Having Fun while Expressing Ourselves

The last two weeks have been filled with expressing ourselves through the arts.  We spent a week working on Eric Carle.  The students painted paper in different colored layers first.  Next, the students cut up the paper and made a collage out of the paper onto black paper.   This is a similar technique to what Eric Carle uses when he is illustrating his books.  However, he uses tissue paper instead of construction paper.  These collages will be displayed in the classroom windows next week.

Over the past week, we also made some new ceiling decorations for the classroom.  The students had a variety of different beads and bangles to use for the decorations.  The students strung the materials of their choice onto flexible wire.  Please come and take a look at our new amazing decorations.

The students have been listening to all kinds of different music throughout the last two weeks.  The students have listened to everything from jazz to country.  Together we have been discussing how the different songs make us feel and how we think the artist was trying to express him or herself.  We will be composing some of our own music over the coming weeks.

In class, we have been reviewing the letters of the alphabet.  The classroom helper chooses a letter and we discuss the name, sound, and what words have that letter.  The students have been doing an awesome job with it so far.  In math, we are working on basic addition problems.  Next week, we will begin a unit on measuring.

The highlight of the last two weeks has been skyping with Ms. Ana.  The students were able to not only see and talk to Ms. Ana, but also her new baby.  The students loved seeing her and the new baby.  They also enjoyed asking her questions about the baby.  Both Ms. Ana and her baby are doing well in San Diego.

In a couple of weeks, the students will be participating in a service project for a nearby orphanage.  We are going to make sensory bottles and donate them.  If you have any clear plastic bottles that you are looking to get rid of, we would love to put them towards our service project.

I hope everyone has a wonderful four day weekend!

Exploring Expressing Ourselves through the Arts

Over the past two weeks, we dived further into expressing ourselves through the arts.   We started by discussing sound.  We discussed what we thought sound was.    We then watched Peter and the Wolf.  Each character in the story is represented by a different instrument in the orchestra.  We talked about how the different instruments helped the characters in the story to express themselves.    The students created their own instruments using materials such dried beans, lentils, tin cans, yogurt cups, string, rubber bands, cardboard, and craft sticks.   The students explored how the different materials made different sounds and how they could use their instruments to express themselves.

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The 9th and 10th graders of Ms. Tash’s class came to visit us last week.   I paired the students up with a 9th or 10th grader to practice storytelling with materials.  The students were giving a variety of materials such as seashells,   magnetic tiles, animals, insects, blocks, and fantasy characters to tell a story with.   The students did an excellent job coming up with their own original stories.  After the students were done with their storytelling, the older students read books with them.   We also taught the 9th and 10th graders how to do “The Freeze” dance.

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The students have been working hard on their numbers and patterns.   Over the past two weeks, the students have created a long paper chain out of different color patterns.   Every day, we practiced the new pattern and counted how many chains we were up to.  By the end of this week, we had a hundred chain links.   We also did a number scavenger hunt to work on recognizing numbers  1-20.

Next week, we will continue to explore expressing ourselves through the arts.   We will be taking a look at Eric Carle’s artwork.  We will also begin working on 3-D art projects.

Full Swing into the Arts!

We have really begun to dive into our unit this week!  We have begun talking about how we can express ourselves through the arts.  The students learned about mixing colors together this week.  The students made different shades of green by mixing yellow, blue, and white together.   The students also made paintings of different shades of orange and pink by mixing red, yellow, and white together.   We talked about how the different colors made the students feel.    Next week, we will continue our exploration of color mixing.   Also this week. the students illustrated the stories that they wrote last week.  We shared all the stories and illustrations in class this week.   The stories will be sent home on Monday.  Next week, a group of high school students will come to listen to our students as they use new props to tell a story.   The students have really enjoyed making up their own stories.   Next week, we will start talking about different ways to express our selves through sounds and music.   I am still willing to take any cans, boxes etc, off your hands.  We are going to use them to make our own music instruments over the next couple of weeks.  As a reminder, there is no school next Friday.

Expressing ourselves through the arts!

This week we started our new unit on expressing ourselves through the arts.  We will be talking about how we express ourselves in general and the different ways to express ourselves through the arts.   The students watched a short video of I See a Song.  I See a Song  is a book by Eric Carle.   The book is wordless except for a short introduction.  In the video, the pictures are put to a beautiful music composition.  The students first listened to the video without the music.  The students talked about what they saw and thought about the video.  We then watched the video with the music.  The students discussed which they liked better and why.

