Simple Silhouette Collages

After a long summer of rest and rejuvenation, I’ve been so busy being back in the classroom that I haven’t been able to blog.  There has been so much going on already in year 2 in Singapore that I want to share with you!  This year, I tried a new beginning of the school year project. My mentor teacher from last year, Linda, does this great silhouette activity with her students. I knew that this year, I wanted to try it with my kids!

In order to have the students create their silhouettes, I used the steps I found on this blog post: how to make silhouettes of your kids .

I took a photo of their side profile against a solid background. Then, I printed out their photo in black and white. I took their photo and enlarged it on the copy machine to a bigger sheet of white paper. Once I got the settings on the copy machine right, I copied all the printed out silhouettes with the same settings.

Then, I had the students cut out their profiles and glue it onto thicker black construction paper. They cut out their profiles again.

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Now on the black side of the paper, I had them glue on photos and words from magazines that described them. I also had some print outs of photos I took of them and their families from our open house. I had them put those photos on.  After their silhouette collage was done, I hung them up in the back of my classroom!

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What are some of your favorite back to school activities?

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A Weekend of Inspiration, Art & Books

A few weekends ago, my school hosted a Children’s Literature Conference. We had amazing authors and illustrators give keynotes and lead workshops. The authors and illustrators that attended were Deborah WilesKadir NelsonLaura Vacarro Seeger and Chris Crutcher. I’m a huge fan of Kadir Nelson’s artwork, especially in the book, A Nation’s Hope! They shared their stories while challenging us to tell our own stories. Not only did I want to buy all these amazing books that these authors wrote and illustrated afterwards, but I was inspired to start writing my story.

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One of the author/illustrators that came was Laura Vacarro Seeger. Her most recent picture book, Green was a Caldecott Honor book this year! She presented her inspiration for her various picture books by sharing her sketches and writer’s notebook. I was amazed at how she took pictures books to a whole new level through her creativity. I especially loved her book Green. Here is an amazing video of her book.

Laura even signed my book and took a photo! I found out later that she actually worked with my students in their art class. In addition to that, I had my students and their book buddies (2nd grade class) do an art activity together based on the book. After reading the book to them, we had the kids come up with their own “green” page in order to create a class book. They thought of a phrase and then drew the artwork to go with it. There were some very creative drawings and phrases from exit green, fast green, grass green, ocean green, funky green, alien green, jewel green and more! Thank you Laura for your inspiration!

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School Wide Publishing Party

Once a year, our elementary school has a school wide publishing party celebrating the art work and writing of our students. This was the second year that we did this celebration. For the first part, the students had a chance to go to the gymnasium where all the students had an artwork and a writing piece on display. The PTO does an amazing job volunteering and helping this publishing party run smoothly. Afterwards, we went to the auditorium where we had a special presentation.

Last year we had a famous Korean children’s author come in to share about her writing. She also happens to be a parent of one of the kids at our school. She wrote a book called Cloud Bread. This year, we had another parent come in who is an artist. She does a lot of sculptures. I really enjoyed watching her presentation about her different art work. She did a series on fractured fairy tales. I liked her “Cinderella” sculpture, where she is stuck inside a glass box, and her leg is broken trying to fit inside the box.

This was a really a fun and special day to be able to recognize the hard work the students do in their writing and also in their artwork!

Colonial America Stencil Activity

For our Colonial America unit, there are a few fun activities I like to do with my students. These activities were introduced to me by Mela, my 5th grade teaching partner 2 years ago! We do a few Colonial type of activities to help our students gain a bit more perspective on what life was like. We have them make Colonial style hats, sew pockets, create  journals that they bind with string, make homemade ice cream and do a stencil activity with paint.

During the Colonial time, the pineapple was a symbol for hospitality. I had copies of a pineapple stencil ready for each student. I cut rectangular shaped pieces of ivory colored fabric for each student. First, the students cut out the inside of the pineapple. Once they finish cutting it, they taped it on top of the fabric.  Then, they used sponges (I cut up normal sponges into small square pieces) to color in the inside of the stencil. Make sure to tell them to dab lightly. I gave them red, blue and yellow colored paint to use. After they finish painting their stencil, they take off the paper and let the stencil dry.

