Saturday, September 23, 2017

Golf Ball Painting

Golf Ball Painting (Brick by Brick)

It's Scott from Brick by Brick. I love to repurpose materials—use materials in ways different from their intended purpose.

We love to paint in my classroom. And we love to paint with all kinds of things besides brushes. Last summer, in our Art Camp, we painted with golf balls...on a canvas...and made lasting wall art.

First, tape pieces of cardboard around the canvas. The cardboard should extend a few inches above the canvas surface, to keep the balls from rolling off and away. If you have a box that is the same size as your canvas, just nestle the canvas in it. I didn't have that, so we taped pieces to create our own "box."

Golf Ball Painting (Brick by Brick)

Pour paint into shallow containers. Roll the balls in the paint and use a spoon to transfer the coated golf balls onto the canvas. Then children can pick up the box and rotate it back and forth to move the balls around the canvas. If the canvas is large, children can stand on either end of the canvas and work together to move the balls. (Check out the process in this post.)

Golf Ball Painting (Brick by Brick)

Adding layers and layers of paint creates a really interesting design. The paint we used was a little thick, so the golf balls created interesting texture in addition to the colored designs. We passed our masterpiece on to a special leader to hang in her office. Or you could give the painting away as a door prize or as part of a fundraiser.

Or hang the masterpiece in your classroom to showcase the talents of your artists.

Visit my Dollar Store and Dumpster Pinterest Board and my blog for more repurposing ideas.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Amazing Effects of Art on the Brain

Happy Fall!

I have written many times about the benefits of dance, from its accessibility; to development of social and emotional skills; to development of coordination, body awareness, discipline, correct posture, balance, flexibility, and strength; to teaching academic subjects kinesthetically; to simply allowing children the opportunity to experience the joy of movement. 

Many of these same benefits to other art forms.

I have also written about the benefits of dance on the brain.  I am excited and amazed at all of the positive news that comes out virtually every day on this subject.  I am devoting this blog to a very interesting one that just came out a few days ago:

This is Your Brain on Art (link below), by Sarah L. Kaufman, Dani Player, Jayne Orenstein, May-Ying Lam, Elizabeth Hart, and Sally Tan, published September 18, 2017, in The Washington Post.  Complete with beautiful music and video, this article explains "how the new field of neuroaesthetics is probing the relationship between art and the brain."  

Some of the authors' findings include:

  • Art provides social connection, which is a key function of our brains 
  • The value of and need for story-telling
  • How our brain and sensory system react to movement
  •  "The logic of art is a neural turn-on"  

Intrigued?  You won't be disappointed.  The article takes you through the story of Swan Lake, with videos of gorgeous dancing and the lovely music of Tchaikovsky in the background, as it explains why exposure to art is so important for the development and maintenance of a healthy brain. 

Click below to visit this fascinating world:

This Is Your Brain on Art                      Enjoy!

Keep on Dancin',


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Singing and Dancing Back To School!

Everybody clap your hands!
It feels good to be back to school:  familiar routines, new little friends AND the joy of introducing them to my musical world!  I’m Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup –Active Music for Active Learners!

The start of a new school year is exciting for some children, scary for others.  It takes all our best teaching techniques, patience and empathy to get everyone moving forward positively.  Moving – that’s the operative word for this month’s blog!

Stamp your feet!
Music & Movement can be the perfect distraction for children to forget their worries and join in.  Or not – some may watch at first.  It’s been my experience that if I wait, give them an encouraging nod and smile, wait some more – they DO get the confidence to get up and move.

I start with a Welcome/Hello song.  Then do a zipper song with sitting movements (“Sticky Bubble Gum” is always a big hit!)  Then – LET’S GET DANCING!

Jump up high!

Here’s one of my favorites: “Everybody Clap Your Hands!”  I learned it from the legendry Ella Jenkins.  She doesn’t claim to have written it – “It’s just an old, old song,” she told me.  But it’s transformative – no child can resist it!  There’s nothing really to teach – just follow the instructions built into the song.
NOTE:  Be sure you do the song, too!  Model participatory behavior.  Hear the song clip HERE.  It's track #4.

