Celebrating Fall Leaves

Yes, they are dropping…are you happy, sad, excited for snow? As adults, many of us dread winter coming whereas smaller people tend to love the approach of the cold, wet stuff. Either way, fall is a wonderful reason to celebrate the change of the seasons for a little while longer. It will be white for a while soon!

Maple Leaves Punch Outs

Maple Leaves Punch Outs are perfect for labeling lockers, using for name plates or creating games.

Nature Mobile Maker

The Nature Mobile Maker is a great base for making a colourful mobile. Students can add their own light weight collections such as shells and pine cones and attach to the already notched tree branches.

How about some Art from a nature walk? I walk through a park at the moment will yield a treasure trove of beautiful leaves, twigs and pebbles.

Exploring a fall sensory box? The options are endless with sensory boxes and the open ended nature, facilitates independent and individualized learning.

Creating fall fairies is a possibility with all the wonderful options on the ground for inspiration.

Leaf Rubbing Plates

Comparing leaf rubbings with leaf rubbing plates will help with sorting, and classifying skills.

Big Oak Tree Bulletin Board

Creating a classroom reading tree and having a student complete a leaf with each book read, encourages and celebrates reading achievement.

Fall tree painting on a window? Why not, windows make an awesome canvas!

You can find lots of inspiration on Quality Classrooms’ Pinterest board here.

Story telling with Fairies

We are all a little fairy mad here; stories, movies, toys, gardens, pinatas and parties.

Daisy enjoys playing with her fairies and I noticed her telling stories and acting them out. I asked if she would like to make a book to tell one of her stories. The response was one of excitement.

We sat down and discussed the story she would like to tell. I mapped it using a graphic organizer so we had a set story to follow.

Yes, this does seem very organized for a simple story but I wanted to be able to read the story again and again and not cringe. Daisy tends to tell a story one way and then forget what happened and change it for the next retelling. This is a wonderful way to improve and develop story telling skills but in this case we wanted a strong story with a problem to work with.

I helped her identify the characters, setting, problems, event and solution. I used a great Flip Chart which comes with a teacher’s photocopiable book. I have used it when tutoring a grade 7 student and have found it very useful for learning how to structure and plan writing.

We used our plan to tell the story. I wrote the story and photographed…

… while Daisy acted it out with her fairies and various other toys and props we found.

Here the fairies are chilling by the pool. The story was simple but it had a problem to be solved.

This allowed us to finish with a satisfying ending. This picture in particular made Daisy very proud.

The fairies were trapped in the building. Big people had left a bowl of beans out for the fairies but didn’t realize they were trapping the fairies behind the gates. The hummingbird took a message to the fairies chilling by the pool who came back and rescued the trapped fairies. They did this by sprinkling fairy dust on the bowl of beans. Daisy loved the realistic flying bowl of beans (I cropped her hand out of the picture).

The story (Daisy’s story, in her words), photos and a little photo shoot in a fairy costume were made into a beautiful book.

Daisy was very proud to receive her own book ‘Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Dust Rescue” for her birthday. It has been well read and shared already.

Fairy Garden

We made gorgeous fairy gardens a couple of weekends ago. They were party take home gifts but we also made one for Granny for Easter. These would make great Mother’s Day gifts too. I had spent the previous few weeks collecting wee milk cartons.

I figured they could cope with the moisture from watering better than regular card.

We set up a house building area with, flowers, craft sticks, bugs, an Uber Cutter and a glue gun.

Our super party helper Ang, was ready to help the kids glue their chosen items onto their house. They did have the option to use the glue gun as it is low temperature but most chose to have glue applied for them. They also spent time snapping craft sticks in half with the Uber Cutter. When they were happy with their fairy house they moved on out to the garage (the weather was miserable), to put the rest of their garden together.

Daisy went for the minimalist look!

Areas were set up in the garage:

  • Add gravel (for drainage)
  • Add soil
  • Add plants (two Pansy’s and a sunflower)
  • Decorate with rocks and glass pebbles
  • Add a butterfly and a few ladybirds

The children moved around the garage helping themselves and gradually building their gardens.

Discussions as to where the plants and decorations should be placed were had.

I forgot to say the planters were labeled before they went to be filled. It made life easy when it became time to go home.

The birthday cupcakes had a plastic fairy cupcake topper. The guests licked them clean and many included them in their garden.

They seemed to be very pleased with their fairy gardens.

Fairy Pinata

Daisy requested a fairy pinata for her birthday but the deal was that she had to help make it.

I did not grow up with pinatas so how to make them was a bit of a guessing game.. all part of the fun!

We started with a balloon and used a mixture of glue and water to make a paste. Newspaper and glue mix formed the first layer of the pinata.

When that was dry we added toilet paper arms and legs and pipe cleaner wings with masking tape.Masking tape is easier to glue over than scotch tape.

We got to work again pasting newspaper and then tissue paper. The wings had only tissue paper.

I was worried about strength and had visions of it collapsing when the sweets were put inside so I added string. You can see the string when it is hanging up later. It had two long pieces of string wrapped under the fairy.

