For all my teacher friends out there, this turned out to be an awesome all school bulletin board. We asked all the students to bring in one of their favorite books for our Havurot group on Friday. Basically, our whole school separates into small groups of 6 or 7 once a month for the whole year to work on different projects. It’s really nice because kids of all ages get to work together and learn together. Anyway, each student brought in their own book and those that forgot, got to take one out of the library or look up the cover on a computer or iPad. We talked about each book in our group and then had about a half hour to create our own book covers to recommend our books to others.
Some kids created their own art, but most copied the covers. We don’t do copying very often, if ever, but I have to say, they LOVED it. Every age group was successful and the overall effect is pretty spectacular. It’s so much fun to see kids walk by and comment on the different covers. You hear things like “Ohhh, I love that book.” or “Oh man, I wish I did that one. That is so my favorite.” All the parents love to come by and find their child’s cover. Each time I pass I notice a different fantastic cover I hadn’t noticed before. The most popular books wereThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which I can’t wait to read this summer. I think eight kids did Wonder. So, if you’re looking for a great bulletin board for your school, here’s a great one. I’ve included the book template to make it easy. We printed it on card stock and only gave the kids sharpies to use.
One of the many awesome Wonder examples.
We have about 200 students in our school so I had to find room in a different area for all the covers. Those little clothespins are the cutest.
I love that the kindergarteners book covers are just as awesome as the sixth graders.
Here is the clip art we used, photocopied onto white card stock. I only had this picture of it blank which you can print, enlarge and trace if you want.
I’m happy this bulletin will live throughout the summer. I’m going to put up a little envelope on the side with papers and little pencils so that kids can write down which books they are interested for summer reading. Happy summer everyone!
Laurel Burch is a fantastic artist to inspire kids to create. You can read all about her here. I did three Laurel Burch inspired projects last summer and am just getting around to posting them now. I started by showing the kids a video about Laurel and a few examples of her work, like this.
The kids quickly were drawn into Laurel’s world and noticed a ton of details that made her work intriguing, especially the way Laurel painted the cat’s eyes. After our discussion we went on to do directive draw’s on canvases. Each child had their own canvas and followed simple step by step directions to draw their cat. Then they were let free to add whatever details they wanted with paint and then puffy paint. They really enjoyed this process and each kid felt really successful. Directive draws can be really great for so many kids, especially the ones who don’t feel like they are “artists.”
Since the kids were really into the whole Laurel Burch theme we stayed with it and made popsicle stick puzzles with the same design. The kids were excited to practice the cat they had just learned to do. They helped each other a lot with this, reminding one another of different steps. The trick when doing a popsicle stick puzzle is to tape one side with masking tape while you draw so the pieces don’t move.
Lastly, we made sculpey cat pins. I gave the kids a cardstock paper cutout of the cat shape that they carved out of the sculpey. Then we added the details with different sculpey tools. The pins were really cute. I still have mine and love it. Maybe we’ll do paper mache cats this summer or cat shaped pillows. Thank you Laurel. Your inspiration lives on.
Man oh man, salt dough is easy. It’s 1 cup salt, 1 cup water, and 2 cups flour. That’s it! Just mix it up and add food coloring if you want. Gigi and I made it together and it was so much fun. She doesn’t have the whole mixing thing down quite yet but she’s getting there. She loves to add food coloring to absolutely anything so that part was a hit. We did a mix of blue, green and purple.
After we made our dough, I set up a carousel of art supplies including toothpicks, popsicle sticks, wood shapes, beads, sparkles and gems. By far the biggest hit was the toothpick dispenser. Gigi loved shaking it to get the toothpicks out. She also managed to get a few beads on the toothpicks which was a nice surprise. Almost two!
Any book that suggests De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising has to be good right? Unbored – The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun kind of knocked my socks off today. One of my students brought it in as recommended summer reading and I couldn’t get enough of it. There is something in here for every kid. It’s equal boy stuff and girl stuff. There are things to do outside, inside and everyplace in between. There are also great lists of musicals for kids dating back from the 50′s to today. A TON of work went into this book. It’s really something special. So happy to have stumbled upon it. It will be my new go to gift for kids. Highly recommend!
