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Getting to the Core

Patriotic Projects

If you're still counting down the days 'til school ends, or if you're a busy mom home schooling or just looking for something to do with your little ones, I hope these activities provide you with some fun under the sun.

If you're not celebrating Flag Day, tuck them away for the 4th of July, next year's Memorial Day or for when you want to do something when you're teaching The Pledge of Allegiance! 

These art projects are fun, quick and easy and will brighten up your home or classroom for the summer!  I hope you enjoy them.

Flag Art Projects:

popsicle stick flag, flag day art, 4th of july art, flag art, pledge of allegiance art, memorial day art, end of the school year activitiesPopsicle stick flags:

Give students 8 Popsicle sticks to paint red and white.  These will need two coats of paint.  

Use non-painted sticks or you may need more coats. I only had the colored ones at home and even the yellow ones took 4 coats of white because the dye bled through.

 When they have dried, have them glue their sticks to a white sheet of 5x7 construction paperBecause the paper is bigger, you won't have glue all over the place and you can trim the flag later when it is dry.

I use Elmer's wood glue because It is a bit thicker and it adheres to the sticks better, but regular works too. I find that little ones apply liquid glue so much better with a Q-tip dipped in a dollop that's in a small paper plate than squirting from a bottle.

When students are done, have them raise their hands so you can use another Popsicle stick to butt up against their rows to make sure they are even.  Let dry and then trim paper around the edges.

Children can now paint a blue rectangle in the upper left hand corner. When that dries they can add white dots with a Q-tip.

These make a cute magnet if you want to add a dollop of glue and a nickel-size magnet to the middle, or varnish them and use for a summer coaster. 

 

handprint_flag, flag day art, memorial day art, 4th of july art, flag art, art for the end of the school yearKeepsake Flag Handprints: Paint student's hand red, white and blue and press on a sheet of yellow construction paper.

Instead of stars, have them add some dots or X's  of white with a Q-tip. 13 looks nice, but I find my Y5's get carried away and forget to count and they have LOTS of dots! 

I use the flag print for the July handprint page in the Keepsake Handprint Calendar Book if I make one to give as an end-of-the year gift. 

I'm not big on triple painting little ones hands.  It's pretty difficult to manage 3 brushes and colors before the paint dries on an impatient 5-year-old. 

I can barely do one color on my grandson who is one, and it's hard to keep his hand open; forget more than one color with him! 

I made X's for the stars. I only have 12 which really doesn't make any sense historically, but when I thought of adding 13 it just wasn't going to look that good artistically.  You may opt to have your little ones just make dots as making an x with a Q tip was even difficult for me.

The other thing you need to remember is that you have to paint their RIGHT hand.  I'm whipping this together over the weekend so that I could take a picture for the blog, and because I'm right handed, of course I'm painting my left hand, and then when I pressed it down, the flag was backwards. Sigh...

Click on the link for a cute poem I wrote.  To make this into a card, fold a sheet of construction paper in half, glue the student's handprint to the front and the poem inside. Have children sign it at the bottom.  Flag handprint poem.

 

rip and tear flag, 4th of july art, memorial day art, flag day art, flag art, pledge of allegiance art, end of the year activities, summer fun projectsRip & Tear Flag: Have students rip and tear strips of red, and blue construction paper to a sheet of white construction paper.  You can opt to give students 13 star stickers for the 13 original colonies like one of the first flags, if you want to teach a bit of history, but if you have a lot of kids, that's a lot of stickers, and if they are young, that's a lot of sticking. 

On the photo I used a medium star punch and had them glue 6 stars onto the blue canton.  I told them that was how old they were going to be on their next birthday. 

You could also arrange 5 stars in a circle like the Betsy Ross flag and then have the children count by 10's to 50 (the number of stars on today's flag) to get the point across. Basically, my students knew that there were stars and stripes on the flag and that the flag was red, white and blue.

Run my template off on white construction paper. 

Click to view/print the rip and tear US flag art project template.

When you print my master you'll have to trim off the edges.  Cut 1- inch strips of blue construction paper, and 1/2 - inch strips of red construction paper.  The 1/2 - inch strips will fit perfectly on the master; I purposely designed it this way so that it would be easy for a little one to fill a stripe. 

A small glue stick also runs perfectly along this stripe so that they can rub glue on only the stripe that they need to. 

