Cathedral District Children’s Art Fair

This was our third year of entering the CDCAF…and the third year we placed, which is a huge honor!

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The CDCAF is held downtown, done as a professional-style art fair, and features only the work of children. Work is judged by art critics and professionals, and prizes are awarded for different age brackets. This is an excellent motivation for children during the school-year, and a really graciously run event…I can’t say enough nice things.

For more info on the Cathedral District Association, or how you could get your school to participate, see their website:

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If You Give a Mouse a Cookie!

WEEK THREE of Fun Club brought us Laura Numeroff’s wonderfully fun books, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “If You Take a Mouse to School”.

Children love the cyclical nature of her books, along with the great illustrations and crazy animals…plus, the familiarity and repetition makes these great for emerging readers.

To activate our prior knowledge, we first used shapes to create our own little mice pictures. Children discuss what mice look like, how many ears and eyes and whiskers and whatnot…then they create on their own using the shapes provided. As you can see, they are far more creative when given the freedom to make it their own way within the given perimeters!

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We also baked “Mouse’s Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies”. (For our diabetic and gluten-free students, we checked with parents first for the appropriate accommodations.) I love baking with the children because cooking is such a great lead-in to science, especially chemistry. They “taste test” most of the ingredients, smell the vanilla, help cream the butter, and sift the flour. They take turns and pass the bowls, usually doing “1-2-3-pass it on!” I use counting and simple questions to slip in extra Spanish and French…today it was “Que es el azucar?” and 1-20 en espanol. When all of the ingredients are mixed, the children roll their own cookies, getting SO messy in the process…but they are so excited to do it themselves, to get to experience what the dough feels like, to be the “chefs” (evidenced by the flour on our noses), and of course, to get to take home their cookies at the end of the day!

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I’ve said it before…simple pleasures are so divine!

“Mouse’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies”

1 c. salted butter
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed (so cool to compare to sand at the beach / sandcastle making)
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs (important that they don’t eat raw dough because of this…also, what other animals lay eggs besides chickens? good discussion ensues.)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla (how can it smell so good but taste so bad?!)
1 1/2 c. flour
2 c. oatmeal
1 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients in given order. Mix thoroughly. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool. Hide from your mouse friends!

Kites Take Flight!

Week ONE of FUN CLUB brought us watercolor painting, “The Cat in the Hat” (great tie-in to kites as Thing One and Thing Two fly their kites in the house), Rules to Keep Us Happy and Safe (done as a guess-what’s-happening-in-this-picture game), and playtime with friends.

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Choosing stations included: Playdough, dinosaurs, magnet letters, chalkboard coloring, quiet reading (all Dr. Seuss easy-readers this week) in the reading tent, or connector blocks.

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Week TWO of FUN CLUB brought us some review and reminders, a walking trip to the Sedgwick Playlot, experiments with our kites, and playtime! We were lucky to have gorgeous, unseasonably warm weather to make our walking outings extra fun.

Before walking outings, we practice an action/memory game on how to walk safely. We:

STOP!!! (we all do “stop” with both hands)
HOLD HANDS (we all grab hands with the person next to us at circle-time)
LOOK BOTH WAYS (we all show with our heads looking left-right-left)
WAIT FOR A TEACHER OR GROWN UP (we show waiting patiently for the go-ahead to cross the street)

When we go on walking trips, we wear BRIGHT yellow shirts with all of M. Club’s info listed, we recruit parent/caregiver volunteers for extra eyes and hands, we walk in a “train” with teachers in the front (engine), middle (cars), and end (caboose), we hold hands the entire way with friends, and we take first aid items, parent cell phone numbers, and water with. We begin the year with a short walk down quiet streets to help everyone learn and practice in safety.

All of the eight classes did an EXCELLENT job, and were rewarded with stars toward our token economy known as the “Teeeeeny, Tiiiiny, Toy Store”!

At the playlot, we talked about basic flight concepts. This will tie in later in the year when we make and fly paper airplanes. I held a lifeless kite and asked the children why my kite wouldn’t go? They all answered, “Because there’s no wind!!!” I asked them how I could make wind…answers ranged from “Blow on it!” to “Run really fast!” to “Get a BIG fan!!!” I then asked them to think quietly for a minute about other ways they could make wind on the playground. Experiments ranged from spinning in circles to walking to running to sliding down slides different ways to jumping from up high to down low to going down stairs to dangling a kite over the edge of something and waiting for a good breeze.

Kites were sent home at the end of class along with smiling students!

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***”Thing Two and Thing One! They ran up, they ran down. On the string of one kite we saw Mother’s new gown! Her gown with the dots that are pink, white, and red…then we saw one kite bump on the head of her bed!” from The Cat in the Hat***

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