Monday, October 28, 2013

Hand Knitting

Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen, is a story about how a girl named Annabelle brings a community back to life. The story is set in a sad, bleak town. When Annabelle finds a magical box filled with colorful yarn, she begins to knit. First, she knits a sweater for herself and her dog. Then, she knits a sweater for everyone in the town. Eventually she "yarn bombs" the town, even the trees. Annabelle's knitting changes the town forever. I enjoyed reading this book to my elementary age students and they liked it too. They understood how the illustrations and words supported each other and enjoyed the main character's determination and knitting stamina! I also used this book as a vehicle to teach the students how to hand knit. It is an easy process, but does require good listening and fine motor skills, the ability to follow directions, some finger coordination, and a lot of patience. Once the children got the hang of it they couldn't stop!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Celebrate Autumn

The trees in my neighborhood look beautiful this time of year and their changing colors are spectacular. Every day it is a different show - bursts of red then golden yellow. The changing leaves inspired me to teach a class that celebrates autumn. I collected a lot of leaves, mostly maple, and some birch. I taught three leaf activities - leaf rubbing, leaf printing and leaf wreaths. The children tried all three activities. Rubbings can be made more challenging for older children by moving the leaf to a new position under the paper and continuing with a new color crayon. It is okay if the leaf rubbings overlap. The completed leaf rubbings should cover the entire paper. The leaf printings work best when you brush on a small amount of paint on the raised side of the leaf. The leaf should be placed straight down, smoothed with the tips of your fingers, and lifted back up. Leaf printings look great to me with white showing through. The leaf wreaths can be made using white paper plates. Cut out the center of the plate. Use small leaves that can be glued onto the rim of the paper plate. If you have time you can paint the paper plate first to add more color to the base of the wreath. Enjoy the fall!