Spring Blossoms Workshop

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I looked out the window and what did I see? Popcorn popping on an apricot tree.  It’s springtime!  Just the right time to make a spring blossom picture!  Here’s what you will need:

  • a sheet of light blue paper
  • white pencil
  • elmer’s glue
  • fine salt
  • brown paint
  • light colored tissue paper cut into small squares.

Use the white pencil to draw some branches of a tree.  Paint your branches with glue (do a nice thick layer).

Sprinkle lots and lots of salt over the glue.  Let the glue dry and then shake the salt off.  (We didn’t have time to let the glue dry, so we had to be extra delicate doing the next step).

Paint the salt brown.  Let dry.

Lay a square of tissue paper onto the top of a pencil (the side without the point) and fold downward, forming a flower blossom. Dip the flat part into glue and stick onto a tree branch. Keep doing that until your tree is covered with flowers.  We glued little crushed up balls of tissue paper to the center of the flowers just to make them a little more colorful.

And there you have it, a beautiful tree with lots of spring blossoms! Achooo! Just kidding these trees are hypoallergenic!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Bingo

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We have done a TVHC crossword, a TVHC memory or go fish game, a TVHC pictionary or sculptionary game and even a TVHC counting game and now we finally have a The Very Hungry Caterpillar Bingo game!  Hooray!

We are always trying to find ways to make playing the same game even more fun.  So after the kids have learned the vocabulary from the story – we play a version of bingo to get the kids talking and thinking. One way is to keep score 2 different ways – the regular bingo way AND on a piece of paper of chalkboard.  We use the

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Workshop

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is one of our favorite stories – (you can see by how many times we’ve posted about it under categories to your right).  It has the some of the very important features to look for when reading to ESL or EFL kids – the story uses a fairly simple and basic language, the story is interesting and the pictures explain the what is happening even if the kids don’t understand many of the words.  This story is also adaptable to teach different topics- the life cycle of a butterfly (also order- first, second, next etc), days of the week, counting and food.  We focused on the life cycle of a butterfly for our project. We made mobiles and this is how we did it:Supplies:

  • paper plate (or construction paper and something to trace a circle)
  • black construction paper
  • a white or light colored pencil
  • crayons or oil pastels
  • scissors
  • large embroidery needle and thread

First take the paper plate and draw a large spiral shape and cut it out.

Use the white pencil to draw an egg on a leaf, a caterpillar, a cocoon and a butterfly (we folded the paper in half and drew on the fold).  (The kids were given 12 x 12 cm squares and asked the kids to draw as big as they could – otherwise they tended to draw something small in the center of the paper – making it hard to color, cut out and see). The drawing above is not to scale, but just to give you an idea of what the pieces you should have.

Cut out the pieces and color them in.

This part may require adult supervision – cut out 4 pieces of thread about the same length (about 25 cm) and 1 longer thread (about 40 cm).  Thread the needle with the large piece of thread, poke the needle through center of the spiral (going from top to bottom) and then poke it back through again (going from bottom to top).  Tie a knot at the end.  This will be used to hang the mobile.

Now attach the other pieces.  Using the shorter pieces of thread  poke the needle through the top of the spiral, poke it though one of your pieces (leaf, caterpillar, cocoon or butterfly), poke it back up through the spiral and tie a knot.  Repeat, making sure you evenly space each piece.  The order doesn’t really matter because it changes as the mobile spins.

Here is a cute little song to sing (to the tune of Up On The Rooftop) while you are working:

  • First comes a butterfly and lays an egg.
    Out comes a caterpillar with many legs.
    Oh see the caterpillar spin and spin,
    A little chrysalis to sleep in.
  • Oh, oh ,oh wait and see!
    Oh, oh, oh wait and see!
    Out of the chrysalis, my oh my,
    Out comes a beautiful butterfly!

(We didn’t make it up, but since we’ve seen it on many other sites, we can’t cite it since we don’t know who to give the credit to – but nice job whoever it was!)

