The past few Katie Days we have been jammed pack with PLPs, art projects and math activities. We enjoyed PLPs by both Mateo and Jace. Jace’s PLP on cats explained interesting cat facts and showed us a video of cat behavior, starring his cat. And Mateo shared with us his knowledge and collection of sea shells.

In math we have been focusing on subtraction games. In one we started with a tower of legos, rolled a dice and took that many away. In another we used the number line to figure out word problems. We also have been finishing up our work with graphing, including a giant graph of Animal Crackers. Graphing is multi-layered at this age, as it allows learners to organize and classify things into categories, and make representations of their data. We then are able to ask and answer questions about the categories.

For art we started by looking at how artists have depicted flowers throughout history, from Renaissance painter Archimboldo to Manet, van Gogh, Mondrian and O’Keeffe. We focused on Pablo Picasso, taking a look at his paintings throughout his career and noting the simplicity of his 1958 painting Bouquet of Peace. We then made our own versions of the painting. We also enjoyed two picture books about Picasso Just Behave Pablo Picasso about his life and art and Lumpito and the Painter From Spain about his daschund. Another project was our giant poppies inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe. We read about O’Keeffe and copied her giant flowers, particularly her poppy series.

This afternoon we made sun prints — a wonderful printmaking technique, also called cyanotype — that uses sunlight as a developing agent. Sun Prints were originally developed as a teaching tool by educators at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Basically a negative image is made by placing an object (in our case a variety of plants) upon special paper and then exposing it to sunlight for a few minutes. The paper retains the image of the plant after it is rinsed in a tub of water. Once the paper dries, parts that were exposed to the sun will turn a shade of blue, while parts that were covered by the plant will remain white.

First grade afternoons have been focused on guided reading and phonics activities around vowel sounds, the silent E and compound words.

Enjoy the photos of the PLPs, Picasso paintings, poppy project and sun prints.

Lastly, if you’re still reading this, thank you! I have a few projects that I’m looking for volunteers for. It can either be done these last few weeks of school or over the summer. I’m looking for someone to clean up and organize our art materials. The jobs are: wiping down the watercolors with a damp towel to clean them up, refilling our elmers glue containers, organizing the pastels and sharpening our colored pencils. If you have time to help out with any of these projects please let me know (each one shouldn’t take more than 5-15 minutes). Thank you everyone!

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