Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Fun and Easy Beginning of Year Project

I always begin the year celebrating color days.  Since we expect that most kindergarten children come to school knowing their colors, it is more of an exploratory unit that extends basic color knowledge through literacy and science activities.  Each day is assigned its own color when we all wear as much of that color as possible, learn a color song that spells out the color word (great for a wide range of learners from practicing letter identification to building words with letters), do a literacy activity based on a book that highlights the color, write a class book, and experiment with mixing colors.

Red Day:
We The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings,  which is a story about a rabbit who wants something that all of the other forest animals have but, in the end, realizes he is special enough just the way he is.
I have the children cut out a rabbit and create wings out of a red piece of construction paper.  I always write them a note about how special they are on the rabbit hoping that it will spark conversation about the story at home.  I am not a "cookie cutter project" kind of teacher.  I rarely do projects that don't allow for at least a little bit of creativity and self design.  (Meaning, although I gave them the rabbit to cut out since it is the beginning of the year, I would never also give them precopied red wings to cut out so that all of their projects would look like they were cut by the same "cookie cutter".)  Check out this little guy's rabbit as an example of allowing for student's creativity and higher level thinking (that NEVER would have happened had I given him wings that he HAD to cut out):
When I asked this child about his rabbit's wings, he said, "He doesn't have any.  He wished for a red and white hat when he went to the wishing pond!"  His "self-design" showed me that he not only understood the basis of the story (that the rabbit got the red wings because he wished for them at the wishing pond), but he applied what he learned to create his own version of the story to demonstrate higher level thinking which is exactly the kind of learning we all should "purposefully" cultivate in our classrooms.
Here is a link to a few different rabbit coloring pages that you can use if you want to do this project with your students.  You will also need to give them a half sheet of red construction paper to create their wings (or maybe a red hat!). 
If you are interested in getting some additional materials I use for my color days (the songs, books we create, and other activities), check out my Celebrating Our Colorful World Kit on TpT.
Or come on over to visit my blog for other teaching ideas:
Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business

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