Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lois Ehlert's "Color Zoo" Flannel Set

This project has been a long time coming. And, boy, I'm glad I finally did it. First, I love Lois Ehlert. Reading is Fundamental has a wonderful (very kid-friendly) interview with Ms. Ehlert, if you're interested in doing an author study. She has so many amazing, classic books and many of them can be incorporated into a ton of units. Her books are particularly great for science themes: seasons, winter, summer, fall, spring, life cycles, animals, insects, plants, trees, fruits and vegetables.

If you are looking for project and activity ideas to use with Lois Ehlert's books, check out the collection of possibilities The Educators' Spin On It has compiled, it's great!

Or, how about an author interview? Check out the Reading Rockets video.

And now, on to the fun stuff...
I made copies of the pages from Color Zoo and then used the pages as cutting patterns.
 Like the book, each panel turns into the next panel. The ox becomes the monkey, the monkey becomes the deer, ect.
 And last, but not least, this interview through BookPage is beautiful and a must read.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Doily Art

Before I start this post, I have to share that I had no idea how to spell "doily." For the longest time, I was writing "dollies" and coming up with images of several creepy-looking antique dolls. I finally added the word "crochet" to the beginning of my search and found what I was looking for. So, the art to honor the weirdest word in the world...

I was never much for doilies before meeting my mother-in-law, but she always sent us boxes of fun treasures and there was usually some doilies tucked in there somewhere. I've now been scouring garage sales for ones that are reasonably priced and this weekend, I hit the mother load. I literally bought an entire box full of doilies for $2.00. Score!

This art was inspired by krokrolamb and their amazing work! Seriously, check out these doilies! This was the original source of inspiration:

My first step was making the little birdie, I used scraps of different doilies and cut them into the shape of the bird's body. The wing detail was already exactly the right shape, yay! The legs were the edging of a doily and little feet were part of a scallop. I used cheap 'ole acrylic paint to add a pop of color.
 Next, I laid all the doilies out on the canvas. I debated about adding small circles to fill the empty spaces between the doilies, but I wasn't happy with how it looked, so I ditched that idea. There is everything laid out before adding the color.
 The painting of the doilies...
 The fabric soaks up the paint, it took a bit more than I expected. It did go pretty quickly, though. I used a foam brush and literally used it like a sponge, using my fingers to dab the paint onto the doily. Initially, I painted both sides, but I found it wasn't necessary and quickly resorted to painting just the one side.
Once they were dried (they dry really quick!), I laid them out and glued them down using Tacky Glue. It was a little messy, but looked great!
 Here it is!
 I painted the canvas a very light off-white, you can tell if you look at the "speech bubbles" coming out of the bird's mouth, which are a true white.
 And last, but not least, the pup used the finished art as a mat to sit on. If it's on the ground, it is fair game, after all... Sigh.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Author Study Brainstorming

After passing my very last math exam needed for licensing (yaaaaay!) today, I am now thinking I better get started on planning for the year. Now, one might ask why I feel the need to do curriculum planning at 11:30 at night on the 23 of July? Ummm, well... Your guess is as good as mine. Like I said to a teacher friend the other day, "And to think, people say we have summers 'off.' Ha!"

In my late night crazy brain, I have decided to organize my primary lessons a little differently this year. Last year I tried to plan my lessons thematically, based on what was happening in the school, as a whole, and what was being taught in the classroom. While I still plan to continue on that path, I would also like to attempt to incorporate regular author studies into my kindergarten, first and second grade library lessons. There are various authors and illustrators that I think all young readers should be exposed to and I thought this would be a great opportunity to create that exposure. But, therein lies my conundrum... There are too, too, too many to choose from.

This is only after one session of brainstorming:

Ezra Jack Keats
Audrey & Don Wood
Mercer Mayer
Mo Willems
Lois Ehlert
Jan Thomas
Tedd Arnold
Frank Asch
Marc Brown
Don Freeman
Tomie dePaola
Helen Lester
Rosemary Wells
Maurice Sendak
Margaret Wise Brown
Jonathan London
Laura Numeroff
Cynthia Rylant
Eric Hill
Jan & Stan Berenstain
Jan Brett
Joanna Cole
Barbara Cooney
Steven Kellogg
Leo Lionni
Arnold Lobel
James Marshall
Robert McCloskey
Dr. Seuss
Chris Van Allsburg
Vera B. Williams
Jane Yolen
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Jack Prelutsky
Jon Scieszka
William Steig
Sandra Boynton
Kevin Henkes
Beatrix Potter
Shel Silverstein
Alan Katz
Robert Munsch
E.B. White
Eric Carle
Mary Pope Osborne
Barbara Park

Sigh. Too many books, too little time. And just because they're too wonderful not to share:


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Monster Book Bags

My summer break is not at all a break... It's a flurry of crafting and sewing and making deliciously healthy meals. It's the best kind of "break" I could possibly imagine. This project started as a birthday gift for one of my favorite three-year old monsters. He is a big fan of monsters and a big fan of reading (yaaaay!), so I wanted to combine the two into a fun birthday gift.

I purchased this adorable downloadable Library Tote Bag pattern from Shiny Happy World on Etsy.
The best part about the pattern? The darling little library card pocket inside of the bag.
I ended up wanting to make bags for a family of little kiddos and so I started "mass producing." The first bag I made (the lime green one), I followed the pattern exactly, but because I was making so many, I wanted the pattern-cutting process to go faster, so I changed the dimensions just a bit. So as not to give Shiny Happy World's pattern for free, I'll let you buy it on Etsy and then make your own adjustments.
 Getting everything laid out
 Assembling the inside pocket
 Assembling the outside pocket
 Putting it all together
 Adding some google-y eyes
 Assembling the handles
 Finishing it all up
 Before flipping it inside out
  And viola!
Aren't they adorable?
Now, on to the next project...

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