We had a good time preparing for Groundhogs Day this week. It seems to be a popular day this year as we are really ready for Spring weather.
There are a lot of free materials out there to help celebrate. We studied facts about groundhogs and checked our comprehension. We did comparisons between rodents. We explored shadows with a flashlight against the wall. Home Sweet Home is a good source for a short video clip. There is also a young student book you can download for free from http://growingkinders.blogspot.com. The Groundhog Book was written by Kathleen Pedersen. I downloaded it and was able to use my iPad again. I love being paperless. I can actually find what I need when I need it.
I found the idea for a bulletin board on Pinterest. There was a groundhog pattern for a free download here at pattern universe. We used the pattern to make our own groundhogs. I put the directions on Storykit so they would be on my iPad. You may be able to use them as well. The Storykit directions are here. Now we are waiting for February 2nd to see if we can bring out the shadows.
Do you need a simple project for the winter season? This tree was made by my students and completed during one 20 minute therapy session. Students at all grade levels seemed to enjoy making them. They also made a good bulletin board that was culturally sensitive for this time of year. I added the silhouettes to discuss winter sports and the word silhouette.
I targeted quite a few goals with this project. As usual, I used the app StoryKit to make the directions. My articulation and older students began by sequencing and taking pictures. They recorded the directions using their best articulation skills. My language students targeted vocabulary such as stencil, limbs, triangle, around, and tree trunk. My language processing students listened to the directions and followed them in the correct sequence.
You can get the pattern for the stencil here.
The storykit directions are here. I removed the verbal directions because of student confidentiality.
I found a pattern for these darling little black crows on Pinterest and adapted them as a project for my speech therapy students. Crows and sunflowers just seem to naturally go together and I am all for getting as much use of my bulletin board as I can without completely redoing it.
This project met my requirements for a speech therapy project. The directions were fairly easy and the project could be completed within a 20 minute time frame. I could expand the project to include multiple speech goals. Most of the materials were available from our school materials closet and were easy to obtain.
Preparation was minimal. I used the die cut to cut out black circles and yellow triangles from construction paper. I have younger students who have a lot of trouble cutting and this consumes more time than I have. You could have students trace circles around a cover and cut them out. I had left over googly eyes from the dollar store and already had paper fasteners in the store room. A hole punch and glue sticks were other things I already had. Making the circles and triangles were the only thing that took preparation time.
I expanded this project to include most of my students. Incorporating the free app Storykit opens up a lot of possibilities. My language groups worked on sequencing the directions. They took the pictures to make a logical sequence and wrote some of the instructions. This also took some communication and collaboration as students agreed on what pictures to take, how to place the materials and what the direction should be 1st and 2nd etc.
My groups working on sounds in spontaneous speech created the verbal directions to go with the pictures. They listened to their recordings and decided if they needed to record again to improve their production. The school confidentiality regulations didn’t allow me to keep their recordings for publishing so you ended up with my lovely voice instead. My students listening enjoyed figuring out who was speaking when they were listening to the directions.
My younger students who are working on following directions and positional vocabulary followed the directions to create their crow. Concept words included whole/half, center, top, and through. It was interesting to see which students followed the directions for the fasteners or tried to use the glue stick instead. My students really loved the idea of the movable wings and posed them for the bulletin board. I had some students who could not part with their bird, so they didn’t end up on the board. Hopefully they took them home and explained how they were made to someone in their family.
The directions were published on Storykit. Click on the bird button below and you will see them. When you use this app the directions are made in a storybook format. When it is published it comes into your email like a story board. The app can be found at email@example.com. I did not find it through the app store.
School is finally starting in the Pacific Northwest. We have a late start here compared to other regions of the United States.. I am returning to my main school from last year and adding a new charter school as well. The charter school has middle school students so I may get a little more variety this year with the age range. I have had middle school students in the past and enjoy working with this age group. It is always fun to hear about the latest fads.
I needed a new bulletin board for back to school night and the start of school. I decided to make something that would be able to switch to the Fall season. That happens pretty quickly so back to school doesn’t stay up very long. The bee is our school mascot so I have handy bee note papers. I decided the slogan “It’s good to be back” would be a nice play on words. Bees go with flowers and sunflowers are a common Fall flower. That all led me to this video on how to make sunflowers. It turned out to be a fairly simple flower to make. You can click on the title to get the directions.
Sunflower How to Vdeo
Sometimes dog walks give you a good appreciation of nature and nature gives free material for crafts. On a dog walk I noticed that the back end of pine cones look similar to the center of the sunflower. I clipped off the end of some pine cones and glued them to the center of my flowers. Mine turned out to look like this.
