Preschool, Picasso, and Shapes!

Today we dove straight into Cubism! The transition from surrealism to cubism was very smooth. I think that the concept of cutting paper to create images, both from the magazines for the surreal faces project, and now with cutting shapes, paired with reading and discussing Eric Carle books and illustration process, really cemented the concepts that we are trying to teach. Just making a note of that for future reference and thought.

The children looked at two different Picasso paintings at circle time, one of which was the painting “Three Musicians”.


In past years I have used the book “The Three Musicians: A Children’s Book Inspired by Picasso” by Veronique Massenot as a teaching resource. This year I did not have a copy so I continued without it.

The children spent some time looking over the painting and picking out shapes they saw. We made a list of all the shapes we found. Then we pulled out the white board and shape magnets, and together made a Picasso inspired face!

It’s adorable….

I left the board and the magnets out for future exploration.

Then some children were interesting in making some independent abstract art. I put out paper, scissors, and glue and let them create!

Here is some of what they have come up with so far:

Top Left: “My Baby Brother” Top Right: “An ATV” Bottom Left “A Lion” Bottom Right “A Train”

Can you see it?


Teaching Surrealism to Preschoolers

A few years ago I did an end of the year art show with our group of preschoolers. And it was AMAZING! We talked about Picasso, Warhol, Da Vinci, Salvador Dahli, Kandisnky, and Van Gogh! I am currently revisiting this lesson and pulling from it for our end of the year “Premier”. I decided to start things off with Surrealism!

We are coming off of two weeks of poetry for National Poetry month, so to make the transition easier (and to not completely stop and start topics) we blended the two together. We read the poem “Mr. Moody” by Shel Silverstein, which cleverly makes you think you are going to see an illusion, but you do not, so the poem itself is an illusion! Then we looked at optical illusions, like the ones here:

To better understand the concept of illusions we turned to surrealism and the power of the imagination! We did this by constructing faces made of different parts. First we all cut out a variety of eyes, noses, and mouths to chose from. Then we picked out individual parts that we would like to use in our face and put them together! The faces we came up with were silly, and even though they had all the parts to them that the face does they were not quite right. They were rather irrational, Surreal!


If you like this project there is also a very clever Montesouri inspired project that uses the same principles! Check it out HERE!  We might even try it!


Happy National Poetry Month!

I found (and wanted to share) this Amazing Poetry Unit Online! Check it out Here.

I have always loved Shel Silverstein. My Nanny bought me Falling Up when I first moved to Va, and I was instantly in love. I would spend hours reading and re-reading his poems and staring at the illustrations. So when I found this unit online I jumped right on it.

What is amazing about how this unit is layed out, is that it is very easy to follow, and gives the teacher a lot of room to enhance, chance, and alter it’s parts. I did not do every activity with the kid, but I did use many of the writing prompts in class. Since I teach preschool the majority of my kids can not write, although some have started mimic writing so that is VERY exciting. Even so, these prompts encouraged and inspired the children to create amazing stories and poems. The way it works is that you read the poem of the day and talk about the parts of the poem. Does it rhyme, what is the poem talking about, what is the purpose of the poem, and so on. Then you practice rhyming and theme words. For example, we did poems about sound. What sounds do you hear now? What sounds do you hear at home? What sounds do you hear in a restuarant? Asking these questions helped the children think critically and creatively to come up with mimicking and descriptive words for the sounds they heard, and we made a list. Then from there we individually worked on our poems by using the list of words we had previously made. Some children were able to expand and create even more words for their poem, while others strictly used the list. Once they have chosen the words they would like to use, we then start to build the story. Where would you hear a sound like that? What would happen to make that sound? What makes that sound? And so on. From there the story just comes together. What is really amazing is that during this process the children will listen to their poems, and each others poems and hear things that rhyme and even restructure their stories so the rhymes fit. (this happened more than once and left me AMAZED) Here are a few examples of some of the poems they came up with. Enjoy!

A Magic Hat by Mahi

My Hat is Magic

My Hat is Blue

My Hat is Big!

My Hat is fast and it’s leaning too!

Lighting Bolt Jet Pack by Sam

There is a lighting bolt jet pack

I wear it on my back 

The lighting bolts are red and blue

and they shoot lasers! Phew Phew Phew!

Arrrr my Mates! by Cameron

I forgot my treasure

I left it on my pirate ship 

But it made me kinda happy

Because then it sailed away

It turned left and it turned right

Then I chased my ship! 

