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OUR DRAGON-Painting and working with balance part of structure

We have been working hard to figure out how to balance the dragon, cover the dragon with texture, and paint the accent colors on the dragon. It is all red now, next comes yellow and gold, and the face. The children are still excited to work on the dragon. We are behind on our BIG MONTHLY projects, because each project has extended over the amount of time I thought the children would be interested.

Next is Tim Dine Large HEARTS, I hope the children will still want to do them, even though valentines will be long gone.

We had to work hard to figure out how to balnce the dragon

We had to work hard to figure out how to balance the dragon we decided on two long flat boxes to help balance the size of our dragon body  box.

Now we have been painting, it is an ongoing project,

Now we have been painting, it is an ongoing project that the children look forward to each week. We use big latex house paint brushes.

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Chinese New Year a great celebration for all!

The children and I have been busy in the Art Studio creating  a Dragon for our parade. We are behind because it is so big and took a long time to form, make the paper mache (which the children LOVED the most). Today we coated it with flour and water paste, some children REALLY loved the goo of that texture. It has be interesting to watch what part of the  DRAGON develoment process each child liked, from our idea to 3D form to texture – and next week color. img_1637 img_1634Red, yellow and gold- then what? Not sure, building the form from boxesimg_1627img_1628

The children were coming up with ideas for our dragon.

The children were coming up with ideas for our dragon.

img_1638 but I am sure they will think of something.

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A World of their own! A Creative Space-

The Art Studio,”The Nest” has been open about a month now. The children are figuring out that they direct the garden, the art, and the process of what occurs in the studio. They now ask to come out to the Studio with me , even the 2 1/2 year olds. It is certainly more difficult for some children to come up with creative ideas , glue, cut, color, paint, or build.  They don’t know HOW to think of unusual ideas, it becomes frustrating and overwhelming  an interesting phenomenon. Some children need a lot of direction from me, a lot more time, some ask to leave to go back to the regular class room, some however, are learning to feel comfortable creating.

Most students LOVE the space and realize it IS different. They are  aware of the different rules and that their ideas are important.  Yesterday, they ask for clay outside to make trees with sticks, stones and leaves.  They migrated  inside to draw and paint. They are beginning to create all types of ART. They are building confidence.img_0004 img_0003 img_0001 img_0003 img_0005 img_0006

NURTURE CREATIVITY-  Reinforce social communication of creative behavior, Construct things, Investigate materials freely, Allow expression to happen.  Develop creative thinking habits and patterns in young children early.

Two teaching methods to STOP:   Elimination of fantasy play, and Educational practices that emphasize learning only what is taught by a teacher.  Teach flexibility and solving problems creatively. Generate innovative ideas.

These children will go up to be a creative workforce for  future jobs.

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Preschool Art Studio

Getting the Art Studio ready for exploration, creativity and building projects. The children are excited to go to a new special place to learn art! We had a busy first day!


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Is ART just a messy project?

OR IS ART REALLY A CLEVER WAY OF TEACHING across all domains? What if you could just each children to learn because it is fun? Would having fun help the child really learn academics? Reading , writing, , Math-quantity, shapes, sizes, engage the child to complete a task, problem solving, creative thinking- WOW , that’s a lot of academic ideas!  Here  you can see the children are all self directed because of carefully placed ideas, supplies and experiences. Judge for yourself.

It is getting close to Easter this little girl talked a lot about her family and finding eggs. She is 4, she can’t write a story, but she certainly drew a story  telling with great ideas.



We went on a nature walk AND MADE COLLECTIONS, the first child is formulating ideas about nature. The second child is cutting materials for his nature sculpture.IMG_3105

What IS this child studying about the map? What makes it so interesting? Children love new things with adult like ideas. Maybe he is looking for a pirate treasure.

Art is self directed and allows the child to think on his own.

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Learning about Volcanos-vinegar/soda-making colors and explosions.

Learning about Volcanos- Reading books, using  visual props, experiments, and meaningful play .IMG_3100

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How to ENGAGE the child for long periods of time.

Meaningful Mapping what can you find on a map? Questioning

Making paste and Analyzing  its tactile qualities- “dry ,wet, slimy, sticky, experimenting.

Building with magnets. WHAT can I build?


IMG_3091IMG_3105IMG_2721art 120

art 100IMG_2734

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How children really like to learn.

