This school year, I am freer than I have ever been to teach the way I want to teach, when I want to teach it. I still have a curriculum, of course, and a pacing guide, but our curriculum coordinator is my good friend in the classroom next to me, so I get a lot of wiggle room to do what I want. In my case, this means art.
Some of my projects are fancy, some are simple, and some are ill-conceived, but it’s been a lot of fun! Here are a few projects we made for fall. (By the way, I teach 1st grade now in a private school.)
One project we made was ears of corn. My students’ reaction when I told them this was about what you’d expect, but then I made the big announcement: it involves paint, and…bubble wrap. Well, then, my little monkeys could hardly wait to get started!
I drew a template for the ear of corn and the leaf, which I would scan and make a pdf of for you to download if I were sufficiently tech savvy, and I thought anyone would want it. I made 4 stencils out of file folders (I have 4 table groups) and had my monkeys trace the ear of corn onto the bubble wrap and the leaf onto green construction paper, and cut them out. (Use a dark colored marker on the bubble wrap.)
Next, they painted the bubble wrap like Indian corn, using orange, red, and yellow. Glue the leaf on top of the ear of corn. Voila! It was a pretty simple project, and I think they look pretty cute all arranged together like a cornfield.
Thumbprint turkeys were more complicated, but oh so adorable. I got the idea from The Charmed Mom. She has two turkey “poses;” I had all my students do the sideways turkey. I also swapped out stamp pads for paint, since I don’t have any stamp pads but I do have way more paint than a general-ed teacher really needs (what can I say, I love art!)
We used two thumbprints to make the body of the turkey, and other fingers to make the tail. I let them choose whatever order they liked of red, orange, and yellow. I gave them paper towels to wipe paint off their hands in between so they wouldn’t have to wash their hands until the very end.
Next, I had them use the back of the paintbrush to paint the beak, legs, and wattle. We used tiny googly eyes, mostly since I love googly eyes. After the turkeys were dry, we cut them out, glued them onto brown paper, then cut out the brown to leave a border around the turkey.
My last project for Fall was a super-quick Mayflower. I got the idea and the stencil from the Church House Collection Blog. Theirs is a snack boat, with two pieces of “boat” wrapped around a cup and used to hold snacks. I had my monkeys cut out the boat part just once, and taped the straw mast to the back of the boat. This project took only about 10 minutes, tops, and that includes explaining what to do.
If you took the time to read this, I hope something here inspired you to do some crafting with your own little monkeys! Also, I would love to know about what projects you’ve done, so feel free to share them in the comments below.