And found my Treasure! Alright!

Allergies by Noah

Once I forgot there were nuts in my cake!

There was one pecan on top and I did not take it off

It made me really really sick

Sick like this, Cough, cough cough. 

Our Imagination Tree

We set up an Imagination tree in our classroom! At first we just put out wire and beads for the children to explore and decorate with. Then the children begun to add items of their own. Protip: if your children are younger, under 4, pipe cleaners are a better choice over wire for them to manipulate. And it adds color to their masterpiece!

Our kids added paint color samples, charms, buttons, and even an ornament. I am going to keep the tree up for a little while longer but am amazed at how diverse and intricate it has become already!

What do you think?

imagination tree

Making A Mud Kitchen!

We are finally FINALLY making our Mud Kitchen! Our team rolled in around 9 am this morning and we hit the ground running!

We worked with found materials, and DIYed our way into success!


Here is the final (final for now) project. We will continue to add to it.

Thank you to the wonderful parents that came out and helped us with this today! We definitely could not have done it with out you.

Most of the materials that we used in our Mud Kitchen came from the Route 11 Yard Crawl. If you do not know about this amazing event, I highly encourage you to check it out. We went last year and with in 30 minutes, and maybe a half a mile, walked away with a truck full of stuff. This year we plan to come better prepared. Meaning more trucks, more people, and getting there very very early. If you are a teacher in the area (or even if you are not local) this is the place to go for getting inspiration and materials. And the timing is perfect, as it happens right at the beginning of the school year. The 2016 Yard Crawl is Sat. Aug 13th from 7am-7pm . See you there!


“Inside Out” is Wonderful!


If you haven’t already seen the movie “Inside Out” stop what you are doing and watch it.


Psychology tells us that there are 5 basic emotions. Some theorist say there are only four and pair up a few, others will  expand on an emotion and split it into two different emotions, but the middle ground of the argument says there are 5. And Pixar used that middle ground theory to lay out the story line, plot, and character archs for the movie. If you have ever studied Psychology, or work in a field that uses human psychology, you will be all over this movie! The 5 basic emotions are Happy, Sad, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. The 5 characters in the movie are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and guess what? Disgust. Then the movie goes into the inner workings of the mind, and how one emotion can become the “ruling” emotion (the leading emotion) or how some people keep the emotions even and equal, while others can not. What I found interesting is that the adults in the movie seemed to have a set emotion, that overtook their other emotions. I don’t want to give anything away for those that have not seen it, but to put it in perspective.. Some people had all anger characters, and they only differed on the type of anger they were. So there was a Sadness anger, and a fearful anger and so on.

I won’t go into the rest of the movie and how accurately they managed to visually represent the human mind, just know that it  is amazing.

I did find a chart that shows you how the different emotions can come together to create different and more complex emotions.


I shared this chart with the kids and even though some of them did not understand some of the emotions, being able to build how they felt using colors that correspond with emotions they knew became very helpful.I made some items to assist them in the process and continue to use these items when we need to take a break to sort out how we feel about a situation. (i.e. when a friend hurts our feelings, when we miss mommy, when we don’t want to do something)

insideout tools

We did a lot with this movie for the unit (How I Feel Portraits, My feelings Chart, and we even explored color mixing!) This is something I will definitely use again.

SuperHero Yoga!

During the winter months, our school explored topics related to the theme “Inside Out”. During this theme I pulled inspiration from the wonderful movie Inside Out. For more information on that, CLICK HERE!

A co-worker shared this PDF with me about the importance of Super Hero Play in preschool. It explores emotions, self confidence, personal identity, growth, change, etc. Which are all topics that we were already exploring in the theme. Therefor integrating superhero play into our curriculum was very easy. We started with your basic pretend play, story telling, and provided super hero themed learning tools. But I felt that something was missing. Around that same time I had been slowly introducing the class to Yoga. Interest in yoga was spotty at best, and I realized that I had to make the poses relatable to the children to keep them interested. And that is how I came up with Super Hero Yoga!

This activity is really simple and required practically no preparation. The kids catch on quickly, and it is something that can be molded, modified, and expanded as needed! After teaching the children the poses that I have listed on the PDF, they ran with it creating their own poses that correspond to other super heros they like.

So take a peek, enjoy, and leave some feedback!