Saturday, March 20, 2010

Butterfly Puppet

In the spring we would make butterfly puppets. Already we had studied the monarch butterfly and watched a caterpillar make a chrysallis and turn into a butterfly.
To make the puppet you need one piece of 8 1/2" by 11" piece of white typing paper or computer paper. Fold the paper from top to bottom in half. You akso need a pair scissors Along the fold side of the paper draw 1/2 of the butterfly body (like 1/2 a cigar shape). Draw the wing by drawing lines from the body to the upper corner and lower corner of the paper. Remember when you cut out the butterfly from the folded paper it wil make the full form of the of the butterfly. Turn it into a puppet by holding the butterfly closed at the fold line and with the scissors cut two slits about 1/2 inch long. Make one slit on each side of your finger or thumb holding the butterfly body in the middle. This will form a "harness" for your finger to make the flying motions.
Wings can be colored according to the individual. In kindergarten, this gave us the opportunity to talk about real butterfies and what they look like. We discussed symmetry the concept of equal and the only rule we made was that each side of the butterfly had to look exactly alike, exactly equal. We talked about camouflage and some butterflies have big round circles that look like eyes to fool predators into thinking the butterfly is bigger and scarier than he actually is. We looked at actual pictures to see the actual patterns of stripes and figures on real butterflies.
This was a popular activity. We made similar bat puppets out of black construction paper at Halloween.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Whole Wheat Muffins

Despite multiple computer problems, I am determined to post this BLOG. I am sure my ineptness exacerbates things but maybe someday I'll be computer-literate. This week Hailey and I made whole wheat mufins including grinding the wheat kernals into flour. I have never bought whole wheat flour at the store but I suppose it would work.
I like these muffins because even though they are made with whole wheat flour, they don't taste too "healthy".


1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 c. whole wheat flour (often I use 1 c. whole wheat and 1 c. white flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. vanilla (I am generous with this amt.)
1 c. milk
1 c. chopped nuts if desired

Cream melted butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Alternate adding dry ingredients and stir in nuts. Bake in greased muffin tins at 425 degrees for 12-15 min.
Makes 12 muffins.
Serve with an egg dish like scrambled eggs or with soup. Ralph likes them with honey but since they are already quite sweet, I like them with just butter.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kindergarten Art

Hailey is a young married girl who lives in our basement apartment with her husband and 1 year old son. Ralph has hired her to help me with daily activities that I cannot do anymore. Besides being a great help, she has become a good friend too. Every Wednesday we cook something togethern, or I should say she cooks and I just lay on the couch nearby in case she needs any questions answered.
Hailey was an Art major in college before she got married. On Thursdays we do an Art project together. Since the bulk of my experience is in kindergarten, Hailey puts up with my simple projects but it is good to know what little children can do and how to help them. We have made snowflakes, Bubble prints and a 3-D mouse. (kind of like origami) This week I showed her how to make lettering for a sign or bulletin board. This was shown to me by an older teacher (who taught before die pressed letters were invented), not taught in any teacher training classes. Still it is a handy skill to have.

The letters are made out of construction paper. To start, fold and cut pieces of paper to make equal sized cards or pieces of paper,depending on the size you want your finished letters. This assures that all the letters are the same size and you can make them as small or as big as you want. I've made letters as big as 1/2 piece of 9"x12" contruction paper. You can fold the paper to mark equal sections then cut out equal sized pieces.
To make each letter, fold each way to mark the half-way points. I use my finger or thumb as a guide to keep the thickness of each letter line consistent. For example, to make letter A, using the lengthwise and crosswise folds as guidelines, cut out the outside slanted shape of the A by folding your paper lengthwise and cutting both outside lines. This assures that each side will be symmetrical. Open up the paper and cut the inside to make it look like an A instead of merely a triangle shape.
The crosswise fold mark can be used as a guideline to make the bar that goes across the middle of the A. The paper can be folded in half lengthwise again to cut out the triangle space above the bar. Hopefully by now you have made an A with abou 1/2 in. wide lines.
This probably sounds complicated but a little practice will help. Be sure to use the fold and finger guidelines to help you. Practice with each letter of the alphabet. One of the things I liked about it, besides having nice looking lettering at my disposal, was that I think it improved my visualization skills. Call me if you have questions or troubles.