Saturday, November 17, 2018

Penguin Ornaments

Every year, Boogs gets Grandmaman a new ornament for her Christmas tree. This year, we decided to make ornaments out of polymer clay.

I first took out this package of Creative Paperclay. It was a crumbly mess. Hmmmm... it has been in my craft room stash of stuff for a looong time. On the back of the package, it said it expired in June 2002. Whoops!
Next, I took out this Sculpey Clay to try again. I've had this package since before Boogs was born. It was perfectly fine.
We had to knead and warm up the clay a little to get it to cooperate.
Step 1: Roll the black clay into a round ball. This was about half an ounce of clay.
Step 2: Flatten the ball into a circle.
Step 3: Shape the flattened ball. We were making different looking penguins. I made mine into a pear shape, Boogs was more rounded.
Step 4: Roll a small amount of white clay into a ball. Then shape it to fit the bottom third to half of your penguin.
Step 5: Take a small pinch of orange clay to make a beak.
Step 6: Add eyes. I had a package of black sequins in one of my craft bins, so we decided to use those for eyes. I added white around the sequin. Boogs pushed his sequin directly into his penguin's head.

Step 7: Add accessories. I put a Santa hat, flippers, a candy cane, and feet on my penguin. Boogs decided to put ear muffs on his penguins. He rolled small pieces of red clay into balls and attached them to his penguins heads.
We used red Stampin' Up Wire Works wire to connect the ear muffs.
 Boogs added a little heart on the belly of each of his penguins.
 Look at that smile!
 These were ready to put in the oven.
Step 8: Twist a piece of wire into a loop and attach to back of penguin.

Step 9: Place clay artwork on an oven safe glass dish. Put in a 275 degree F oven for 15 minutes (or whatever your package of clay recommends).
Step 10: Take out of oven and let cool. Attach string to loop for hanging ornament on a Christmas tree.

I think these turned out so cute. You do have to be a little bit careful with them. I accidentally dropped my phone on my penguin when I was trying to take this picture. Oops!
My phone broke off one of my penguin's flipper arms and one foot. I pulled off the second foot and I think it still looks okay.

Boogs and I enjoyed working on these today. What kinds of Christmas crafting have you started doing?

This post is linked to:
Saturday Sharefest
Crafty Weekends

Thursday, November 15, 2018

STEAM Shop 3rd, 4th, 5th Grades

Part of my job this year is to run the STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics) Shop at an elementary school on Mondays and Tuesdays. During September and October, I worked with 1st and 2nd graders. See THIS post for those activities. I am working with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders during November and December. My students come to my room in groups of 8 to 16 throughout the day. The stations are based on the TEKS - Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, which outline what students are to learn in each grade.
3rd Graders begin in the sink/float or landforms station.
4th Graders begin in the simple machines station.
5th Graders begin in the Mix It Up/Filtering station.

After completing their primary station, students use question cards to discuss with their classmates: ways to improve design, frustrations, discoveries, how it applies to the real world, etc.


If they have any extra time beyond their primary station, students are encouraged to visit and work on the other stations in the room. Click on bold words for resource links.


Solid/Liquid/Gas Sort, Create a Food Web
Using Snap Circuits to experiment with the flow of energy to create light, sound, movement.
Sealing the canister before trying to make the ping pong ball and the ball bearing trade places in the density experiment.
Using picture cards and a dry erase marker on a shower curtain to show energy flow through a food web.


Simple Machines - Escaped Zoo Animals,
Students used the supplies to help the zoo animals return to the zoo. Pictured are: wheel and axle going up an inclined plane, pulley, slingshot lever (rubber band and plastic spoon), and multiple inclined planes.
Create and identify landforms

Working with a partner, students created landforms for their partner to identify. We used laminated blue paper for water.

Mix it up - solutions & mixtures, filtering
Testing substances at the Mix It Up station.

Mayflower Challenge - design a sailboat, consider buoyancy
with added cargo, test for sink/float and speed.
Mayflower Challenge resources HERE and HERE.
Creating boats.
Testing boat on the "ocean".
The 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders seem to enjoy their exploration time in the STEAM Shop. So far, we have only had one catastrophe - someone accidentally stepped on our ocean and knocked the container over. It is amazing how quickly 2.5 gallons of water can spread across the carpet.

I will have the 1st and 2nd graders again in January. I guess I better start working on their next set of activities.  What STEAM activities would you recommend for a 40 minute class period? I only see the students once per semester. I can't have any on-going activities that require more than one class period. I don't have a budget, my supplies are things I can gather or get donated to my room.

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Cedar Park Sculpture Garden


We finally had a day with sunshine!
I had my son take this picture when we were driving to school on Friday. That is a rectangular block of black clouds ahead of us. It looked pretty ominous in person.
The rain in central Texas has slacked off. It is great to see the sun. We had so much flooding in our area that the water treatment plant could not keep up with proper filtration. On October 22nd, the city of Austin put out a boil water notice. The city said the rain and flooding brought "unprecedented levels of silt" into the water supply. I have lived in the area all my life and have never witnessed a boil notice for the entire city. The grocery store lines were crazy last Monday with people buying bottled water. The stores had to put limits on the number of bottles purchased and there were warnings by the city that price gouging would not be tolerated. The boil notice is still in effect today but the local news said it might end this evening. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the sun will shine on us for at least a few more days.
Boogs and I took advantage of the beautiful day and went to the Cedar Park Sculpture Garden. We had never been there before. There are 13 sculptures and a walking path around a pond.

