Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Children's Day 2013

When we were planning our Discovery themes for the term and we realised that New Zealand celebrates Children's Day on Sunday 3rd March we had to celebrate it for Discovery too. After all mums have Mother's Day and dads have Father's Day!

We planned a variety of activities to explore that all of our big 5-year-old school children and pre-school mountaineers would love.
Scooping and eating ice-cream....

.... decorating a Children's Day crown ....

.... stamping a fingerprint tree ....

.... painting a self-portrait in a special frame ....

.... blowing up Children's Day balloons ....

.... playing on the ipads.... 

.... blowing hundreds of bubbles .... 

.... finishing a special Children's Day booklet .... 

.... and making a carp (koi) fish flag. In Japan carp flags represent children and their families, one fish for each family member, and they are used to celebrate their national Children's Day. We used paper, straws, googly eyes, and small circles folded in half to make our fish.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Super Slithery Snakes

Did you know that snakes can change their clothes twice a year?

We didn't. But after we read this poem we worked out what the poet meant and looked at this You Tube clip of a snake shedding its skin. 

The children were fascinated to learn that our skin stretches and grows with us, but as a snake has scales, they need to shed their old skin as they grow bigger.
 We made these slithering snake pictures with pastel and dye resist. I love using pastels with my class, and with a bit of time the results are very effective. 

We tried to make our snake pictures bright and eye-catching. We discussed about not using black in our art and using our imagination to colour our snakes. We also looked at a selection of snake pictures to get different ideas that we could use.

I love the variety of colours, patterns, and snake shapes the children used.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Me on The Map

As it is the start of our school year we have been exploring our community and our place in it. A great activity to help support the children's understanding of where they live and their place in the world has been creating this paper version of Google Earth.

We tried to look at the Google Earth app on the ipad (which is pretty amazing if you haven't checked it out), but strangely enough the ipad internet connection was playing up, so we used Google maps on the interactive whiteboard instead. Luckily, I also had a big book to share which is based on a similar concept about where we are on Earth. 

The children were fascinated to learn about how we all go to Totara Park School in Totara Park, and that our city is called Upper Hutt and is part of Wellington (there were some misconceptions!). 

And did you know that Wellington is in New Zealand? 

And New Zealand is on Earth? 
I found these little glow in the dark stars to stick around the outside of Earth to show outer space, but glitter would look great too.

This activity took a lot of preparation before we started and as I didn't want to spend longer than a week on it I did the majority of the cutting prior to starting. But we were still able to practise several important school skills, colouring (mostly within the lines), writing our names, and gluing (we used glue sticks). 

We also practised some life skills. At Totara Park School we talk about skills and attitudes that a TP (Totara Park) kid tries to show. 
'I persevere - not giving up even when something is hard', it is not easy completing such a long task with so many parts to finish. 
'I motivate myself - I tell tell myself I can do this', especially when colouring in the sea blue and the land green.
'I ask lots of questions - to help me understand', the children had plenty of questions about where they live and what a city is, and what our country is, I even had questions about the sun and rockets!

TP Kid

Click to open a pdf of our school propectus to learn more about TP Kid.

As a hint I suggest keeping each child's circles together with a paper clip until you are ready to join them with the split pin. I took photos and used different images that I googled for our maps.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Celebrating The Year of The Snake

The 10th February 2013 was the start of Chinese New Year, we celebrated it today for Discovery with some exciting Chinese themed art and craft activities and fun role-play too.
As it is the Year of the Snake and snakes are very clever the children showed their clever cutting skills by making these spinning spiral snakes. 

This blue snake took about 40 minutes of dedicated colouring to complete, that is amazing perseverance for a 5 year old.

Another snake art activity was rolling and stapling strips of paper to make paper chain snakes, this one was one of the longest. When we asked this clever clogs how long her snake was she proudly and carefully counted all 14 links.

Some children made these very cool Chinese dragon hobby horses (using some wooden rulers for the dragons body).

The children cut these paper lanterns. Although we are a few days early to celebrate the lantern festival (held this year on the 24th), these lanterns were fun and easy to make.

One popular activity was our Chinese Restaurant complete with chopsticks and imaginary Chinese food. You can see some of our dress-up clothes on the floor of our restaurant - you have to wear your best clothes when you go out somewhere special for dinner!

Although not Chinese themed, some children displayed amazing coordination using the unihoc gear to pass the ball to each other. I just had to take a photo.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Heart Art

These pastel and paint hearts are now hanging in our classroom. 

I cut the heart shapes out for the children prior to starting. Then the children carefully drew and painted their colourful lines, starting from the outside. I encouraged the children to choose colours that they thought would make their art bright and eye-catching. (We always seem to have a discussion prior to starting our artwork about how black would probably not be a good choice.)

I saw plenty of tongues poking out between lips, which as well as having the cuteness factor, I think this displays the children's concentration and perseverance during this task.

 Our heart art looks very eye-catching spinning gently in the breeze.

We have also been reading this 'Heart' poem all week.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Valentines Day 2013

Our first Discovery day of 2013 fell the day before Valentines Day, how could we not discover about how to share with others how we love and care for them?

We made these Valentines Day cards from Sparklebox and posted them in our 'Post Office'....

.... then wrote on heart shaped post-it notes about things and people we love and shared them on the 'Board of Love'....

.... and made heart book marks to give to a loved one.

The heart marble paintings were  lots of fun ....

.... so was threading our laced hearts.

I love lacing activities, they are great to help strengthen small fingers and practise fine manipulation skills.

I'm looking forward to another busy Discovery year and getting to know our Mountaineers (pre-school visitors) and their parents. So many names to learn ....

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Delicious Watermelon

At school on Friday morning we were given a huge super juicy watermelon from a lovely mother of one of the boys in my class. 


  Of course we had to enjoy it with our lunch.

At the moment I only have 10 children in my class (with more to join during the year), so the huge watermelon was enough for some of the other children in J-Block.

Click here to read about the watermelon collage art we completed last year.