Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter Writing Fun!

Coming back from a three week break has been a challenge. Trying to get the kiddos back into a routine and in "working" mode has been an uphill battle, but things are getting better now.

We do art activities throughout the curriculum as much as possible and the kiddos love it. I decided to bring something back that we used to do a lot in 2nd grade--cookery/art. Every Friday, our writing is going to be centered around some kind of art/cookery activity that we will use as a springboard for our writing task. This will give me my kiddos time to review and practice other genres we have covered without deviating from the genre of study that goes with our Treasure Unit.

Our first activity was on Pointillism, a technique of neo-Impressionist painting using tiny dots, which become blended in the viewer's eye. I found a snow-globe activity on that would be perfect to go with our Winter theme. In their activity, the teacher taught them about foreground, middle ground, and background. I decided to change it a bit so that we could study neo-Impressionist works of art. They were blown away from the pieces of art that I showed them. They couldn't believe that these pieces of art were made from tiny dots. What was interesting, was that they thought it would be so easy to do and they soon discovered that it is difficult and time consuming. I had them use q-tips to make the dots. They really want to do this technique again. I have to figure out where it will fit in again. After that we wrote Cinquain poems about Winter. We focused on strong verbs and descriptive adjectives. This was a great parts of speech review.

Hot Chocolate
The second activity was having the students make some hot chocolate. While navigating through Pinterest (the link gives me an error page, so if anyone knows who I need to credit please let me know), I saw a bulletin board decorated with cups and kid writing on winter fun). I took the same idea simply modified it into a functional piece of writing. We brought in the ingredients/materials, read and followed the directions together. They got to decorate a "cup" with a winter theme, and then they wrote their functional piece. They were so eager to write down what we did, how to make it, and the fun they had making it. I did not have to be on anyone to do their writing-yippee!

Another activity we did involved making these cute snowmen I saw on Dukes&Duchesses. We used the small, white powdered donuts, M&M's, leather fruit, and skewers. I thought that this might be a little to "youngish" for my kiddos, but you should have seen them---the laughter and the joy in the room was too much! My kiddos then wrote a narrative piece about what they like most about winter.

We had a blast making paper snowflakes. We began by following some patterns I found on Pinterest. If you click on the picture it will take you directly to the link. As you can see, they are quite intricate and difficult for some of us. I was having a hard time.

                                                                                Source: via 4everateacher on Pinterest

What I really liked was that even though some of my students found these difficult, they didn't give up. They kept trying or asked other students for assistance. They had unlimited blank newsprint to practice on.

These are some of the snowflakes they cam up with:

After we were done with our paper snowflakes, we began our eatable snowflakes. This yummy activity came from Fun Family Craft. We had to use silver and colorful flakes instead because we were unable to find the white sugar crystals anywhere. I know may kiddos had fun--"This is the best activity yet!"--was a common phrase. I sometimes forget that what I take for granted as common activities are something that my kiddos don't always have exposure to and relish when they do. Definitely doing more cookery! This week we will be working on the writing-Acrostic Poems.

 Ingredients /Materials

 Pretzel sticks connected with white frosting

 Each kiddo got melted white chocolate in a baggie to decorate their snowflake.

 Silver flakes
Colorful flakes

Winter is yet not over and we still have more to do. What do you do to motivate your kids into wanting to write?

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By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
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