It came to my attention the other day, when my boys( I can have as many as 14 boys and only 3 girls in my classroom at the same time) or all boys(ouch), that when they are engaged (actively learning) they drive or motivate their own questions, ideas, and learning. When I put out something so exciting and new, they are so busy, happy and often ask HOW MUCH MORE TIME DO WE HAVE TO PLAY?One  seasoned teacher told me if the children asked, “Is this right? is this what you want , am I done yet? that isn’t engaged learning.  If I have to ask the child to come over, sit still,  listen, pay attention, and so on, they aren’t learning!  I often reflect on this ideas when the boys are unfocused or wild. How has my classroom management of learning been that day?  It is difficult to really understand HOW to teach children without  xerox sheets, letter tracing, coloring, notebooks, rote memory tasks, but believe me once you understand, the classroom is filled with excitement, happiness, energy and fun for the teacher.

I have so many boys this year, I thought it would be so hard- instead I have taught engineering and math concepts of weight , structure, balance and volume. We have planted a garden, tasted, smelled and pressed everything from mint to lavender. We happily paint everything including rocks, wood and aluminum foil.  We built structures that are as tall as the TEACHER and zoom cars through WRAPPING PAPER  tubes. My classroom is always a mess! It is always loud.  It is always filled with happy children!

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Look what happens with a tub of water, various items that sink or float, tongs and a net. The children asked for  more tubs. I added a touch of food coloring for each tub to be different colors and different sized items in each tub. I used a 2 minute or 3 minute timer, which one child controlled.  One tub had colored styrafoam balls,stones, jewels and rocks. One tub had animals and heavy alligators, the tub you see in the photos had  ping pong balls that float and  fish that sank. Sorting and scooping  lasted most of the morning. Then they drew what they got out of the  colored tubs.  It is a portfolio sheet under SCIENCE discovery.

A few years ago I studied the results of children who learned in a happy active learning environment. As a whole the results showed the  child’s learning is stronger and they tend to remember more if it is learned in  a pleasant environment, they tend to forget the information that was forced or taught in a negative way, often blocking out all of the information. The memory imprint is stronger and retained at a high level when the child is relaxed and having fun.  Indirect  learning then becomes even more relative to a preschool teacher with her students- make it meaningful and they will learn.  We, as teachers and parents,  are all so worried about our competitive world (meaning kindergarten) that we over do the child’s initial phase of learning.  We forget that building  a strong initial foundation comes  from SELF MOTIVATION and SELF DIRECTED learning.  This doesn’t mean each day is not planned, in fact you need to understand the needs of your classroom even more. You need to build the early educational  foundation within the interests of your children and diversity.  Understanding your state  STANDARDS, driving motivation, building trust and  recognizing strengths and weaknesses in your class will help you build interesting lesson plans.

On Monday go into your class with a happy perspective and enlighten your children- SHOW THEM SOMETHING INTERESTING and see what happens. What questions do they ask, do they ask for additional supplies or materials, do they invent other activities to go with what you brought?  Look at life from the child’s viewpoint.  You will be more relaxed  and enjoy the children more.


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Art, art, art

Learning to draw people

Learning to draw people

What about Renee Magritte? Children can understand the facial structure even at 3 years old.

What about Renee Magritte? Children can understand the facial structure even at 3 years old.

Our ART show - our favorite artists- Monet, Rothko, Renee Magritte and Picasso.

Our ART show – our favorite artists- Monet, Rothko, Renee Magritte and Picasso.


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Teaching young artists- Art week in my class

Mondays is a hard day, the children and I  are tired and  we have work to do! This week is our ALL SCHOOL ART SHOW, and I love art and feel children need to value art so….. Today, I read and talked about, Rene Magritte, a surrealist. I told the children about how he often painted  silly mixed up things , dreamlike  pictures, that had meaning to him. We  talked about one of his pictures in particular, “Son of Man”.  We  talked about being tired on Mondays, sleep, dreams and mysterious ideas. The children paid attention looking at the book and immediately interpreted so many peculiar parts of the paintings. I thought it was interesting that they saw silliness in the paintings I didn’t have to say anything. They loved the LARGE birdcage with an egg in it they asked “How big would the bird be Ms Robin”, they loved the fireplace with the train, “Look the smoke goes up the chimney”. I though about how easy that had been for them to see all the ideas without me saying a word.  I could see they thought about the paintings too. Next was the art project, well see for yourself. IMG_2852 IMG_2853 IMG_2854 These children are mostly four years old, they are learning about faces, form and how to connect shapes into people. They can put ideas together, they can draw without my help. I simply plant the seed and they build ideas. Who knew the painting  “Son of Man”  could help get a teacher through a sleepy Monday with 14 children! First they drew people from shapes they knew, what people looked like. Then they connected the idea from Magritte to have a face with the apple- suddenly all children wanted to do the same project. Some faces were blue, some had features, some more definition, but all had a black hat, apple, and face like shape.

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