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Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

When my kindergarten class began studying science and social studies, their craft class on Friday was taken away, much to my utter sadness. However, it was reinstated for the month of December to create decorations for the seasonal party. My spirits were lifted once more — the children would cultivate their creativity!

Of course, finding Christmas crafts on the Internet is like trying to choose what to eat at The Cheesecake Factory — the menu is so overwhelmingly large that somewhere you get lost amid the factory combinations and the appetizer salads.

No matter though — I knew roughly what kind of things I wanted to make, and it was all about using my head (and the supplies in the closet at school).

On week one, the kiddies and I made wreaths. I cut the center out of paper plates and spent the first of my craft classes having the children glue different shades of green paper all over the plate. When they had finished that, I allowed them to use Elmer’s glue (mistake: very messy) to put on different color sparkles.

Afterward, I used a hot glue gun to attach a red bow to each “leafy” ring.

It was a relatively successful craft, although the gems didn’t stay on that well with the glue and by the end I had lots of wreaths with dried glue dots all over them. Oh well.

Week two we decided to make snowmen, which were relatively simple. I simply traced three different sized circles on white poster board, had the kids glue them together and color as they pleased.

A few things happened that day — one girl had a meltdown and started bawling because her first snowman was “ugly” and I had run out of paper. This prompted a Korean teacher to hurry and make her a new template.

The children sang Frosty the Snowman while they worked on their frozen friends, which I thought was really cute. After that came Santa Claus is Coming to Town, which was also fun. Then I saw what some students had written on the backs of their snowmen, where I told them to pen their names.

I thought this was funny, because it sounded like an advertisement for a snowman movie.

This was a little creepy and a lot funny. I realized he was trying to say that his snowman was “coming to town,” but my mind couldn’t help but wander straight to snow demons with razor-sharp teeth who try to stab you with their carrot nose. Creepy.

Our third craft I decided to make a communal work of art, since we were pressed for time. I made four cones out of poster board paper, then covered them in green tissue to make them look like Christmas trees. The kids got glue sticks, sequins, feathers and free reign to decorate.

All in all, the room turned out beautifully decorated.

Evan’s room looked fantastic too — his kids made snowflakes, gingerbread men and elves. The only downfall for him was making the mistake of putting glitter on the snowflakes, aka the most difficult thing to clean up ever. He spent a good half hour vacuuming up the itty bitty sparkles.

I may try to sneak a few more crafts in before I leave :)

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I love everything about autumn — cool, crisp air, trees changing into rainbows of red, yellow and orange while their leaves fall like rain, sweaters and knitwear, winter squash and brussel sprouts. It truly is the most wonderful time of year.

Halloween is right around the corner, and I’m getting quite excited. Ever since I was a kid, Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays. I love to dress up (what child who grows up dancing doesn’t?) but it is also amazing to have a holiday dedicated to eating candy and scaring people. Every October, I would go home and make Halloween decorations to put up in the living room window, daydreaming about hosting the best black-and-orange party ever, and count down the days to October 31. Our apartment needs some sprucing up for fall!

Jill and Steve, Evan’s parents, apparently read my thoughts and sent the most wonderful autumn care package, complete with Calvin and Hobbes books, nuts, beef jerkey, various fall-themed decor, a sweet card and a full bag of holiday candy corn — including the best candy corn, the pumpkins. Thank you so much for spreading the holiday cheer all the way over here in Korea! We love you guys!

Last week, I found out that my kindergarten class is growing up. Next week I will begin teaching them science and social studies, which sadly means the end of Friday crafts :( I was so bummed to find that out, since doing creative things on Friday had been a really great outlet for me and the children both. I’ve consoled myself with thoughts that science experiments would be cool too, but they just won’t be the same. To top it off, the kids don’t know crafts have been nixed, so I’m the lucky one that gets to tell them.

Since last week and this week are the last crafts we’ll make together, I wanted to do some over-the-top, spooky decor for our classroom. Each classroom in the school has a different theme for Halloween, and my class has vampires and bats. Two weeks ago, we made paper draculas.

They were cute, but nothing compared to the bats we made last week. I found the outline of a bat wing online, blew it up and had the kids each color some for their bat. From there, I took their colorful wings, and glued them to a piece of black construction paper, wedging a pipe cleaner (cut in half) in the middle. After, I stuffed black socks full of newspaper for the bat bodies, then stapled the ends shut. From their, I hot-glued eyes, pipe cleaner mouths and construction paper ears on to the socks, along with the wings. The final touch was made by hanging them with fishing line from the ceiling. Not to toot my own horn, but these were a lot of work, and absolutely worth it. They turned out terrific!

This weekend, I am going to poke around to find a suitable costume for Halloween festivities at school and around town. There will be raging parties at both Radio Star (where we spent the World Cup) and Deepinto (home of the amazing brunch) on October 30, and a horror movie marathon (and taco bar) at Radio Star on Halloween proper. Lots to look forward to!

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Starting today, Koreans around the country will pack their bags, leave their offices and return to their roots to spend time with their families for Chu Seok, the country’s largest holiday that celebrates the fall equinox. During the holiday, it is common for people to visit the graves of their ancestors, and make wishes to the full moon.

My kids and I have been discussing the upcoming festivities at length for days, and when Friday came around, I knew that I wanted my students to make hats that celebrated the season for their craft.