There are more specific instructions on this website: Colonial America Crafts 

Field Trips in Korea!

Everywhere I went in Paris, I saw students! I saw students on field trips in the Louvre, on our night river cruise, Versailles, on the streets of Champs Elysees, and even on our airplane. At times, I was glad that I was on break and didn’t have to travel to other countries with my students. It was pretty cool to think that the students in France could easily go to see the Mona Lisa on a field trip. I wonder if they even know how lucky they truly are to be living in a city with such amazing and significant pieces of art all around.

This reminded me of my students and the fun we have going on field trips here in Korea. Here are some of the fun places I’ve been to with my students within these past 4 years.

  • Seoul Tower near Myeong Dong
  • Seoul Museum of Art
  • The National Museum of Korea in Yongsan
  • Gwacheon National Science Museum
  • The Korean War Memorial Museum in Yongsan
  • Seoul Zoo in Gwacheon
  • The 63 Building in Yeoido
  • Dreamland Forest
  • Everland Amusement Park
  • EGG Hall in Jongno
  • What the Book Store in Itaewon
  • Lunch at Petra’s in Itaewon
  • Native American Art exhibit at Sejong Museum of Art in Jongno
  • Ice Skating at local ice rink
  • Ski Resort
  • Nature walks- Local mountain behind our school
  • River walks- Local river next to our school
  • Gyeong Bok Palace- Folk Museum??
  • Live Shows- The Snowman Musical
  • Pottery Making at the National Museum of Korea

Some other possible places for field trips:

  • DMZ
  • Korean Traditional Palaces
  • Blue House/Museum near there
  • Local farms
  • Animal Shelter

What is your favorite field trip?

Are there any other good places you recommend for field trips in Korea?

Guest Blog Post: Paper Mache Globes!

Deirdre and I started our international school careers at the same time four years ago here in Seoul. After two years in Seoul, she moved on to India! She is truly living the life of an international school teacher. I currently teach some of her 2nd grade students from her first year at my school, and they always tell me about the fun times they remember from her class!

In grade 4, we love creating, constructing and composing! We also enjoy getting a little messy from time to time. As part of our unit on Canada and cultures from around the world, we made paper mache globes. Students labeled and identified the seven continents and oceans. Below you will find instruction how to create your own paper mache globe …

Directions:
1. Cover all desks with newspaper.

2. Collect old newspapers and have the students tear into long pieces, about one inch thick. Have one student from each group place shredded newspaper on the groups’ desks.

3. Blow up balloons and leave balloons on the student’s desks. You may want to blow up the balloons prior to the activity for younger students. We used heart balloons because it was Valentine’s Day!

4. Create paper mache mixture:

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ white glue (think of Elmer’s glue)
  • 2 cups of water

The measurements may need to be adjusted … you will know when you have it when the mixture is slightly thick. I did this with my students and had a few measure out and add the flour, water and glue. I mixed it until it became thick enough, first with a spoon and then with my hands. Then I modeled exactly how to take the paper mache goop, cover a strip of newspaper and place it onto the balloon. We talked about what the students noticed: that I was calm, that I only placed the goop onto the strip of newspaper and balloon etc. Then I poured the mixture into four bowls (we have four groups) and asked who was ready!?

This activity is best to do on a Friday because it allows the paper mache to dry over the weekend. Then on Monday the students can paint the balloons and let dry for a day or two.

We used acrylic paint:

We used a blank print out of the continents, colored them in, labeled them, cut them out:

Finally, we hung them up in our room!

Happy paper macheing!

What Makes You Brave?

For our elementary school’s Read Across America day, we always choose our own theme. We also have a chance to teach other classes from different grades as they rotate classrooms. The theme this year was author Kevin Henkes. I read the Kevin Henkes story, Sheila, The Brave. After reading the book, I asked students how Sheila was brave in the story. Then, on chart paper, we wrote down what it means to be brave. I explained that we would be making a collage about how we are brave or want to be brave. I did this activity with 3rd to 5th grade students.

Here is my collage that I made to model to my students. I actually had a lot of fun doing it!

Then, the students were given white paper and old magazines to cut out photos and words from. I am always amazed by my students’ creativity!