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Monday, December 19, 2011

Decorating Gingerbread Houses

This is how each table was set-up with supplies.

Trader Joe's Gingerbread House Kit.
We always love to try new things so this year we decided to have the students work in teams and decorate Gingerbread Houses.  We are fortunate to have wonderful parent involvement and were able to get all the supplies donated.  The Gingerbread House Kits came from Trader Joe's and cost $7.99 each.  We like these kits because they are easy to put together.  To save time, we had the parents donate containers of white frosting and food coloring.  This was much easier than making your own frosting that comes in the kit.  We also had the students bring in small Ziploc bags of assorted candy labeled with their name.

Before we could get started, we had parent volunteers prep each table with the kit pieces, two small cups of different color frosting, bowls of M&M's, mini marshmallows, frosted shredded wheat cereal and peppermint candy.   Teams were able to swap frosting colors during the decorating process.   This made each Gingerbread House unique.  We had one adult with each group of 5 students to help as a guide.  When the houses were done, each team had to come up with a name.  As one of our students said, "today was the best day ever!"
Our finished product.

We will use these houses as table decorations for our upcoming Holiday Party and then we will have a raffle and send them home with some lucky families.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Follow Up to the Gingerbread Man

Here's how the Gingerbread Man homework turned out . . . so cute! The kids had so much fun taking their Gingerbread People out with them during the week. Some students took their Gingerbread People to local places like Costco, the library, to pick out a Christmas tree. Others went to places like Disneyland & to watch the Nutcracker. I especially like the postcards with actual photographs of what they did together.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

3D Sculptures Using Home Made Paper Mache

Who knew tearing paper could be so much fun?

Last week the students looked at sculptures created by two artists: Kate Costello and Francois Pompon in preparation of making their own 3D sculptures. The students then tore newsprint, construction paper, toilet paper and napkins to make their own paper pulp. It was a class effort! Once we had enough paper to fill 1/2 of a trash can, it was filled with enough water to cover and left to soak for a week. The water helps to break down the paper and turned everything mushy.

This week the students got to mold the paper pulp into a shape that would eventually become the body of an animal. They had to first squeeze out the excess water, and as they did this it would help to shape and mold the pulp. The pulp was then put onto a small piece of cardboard that the kids had already covered with tissue paper. The "body" was then covered in glue with brushes and tissue paper was layered over the body. Not only will the tissue paper add color to the sculpture, but it will also help to hold everything together.

Paper turning into mush.

Paper pulp with water squeezed out.
Table set up.

Partially finished sculpture.
After everything has dried the students will use construction paper to add details to their animals like wings, fins, trunks, etc. Can't wait to see the finished product!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holidays Around the World

We are going to visit one country each day to learn how they celebrate winter holidays.  We found these really cute simple passports from PBS Kids Sprout the Mr. Mailman show and the stamp template from Fiar Circle that you can change the country name and the date.  Each day we visit a country, the students will glue a stamp in their passport.  We will also make a page in our Holidays Around the World book.  At the end of the unit, they will have a wonderful souvenir and book to remember each country and their Holiday traditions. 

Click here for the stamp template.

We will begin our journey in Sweden where we will engage all of our senses while we learn about Saint Lucia Day.  We will look at pictures, watch a video, color in the Swedish flag, and eat a Danish pancake.

Then we are heading to Mexico to learn all about Las Posadas.  We will start off by watching a Disney video, color the flag of Mexico and enjoy some tamales.

The next country we will visit is Israel where we will learn about Hanukkah.  We will read Hanukkah! by  Roni Schotter, sing The Dreidel Song, color the flag of Israel and eat latkes.

Our last stop will be Africa where we will discuss Kwanzaa.  We will read My First Kwanzaa by Karen Katz, color a kinara and eat bananas, oranges and apples.
Click here to see this book.