If you want to stay true to the 13 stripes and use this as a factual-learning art project, then you'll need to cover the last "My Rip & Tear Flag" stripe.  I didn't do that in the photo. 

Younger children get tired so you may want to opt for one less stripe as well.

Each child will need 2 blue strips and 4 & 1/2 red ones.  I have my students work on a sheet of scratch paper.

Remind little ones to skip every other stripe so they have an ABAB (red-white-red-white) flag pattern.  Sometimes they get carried away with the glue stick and put glue on the white stripes. 

I tell my Y5's to rip up their strips first and make 2 colored piles of their torn pieces.  When they have completed that, then they can rub glue on a stripe and press their torn "square" of paper on the glue.

Remind them to rub glue on the paper, not on the "square".  Some children will try to do the latter and they will get their fingers all sticky; this is also more difficult and time consuming.

Make sure they press hard or their paper squares won't be stuck when they lift up their flag.  Remind students that they should fill in a stripe completely.

When they are working on the rectangular portion of their flag I tell them it's OK to go off the paper if they need to and that they can trim off the edges with a scissors when they are done. 

Remind students that they can overlap the pieces.  Make sure you make a sample so that you have a finished project to show them. 

I do "rip & tears" all year because they are such a great way to practice and strengthen their fine motor skills, but if you haven't torn strips, you actually need to demonstrate this to little ones or they will have a hard time knowing how to rip.

When they are ripping up their strips of paper, remind them that they should look like little squares.  Some students will want to glue down an entire "stripe". 

I give my students red and blue markers and have them write their name on the bottom in an ABAB (red-blue-red-blue) pattern.  They think this is pretty cool.

 

my_personal_flag, 4th of july art, memorial day art, flag day art, pledge of allegiance art, end of the year activities, summer fun projectsMy Flag: You can send this home with parents to do with their child, or you can do it in class with them. 

Children design their own personal flag and write in information about themselves on the white stripes. 

How many stars on the flag equals how old they are.  This is sort of like a glyph.  Children's school photo goes inside the rectangle, along with the stars. 

The rectangle instead of being the regular blue is their favorite color.  The stripes are white + one of your school colors.  Click on the link to view/print directions and a note home. My Flag Art & Writing Project

triple stars, flag art, star art, 4th of July art, Memorial day art, Flag Day art, Pledge of Allegiance art

 

Red-White & Blue Triple Stars:

 These can be run off and made as a sort of award where the "I know my flag facts!" is seen in the center star. 

You can also flip that small star over so the printing doesn't show and glue a student's picture there or write their name on them, and use these for another purpose. 

Punch a hole in the point, pull a piece of yarn through and let students lace red, white and blue pieces of cut straws on for a patriotic necklace. 

You could also alternate the straws with pony beads.  There are 6 color combinations. 

Run the master off on red, white and blue construction paper and give students a choice of what pattern star they want to put together.

Click on the link to view/print a copy of the master. Patriotic Triple Stars

 

patriotic_windsock, art projects for flag day, art projects for memorial day, art projects for 4th of July, Flag art, art for the Pledge of AllegiancePatriotic Windsock:

There's a patriotic windsock posted in the Arts-Crafts and Activities section for the month. Click on the link to check it out.

patriotic_pinwheel, art projects for the 4th of july, art projects for memorial day, art projects for flag day, flag art projects, Pledge of allegiance art, end of the school year art projectsPatriotic Pinwheels:

I LOVE making pinwheels with children! They are super easy and come out fantastic. 

They are thrilled with the results; you can do them for any holiday and the supplies are inexpensive; + they spin when you blow on them which is an added bonus!

You can get scrapbook paper at all kinds of stores, so finding a patriotic print was no problem. 

I looked for one that was printed on both sides (it's a bit more expensive), but I couldn't find any that I liked, so I simply cut a smaller square of solid red copy paper and glued it to the back. 

The result was a wonderful contrast that made my pinwheel even sturdier. 

For extra pizzazz you can glue a bright red or blue rhinestone over the brass brad using a thick glue dot. 

I like to poke holes in a straw with a protractor and insert the brad backs because straws are a lot less expensive than wooden dowels and I don't have to worry about children poking themselves. 

They work just as well as dowels, if you want to poke your pinwheel into a potted plant.  Just hold on to the bottom, so you don't bend the straw. 

