This week at Co-op we were in many moods with a spooky shadow puppet lesson, thoughtful plarn community service lesson, creating art in the style of Eric Carle, and learning about similes!
The Muons participated in a community service project today. They made a giant ball of plarn(plastic yarn)and did some crocheting for the New Life for Old Bags project.NLOB volunteers take plastic bags,turn them into plarn,crotchet the plarn into sleeping mats and hand them out to the homeless.In almost 4 years they have made more than 1,000 sleeping mats and saved over 700,000 plastic bags from going into landfills.
Today in Electron/Muon Writer’s Workshop we started making books of poetry.We used large envelopes and loose leaf rings to construct our books.The kids filled their first envelope/page with  a prose poem that they wrote about an outdoor activity.
In Electron/Muon Art I introduced the kids to an artist named Ken Ellis.Ken makes art quilts and currently has a show up at the Chicago Cultural Center. kids began their own art quilts by using fabric markers to draw images onto pieces of muslin that,along with a layer of batting and a bottom piece of muslin,will be stretched onto a picture frame.Next week the kids will use embroidery floss to quilt their artworks.
In Neutron Art, we explored shadow puppetry.  Shadow puppets originate from Indonesia.  Before electricity was invented, a giant bowl of fire would illuminate a captivating show put on by a talented puppeteer late at night in villages in Indonesia.  The men would sit on the side of the screen with the puppeteer and watch his movements, women and children would sit on the other side and sing along to the story.  I created several simple shadow puppet screens and brought in an overhead projector to use as illumination, and several parents brought in flashlights to borrow for the lesson.  After a brief discussion on storytelling, neutrons created their own shadow puppets out of cardstock paper and popsicle sticks.  Many neutrons even created shadow puppets with moving parts!  The neutrons then used their shadow puppets to demonstrate a show in front of the screens or on the overhead projector.  The Halloween and dinosaur stories heard throughout the art room that day were very entertaining!!
For Neutron Writers Workshop we read Chapters 11-14 of Because of Winn Dixie and discussed.  We then reviewed what a simile is, recalled a few similes used to describe characters in the story, and wrote our own similes, mostly describing our pets and siblings.
Unit Studies:  We read several stories from Eric Carle; The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, Polar Bear Polar Bear what do you hear and The Very Busy Spider. This was to inspire the kids to make an animal collage of their favorite character. We had several ponies, a frog, a duck, and a bear.
Art:  We read Eric Carle’s The honeybee and the Robber. Then we made bees from egg cartons. We also decorated Kleenex ghosts, and finished up with some dot painting for Quark and Proton art.
Explore More
Interested in Ken Ellis’s show at the Cultural Center?   Click here.
Want to make your own shadow puppets and boxes?  Click here.
Shadows, Similes, Eric Carle, and Plarn!