I added some green construction paper leaves. There you have a sunflower bulletin board that didn’t take long to make at all. I am sure students would enjoy making the sunflowers. It may be worthy of a nature walk if you have trees with pine cones nearby.
It is Spring here in the Northwest. Many of the classes use butterflies for instruction on the cycle of life. They watch caterpillars form cocoons and develop into butterflies. I found directions for folding paper butterflies on Pinterest. They made a good activity for my bulletin board and a direction following activity. It also helped to reinforce what was happening in classrooms. Here is a picture of the bulletin board.
The directions were fairly simple and could be completed within a 20 minute time frame. I added pipe cleaner antennae. The students just bent a pipe cleaner in half and wrapped the ends around their fingers a couple of times. They then stapled it to the top.
These directions really reinforced the concept of half. We also talked about parts of a butterfly. I was surprised to find my students didn’t know what antennae were.
I couldn’t make better directions then what were already posted here. There are easy to follow directions on goorigami.com. I just put them up on my iPad.
Progress reports are in and it is time to get back to planning for therapy. February is a short month so it goes by quickly. I find I still need to keep things simple for my younger folk. We dressed the bulletin board up with heart animals. This activity was more open-ended then the ones I have done in the past. I used a die cut to cut a variety of hearts in different sizes and colors. They used sequins for the eyes. Students were told to put the hearts together to form an animal. I showed them a few pictures from Pinterest and then they were on their own. It was hard for them to get started. When they found they could try pieces out 1st before gluing they got a little more adventurous. It was a good opportunity to practice social skills to ask for tools and materials. We have worked a lot on sequencing and this activity required them to think about the order of gluing. I also listened to my articulation students to see how they were progressing with their spontaneous speech. Quite a few of my students decided to take them home to give for Valentine’s Day.
They came up with a good variety of animals.
I have noticed that there are a lot of wintery cold places across the United States weather map. Some of you have even experienced a snow day or two. We have experienced mainly cold here with blasting wind. We have not had the ice that is typical of this time of year or snow. We needed to make our own.
January is a good month to bring out the winter theme items. I found a snowflake on Pinterest that was easy to make and looked impressive. It looks so good that the students don’t want to leave thenm for my bulletin board after making them. Thus I only have 3 of the large ones up there. My bulletin board is looking like this. I put the snowflake directions on the free app Storykit. You may download them here.
I added the corner template to make it easier for the students to draw the curved arches in the corners of the triangles. I used cardstock. and cut the slits just wide enough for a pencil. Download a copy here.
The students were able to make them within a 20 minute time period. The directions review vocabulary such as half, triangle, corner, arch, curve, middle, small, medium, large, and center. Have fun. Of course they also get practice following directions.
My art project for this month consisted of folded paper leaves I found on Pinterest from this site http://krokotak.com/ . They are a very simple to make and even my youngest students were able to complete one in 15 minutes. It only required colored computer paper and a glue stick. We also used pipecleaners because I had them on hand and they were easier for making the stem. I am not sure what language the directions are in but they are still quite user friendly because of the clear pictures. I put them on my iPad and let the students follow them. The directions are here.
We put the leaves on the bulletin board and I was able to make more use of that tree.
It has been a very busy Fall with another school added to my caseload. I am a little slow with the bulletin board. My students are young this year and I need to keep my projects simple.
The students always seem to enjoy paper-folding and I discovered these easy bat folding directions at WikiHow here. They may not look very fancy but they did serve the function of working on following directions. We also talked about what they knew about bats. This was an easy board to put up because I kept the tree from last month and just added my spider. You may recognize the spider as my pompom and pipe cleaner spider from years gone by.
This was our first day back with students. We start quite a bit later than most parts of the country. Our school seems to be in a growth spurt. Additional kindergarten classes were added. We have full day kindergarten now and more students are enrolling. In the past, we often lost students to private schools. Parents needed childcare for the other half of the day and it was easier to have students stay in one place.
The building went through some renovations over the summer with new walls and doors to make enclosed classrooms. Our school was built during the time of the open classroom concept. Through the years walls have been added but not always with doors. This creates some interesting difficulties with noise, temperature control, and keeping students contained in classrooms. In the past we have actually used tape on the floor to show boundaries. I am hoping the full day kindergarten will help alleviate some of my scheduling difficulties.
This was the Welcome Back bulletin board I made to start the year. I used rolls of brown butcher paper for the trunk of the tree. I had a stencil for oak leaves. I cut toilet paper rolls and glued the edges onto yellow paper to make the hive. A teacher noticed my theme and gave me bee note paper. We have a lot of bee themed materials at this school because our mascot is a bee. It didn’t take long to put up. It is interesting how the tree has a different character each time. I like to use a tree because it is easy to continue it through the school year and change it for the seasons.
Bee lieve in Yourself, Welcome Back Stingers