Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Debbie Ohi's Look Again Summer Challenge!

Have you seen Debbie Ohi's "Found Object Art" and "Broken Crayons" creations? They are phenomenal and when I heard about her Annual Look Again Summer Challenge I knew that this would be a super fun activity for the First Grade Experience class. The kids loved watching the video of Debbie drawing with broccoli and the video she put together for her "Look Again Challenge." As we were watching them I heard the kids repeatedly saying, "She's so creative" and there was  a lot of laughter and "ooh's" and "ahh's." We then headed outside to look for objects to create with. 

               I did limit them to 4 objects because I was worried some would go bonkers and bring in the whole playground.  
They found leaves of all sizes, flowers, branches, kukui nuts, picked grass and so much more. Some asked if they could bring in live insects. When I told them that I was worried they'd crawl off the page before they could finish their art they decided not to bring them in.
 Once we got inside the creating began.
Some chose to work on their own and others clumped together.
They were thrilled with their finished products. Want to see what we made?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Afternoon Fun! Week 5!

Here we go....week 5, the last week of of Afternoon Fun library building challenges!

The Book: The Three Little Pigs and the Somehwat Bad Wolf  by Mark Teague
The Challenge: Build a house that will withstand the wolfs huffing and puffing
The Building Supplies: 15 mini marshmallows, unlimited amount of toothpicks, plate with a 1 inch pig on it, hairdryer
Group Members: 2 children per group

This activity was all about tweaking from group to group and fixing what wasn't working. So what didn't work at the start? The size of the pigs (3 inches tall). The plates I bought were too small to both hold the pigs and for kids to build on. I scrapped the plates and had the kids build on pieces of paper. That was fine, but they couldn't easily carry their houses to me and I couldn't take the hairdryer to them. Since I didn't have time to make smaller pigs before the next group came in, I grabbed the dinosaurs from a previous challenge and some plastic plates from the student kitchen.
This worked much better, be we needed pigs! So I worked on making pigs of different sizes and found that 1 inch pigs worked best.
When I bought toothpicks the only ones they had were colored. The kids were not limited as to how many toothpicks they could use, but they seemed to only want to use one color so they would sort through them picking out all the blue ones or all the orange ones. To avoid this ad get us right into building, I started to give them their plates with a starter amount of toothpicks on them.
 The kids had so much fun building, trying new ideas, testing their ideas and seeing what worked and what didn't.
The finished products were all so different.
All the hands were so sticky!
But we didn't care because it was so fun.
This is definitely an activity I would do again. 

What I Would Tweak: There is still one thing I would tweak. I would not use colored mini marshmallows. When I was packaging them for each class, I noticed that the sizes were very  inconsistent. The traditional white mini marshmallows are much more consistent when it comes to size.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Afternoon Fun! Week Four!

Here we go....week 4 of of Afternoon Fun library building challenges!

The Book: Hansel and Gretel Retold by James Marshall
The Challenge: Create a cylinder containing a message to Hansel and Gretel's Dad letting him know that they are safe. The cylinder had to reach his house 15 feet away.
The Building Supplies: A single piece of paper that can not be cut and 3 inches of tape
Group Members: 2 children per group

When I had decided to focus on fairytales during my library times with K-1 Afternoon Fun, I knew that I had to include Hansel and Gretel. I can't tell you how many times I have referenced it with older kids and they have no clue what story I am talking about. Turns out more than half of the K-1 students didn't know the story either.
Before the class came I had measured out the distance that their cylinder had to fly outside in 3 foot increments so they could easily see how far their cylinders flew on each try. Since the hallway can be a bit of a wind tunnel, I measured the space out in both directions just in case the wind was whipping down the hallway.
The kids immediately got into the groups and spent about 10 seconds making their cylinders, commenting that this was the easiest challenge they had had. 
Once they got outside and started testing their designs out, it was a different story. They saw that it wasn't as easy as they had thought. Many cylinders came right back to the flyer or just a smidge over the starting line. 
They ran back inside and worked on their cylinders some more, making the cylinders wider or smaller, looser or tighter. I loved how they were in and out of the room during our entire period, testing, reworking and talking to their partner to see what they could do to make it better. It was great and with each re-design it went further.
After about 15 minutes of this, I called them all back inside and told them that they had a choice to make. They could stick with making a cylinder to get their message to dad or they could switch it up and make a paper airplane. Many decided to go the paper airplane route and quickly began making a plane. Since they had made them in science they were convinced they had the perfect design and that their message would easily get to dad. 
Crazily enough many of the paper airplanes didn't go as far as the cylinders did and some went back to making cylinders while others stuck it out with the paper airplanes.
What was amazing is that even though the majority of the kids never got their message to dad, they had the best time and were super positive throughout. When I told them it was time for the last test throw, they didn't want to stop and many took their cylinders and planes with them so they could keep trying. I love this!