I cut up brown construction paper into strips for the base of their hat, then found pictures of Koreans in hanboks (traditional clothing), fall harvest fruits and leaves for them to color and decorate their hats with. The craft took longer than the time allotted, so I ended up eating lunch with the kiddies to help them finish. When everything was colored, we cut out the pictures and taped them to pipe cleaners to make a sort of antennae-type head gear.

They were a scream!

Yesterday, we had a Chu Seok celebration with our kindergarten classes, who all wore their hanboks to school. They looked so precious! After doing our reading and writing for one hour, each foreign teacher had the opportunity to make songpyeon with their class — traditional rice cakes filled with a variation of sweet fillings, which could be anything from honey and sesame seeds or red bean paste to chestnuts. We filled ours with a type of roasted bean, which was delicious, then gently folded them into different shapes.

My class got really creative :)

After a lunchtime feast, it was time to play organized games with the children. First, they started by competing in a sort of relay-race, where they had to pop a balloon, crawl through a tunnel, do a somersault, go down a slide, and hop over a series of blocks before the next person on their team could go.

Now, this game would have been a little easier had these girls not been in full dresses. They scurried around the room in their elaborate hanboks, struggling to complete the maze. It was hysterical.

After a failed attempt at a sort of hackey-sack game, the kids moved on to “chicken fighting,” which here is basically hopping on one foot, attempting to knock down your opponent who is also on one foot. Of course, we needed to demonstrate just how to do this by “fighting” Greg and Rachel, as the kids screamed in the background. It was like they were watching a UFC match!

I wish I could share more of the millions of pictures and videos I took during the celebration, but I would like to keep the children relatively anonymous in the photos, out of respect for their parents.

All in all, the day was a really nice way to start the week, and a good transition into a THREE DAY HOLIDAY! As I write this, I’m curled up on the couch with pink fuzzy, wondering what I should eat for breakfast (it’s 11 AM). Ah, the good life :)

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Who built the ark?

Noah, Noah!

Who built the ark?

Brother Noah built the ark!

We finally have internet in the new (and much improved) apartment, which means I will stop being lazy and start updating on our lives once more. I love craft day with the kindergarten class! The theme last week is transportation, leaving me with a zillion ideas about some cute cut-outs we could do.

The kids sing a different song in the morning every week, and for the past five days they’ve been harmonizing about Noah and his ark full of animals. Although I don’t believe in the religious indoctrination of children (anyone really, but especially the young ones), but most of the kids are from Christian families anyway, so I decided we’d make ourselves some arks!

The base of our boat was a paper plate, which was cool because it allowed the ark to rock back and forth. The children colored their boats, and decorated them with little animals from the safari. Purple monkeys, yellow lions and pink zebras — I love when the kiddies get creative with colors.

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It is Friday craft day, which I normally love, except that this week the theme was ORIGAMI. *silence*

Normally, people would get excited about folding colorful paper into beautiful shapes, but ever since I was a kid I could not get the hang of origami. I would struggle through lessons while my peers seemingly magically transformed their construction squares into graceful cranes and hearts.

Evan, Mike and I spent the first half-hour of our morning attempting the crane. It was a massive fail. None of us could seem to get to the directions where you suddenly had two pointy “legs.”

A Korean teacher, Ji Young, created this work of art in about 2 seconds.

After that mess, I decided to recreate a heart, which I know for certain I mastered as a child (I used to fold middle school notes in the shape of a heart). My folding paper skills remained pathetic at best. Origami is not easy! I got as far as this:

Nothing like a heart, eh? It was only then that I remembered I could do the heart for like, two weeks, before I forgot and started cheating by ripping the paper a bit. Little girl FAIL.

In the end, Mike found a “cootie catcher” printable online, titled Fortune Teller — and thank goodness I was able to put it together while my kids read from their Reading Street book, otherwise I would have completely embarrassed myself in front of a bunch of six and seven-year-olds.

In the end, my kids successfully colored and folded their way to fortune teller perfection. They also loved the game aspect, which made it all that more fun for them.

I haven’t given up on this stupid heart origami yet though. I’ve convinced myself it is the directions, and not me. I stumped a few of the Korean teachers with it too, until one found new directions and folded this for me:

I’m going to dissect it and figure it out. New mission!

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I love Fridays. For elementary students, that usually means a vocabulary test and a word search, but for kindergarten it means arts and crafts! Every week I get to dream up a craft based on the week’s theme, and sometimes I try to go above and beyond. This was one of those weeks!

For the past seven days, my students and I have been exploring the “Aquatic World” — animals and plants that call the freshwater and saltwater communities home. I decided we would make rainbow fish this week, so I cut out fish shapes out of poster board and made little strips of colored paper and tin foil to make “scales” for our underwater buddies.

No surprise, this craft was based on the beloved children’s story “Rainbow Fish,” about a gorgeous, glittering fish who overcame his vanity, shared his shiny scales and was forgiven by his fellow flounders.

I was always hypnotized by the iridescent scales as a child, and hoped the tinfoil could have the same affect on my kids. My awe with the artwork helped me jump straight into the words, and get lost in the story. I’ve always loved just melting into a good book, just like the rest of my family of “greedy readies” (as my parents called us).

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This week, we talked about recycling and compost in kindergarten. Every Friday means craft day — and a word search if you’re lucky — so I had my kids color different items then tell me if they went in the recycling bin or compost pile.

It turned out so good! Evan helped me with the gluing, but other than that the kids did all the work themselves.

They were all very proud of their handiwork. I was proud. Good day to be a teacher.

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