How cute is this little piggy bank? I made this with my second graders today for our math unit and they loved it! The only thing I left out is scotch tape. You can use the glue for gluing the facial features on the pig, but instead of gluing the face to the cup, I recommend taping it. Way easier.
Here are the sizes we used for all the shapes. 1 5×5 hot pink square for the face, 4 2.5×2 hot pink rectangles for the ears, 4 2×1.5 light pink rectangles for the inner ears, 1 1cmx4in hot pink rectangle for the tail, 4 1.5×3 hot pink rectangles for the feet, 2 1cmx1cm black squares for the eyes, 2 1cmx1cm hot pink squares for the nostrils, 1 1×2 light pink rectangle for the snout
First, find a circular object that is almost the size of the 5×5 square. A full roll of masking tape works really well. Trace the circle and cut it out. Cut the 1×2 light pink rectangle into an oval. One of the best tricks I’ve learned for teaching kids to cut circles and ovals is to tell them to cut off the corners of a rectangle or square. If they curve the paper or scissor a little while they are cutting, it creates a really nice round shape. Most second graders are really successful with this step. Cut out the nostrils and eyes from the smallest rectangles by cutting off the corners. Cut out the hot pink and light pink rectangles for the ears. I tell the kids to imagine a center point at the top of the rectangle and to cut off the top two corners towards the center point. Glue on all the piggy features. Make sure to glue the ears to the back of the piggy face by putting a little glue on the bottom front of the ear and gluing it to the back of the face. The cup is the bank. Prior to gluing or taping the face to the cup, exacto a little cut out in the cup for the money to slip through. I did this part, of course. Roll the hot pink legs into tubes, tape together and tape each one to the cup. Last, but definitely not least, curl the skinny tail onto a pencil or marker and tape to the back of the cup.
I demonstrated the whole project from start to finish in front of the class and then sent them off to do it independently. This worked great. I encouraged kids to add their own details. One student added wings, which totally rocked. Kids are so cool.
Enjoy your piggy! Save. Save. Save.
For anyone who has been following my blog for a while, you may remember the days when I’d talk about my t-shirt company all designed by kids, verymeri, appearing in Nordstroms and showing up in the press all over the place. Well, I ended up taking a big break from tees to get married and have two littles. Now that things have settled a bit, (not really) VeryMeri is back and stronger than ever! We have a whole new line of products, all new challenges for kids to enter, and a brand new website. All of us on the VeryMeri team are super excited. Our products are actually designed by kids from all over the world. If you have kids please encourage them to enter one of our challenges. Winning designers not only receive a portion of the sales, but get to pick a charity to donate a portion to as well. You can design everything from backpacks to tees to superheroes. So, in honor of our launch I am switching over my blog from Meri Cherry to VeryMeri. It will still be arts and crafts and family, but definitely some new content as well for older kids. I’ll be looking for kids to interview and actually teach some crafts on the blog. If you know any kids who might be interested, please let me know! Thanks so much for visiting and keep checking back. Great things to come, veryMERI
I’ve read about water beads and seen them countless times on different mom blogs over the past few months. I can finally say I get what all the fuss is about. These things are freaking awesome. First of all, they are gorgeous. I just kept staring at them in the bowl. They look so juicy and delicious. Second, they bounce, which I definitely didn’t expect. I’ve been brainstorming all day on how to create some sort of plexiglass bouncy box for them. Third, they feel so mushy and slippery you just want to jump right in the bowl. As you can see, I couldn’t resist putting my foot in the tub. Gigi did too but she wasn’t as into that part as I was.
Little d turned six months this week. I can’t wait for her to get in on the action.
I’m not totally sure why I think this is science but I do. I guess because Gigi was exploring new materials and watched a chemical reaction when water was added to these little suckers. Yeah, that’s why.
*Note* If you are going to use water beads, I highly recommend doing it outside or putting down a sheet underneath your child. This can get really messy and you want to enjoy them, not want to kill them. I’ve read they are also super fun in the bath with or without water, but don’t let them down the drain. Enjoy!