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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Coffee and a Prayer

         Scroll down to read the post and the "tutorial"

Today . . . I will drink coffee before I go to school.  Then I will drink more coffee, and when I get there, I will drink more to keep up with my students today.  If you are reading this - you might even want to do a prayer for my grade level partner and me.

On my blog, I try to keep it real but in the back of my mind I am always trying to figure out how I can add relevance and application to my lessons.  Sometimes I get off track as it would be extremely hard not to mention time consuming to do these type of projects all the time with every lesson.

Today, one of my grade level partners and myself will be showing students how to turn sheep wool into felt.  They are making scarves for their snowmen (gourds).  Mind you, they have been stored since their pumpkin patch trip in October.  Needless to say, I know how to felt wool but am by NO means an expert or claim to be so any felted wool expert people out there please be glad the kids are learning  a centuries old skill while we have fun, learn, and dabble in the art field.  Plus just think - if they ever need to make their own clothes they can just shave their cat or dog and felt it.  Just joking. 

Read Aloud:  Have to go to school and look at the author. This book literally fell in my lap!  Another student brought this book to me before I even thought of felting wool with 1st graders.  I was thrilled (I will post it later).

 Essential Question:  How do animals help people (why . . . people use animals for food and we use some animal fibers for fabrics)?

 Vocab:  Texture, textiles, fibers, hue, acid, felt, wool, shrink,

 Writing:  How to books

Measurement:  Tie string around gourds (neck).  Make string 4 3 times as long.  lay string on work area (now our work area is just going to be the ground with lots of plastic and fabric shower curtains to soak up any water.

Plan: My grade level partner has a microwave in her room so we are going to be doing this in her room.  She also has a lot more linoleum on her floor and that's what we need
1.  Kids will measure their gourds neck with string and make another 3 times as long.
2.  They will move to the work area and we will help them lay out wool (kids will use latex gloves to protect them from the wool.) We couldn't get the latex gloves because a parent filled performance was happening where they were stored. 
3.  We will show them how to gently put luke warm water with soap on the wool (I did it with cold and it worked).  Then when it got to hectic - students who finished in the 1st round helped the 2nd round of students (perfect)!  We made many trips to the microwave.
4. They will use bubble wrap to "massage" the wool back and forth until it binds together.  Then they had to thoroughly soak the wool with water first then in a back and forth motion rub the heck out of the wool fold it over on itself and rub so more.
5. They will squeeze the excess water out and place their felted wool in a baggie to go to the next station.  Then they squeezed the water out then stood in a line to rinse theirs with a parent volunteer helper then stood in the "kool-aid " line. 
6.  They will use droppers to get warm water with concentrated Kool-Aid from a small bowl and design their scarf. (YES - I said Kool-Aid). We only had 3 out of 60+ students get it all over their hands.
7. Students will go to the sink (with help) and rinse their scarf, squish out the water, then place it back in their bag.  We will lay them out to dry.
8.  Print and take  steps 1-7 with me to work!

Stay Tuned and check back later this evening for updates on how this project   went!
The wool I get from a former students parent who has a farm.  They shave them and send the wool to be cleaned.  It is not the finest grade of wool but suits the purpose I need it for.  You can also purchase wool from ebay and etsy.  A little goes a long way!

The whole ordeal took about 2 hours and instead of 43 kids we ended up having 60+ students make scarves from wool for their gourd snowman.  I was lucky because it just so happened a parent volunteer made felted wool as a child and lived on a farm when she was young.   Looks great right? Too bad these pictures don't have sound.  It was not QUIET!

 They did a good job but most needed to rub the wool harder since the wool was course.
 Parent volunteer helping.  We should have put the towels first and the plastic on top but when I got to the room it was already like this and 60+ kids were not going to wait while we switched it.
                                   They painted gourds after the felting.
We could have just put the scarves in baggies with kool-aid mixture, microwaved them, let them sit and took them home to rinse out and dry. They would have been a darker hue of red.  We took the bags back to our class and set them out to dry.  Tomorrow they will assemble their snowmen gourds with their little scarves.  What a day.  I am tired.
Round 2 was today.  They tied the scarves on, chose their own buttons, and drew their eyes.  They were very adorable and the children were very excited to take their snowmen home to put under the tree.  I'm not going to say this was an easy undertaking but it was well worth it.

Here are some more pictures of the process . . .

 Careful selection of buttons
Designing their wrapping paper
Individual personalities . . . just like the kids!
Oh - and we had a performance for the parents in the a.m.

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