bunnies and we put them under the headings: have, are, and can. If you would like to make this chart with your class, please use the template I created.

    Bunny Writing

    My kids love to write, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than reading what they have written. When we started the school year, many of my kids didn’t know the letters of the alphabet. But now, each and every one of my cuties can write! Anchor charts are a great resource we use all the time in kindergarten. We used the anchor chart to write three facts about bunnies. The bunny writing paper has a place for students to write and plenty of room to add illustrations to help their writing come to life!

    Scholastic Teachables: Bunny Subtraction

    I found this little gem on Scholastic Teachables. I love using this resource because, regardless of what I am teaching, I can always find great materials to connect the curriculum. My kids are working on subtraction in math, and this was a fun activity to reinforce the concept. I recommend using jelly beans as manipulatives. Your kids will appreciate the help, and love the treat when they finish Jelly Beans to Share (FREE until 3/31/2018).

    Rainbow Clouds

    If you want a quick and easy activity to brighten your classroom, this one’s for you! It’s super easy to prep, adorable on a bulletin board, and gives kids the writing practice they need. Oh, by the way, Penguins Love Colors is a must-have book if you and your littles are learning about colors and rainbows!

    To get started, I created a cloud template that the kids cut out. Next, they glued rainbow strips to the backside of their clouds. Then they flipped them over, and with their permanent markers, they wrote an item to correspond with each color of the rainbow. Some kids sounded out the words, while others used the color anchor chart we created together.

    I love how this little guy used the chart to make sure he was doing his best work! Many of my students referenced the chart, but this little man used it create a great piece of work. He was beyond proud to say the least!

    Rainbow Books

    There are many books about rainbows, but these are some of my favorites ones! I think my VERY favorite one is Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. There is something so magical about a rainbow. To this day, I still am mesmerized by their beauty.

    Beyond Bunny Writing

    As I said earlier, my little kinders have come a long, long way in writing. I love Immacula Rhode’s Scrambled Sentences series. These activity books provide meaningful practice for all abilities in your class. At the beginning of the year, we use a lot of the sheets from Scrambled Sentences: Alphabet. As the year moves on, and for my kiddos who already know their letters, we move onto the Scrambled Sentences: Phonics, Scrambled Sentences: Sight Words, and Scrambled Sentences: Word Families books. We do a lot of hands-on activities to learn about these essential reading skills, but what I really like about Scrambled Sentences, is that they boost early reading skills. They also provide opportunities for my students to develop fine motor skills by cutting, gluing, and coloring. They can be purchased at the Scholastic Teacher Store.

    Here's hoping you and your students have fun welcoming spring. I hope you can use some of these activities and that you always remember, when you love what you teach, your students will love what they learn!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following my blog, and here’s to a great March filled with lots of fun learning, and bright sunny days!

    xo-Shari

    P.S. Have a wonderful spring break . . . you’ve earned it!!

    I love spring! After the long winter, there’s nothing more refreshing than blue skies and bright, sunny days. There’s also that little thing called SPRING BREAK! This all also contributes to a perennial bout of student restlessness. To help combat spring fever and celebrate spring, here are some ideas to help draw in the attention of your students and brighten up your classroom at the same time.

    Water Lilies

    This is the first time I did this project with my students and now it's one of my favorites! I really wasn’t sure if I had bitten off more than I could chew, considering I teach kindergarten. But, to my surprise, my kids totally ROCKED this project! The flowers are beautiful. I love that they are three-dimensional and have such vibrant colors. Our school’s Art Night is next week and these flowers are going to be perfect for the event.

    I learned a few things when I made these gorgeous water lilies with my kindergartners. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time. While none of them are very difficult, there are several steps We completed our flowers over four days, and that timing seemed perfect.

    The first thing to do is paint a piece of white construction paper with blue tempera paint. I didn’t water it down at all, and I had the kids paint the paper completely — no white peeking through. Before they dried (and the paint dries quickly), sprinkle a little salt over it to create texture.

    For the lily pad, use this template or just freehand your own oval on a sheet of construction paper, one per student. Using glue, the students then covered the oval with little squares of tissue paper. I supplied them with yellow, and both light and dark green tissue paper. When it was dry, the students cut the ovals out and then I cut a little sliver out to make it look like a real lily pad. My early finishers helped their friends who were taking a little longer to finish — I LOVE teamwork! These kiddos even gave up half of their recess to help each other.

    The kids each got a piece of white construction paper on which they painted their chosen color for their water lilies (using dense colors much like they did for the water). When it was dry, I flipped it over and drew the petals for them. This was the hardest part of the project for sure. You need six large petals and six small petals to make the lily. It was even tough for me to fit them all onto one piece of paper. Older kids could use a petal template and draw their own.

