Thursday, June 28, 2012

Compensating Through Creativity

Here is a wonderful TED talk by the husband of one of my colleagues.  I feel strongly that there is a creativity crisis in this country with our children being so over scheduled and not given ample time and opportunity for problem solving and unstructured play.  Here Joseph thoughtfully explains how his atypical physical needs forced him to get creative. I found it to be very inspiring.

What problems or provocations do you set up in your classroom to challenge children to use their creative juices?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Inspiration from Preschool

Right about the time that I was trying the melted crayon art in class with my four year olds, my daughter who was a sophomore in high school decided to try it for one of her projects in art class.

She put her own unique twist on it layering the crayons over a painting that she had made and then embellished with cardboard pieces.  She also left the paper on the crayons to help them keep their form.  She had a blast making it and wants to experiment this summer with an entire box of 64 crayons on one piece.


I am thrilled that at 16 she has not lost her passion for exploring materials in interesting ways.  Her piece was recently featured in the art show at the high school, so yep, I'm going to use my blog to brag about my daughter;-)

However, I will also point out, that she is an alum of the amazing, creative nursery school where I now have the pleasure of working.  Her teacher at the time, Suzanna, instilled a love of exploring art that she has carried with her ever since.  I recently found her blog Paperoranges.  Its full of beautiful things.  Have a look.  

Crazy Hats

Here is a fun use of those really large coffee filters known as Texas Snowflakes.  We purchase ours from the Discount School Supply catalog. 

We had actually used these earlier in the year on the easel with spray bottles of liquid water color.  Check out this post on a science experiment we did we them and some markers. 
The children loved it so much that they each made several, so we saved at least one from each child.  I had thought that we would actually make really big snowflakes when we received our first big dumping of snow this winter, but alas, that never happened.  So they were saved.

During our last week of school we brought them back out and turned them into Crazy Hats!

You put the coffee filter on the child’s head and tape around the crown of his head with masking tape creating a hat.

  Then we put out a fun collection of glue-able items and let them decorate their hats. We had buttons, feathers, pipe cleaners, sequins, pompoms, tissue paper and more.

This is a cool idea for celebrations and summer camps!

Spray Bottle/Marker Science Experiment

I was just ordering some Texas snowflakes for summer camp and realized that I never posted the science experiment that we did with them this past year.

We placed the largest of the coffee filters known as Texassnowflakes in the Discount School Supply catalog on the easel along with sharpies and watercolor black markers.  We also put out spray bottles with liquid watercolor paint in them-also available from Discount. 

The children drew with the different markers and then sprayed the filters.  They were able to see what happened to the different markers.  The permanent marker remained while the washable marker faded away. 

Some children simply observed this, others commented on it and a few set up purposeful experiments to try and recreate what they observed.  We were able to talk to them while they explored, helping them articulate their hypothesis and sharing in the excitement of the results as they tried out their ideas.  

The children made so many of these, that we saved several thinking we could make snowflakes when it finally never did, so check out what we made with them by reading my Crazy Hat post.