If you want to put it in the ground, make a hole with a stick first. Use my masters to make an easy pinwheel.  Click on the link to view/print them. Patriotic Pinwheel

If you're done with school and out and about, I hope you're having a nice time relaxing and can tuck these ideas away for the fall when your students are learning The Pledge of Allegiance,  whatever you're doing, I wish you all a wonderful Flag Day!

Be sure to read the next article on other activities you can do to celebrate our flag. 

Until next time, I salute all of you who are true to the red, white and blue!

Proudly Flying the Stars and Stripes. 

I wanted to whip together some things for Flag Day.  Some schools will be out before the 14th, but others go longer because of snow day make up, or they are year round,  some are already starting their summer school programs, or perhaps you home school and simply want to teach your little ones about the flag. 

I remember after 911 factories couldn't keep up with the demand for flags,they were being flown everywhere; it was truly amazing.  

Who Designed The Flag?

betsy_ross_flag, the 13 star circle flag of betsy ross, the flag betsy ross sewedHopkins_flag, flag day activities for kids, june activities, end of the school year activities, history of our flag







I always surf the net for background and history to get ideas.

I found a tremendous amount of interesting information about our flag, everything from the controversies and debate about who designed it: Betsy Ross or Francis Hopkinson to the numerous designs that were actually flown throughout the years.

I love folklore, so I like to think that Betsy was truly asked by George Washington to sew the flag with the circle of 13 stars, but later it was Hopkinson who designed another flag that was adopted by The Continental Congress. 

There seems to be enough proof for both arguments, especially Hopkinson who had to submit all sorts of things to get paid.

According to popular legend, the Philadelphia seamstress who made flags for the navy, was acquainted with George Washington.

As you know he was the leader of the Continental Army.  The story goes, that in May of 1776, Washington and two representatives from the Continental Congress visited Ross at her upholstery shop and showed her a rough design of the flag.

Although Washington initially favored using a star with six points, Ross advocated for a five-pointed star. They were skeptical, but the gentlemen were won over, when she quickly folded a scrap of fabric and with one quick snip of her scissors produced a perfect 5-pointed star.

Thus we have a five-pointed star on the flag... or so the legend goes.  Click on the link to view/print Betsy Ross's 5-pointed star magic trick!

For a Betsy Ross page you can color online as a nice independent computer center, click on the link. Online Betsy Ross Coloring Page

betsy_ross, flag day activities, end of the year activities, summer fun activitiesFor a regular Betsy Ross coloring page click on the link.

For a coloring page for a Betsy Ross Flag + other flags through 1960 click on the link.

The Betsy Ross star circle flag and the 13-star Hopkinson flag clipart is courtesy of the University of Oklahoma site.

They also have all of the state flags if you’re looking for a project. They give permission for teachers to use their clipart for educational purposes, provided you link back to them.

To color an original 1776 flag click on the link.

Unfortunately, historians have never truly been able to verify these charming events.  The story of Washington's visit to the flag maker became popular about the time of the country's first centennial, after William Canby, a grandson of Ross, told about her role in shaping U.S. history in a speech given at the Philadelphia Historical Society in March 1870.

What is known is that the first unofficial national flag, called the Grand Union Flag or the Continental Colors, was raised at the request of General Washington near his headquarters outside Boston, on Jan. 1, 1776.

This flag had 13 alternating red and white horizontal stripes and the British Union Flag (a predecessor of the Union Jack) in the canton. (Blue part of the flag.)

The Continental Congress approved the first official national flag, also known as the Stars and Stripes, on June 14, 1777. The blue canton contained 13 stars, representing the original 13 colonies, but the layout varied.

Although nobody knows for sure who designed the flag, many believe it may have been Continental Congress member Francis Hopkinson. He was a lawyer, and Congressman from New Jersey, who also signed the Declaration of Independence.

I thought it would be fun to have students read about Betsy Ross and Francis Hopkinson and decide for themselves which story they believe. 

Have a discussion and then graph the results.  You can also do a Venn diagram of the two flags, either Betsy's or Hopkinson's or a 1700's flag to the current flag. Click on the University of OK site and choose your flags.  Click on the link to view/print the Betsy Ross/Francis Hopkinson graph and Venn diagram of their two flags.