LYRICS:     Everybody clap your hands
                 Everybody clap your hand
                 Everybody, come on and clap your hands!

Turn real slow!
V.2   Stamp your feet!

V.3   Jump up high!

V.4   Turn real slow.

V.5   Wiggle around!

V.6   Clap and stamp! (2 things at the        same time!)

V.7   Clap, stamp & turn (3 things!)

V.8   Sing – with your tongue sticking out (4 things!):
        "Everybody sing along!"
Sing...with your tongue sticking out like this!
Put your tongue back in!

Yup – it gets really silly at the end with tongues wagging as you sing, clap, stamp and turn around!  That’s the fun of it – and school should be FUN!

NOTE:  Take a second to have everyone put their tongues back in – tap your fingers to your lips.  It’ll make everyone smile!

Need a Welcome/Hello song?  More starter movement songs?  
Check out my blogs:
December 2016:  Welcome/Bienvenidos!
August 2013:  Sing Your Way Through the First Week of School
August 2014:  Start School Singing: Week 2!
August 2016:  Back to School Singing!
March 2016:  Thumbs up for “Singing in the Rain!”

OR go to the archive on my website’s
Song Of The Month page for:
August 2011:  “Hello Everybody, How Do You Do?”
January 2011:  “We Like to Say Hello!”
August 2007:   "Sticky Bubble Gum"
November 2006:  “The Wiggle Song!”

And finally – I am sorry to have been absent from PreK and K Sharing for so many months.  The surgical repair of my hip’s labrum meant changing priorities in order to meet classroom, concert and professional development commitments.  But I’m back – almost 100%!  Please contact me if you’d like me to come to your school, library, church or conference.  I’m in Chicago, but I travel all over the world to bring developmentally appropriate music & movement to those who work with young children!

Yours for a Song!
“Miss Carole” Stephens

Friday, September 15, 2017

Montessori-Inspired Owl Unit Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

I'm in love with owl activities for fall. My 3¾-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, is now, too! I just put out the new activities for our owl theme, and they've been an instant hit. 

At Living Montessori Now, I have a long list of free owl printables. The free printables include my latest subscriber freebie (a Montessori-inspired owl pack, which even has an "ow" phonogram page. Here, I'm sharing ideas for using free owl printables to create Montessori-inspired activities. 

You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you).   

Montessori Shelves with Owl-Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Owl-Themed Activities  

My shelves with owl-themed activities include a free great horned owl culture card designed by The Montessori Company. You’ll also find Montessori-inspired owl numbers, letters, spinners, and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

I have a number of owl books, both nonfiction and fiction, for our owl unit. We always enjoy the National Geographic Readers, such as this month's Owls. There's also a large amount of easily understandable information in Owls by Gail Gibbons. I have some fiction books featuring owls in our book baskets. 

Free Printables: Owl Poems and Songs from Owl Babies Lesson Plans and Lapbook at Homeschool Share and Owls Rhyme Song from KidSparkz. I placed these on a wooden tabletop easel on the shelf. 

You could mix your owl-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special owl area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. 

If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, simply rotate them. 

Great Horned Owl Culture Card (on Shelf with Owl Books)

Great Horned Owl Culture Card with National Geographic Kids Owls Book I'm happy to share with you this awesome hand-painted great horned owl culture card from The Montessori Company. You can use it on your shelves to introduce an owl unit. I’m hosting the free printable as an instant download at Living Montessori Now. You can always access the free great horned owl culture card here

The description says: “The Great Horned Owl is a bird of prey known as a raptor. It flies silently and only hunts at night.” 

Owl Color Matching and Spanish Color Names Owl Color Matching and Spanish Color Names Basket Free Printable: Owl Color Matching by Exceptional Kinders at Teachers Pay Teachers 
Free Printable: Color Matching Cards from Montessori Print Shop 
Free Printable: Spanish Color Matching Cards from Homeschool Creations.

I put the cards in a small willow basket.

Laminated Montessori Print Shop color matching cards are all that are needed for color box 1 and 2 for a homeschool or many preschools. You really don't need to purchase Montessori color tablets, especially for home use. You can find presentations for introducing Montessori color tablets in my DIY Color Tablets post at Living Montessori Now.