Along with this unit, we have started a storytelling unit.  I give the students some props and they tell me a story using the props.  This week, I gave the students fairy tale  characters, rubber balls and shells.  The students came up with amazing stories.   After the students illustrate their stories, the stories will be put into a class book.  We hope to display the book in the classroom and in the school library.

If you have empty cans, yogurt cups, food containers, rubber bands etc. that you are looking to get rid of, we would love to take them off your hands!  We are going to  create our own instruments and would love the extra materials.  Thank you in advance.  Have a great weekend!

Wrapping it up!

This was a fun filled and busy week.  We wrapped up our unit on materials can be manipulated to suit a purpose and are gearing up to start our next unit on expressing ourselves through the arts.   We started the week by doing artwork with exploding paints.  Exploding paints are made out of baking powder, food coloring and water.  The students paint and then they used droppers to place vinegar on top of the paints.  This caused a very small bubbly explosion.  The paintings will be hung up in the classroom next week.  Please feel free to come in and see them.

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This week, we predicted what would happen if we mixed milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and ice together.  During the experiment, the students discovered that the milk, sugar and vanilla mixture was getting cold and creamy.   When the students tried the mixture, they realized that it tasted a lot like vanilla ice cream.   The students enjoyed the shaking and mixing and of course the taste testing of the experiment.   The recipe to make ice cream in at the following website: http://teachnet.com/lessonplans/science/plastic-bag-ice-cream-recipe/.

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Have a wonderful weekend!

A Great First Week!

This week, the students became master bakers.   The students were given eight ingredients.  The ingredients were baking powder, oil, flour, sugar, milk, cocoa, cinnamon and salt.  The students crafted their own recipes.   After the students mixed their cupcakes and baked them, the students were able to try their own creations.   Some students said their cupcakes were delicious while others thought their cupcakes were yucky.   We reflected on how the mixtures changed when we put them in the oven and how we might change our recipes for next time.

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The second time around, the students tried the ingredients before they created a recipe.  When the students tried their second cupcake, some thought the changes made it better, while others did not think the changes helped.  The students loved creating and tasting their own creations even when they did not always turn out the way they imagined.  I will be hanging up the final recipes, observations and pictures in the windows of our classroom next week.

I wanted to thank everyone for giving me such a warm welcome back to ICS!  I am very excited to be working with the students of Ms. Ana’s class!  Please feel free to email me at kristin.pipho@icsaddis.edu.et if you ever have any questions or concerns.

A few reminders, this coming week is Spring Break.  I hope everyone has a fun, safe and relaxing spring break!

Visiting Author, More Mixing

On Monday, we had the pleasure of meeting our ICS visiting author, Margriet Ruurs. We enjoyed hearing her read to us and talk about how she thinks of her ideas for making books.


Just before the author visit we had the pleasure of having ICS chemistry lab assistant Ato Belaineh Mekonnen teach our students about safety in the science lab and 3 experiments that showed change in materials. We were very much encouraged to continue developing our inquiry in everything that we do.

We followed our inquiry into our making perfume station. Students explored a table with perfume bottles and other tools they would use to make their own.  As class we discussed what scents they would prefer to make. The list included flowers, grass, dirt, and Playdoh. We provided water, roses, lavendar, Playdoh, and the students also explored other resources we have in our outdoor area garden.

Next week we will continue our inquiry into materials and how they change by starting to answer some of the students’ questions and wonderings. Because a big part of this unit is working on our skills as inquirers, it would be really helpful for us if you could help your child to generate questions and wonderings at home. At this age, you might notice that a lot of your child’s questions are non-verbal – for example, a child working diligently to build the tallest tower possible is asking questions about balance and structure, even if he or she isn’t verbalizing them. Or a child who is spending time mixing dirt and water in the garden is wondering about mixing and changes of state. It can be very helpful to observe your child and help him or her verbalize specific questions.

A few reminders:
*Next Monday, March 2 – no school
*We did not check out library books this week due to visiting with Margriet Ruurs. On Wednesday we will resume our regular library schedule. Please send in your child’s book if you have not already.