    The kids then cut out the petals and began making their flowers. The large petals get glued down first, and the small petals get glued down on top of the large ones. I demonstrated how to do it, and encouraged the kids to overlap and not glue the small petals directly on top of the large ones. Another important detail is that you only put glue on the rectangular part of the petal. If they put glue on the whole petal, they will not get to bend it, to give it dimension.

    I used crepe paper for the stamen and cut one side to look like fringe. The kids rolled it up (great fine motor skill activity) and glued it down in the middle of their flower. I hadn't been sure what material to use for the stamen, but the crepe paper perfectly completed these lovely water lilies.

    My kids were so proud of their hard work, and we are excited to share them with our families at Art Night!

    Let’s Find Out

    Springtime gives teachers a picture-perfect opportunity to teach about habitats and animals. I was so excited when I saw the Let’s Find Out: Tip-toe to the Pond issue! My kids love their magazines and using this issue was a seamless way to segue from waterlilies to ponds. Let’s Find Out is a weekly nonfiction magazine with kindergarten classrooms in mind.

    Rainbow Bunnies

    Who doesn’t love rainbows and bunnies? This art project uses them both, and the results are adorable! These little bunnies brought BIG smiles to our classroom and I can’t walk by them without feeling a tad more cheerful.

    We got started by painting rainbow colored lines on our white pieces of construction paper. We used tempera paint, and tried hard to not mix the colors. My kinders did an awesome job, and while their papers were drying, we began our directed drawing lesson.

    My kids love doing directed drawing, and I love that they are so engaged. You can almost hear a pin drop — and that a rarity in kindergarten. I also love doing these lessons because it reinforces following directions and fine motor skills. But most of all, I adore the uniqueness of the art it produces.

    When we finished drawing our bunnies, we traced them with permanent markers, water colored the ears and nose, and finally, cut them out. We glued them to the rainbow papers we painted earlier, and voila!: darling rainbow bunnies for the win!

    Bunny Anchor Chart

    After reading several books about bunnies and having conversations about this cute little animal, the kids and I created a chart. My students shared lots of things they knew about bunnies and we put them under the headings: have, are, and can. If you would like to make this chart with your class, please use the template I created.

    Bunny Writing

    My kids love to write, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than reading what they have written. When we started the school year, many of my kids didn’t know the letters of the alphabet. But now, each and every one of my cuties can write! Anchor charts are a great resource we use all the time in kindergarten. We used the anchor chart to write three facts about bunnies. The bunny writing paper has a place for students to write and plenty of room to add illustrations to help their writing come to life!

    Scholastic Teachables: Bunny Subtraction

    I found this little gem on Scholastic Teachables. I love using this resource because, regardless of what I am teaching, I can always find great materials to connect the curriculum. My kids are working on subtraction in math, and this was a fun activity to reinforce the concept. I recommend using jelly beans as manipulatives. Your kids will appreciate the help, and love the treat when they finish Jelly Beans to Share (FREE until 3/31/2018).

    Rainbow Clouds

    If you want a quick and easy activity to brighten your classroom, this one’s for you! It’s super easy to prep, adorable on a bulletin board, and gives kids the writing practice they need. Oh, by the way, Penguins Love Colors is a must-have book if you and your littles are learning about colors and rainbows!

    To get started, I created a cloud template that the kids cut out. Next, they glued rainbow strips to the backside of their clouds. Then they flipped them over, and with their permanent markers, they wrote an item to correspond with each color of the rainbow. Some kids sounded out the words, while others used the color anchor chart we created together.

    I love how this little guy used the chart to make sure he was doing his best work! Many of my students referenced the chart, but this little man used it create a great piece of work. He was beyond proud to say the least!

    Rainbow Books

    There are many books about rainbows, but these are some of my favorites ones! I think my VERY favorite one is Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. There is something so magical about a rainbow. To this day, I still am mesmerized by their beauty.

    Beyond Bunny Writing

    As I said earlier, my little kinders have come a long, long way in writing. I love Immacula Rhode’s Scrambled Sentences series. These activity books provide meaningful practice for all abilities in your class. At the beginning of the year, we use a lot of the sheets from Scrambled Sentences: Alphabet. As the year moves on, and for my kiddos who already know their letters, we move onto the Scrambled Sentences: Phonics, Scrambled Sentences: Sight Words, and Scrambled Sentences: Word Families books. We do a lot of hands-on activities to learn about these essential reading skills, but what I really like about Scrambled Sentences, is that they boost early reading skills. They also provide opportunities for my students to develop fine motor skills by cutting, gluing, and coloring. They can be purchased at the Scholastic Teacher Store.

    Here's hoping you and your students have fun welcoming spring. I hope you can use some of these activities and that you always remember, when you love what you teach, your students will love what they learn!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following my blog, and here’s to a great March filled with lots of fun learning, and bright sunny days!

    xo-Shari

    P.S. Have a wonderful spring break . . . you’ve earned it!!

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