It's great to have at least one Spanish activity out. National Hispanic Heritage Month started today, which is another good reason to focus on helping children learn to speak some Spanish.

Owl Color Matching and Spanish Color Names

This activity can be used for a variety  of levels. Young children can work on learning both the English and Spanish color names, while older children can work on learning the Spanish color names if they don't already know them. 

Owl Opposites Game Owl Opposites GameFree Printable: Owl Opposites from 1+1+1=1 

This is a super-simple activity to prepare. The cartoon characters are obviously not realistic, Montessori-style images. They're just silly, though, and my granddaughter loved them. 

I made a game where we went through each card, saying, for example, "Light and heavy are opposites." Then I had Zoey do a scavenger hunt (such as bringing me something light and something heavy) or performing the actions on a card (such as moving slow and then moving fast). Zoey laughed a lot during the game and wanted to repeat it as soon as we were finished. 

Letter G Object Basket Letter G Object Basket Free Printables: Great horned owl card in manuscript, D'Nealian, or Cursive for Letter G Object Basket (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

It might seem odd to emphasize /g/ when owls are the theme. I didn't want to use the short or long /o/ sound for owl, so I instead used /g/ for great horned owl and then had a separate activity for the "ow" phonogram. In my /g/ basket, I had a sandpaper letter g, goose (Loosy the Canadian goose Beanie Baby), glass, golf club, golden bead, gorilla, and guitar. 

Owl and "ow" Phonogram Sand Tray Owl and "ow" Phonogram Sand Tray Free Printables: "ow" owl font cards (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For the tray, I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though. I often color salt with food coloring, but this time I just used some sand and a twig from a tree for the writing instrument. For interest, I added the snowy owl from the Safari Ltd. Exotic Birds TOOB

I have a post and video on how to introduce words starting with phonograms, even with very young children.

Counting and Stringing Owls Game Counting and Stringing Owls Game  
Free Printables: Owl Numbers and Owl Spinner (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For this activity, I used Multicraft tray and a Bambu condiment cup to hold 10 Owl Antique Silver Tibetan Style Charms Pendants (surprisingly inexpensive), and a pipe cleaner for the owls to make the necklace. 

Counting and Stringing Owls to Make a Pipe Cleaner Necklace

Zoey just laid out the number cards in order and then spun the spinner. First she got 5, then 9, and then 10. She didn't want to stop until all the owls were on her necklace. She loved the necklace and wore it until it was time to go home. Then she wanted to take it home. She was finally persuaded to keep it at Grandma's house to do again! 

Owl Number Mazes Owl Number Maze Tray  
Free Printable: Owl Themed Number Mazes by Grace n Giggles at Teachers Pay Teachers 

This was another simple activity to prepare. I used a Multicraft tray and a Bambu condiment cup to hold the number of small glass gems needed to complete the maze. I like that the maze doesn't just have a simple maze. It requires some problem solving. There are also a number of different mazes: 1-10, 1-20, 1-30, counting to 50 by 2s, and counting  to 100 by 5s. 

I had Zoey place a gem on each number she used in the maze. 

Owl Name Recognition and Building, Reading Activity, or Spelling Activity 
Proud of Her Owl-Themed First and Last Name Work

Free Printable: Owl Customizable Name Plates by Pigtails and Pollywogs at Teachers Pay Teachers 
Free Printable: Owl Letter Match by Jennifer Hier at Teachers Pay Teachers for Name Writing 

I love the owl customizable name plates because they're so versatile. You could use it for introducing a child's first name. Zoey is comfortable with her first name, so I included first and last name. For older children, you could individualize reading or spelling words for them to focus on.

More Free Owl Printables 

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free owl printables from around the blogosphere: Montessori-Inspired Owl Unit with Free Printables and Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables. 

Don't miss my earlier owl post here at PreK + K Sharing: Montessori-Inspired Owl Activities Using Free Printables.

Helpful Animal Classification Posts

Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBook

If you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!

Happy fall!
Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 42 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and 3-year-old granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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