4.17.2011

Earth Day: Revamp, Repurpose, Reuse

 When I was a kid in the eighties, we learned about the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  But, in those days, we spent most of our time talking about just one of those Rs.  Recycling was new to lots of communities.  The ideas of buying beige, recycled filler paper or of separating cans and newspapers from the rest of the trash were new and a lot to get used to.  But, the other parts of the plan are just as important.

This year, for Earth Day, spend some time talking about reusing the things we normally discard.  Use your old juice mix containers to contain a collection.
 
 Or, save empty cans and jars to use for gift-giving later.

Get students into the spirit of reuse by reading Antoinette Portis' Not a Box, about all the exciting ways a cardboard box can become so much more.
After the read-aloud, let students get creative and design new purposes for old boxes using the Not a Box printable from Harper Collins.  Click Book Activity under the Downloads section.
Finally have students collect discarded items and craft their own conservation inventions.

**Check out the BBQ grill I reused as an herb garden at Urania's Inspiration.

4.06.2011

Peter Rabbit and Puppet Shows

 Easter will be here in just a few weeks.  This time of year gets me thinking about rabbits.  All my favorite bunnies are trouble-makers. There's the lovable wascaly wabbit, Bugs Bunny,
 and I always get a laugh out that snide little Happy Bunny with the rude stickers and cards.
  

My love of rambunctious rabbits also extends to literature.  Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit, from The Tale of Peter Rabbit, can scarcely keep himself out of trouble with Mr. McGregor's garden tempting him all the time.  Visit PeterRabbit.com to see the classic stories and characters in a whole new light.
Peruse the virtual pop-up book interface to watch video clips, play games, and make crafts.  Then make and watch a personalized Peter Rabbit puppet show.
Enter a few bits of information, and then the virtual puppet show will play including references to your student.

After enjoying Potter's stories and the accompanying activities, let students create their own puppet show.
This activity requires no instructions.  Give kids puppet and watch them go.  They will create stories and characters and plot twists, and they will have fun!  If you don't have puppets, there are plenty of cool printable/craftable puppets online.

4.02.2011

Egg on Your Face: Egg Dyeing and other fun

Egg decorating is an old tradition found in many cultures worldwide.  In South Africa, archeologists have rescued 60,000 year old ostrich eggshells adorned with decorative markings.
Scientific American

Keep this long-standing artistic tradition alive this Spring.
 You can create this cool plaid effect using strips of tape and several colors of dye.  I started with this tutorial from Martha Stewart, which recommends adhesive vinyl for stenciling.  Instead I tried out some stickers and tapes I had on hand.  None of the stickers I tried stuck very well, but I had success with strips of blue painters tape.
1. Cut lots of strips of tape about one centimeter wide.
2. Prepare all your dyes using your preferred method.
3. Wrap eggs  with several strips of tape and then dip into first color of dye.
4. After the amount of time suggested in the dyeing instructions, take the eggs out of the first color and allow them to dry a little on a cooling rack or other raised surface.
5. Unwrap strips of tape from egg to reveal blank white lines.  Wrap new strips in the opposite direction.
6. Dip eggs into second color. Repeat drying process after appropriate dyeing time.
7. Unwrap tape and reveal plaid eggs!
When your real eggs are all done, decorate virtual eggs with the Incredible Easter Egg Designer at IncredibleEgg.org.
After all the decorating enjoy a good rabbit story or a great Easter egg book, and mark your spot with an Egghead bookmark from Issa at TipJunkie.
Print out the page of nine unique markers, cut around the tongues or teeth, and enjoy an egg-cellent story.