I spent several days researching many sites to find what I felt to be kid-friendly and informative.  To read more interesting history about the flag, Betsy Ross and Hopkinson click on the links.    Hopkinson SiteBetsy Ross SiteFlag Site,    US Flag Site,  United States Flag Site   

Be sure to read part 2 of this article to continue learning about our flag!

Fun-End-Of-The-Year-Writing-Prompts

write_a_class_bookBy now your students have a nice handle on some basic writing skills.  If they are wee-ones, you can brain storm some ideas during Circle Time and write sentences on the board for them to copy.

 Have students TRACE the sentences and then complete the rest of the sentence by WRITING in their thoughts on the lines and then drawing and coloring the page to match it.

 I've designed 3 booklets for you to choose from, or make it a week-long writing activity and do one every other day.

Laminate the pages and then bind the books.

 They make a wonderful keepsake for your new students to read year after year.

 Make the class books even more personal and special by running off a copy on the photo setting of your printer of your class composite and have each student glue their school picture to their page as well as sign it.

Click on the links to view/print a copy of each one of the end-of-the-year class books.  These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things... Class Book,   In The Summer I Like To...Class Book, Whew! It's HOT! Class Book or if you like them all, print with one click June Class Books.

You may also want to check out the FREE Easy Reader for this month entitled: My Summer Senses. It's a great way to review your study of the 5 senses.

If you're looking for another Easy Reader fill-in check out: The Colors Of Summer.

It's a nice review of the color words and includes flashcards, skill sheets, and a certificate of praise. When my students are done, we read the booklets as a whole group to reinforce concepts of print.

I take the children outside and read their class books under a shady tree while they slurp on a well-deserved popsicle. 

Happy writing, sharing and reading!

summer_stripThe year is winding down, students have nailed the standards, temperatures are getting warmer (finally!) and vacation is just around the corner, so I wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

One of my readers e-mailed me this wonderful Beach Party idea and gave permission to share her name and ideas on the blog.  I thought they were so cute; perfect timing too, incase any of you want to throw a luau or beach party. Here's what she had to say:

Hi Diane I enjoy reading your blog and thought I would pass along some ideas I use for my classroom at the end of the school year that are a hit with my kindergarten students in Den Haag [The Netherlands]
We celebrate the end of the school year and beginning of summer by having a "beach party."

Decorations:

- I decorate the classroom with beach things, most of which I have either in the classroom or at home, and the rest can be purchased at a Dollar Store.
- Use beach towels as tablecloths or to sit on during reading time/circle. etc.

- beach party at school, end of the year fun activitiesWash Frisbees, flip over and use as plates for snack.
- Have inflatable beach balls, sand, water and seashells in a texture table
- Lei's (from The Dollar Store) for prizes
- I have a CD of whale songs and we go "whale watching" at the beach.

Snacks

- Make blue Jell-O with gummy fish mixed in. (Use clear plastic cups so that you can see the fish:)
- We also have "Seaside cupcakes." Frost each cupcake with vanilla/white icing.
- Sprinkle yellow sugar on one half to create the “beach” and blue sugar on the other half to create the “ocean.” (Or use blue icing to make the ocean)
- Open and insert a parasol into each “beach.”
- Attach a gummy bear with a dab of icing onto a life saver “raft” and place onto the blue “ocean.”
- Eat snack outside (weather permitting) and sit on our beach towels

Reading:
goodnight_moonAt the end of the school year I read Goodbye House and Goodnight Moon.  The children are encouraged to draw things they would like to say goodbye to, and then during circle time we talk about what each child drew, and that it's okay to be sad and miss all of the things we did during the school year.  

Just thought I would share. Danku for all of your ideas. I hope you continue throughout the summer as we get ready for the fall.  Katja Zeldenthuis

Thank YOU Katja for this wonderful idea, and I WILL be continuing to design things through out the summer. 

salute, Happy Memorial Day I'm working on all sorts of fun science things, The solar system and outer space, weather, more things on seasons, nocturnal animals, insects, some more mini offices, + some geography things to name just a few. 

These were all requested by more than one person so they are a top priority.  Then there's a house to clean, all the usual teaching stuff to organize and sort, gardening, a new puppy, family and grandchildren to enjoy and love, well you know...and the summer is gone before you can say Happy Memorial Day weekend!  Stay Safe.

