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April 10, 2018

Cherry Blossom Art and Other Springtime Activities 

By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    This year, our spring break came early. There really wasn’t much of an opportunity to properly welcome the new season, but as soon as we were back in school, we made sure to give Mother Nature, and this beautiful season, the attention they deserve!

    In kindergarten, we learn about many traditions we celebrate in our country. We also learn about traditions that are celebrated from all around the world. Sakura, Japanese for cherry blossoms, is a wonderful tradition to learn about during this time of year.

    The flowers are deeply symbolic: their short-lived existence taps into a long-held appreciation of the beauty of the fleeting nature of life, as echoed across the nation’s cultural heritage, from tea ceremonies to wabi sabi ceramics. The blossoms also, quite literally, symbolize new beginnings, with April 1 being the first day of both the financial and academic year in Japan. (www.telegraph.co.uk). Read more about sakura here.

    Making Japanese Cherry Blossoms

    To begin, I had my students paint backgroundsof grass and sky on a white piece of construction paper. We used watercolors to paint, which are nice because they dry fast.

    Next, I watered down black tempera paint to almost an ink-like consistency. After borrowing science droppers from our fifth grade team and purchasing a box of straws, we were all ready to paint our trees!

     

    I demonstrated how to drop the ink from the science droppers and also how to move the paint around by blowing on the straw. (I recommend giving your students the opportunity to practice this blowing and dropping of the ink on scratch paper before starting their projects.) Have the kids use the droppers to place small drops of ink on their papers, and then use the straws to move the paint to create the trunk and branches of the cherry tree. To keep the paint from splattering, it is very important to make sure the kids are not blowing straight down on their papers. Instead, have them hold their straws almost parallel to their papers.

    The final step was the easiest and adding the sakura really brought these cherry trees to life! To make the blossoms, I had the kids fingerpaint using a little white and pink tempera paint. They had to get a little pink and white paint on their fingers each time they put a blossom on their tree. The end results were stunning! What I love best about this art project, is the uniqueness of each child's tree. It’s hard to believe that my little learners made these!

    Springtime Walking Field Trip

    When Spring Comes, by Kevin Henkes, is one of my favorite books to read during this season. There are beautiful illustrations of blossoming trees, eggs becoming birds, and even seeds that start growing. While reading about nature is a great way to learn, nothing seems better than being able to explore nature firsthand.

    I told my kids we were going on a field trip, but we were NOT getting on a bus this time. Instead, we were going on a walking field trip in the park by our school. I encouraged the kids to look, smell, feel, and listen for signs of spring. We had a discussion about all the things we might see outside, and then right before we walked out the door, one of my students asked if we could take our journals out with us. What a great idea! I had each kid quickly grab their writing journal, clipboard, and pencil, and then off we went.

    What happened on our field trip was pretty much magical. I have never seen such engagement! Every kid was completely focused on the activity and I have never seen better writing than I did that day! I gave them one safety rule and that was to make sure that wherever they went, they could always see me. They kept pretty close, but still had so much fun indendently exploring and writing. Best.Day.Ever!

    When we came back inside, the kids colored in their illustrations and were so very proud of their writing! 

     

    Candy Sushi

    After learning about sakura, and the Japanese tradition, I thought it would be a perfect time to enjoy a special snack. I told the kids I made sushi for them, and instantly, I had some pretty concerned students. One child told me repeatedly that she does NOT like sushi. Another student said his mom would not allow him to eat raw fish. I told them they had never tried Mrs. Carter’s sushi and that I thought they would love it. To their surprise, I pulled out my platter of candy sushi, and yes — each and every one of them loved Mrs. Carter’s sushi.

    First, I made a batch of Krispy treats.

    Then, I cut them into little triangles, and placed a candy fish on top of each one.

    Next, I wrapped each piece with fruit snacks. They were relatively easy to make, and snack time was a hit that day!

