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Powerpoint: What Is The Wind? by Jessica Baird, Saturn Street School
It may sound really simple but before we begin this unit we fly a real kite outside on our playground. (Editor's Note: A paper bag on a string also works). The students love it, we discuss how it does or doesn't stay up in the air. I take pictures and they go on the concept question board, along with the kite. Then for each relia related wind item we create I hang the real one on the CQ board, some examples may be a pinwheel, windsock, weather vane, wind chime or a whirlie. The children love looking and touching the items as well as taking their handmade items home to show their parents.
The other kindergarten teachers at my school and I enjoy doing collaborative unit openers. The students enjoy the opportunity to visit the other classrooms and visit with other teachers.
On the day of a unit opener we begin with our own students to start building our Concept/Question board. We create a KWL chart and post questions and comments that the students generate. We also look in magazines for pictures that illustrate the theme. In the afternoon the students go to the other classrooms for 30 minute activities.
For The Wind, we select several high interest wind related activities. We usually make pinwheels, fly kites, make tiny sailboats with jar tops and paper sails on toothpick masts, blow bubbles, make wind socks, and/or blow paint*
When the students return to their own classrooms they debrief about their experiences.
The following day, it makes an excellent journal entry to write about which activity they enjoyed the most.
The students are very motivated by the theme after they've had the opportunity to try these activities.
* Blow painting can be done several ways:
1: Markers with an open end called blowpens are available in most arts and crafts stores.
2: Liquid tempera can be mixed with bubble 'juice' (what my students call the bubble blowing liquid).
3: Wide straws can be cut into 2 inch segments (cutting on an angle works best). The teacher puts a small amount of liquid water color or diluted tempera (ink consistency) on the paper. The student then blows through the straw to disburse the paint.
Done with black or dark brown paint it forms branchlike patterns. When dry, the students can glue on tufts of cotton balls to create pussywillows or small squares of white and pink tissue to create cherry blossoms.
The students look at Henri Mattise's famous art print TheSnail. I show this print so the students can see how Henri Mattise cut our different shaped squares to create a collage. The students then create their own Mattise collages. Then I have the students turn their collages to make a diamond shape and have them tape a decorated string it, which turns their collages into a Henri Mattise Kite. These kites are then hung in our classroom to maybe catch some air conditioning classroom wind. This activity is a great wrap up that incorporates the fine arts, mathematics, and the wind concept all together.
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