Keepsake_Pillowcase, end of the year projects, art for May, end of the year activities, last week of school ideas, keepsake crafts, art projects with pillowcases, keepsake art projects, summer crafts for kids, end of the year ideas, last week of school activities, Sweet Summer Dreamin' Pillowcases

Another fun project I like to do with my students at the end of the year I call "Sweet Summer Dreamin' Pillowcases."

Just about every month we have practiced the art of stamping something with a foam stamp. 

I have collected them through out the years to use for our science units.  They make fun art projects and are great for math extensions as well. 

My Y5's self-esteem is also built, because the process is quite easy and the results are simply smashing.  They pat paint on a foam stamp and then press it onto paper and a lovely print of something is left. 

They make beautiful collages, paintings and patterns and are quiet proud of their projects. They have become quite skilled at this technique. 

Instead of doing an autograph book, I thought it would be fun for my students to autograph a pillowcase that they have stamped with all of the various foam stamps, depicting everything they have studied throughout the year.  This  makes a wonderful keepsake for them. 

I send a letter home to parents asking them to send in a plain, light-colored pillowcase and ask if they would be able to volunteer to help. 

I've found that having 4 helpers makes the process go faster and stay organized, but I've done it with only one daddy as well. 

One year I asked several 5th graders if they could come and help during their study hour when I was short on parents and they worked well with the little ones too. 

They all had been my Y5 students so that made it extra fun as they even remembered doing the project when they were little! 

I do this project on the floor in our entry hall atrium so that the children can spread out.  Lay plastic down in case of spills.  There are very few, but The Dollar Store plastic tablecloths make clean up a breeze.  I put 5 children in a row and make a large square. 

painted pillowcases, autograph art, end of the year projects, Keepsake_Pillowcase, end of the year projects, art for May, end of the year activities, last week of school ideas, keepsake crafts, art projects with pillowcases, keepsake art projects, summer crafts for kids, end of the year ideas, last week of school activities, keepsake artInsert a piece of tag board (I recycle them each year) inside of their pillow case so that the paint does not bleed through.  I write their name in large print on the edge of their pillowcase. 

Painted pillowcase, autograph art, end of the year projects, Keepsake_Pillowcase, end of the year projects, art for May, end of the year activities, last week of school ideas, keepsake crafts, art projects with pillowcases, keepsake art projects, summer crafts for kids, end of the year ideas, last week of school activities, may artI buy primary and pastel colors of the acrylic permanent paints that are only .59 cents at a hobby/craft store and spill a dollop of one color on a paper plate.

That paper plate, a foam brush and a stamp is given to a helper who pats the paint on the stamp and hands it to a child, they press that stamp anywhere on their pillowcase and then wait for the next stamp. 

We rotate all of the stamps in this assembly line fashion until everyone has done every stamp and every color. 

This takes about 45 minutes if I have help.  Afterwards, the children go wash up and they go outside for recess. 

When they come back in the paint is dry.  We flip the pillowcases over and everyone is given a permanent marker. 

I have 10 different colors. I remind them that they cannot rest the markers on the pillowcase as they will start to bleed into the material and run. 

I also tell them that it is hard to write on fabric so that they need to hold the fabric taught.  I demonstrate this as I "autograph" a pillowcase. 

Everyone signs their own pillowcase first, then they stand up when they are done so that I can see when everyone is finished; when everyone is standing, they move to the next pillowcase and sign their name; when they are done, they stand up again. 

We do this until they are back to their own pillowcase and have signed everyone's.  Make sure you remind them that they are writing THEIR name and "autographing" eachother's pillowcases. 

I had one little guy who was trying to write each person's name on the pillowcases instead of his own! 

end of the year ideas, activities for the end of the year, ideas for the last week of school, activities for the last week of school, In the beginning I had the children sign the fronts of the pillowcases where the stamps were, then a mom thought it would look nicer, since the children wrote so big, to sign the backs!  I've done it that way ever since. 

I don't paint the backs of the pillowcases, because the paint is scratchy when it dries. 

I type up a little note about washing directions which reads: When your child brings their pillowcase home, turn it inside out and toss in the dryer on high .  This will set the paint.  Wash in cold water on gentle cycle for years of wear.  Sleep on the side that is not painted.  I hope you enjoy your sweet summer dreamin' pillowcase and that it helps you to remember all of the fun we had learning and making these wonderful friends!

I've gotten lots of positive feedback about this project, and my students absolutely love making these pillowcases.

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