We used glue rather than a traditional paste with flour because it tends to dry much quicker and I was on a tight timeline due to inadequate planning!

Daisy added features to our fairy. I love her crazy eyes!

I used a knife to cut a small hole in the top. Daisy stuffed wrapped candy(sweets) inside and hot glued the top back on. Wool hair applied with the glue gun, completed our gorgeous fat fairy pinata!

The strings were a little short so my hubby took over as the pinata holder (brave man!).

The kids all took turns, even Rose but by the time we went around the circle twice I was getting bored. My wonderful party helper Ang. gave it a try and even she could not smash it  so I ended up smashing it on the floor, with the bat (lots of fun for me!).

The fairies descended and not a sweet was left!

Fairy/Zen Garden

A rock collection has been growing on our window sills, in pockets, in bags. They seem to pop up everywhere! Action had to be taken.

An empty Swiffer box made a perfect container for the garden. Daisy headed out to the sand box and came back swinging a lot of sand around. She organised some of her rocks (pebbles) and shells and added the fairy furniture we made last summer.

She wanted to be able to change the garden around. A pastry brush did a wonderful job of smoothing out the sand. Daisy made herself a challenge to see how many different ways she could set up her garden.

Smoothing the sand. This had an instantly calming effect.

Making a camp fire.

The middle rock is for fairies to sleep on.

Precariously stacked table and benches.

Making the ‘living room’ more cosy.

Reorganizing and adding some more rocks and pretty stones.

The garden was hidden away from little sister’s grasp. When it warms up we will find a  great spot outside. I have been informed we need to check to see if the fairies have visited… yes I will be sneaking down stairs and moving the garden slightly!

Fall Fairy

Carrying on with our fascination with fairies we decided to use all the lovely objects appearing at our feet at this time of year. A fall fairy could use the fairy furniture! A walk to the park, yielded a pale of goodies; acorns, leaves, pine cones, fluffy stuff and general garbage. All fun stuff to make fairies with. After a fun walk, discussing each object we saw;

  • Where do you think that came from?
  • What will happen to it if we leave it where it is?
  • Why is it shaped this way?
  • What was this?
  • What is it?
  • What part of a fairy could this be?
  • What tree is this from?

these questions, asked by Daisy and by myself, were somewhat answered. We also spent a few moments on our backs looking at things from a fairy perspective.

You need:

We looked at the collection carefully discussing shape, texture, materials and suitability for body parts. A rock was chosen for the head and Daisy decided it had to be orange. I am not quite sure what the crown was originally but it is pink plastic.

The parts were assembled, discussed, reassembled until she was happy with the fairy.

We thought one fall fairy would be lonely so anther was prepared to keep the first company.

After much deliberation, the fairy designer was happy. Daisy was still a little nervous of the glue gun so I glued while she helped. Again we reinforced the edges with extra glue.

Fall fairies.

When we were looking for acorn dishes for the fairy table we came across three acorns attached. Immediately Daisy said ” Soccer lights mummy!” so we glued them onto a twig and put up floodlights.

Adding goals completed the soccer pitch.

When Daisy looked at the fairy area again she worried that they would have no place to sleep. So…

They now have a bed too!

Learning Opportunities:

  • L.A.: Discussing, questioning, evaluating
  • Math: Counting, sorting, symmetry, measuring, scale,
  • Art: Design, planning, colour, materials, building structures
  • Social Studies: Environment, trees, recycling

Fairy Furniture

This time of year, along with spring, makes me think of fairy magic. I think it is a mixture of the leaves changing colour, hearing acorns and apples dropping unexpectedly and the dew and frost on the ground in the morning. A little fairy building encourages this magic.

You need:

We discussed what furniture Daisy would like to make and she decided on a table and chairs. We looked at how a table and chairs were made. We decided that two benches would be easier to make than chairs. We used fingers to measure distance and size.

I showed her how to use the Uber Cutter and we got to work. Daisy was able to do all the cutting herself with this great product. It has a safety trap door to insert the craft stick and then the large screw on top is tightened until the blade chops through. There is no chance of her being injured by the blade and there was only one stubborn craft stick that demanded grown up help!

Once we had all the sticks for the table the low temptertaure glue gun came out. Daisy was nervous of this. I explained how to use it: hold it like a gun and gently press the trigger, avoid the end as it is hot and don’t touch the glue-also hot. Other than that I thought it was pretty easy to use. I did not account for her nervousness. She got a little glue on her finger and that resulted in me doing the rest of the glueing. I will give her the opportunity to try it again in a few weeks.

So we worked together. I glued she stuck.

She had problems seeing the steps to making the furniture so I broke it down and explained what part we were making. The ends of the benches are above.

After Daisy glued the skinny sticks onto the top of the table and benches I added a little more glue to reinforce the corners.

Adding a few apples, shells, acorns and berries completes a party feast fit for fairies.

Learning Opportunities:

  • Math: Counting and sorting, measuring
  • Art and Design: planning, organising, building structures, colour
  • Science: balance, solids and liquids, temperature