ESeLf Portraits

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Self portraits are a great exercise in observation. The objective of this project was not not only to learn the names of body parts, but also for each kid to be aware in detail of what they looked like. Did they have a big mouth or a small mouth?  Long hair or short hair?  What color? We also asked that the kids put something in the background was a reflection of themselves (a sort of inner self portrait).  And on top of all that, the kids got to experiment with chalk pastels. Everyone had used chalk before (on chalk boards, on side walks), but it was the first time that they got to use it as an artistic medium-mixing and blending the colors together.  We think they did a pretty great job all linguistically, artistically and fun-tistically! (Yes, we made that last word up, but they did have fun!)

Easter Workshops, Bunny Lumps Guess Who?

A while back, we saw adorable little bunny lumps on House Wren Studios.  They are simple enough for the kids to make, but just making one was not enough.  Then we had the brilliant idea (yes, we are patting ourselves on the back for this one :o) use the idea for an Easter Guess Who? game.

Supplies:

  • Play dough in different colors ( we used – white, yellow, orange, purple and pink, blue and green – that’s a lot of dough, you could use fewer colors, but you will have fewer variables)
  • Craft foam or Felt (we used red, orange, yellow, green, blue and pink b/c that was what was in the craft foam package)
  • Wooden skewer.
  • plus glue, pens and paper to make name tags

It’s actually quite simple how to make the ‘lumps’ all you need to do is squish a small ball of dough into a small lump.  Roll tiny pieces of dough for the nose and the tail,  Cut out ears from the craft foam and poke them in.  Use the skewer to poke 2 eyes on the bunny – tadah you are finished. The really fun part is – when the bunnies dry, write names on little slips of paper and glue them to the bottom of the bunnies.

To make sure that the kids didn’t repeat combinations of ears, eyes, noses and tails we made a little chart and cut it up into squares.  The kids chose the bunny they wanted to make and then wrote the number down, followed the ‘bunny lump recipe’ and then put the card back, fished out another and began again.  Since the process was pretty simple, this let the kids be pretty independent and go at their own pace.

To play Guess Who? You will need 2 or more players.  Set the bunnies on the table in a random order.  Decide who will go first (this will be Player A).  Player A chooses a bunny (but doesn’t say who it is), the rest of the players ask yes or no questions to guess which bunny it is by process of elimination, ie:  first guesser (Player B) says – does the bunny have blue ears.  If Player A says YES, all bunnies WITH blue ears are taken off the table.  If Player A says NO, all the bunnies WITHOUT blue ears are take off the table.  And so on and so forth for the rest of the players.  After player asks his yes or no question, they should be asked ‘Would you like to guess which bunny it is?’ – if Player B (or C or D) says yes and guesses correctly, she wins.  If she guesses incorrectly, she skips her next turn.

Polar Bear What Did You Hear? Memory Game

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Animal Sounds Memory!  To play this game, print and cut out 4 copies of the first sheet with all the animals and one of the sheet with zookeeper.

Players: 2 or more

Object of the Game:  to memorize the noises and mimes of the animals in the right order.

1. Shuffle the deck and then place it face down in the center of the table. Decide who goes first.

2. The first player draws a card and places it face up next to the deck.  She says what the animal is and imitates the sound and gestures for that animal.

3.  The second player draws a card, places it face up on top of the first player’s card.  He makes the sound and mimes the animal on the first card and then of the card he has just turned over.  And so on and so forth until a player gets an animal or it’s sound.

4.  Once a card is turned over and covered by the next player’s card, it should not be turned over and covered again.

5.  When a player makes a mistake, instead of reshuffling the deck and beginning all over – the player takes a penalty card from the face up pile. Whoever has the most penalty cards (once all the cards have been turned over) begins the next round.

Variation – at the beginning of the game, set a time limit on how long the game will last. The winner is the person with the least penalty cards.

Other uses for the cards – you can also use these cards to play memory the classic way, Go Fish!  or Guess Who?

