Wednesday, August 31, 2011

School Buses and Mural

To go along with our "school" theme we made school buses!

First we had a cardboard template that we traced around. Q needed quite a bit of help with this, as this is a new skill for her. Tracing work is very useful in pre-writers to help teach pencil control and to train the small muscles in the hand to respond to small movements. Tracing imitates many of the strokes needed to write letters, and teaches slow, careful strokes with a pencil. Then I helped her cut the bus out. Having to turn the object with one hand and also turn the scissors is new for her, as well, so I helped hold the bus while she cut.

Next we talked about the shapes on a bus--we got out our shapes and found a square. I traced and cut squares for windows (she had lost her interest in tracing and cutting at this point) and also circles for wheels. I let her glue these all on her own using a glue bottle--reminding her "Use a DOT--not a LOT!"

Then we printed out pictures of some of her babies and glued them in the bus windows. We used letter stickers to write "School Bus" on the side--I told her the name of each letter and she found the corresponding sticker. I had to help her stick them on because they kept trying to curl up when she took the stickers off the backing paper. Next time we'll use sturdier stickers!

We spent two days making our buses.

The third day we taped a big sheet of paper down and I showed her how to paint a road--I did the outside lines and she did the dashes down the middle. We also talked through how to paint trees, sky, and sun. Now that I've taught her these elements, I am noticing them showing up in her own paintings--especially suns! It's important to draw/paint alongside children and model AND use verbal explanation of what you are doing--each element involved in drawing a particular item. For the sun, for example, I talked out loud and said, "I think you should paint a circle for the sun. What color is the sun?" Then once she'd painted a yellow circle, I said, "I think you should fill it in with paint, now!"
A fun element of this project was painting on the floor--we'd taped the paper down to our dining room floor, which was fun and new!

This activity encouraged prereading and prewriting, shape awareness, spatial awareness, art skills, fine motor skills, new vocabulary, direction following, working cooperatively, and listening skills.
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