Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Ocean in the Classroom!

In the spring my class was studying fish (as part of our WONDERFUL science program: FOSS - love, love, love it!).  So I had my kiddos help me turn our class into an ocean.  Great fun!  The sign was placed outside our door.  We are in room five so I refer to my class as Team Five.  Here are some of our ocean activities:

1)  Fish Quilt:  With inspiration from TLC's Quilt book, I created a fish quilt square.  (Note: This square is NOT from their book - I made it up.  But there are many great squares in the book!) The students started with a variety of squares and had to cut them, and layer them to create this fish.  There is a bookcase in the way so the angle of this photo isn't great., but here is our finished "quilt":

2) Directed Art Fish: Using the ideas from "Directed Drawing Volume 4: Sealife" from ABC Schoolhouse on TPT, the students created sealife for our ocean.  Each child got to pick any color of construction paper (the pieces were about 9" X 11"), and then followed my directed drawing directions using a black crayon to create several different fish.  We did just one a day.  The students cut each fish out and I taped them to our ocean.

Our fish!
Another view

3)  Individual Oceans:  After making the directed drawing fish, each child got to create their own smaller ocean animals.  They drew them in black crayon and then used watercolors to paint them.  Next they cut each animal out.  Using construction paper, they created their own background (ocean, seaweed, ...) and then glued on each animal.  Lots of steps (over several days), but they turned out adorable!  (Okay, in all honesty, I am not sure I would do this with a straight kinder class; but since I had only 10 kinders and 15 first graders, it went really well.  However, faced with 25, or possibly 30, kinders this project might be a bit much.)

4)  Writing Board:  Our displayed writing was about ... fish.  (You would think my class would be sick, sick, sick of fish, but of course they weren't!!)  Students did a directed drawing of a fish bowl.  (Can you tell that I just love doing directed drawings?!?  I do!!!)  Then I gave each student a fish sticker.  They placed it in their fishbowl and wrote about their "pet" fish.

5)  Door Display:  For Open House we decorated the door.  Most of this was done by me (usually I like to just have student work, but I was making this up as I went along, so I did it).  I took a photo of each child against a blue background (just a blue piece of butcher paper that I taped temporarily to a wall).  Then I cut fish bowl shapes out of folded paper (so that the fish bowls could open up).  Inside the fishbowl I taped student writing about kindergarten or first grade.  (Since it was Open House, I had the students sum up the year.)  Then on the outside I glued blue paper in the shape of waves and then glued their photos on top of that.  My district does not allow student photos to be displayed on the web so I chose a photo that is very unclear on purpose.  Sorry about that!

6)  Last, but definitely not, least:  Our Fish!  What would an ocean theme be without real fish?  Here are our poor babies that we studied during our FOSS module.  There are goldfish and minnows.  I am maybe the worst fish mommy in the world, but somehow they survived!  (.. and they continue to thrive!)

Whew!  That was my longest post yet!  Time for me to get some work done!


  1. Your classroom looks so fun! I really like your windows. I had never heard of directed drawing so thanks for the info.
    First Grade Frame of Mind

  2. Cute ideas! I love your students' self-portraits hanging on the wall above their directed drawing fish! Any tips to get beautiful self-portraits like that out of my kinders?
    Keen on Kindergarten

  3. Meredith, Thanks! The students made the self portraits in April. Here are my steps - not sure if this will be helpful or not. The children were shown several prints that were portraits and we discussed these. Then I modeled step by step how to first draw a large oval for the head. Then I drew eyes, the mouth and then the nose. Then I added hair, clothes and a background. Then the students got their paper and started in. We used crayons. This was my first time to ever do this with kinders (actually it was my first year to teach kinders), but in the past with first graders I have also done the self portraits with only pencil one year and several years we painted the self portraits. Prior to this we had drawn Lincoln in February.
    An Open Door