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Did You Hear? Workshop

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Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Did You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr and Eric Carle is a wonderful book about animals and the sounds that they make.  It’s rhythmic, it has lots of repetition, fun animals to imitate – it’s an all around great story! Check out FindSounds and Sound Bible to hear real sounds that the animal make.

Since this book was all about animals and the sounds they make, we made an kazoo in the shape of an elephant – and you can use it to trumpet like an elephant.  Here’s how to do it:

  • You will need:
  • colored construction paper
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • an old paint brush
  • scissors
  • a tp roll
  • parchment paper or tracing paper
  • the bottom of a can or a lid, slightly larger than the diameter of the tp roll
  • googly eyes

1.  Use the lid to trace a circle on the parchment paper (or tracing paper).  Cut it out, cover one end of the tp roll and glue it on.

2.  Tear up a sheet of construction paper and use the paint brush to glue the paper to the side of the tp roll (paper mache style), making sure to cover the edges of the parchment paper only on the sides and not the part covering the end.

3. Draw 2 ears on construction paper, cut them out and glue them onto the side of the elephant’s head (you may have to fold a small flap in order to get them to stick more easily).

4.  Glue on 2 googly eyes.

5.  Now for the trunk: cut out 2 strips of paper about 1 cm wide, along the length (the long side) of a piece of construction paper.  Place the two ends together so that the strips for an L and place a dot of glue to hold the strips in place. Alternate folding each strip at a 90° angle to the other strip.  When you come to the end of each strip, glue down the ends (cut off any excess paper) and your twos strips of paper should now look like an accordion.  Glue this onto the elephant.  And tah-dah you are finished.

6.  After the elephant dries.  Put the open end of the elephant kazoo to your mouth and make a humming noise (but with your mouth opened).  This should make the paper at the end of the tube vibrate.  Now try and do the same thing making an elephant trumpeting noise.  It’s not easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s lots of fun!

Father’s Day Workshop, A Totally Quiller Keychain

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Father’s Day is the 19th of March in Italy, so the kids made a special present for their dads – a totally killer quilled key chain.

What’s quilling you ask? It’s taking strips of paper and curling them into spirals, you bend those spirals into different shapes and put them together to form an animal, a flower or whatever you want.  Check out Inna’s Creations for some basics on quilling and other great ideas.

Here’s how to quill a fish key chain:

Supplies:

  • colored paper (A4)
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • wooden skewer
  • elmer’s glue
  • Modge Podge or watered down elmer’s glue
  • old paintbrush
  •  needle (a big one)
  • embroidery thread
  • key chain ring

You probably have most of the things in the house, so this is a great impromptu activity – like on a rainy day, when you’re stuck inside and you don’t know what to do!

1. Use your ruler and pencil to measure out 4, 1 cm strips along the length of the paper. Carefully cut them out.

2. Take two strips and glue them together at the ends, so you have one long strip.

3: Fold one strip in half and cut it along the fold.

4.  There should be 4 strips total, 1 long, 1 medium and 2 short.  Take a short strip of paper and twirl it around the skewer and then take it off.  You should have a spiral. Do the same to each of the other strips.

5. Put a dot of glue on the end of each spiral and glue it closed.

6 Now comes the tricky part – you will need to make pinch and bend the pieces to make different shapes which will form the parts of the fish.

7.  Take the large spiral and pinch the ends to form an ‘eye’ shape -this will be used for the fish’s body.

8. Use your index finger and your thumb of your left hand and the index finger of your right hand to squish the two small spirals into triangles. These will be the fins.

9. Use the thumb and index fingers of both hands to squash the last spiral (the medium sized one) into a  crescent moon shape.This will be the tail.

10. Pass the needle with embroidery thread through one side of the eye shaped piece, make a loop and tie a knot.

11. Glue each of the pieces together to form a fish. Let these dry.

12. When you are finished, use the paint brush to pass Modge Podge all over the fish – on the top and the bottom and the sides.  This will make the fish harder.  When it dries, hook the fish onto a key chain ring and you are finished!

When it dries, wrap it up and give it to your dad on Monday.  Make sure you wish your dad a Happy Father’s Day from all of us at ARTiculation360.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Counting Game

To read this in Italian, click here.

