Just a Little More Tu B’Shevat

Okay, I promise this is the last Tu B’Shevat-insipred post, but I just couldn’t resist sharing the piece de resistance! And I won’t say much, because I think it speaks for itself…
The tree is made of recycled brown paper bags, the leaves are pages from an old book (cut into heart shapes and painted with green tempera paint), the wording is made from twigs picked up off of the school playground, and the moss is from Hobby Lobby (it would have taken waaaaay too long to dry moss from outside–this is Seattle, after all).

Feeling a Little (Hermit) Crabby, Part 2

Following our Eric Carle author study lesson (check out the Feeling a Little Hermit Crabby, Part 1 post), our brilliant art teacher, Mrs. London took over our beautiful hermit crab shells. We were very involved in one another’s lessons throughout this unit and we were thrilled to be collaborating on such a fun project. It was so exciting to be able to tie one topic into the general classroom, the library and the art room. The kids were so engaged throughout the entire process. 

Check out how we honed in on our inner-Eric Carle:
 The crab bodies were created using red modeling clay
They were sooo cute!
 Not only did the kiddos make hermit crabs, they also created underwater habitat homes!
 Next step, using Eric Carle’s style for inspiration, Mrs. London had students paint tissue paper to adorn their habitats
“More paint, cover as much space as you can!”
 The following week, the kindergarteners used the tissue paper to create seaweed, starfish, coral, sponges, sea anemones and much more!
 Mrs. London’s adorable example (she used dried flowers to decorate the floor of the habitat)
Amazing display in the front corridor of the school
 Lastly, I have to brag about our amazing kindergarten team and their stunning bulletin boards!!!
I hope you’re inspired to do your own over-the-top Eric Carle study and have the opportunity to collaborate among departments. It was truly a joy!

Feeling a Little (Hermit) Crabby, Part 1

Costume creation inspired by the very talented, Megan Kimball
My kindergarteners are in the midst of an Eric Carle author study and what started as a simple reading of A House for Hermit Crab, quickly turned into Hermit Crab fever! When I saw Ms. Kimball’s crab costume, I knew I had to try to make one. And it turned out to be a wonderfully fun success. The costume prompted an art project and a painted jumbo pasta shell morphed into a cross-departmental, month-long project.
Because the kiddos had already read Eric Carle’s story twice, I thought it would be a great opportunity to have them recall the details and then compare it to non-fiction hermit crab books. The kids were fascinated by the books and were thrilled to learn how hermit crabs poop.

 Book: Animals Up Close: Zoom in on the World’s Most Incredible Creatures by Igor Siqanowicz
This book was the kids’ first opportunity to see a “real” hermit crab and they were enthralled. They were able to see all the details and made several observations between real crabs and Eric Carle’s character.

Book: My Friend the Hermit Crab by Joanne Randolph
I did not read this book cover to cover, but it had more fun facts and big, bright photographs.
After exploring the non-fiction books using a document camera, we moved to the tables and the students transformed jumbo shell pasta into beautiful hermit crab shells. It is important to note that the Animal Planet cautions against painting a living hermit crab’s shell (we were going for the colorful Eric Carle-esque shells and I talked to the kiddos about why painting a living creature could be harmful to their well-being). 
Per the art teacher’s advice, we used tempera paint. It worked wonderfully and the kids loved it!
Beautiful! It was discovered that the kids who are paint enthusiasts and love to add layers and layers of wet paint would end up with a cracked shell.
To see what we did with these fun and colorful shells, check out my Feeling a Little (Hermit) Crabby, Part 2 post!