    Take a moment to get outside and welcome spring with your students. 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

     

     

     

    This year, our spring break came early. There really wasn’t much of an opportunity to properly welcome the new season, but as soon as we were back in school, we made sure to give Mother Nature, and this beautiful season, the attention they deserve!

    In kindergarten, we learn about many traditions we celebrate in our country. We also learn about traditions that are celebrated from all around the world. Sakura, Japanese for cherry blossoms, is a wonderful tradition to learn about during this time of year.

    The flowers are deeply symbolic: their short-lived existence taps into a long-held appreciation of the beauty of the fleeting nature of life, as echoed across the nation’s cultural heritage, from tea ceremonies to wabi sabi ceramics. The blossoms also, quite literally, symbolize new beginnings, with April 1 being the first day of both the financial and academic year in Japan. (www.telegraph.co.uk). Read more about sakura here.

    Making Japanese Cherry Blossoms

    To begin, I had my students paint backgroundsof grass and sky on a white piece of construction paper. We used watercolors to paint, which are nice because they dry fast.

    Next, I watered down black tempera paint to almost an ink-like consistency. After borrowing science droppers from our fifth grade team and purchasing a box of straws, we were all ready to paint our trees!

     

    I demonstrated how to drop the ink from the science droppers and also how to move the paint around by blowing on the straw. (I recommend giving your students the opportunity to practice this blowing and dropping of the ink on scratch paper before starting their projects.) Have the kids use the droppers to place small drops of ink on their papers, and then use the straws to move the paint to create the trunk and branches of the cherry tree. To keep the paint from splattering, it is very important to make sure the kids are not blowing straight down on their papers. Instead, have them hold their straws almost parallel to their papers.

    The final step was the easiest and adding the sakura really brought these cherry trees to life! To make the blossoms, I had the kids fingerpaint using a little white and pink tempera paint. They had to get a little pink and white paint on their fingers each time they put a blossom on their tree. The end results were stunning! What I love best about this art project, is the uniqueness of each child's tree. It’s hard to believe that my little learners made these!

    Springtime Walking Field Trip

    When Spring Comes, by Kevin Henkes, is one of my favorite books to read during this season. There are beautiful illustrations of blossoming trees, eggs becoming birds, and even seeds that start growing. While reading about nature is a great way to learn, nothing seems better than being able to explore nature firsthand.

    I told my kids we were going on a field trip, but we were NOT getting on a bus this time. Instead, we were going on a walking field trip in the park by our school. I encouraged the kids to look, smell, feel, and listen for signs of spring. We had a discussion about all the things we might see outside, and then right before we walked out the door, one of my students asked if we could take our journals out with us. What a great idea! I had each kid quickly grab their writing journal, clipboard, and pencil, and then off we went.

    What happened on our field trip was pretty much magical. I have never seen such engagement! Every kid was completely focused on the activity and I have never seen better writing than I did that day! I gave them one safety rule and that was to make sure that wherever they went, they could always see me. They kept pretty close, but still had so much fun indendently exploring and writing. Best.Day.Ever!

    When we came back inside, the kids colored in their illustrations and were so very proud of their writing! 

     

    Candy Sushi

    After learning about sakura, and the Japanese tradition, I thought it would be a perfect time to enjoy a special snack. I told the kids I made sushi for them, and instantly, I had some pretty concerned students. One child told me repeatedly that she does NOT like sushi. Another student said his mom would not allow him to eat raw fish. I told them they had never tried Mrs. Carter’s sushi and that I thought they would love it. To their surprise, I pulled out my platter of candy sushi, and yes — each and every one of them loved Mrs. Carter’s sushi.

    First, I made a batch of Krispy treats.

    Then, I cut them into little triangles, and placed a candy fish on top of each one.

    Next, I wrapped each piece with fruit snacks. They were relatively easy to make, and snack time was a hit that day!

    Take a moment to get outside and welcome spring with your students. 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

     

     

     

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