This is a card game inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar, to help kids count and learn fruits.  To play, print out one copy each of all the cards and cut them out.

The object of the game is to have the most fruits and leaves before the puzzle is completed.

1.  Shuffle the cards and put them into the center of the table

2.  On his or her turn, each player draws a card.  If the card has fruit or leaves, he places it face up on the table (so the other players can see and learn) and says how many fruits (or leaves) there are. The turn passes to the next person.  If the card has a piece of the puzzle on it, that card is placed in the center of table to begin (or continue) constructing the puzzle.

3.  Play continues until the puzzle is completed.  When the last piece of the puzzle is in place, the game ends.  Players count how many fruits and leaves they have.  The player with the most fruits and leaves wins.  (Count the actual number of objects, not the number of cards).  Have fun!

Animation (Flip Book) Workshop

To read this in Italian, click here.

Saturday’s workshop was probably the one of the most challenging, but fun workshops yet, we made flip books -which are basically a series of drawings that seem to move, as the pages are rapidly turned. This is a great activity to do for transit verbs (a fiish swimming, a plane flying etc) or to teach stages (a seed growing into a flower or a tree) – Keep in mind that the best ideas are the simplest ideas – especially if it is your first time animating.

What you will need:

  • a pencil
  • colored pencils
  • post-its
  • a stapler
  • tape (masking or scotch tape)

For younger kids, it is easier to grasp the concept if they have an example.

1.  Print off one of the sheets above.

2. Put a post-it on top of each frame (keeping the sticky part on the left hand side) and use a pencil to lightly trace each drawing.

 *If it’s hard to see the lines, you can always put the sheet against the window and then trace.

3. Color each of the frames (make sure that you color every frame in the same way -for example: if you color the flower yellow with a green stem, it should be yellow with a green stem in all the frames),

4.  Write the title of your flip book on a post it.

5.  Take 2 blank post its and set them on the table (this will add pages to the book and make it easier to flip).  Stack the your drawings on top of these 2 blank post-its, in sequence working from frame 8 to frame 1 (so frame 8 should be on the bottom and frame 1 on the top). Take 2 more blank post-its and put them on the top. Stack you title page on the very top.  Stack as neatly as you can, the neater it is, the easier it will be to flip.

6.  Bend the left side of your book back about 5 cm.  This will make the pages stiffer and easier to flip.

7.  Staple the ‘binding’ and secure the staples by covering them with a strip of tape.

8.  Now flip!

Older kids may be able to grasp the concept of how to draw a flip book on their own. Here’s how to do it:

1.  Think of something that can move from left to right or up and down (without having to draw many complicated movements.  For example a fish swimming, a plane flying through the sky, a car driving on the road, a hot air balloon rising in the sky, etc.  A person walking is quite or a horse running is quite complicated and won’t work well for the method we are using.

2.  Draw your idea on a post it, keeping the sticky side to the left. We have drawn a spider that will lower itself down it’s web.   If you are going to have something go from up to down, like we are, make sure the drawing stays on the right hand side so you can see it as it flips.

3. Take another post-it (post -it #2) and put it on top of the first post it (post-it #1) so that the right edges are lined up, but the top edge of #2 is slightly above #1.  Remember to put the sticky side on the left.  Trace.  See how our spider looks slightly lower.

4.  Do this again and again, until you have at least 8 drawings. You can have more than (, because the more drawings you have and the slighter the movement when you retrace, the better your flip book will work. Less than 8 drawings makes it hard to flip the book and the animation won’t be a smooth.

5.  Color all your drawings.

6.  Neatly stack (in order) all your drawings, starting with the last one on the bottom.  (If you have only 8 drawings add 2 blank post-its to the front and 2 to the back, this will make it a bit easier to flip and see the animation).

7.  Make a title page and put it on the top of your stack.

8.  Fold back the left hand side of your stack about 5 mm.

9. Staple and then tape over the staples

10. You are ready to flip!