So What Would I Tweak: 

What's Next? The Three Little Pigs

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Afternoon Fun! Week 3!

Here we go....week 3 of of Afternoon Fun library building challenges!

The Book: Jack and the Beanstalk Retold by Richard Walker
The Challenge: Build a parachute to help Jack escape from the giant
The Building Supplies: Tissue Paper, Coffee Filters (which the kids thought were giant cupcake wrappers), Newspaper, String, Tape (Regular and Masking), Scissors and toy dinosaurs to be our Jacks
Group Members: 2 children per group

Honestly, I didn't know how this challenge was going to go. I worried that many of the incoming kindergartners wouldn't have any background knowledge about parachutes which would lead them to feeling frustrated and defeated even before we began. I was worried that all the groups were all going to build the exact same thing. I was also imposing a building time limit, 20 minutes, to this challenge, something I hadn't done before. Yup, it turns out I worried for nothing. All but 2 kids knew what a parachute was, the designs were incredibly different and they seemed thrive having a time limit. The minute I announced what the challenge was the kids were so excited and immediately got to work.

One thing I did beforehand to make things a bit easier for the kids was to cut the newspaper and tissue paper into manageable sizes. They took it from there and cut them into the sizes and shapes that they wanted.
The kids were building and checking their designs much more than they had during the previous challenges. Some discovered that when they let go of their parachute, Jack landed on his head. Deciding that that would be painful for him and most likely kill them, they worked on ways to have him land on his feet.
 I love how this group cut out the word "Wings" out of the newspaper and stuck it on top of their parachute. 
After 20 minutes we headed out to the playground to test our parachutes. The groups took turns climbing to the highest part of the play structure and letting them go.
Some landed with a thunk, some slowly spun down to ground, others were carried sideways by the wind and on a few poor Jack fell off.
No matter how Jack landed, they all had fun and wanted to send their parachutes down again.

So What Would I Tweak: 
1) The height at which we dropped the parachutes from was lower than I would have liked.  A higher spot would have been better, making the drop more exciting and last longer.

What's Next? Hansel and Gretel

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Afternoon Fun! Week 2!

Here we go....week 2 of of Afternoon Fun building challenges!

The Book: Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Jim Aylesworth
The Challenge: Build a chair that will hold Brownielocks upright without having her feet help prop her up.
The Building Supplies: toilet paper rolls, construction paper, cupcake liners, coffee cup sleeves, tape (masking and regular), scissors and Brownielocks (a Marie Osmond Barbie Doll because that's all I had)
As the week went on I added the plastic lids to some of my haircare products.
Group Members: 2 children per group

The kids were thrilled to have a variety of building supplies to create their chairs out of, especially the tape since the only thing they could use last week to connect the straws together with was pipe cleaners. Because we were having so much fun with the tape, we had to discuss waste as many were taking way more than they needed and throwing the extra away. A demonstration on how to cut tape also had to be added since it was getting all twisted and tangled.
Some kids chose to use only one building material while others wanted to use all of them and to be honest, this didn't affect their level of success at all. After shopping for supplies, the building began.
They did such a great job this week working as partners. They were really listening to each others ideas and working as a team.
The kids were encouraged to test out their designs throughout the build. While very few chose to do so, those who did were able to see if they were headed in the right direction. It's unfortunate that more didn't do so as some would have seen that Brownielocks couldn't fit in the chair they were making or she leaned over and fell off.
The variety of chair designs was insane! There were chairs, couches and loungers.  Some chairs were designed with seatbelts to help keep Brownielocks in. 
She had chairs that would hold her upright.
Some kids created a brace out of paper to help her sit upright in the chair.
 This group wanted her to lounge like she was at the beach.
I was blown away by the creativity that they showed and by what they were able to make with just an handful of supplies.
Not pictured: A chair made out of one cupcake liner that actually held her upright!
After we were done testing, the kids disassembled their chairs so certain supplies could used by the next groups.

So What Would I Tweak: 
1) I would have this be the first challenge that we did since there was such a variety of building supplies to choose from. Plus all the kids have experience with chairs that they can draw from vs. the rafts we made last week.
2) I would change the doll that we used. I would choose a doll that wasn't so rigid and that couldn't sit up on their own as easily as this one could.

What's Next: Jack and the Beanstalk