Boogs and I waited to read the artist's title of each sculpture until after we had taken a guess as to what the title might be. I thought Sentinel was a butterfly, Boogs thought it should be called perpetual movement. We both thought All That Jazz was something to do with music.
Tube dancers - Me - dancers, Boogs - a fight or struggle. Paths We Choose -  Boogs - which way, Me - distortion, it looked misleading to me. I love the look of the shadow of the arrow.
Joy - We both thought this would be something about dancing with all your heart because of the heart shaped cut out in the torso of the sculpture. I liked this shadow, too.
Gotcha Bird With Fish - we were pretty close on this one. We thought it should be called bird with fish. There was so much detail in this work. I think it was my favorite one.
Sundial - This one really confused us. Boogs thought is should be called Abstract, I thought is was some kind of person. Neither one of us could see it as a sundial even after we read the title of the sculpture. Nebulous: Boogs saw the sign before he guessed, I thought it was the Earth.
Cloud Kaleidoscope made us think it was someone holding a ring or a magnifying glass. I tried to line up a cloud in the center of the kaleidoscope. Surprisingly, we both got Red Bird really wrong. I thought it was a flame, Boogs thought it was about team spirit. After we read the title, the red bird was easy to see.
We were both kind of close on naming Chirp. Boogs thought it was a penguin, I thought it was a puffin. We liked the way the artist signed the work with interlaced C and Q initials.
 There is a nice path around the water.
Boogs enjoyed conquering the steep incline to reach the top of this wall. He ran up and then slid down this steep slope many times.
We enjoyed our walk. There were quite a few ducks in the water. These ducks came waddling up  when we stopped to look at them. I think they thought they might get fed.
The last sculpture we saw was called Dancer 2012 & Dancer 2014 by Jerry Daniel. From a distance, Boogs and I decided this sculpture was dancers and we were right.
The artists loan their work to the Sculpture Garden for one year. The pieces are for sale at the end of their time on display. Each year, a new group of artists get a chance to display their work. We are looking forward to coming back again to see the next set of sculptures when they are put on display.

This post is linked to:
Country Kids linky

Friday, October 19, 2018

Mudstacle 2018

Boogs and I have enjoyed getting muddy in the Mudstacle obstacle race for the past few years. Here is a look back at the courses for Mudstacle 2016 and Mudstacle 2017. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate this year - torn meniscus in my knee and my right hand in a splint with an overstretched ligament with a bruised bone & joint. I don't have pictures of all the obstacles on the 5K course. Fortunately, one of Boogs friends was able to run the race with Boogs last Saturday.
 Warming up before the starting horn opens the course.
Boogs' friend's mom managed to get a couple of pictures of the boys at the first two obstacles. Here they are climbing over the giant spools.
They had to run through a muddy pit while people were trying to tag them with pool noodles on ropes. Then they turned the corner and were out of camera range.
We waited for the boys at the finish line. Here they are entering the home stretch. I asked them why they weren't running. They said they were tired. It has been raining off and on for for two weeks. The race planners did not know if the Mudstacle would be able to happen until the morning of the race. Luckily, there was no lightning, only rain. The course was EXTRA muddy.
 Jumping for joy as he crosses the finish line.
Boogs managed to lose both of his shoes and his socks in the muddy pits. His friend lost one shoe and one sock. I'm so glad they both wore old, beat up sneakers for the race.

The Foam Pit is always a hit with the kids. The boys spent at least an hour playing in the bubbles. It helped clean them off just a little bit.
 They played Marco Polo while hiding under a layer of bubbles.
 It took a long time to convince them to go rinse off so we could leave.
 Boogs left the hose line three different times before he was finally rinsed off. They had to have a snowball fight. A local snow cone shop had balls of snow cone ice for the kids to throw.
The hose rinse helped them get sort of clean. They changed into clean clothes so we could go out for lunch. Both boys had a spare set of shoes in the car.
The boys had a ton of fun. I was sad not to participate but happy they had such a great time. While we were eating lunch, Boogs ran his hand through his hair and found a clump  of mud stuck in his hair at the back of his head. He was happy to take a long shower when we got home.

Last Thursday, Boogs had his Fall Band Concert. My parents were able to attend. We really enjoyed listening to all three bands play.
 Boogs looks so grown up in his tuxedo shirt and tie.
Daddy played the trombone when he was in high school. It was great to hear the middle school bands play. They sounded awesome!

We have been spending a lot of time indoors because of the weather. Texas is getting way too much rain. Boogs' middle school band was supposed to play at the high school football game tonight. The constant rain cancelled those plans. Many areas near us are flooding. I personally know three people who have lost their homes near lakes. A couple of days ago, a local school bus was swept off the road and into a flooded creek when the driver chose to drive through a low water crossing. The driver and passengers were rescued from the water. We are ready for the rain to stop.

This post is linked to:
Country Kids linky