Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MidWinter Inspiration......

Symetrical Snowflake Study: Black + White Images

I'm a child of the midwest. "Who's your daddy?" and being a Hoosier at heart are my upbringing. A whole adult lifetime of Ohio winters, punctuated with a couple snow-seasons in Wisconsin and one SERIOUS winter in Minnesota -- years ago, makes me feel like an imposter in all of this southern Florida sunshine, day after day. I'll bask in the projects of the children and remember those good ol' days.

Looking for other winter time fun?
Here are a few more ideas I've observed during my Author/Illustrator school visits:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Open-Ended Painting Process!!! LINKY PARTY!!

Our new collaborative blog, PreK+K Sharing is hosting our very first blog-hop linkie party....... AND its on one of my ALL time favorite topics: PAINT + PAINTING!!!!!

You simply must book-mark this post, because our host Amy's Amazing Article is AWESOME!
So get yourself some paint and let's get started!!!!!

photo of: Organizing Art materials, organized craft materials
RAINBOW: What's not to LUV about BRAND NEW PAINT SUPPLIES!!!!! ORGANIZED!!! Paints that are Organized!!!!

photo of: easel painting by young children
Preschool Painting at the easel: BOLD strokes!!!! Awesome color!!!!
The old elementary school Art teacher in me gets so excited to see the displays of children's Artwork on my 'music-lady' visits to schools + centers,  back and forth across the country side. I LUV to see the BOLD strokes captured forever in the completed paintings!!! LUV these mono-chromatic easel paintings!

photo of: preschool art as pointilism, art for children in the style of the Masters
Preschool Paintings in study of Pointillism Technique
 WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA FROM LOUISIANA!!!!! They are in the midst of all things letter "P" right now -- which would certainly include Painting with a capitol letter P, but how about Pointillism? Would you have thought of that lesson -- within the lesson? I got to see these completed paintings above, hot off the excited paint dabbers during my visit last week!

Toddler painting done at the easel!!!!

photo of: painting with car wheels, preschool painting with cars
Toddler paintings using a race car + the color blue!!!

Toddlers (or da big kiddos) never tire of running a car through paint!!!
Talk about cause and effect!!! And they LUV to see the tread marks in the wake!

Head Start children paint over their names with delight!
These children in a New York Head Start program were given a paper to paint, that was already adorned with their name in big letters -- which receed happily into the background in the midst of the happy painting process. All that time to see the letters in your name! AWESOME!!!! Subliminal message: tee hee!

The children in Thibodaux, Louisiana were 'exploring the concept of snow' in the humid 80 degree January morning of their 'winter' through their paintings of mixed media captured below.

bulletin board for toddler art, snowflake sensory paintings for toddlers, toddler art for winter, toddler projects for art

It was so much fun to be on my typical "Pinterest Prowl" (that's where I arrive early for my school visits to document what I find of interest in the building) and what do I see layed out on the PreSchool floor? A great big drop cloth and inviting spaces for painting -- for when the children FIRST WALK IN THE DOOR!!!!

What a GREAT way to start the day!!!!!! I'm here at school + I'm ready to PAINT!!!!

Ya wanna know what I ADORE about these projects?
Birthday cakes made out of rolled marbles through paint?
What's not to LUV -- right?

photo of: action art, painting with marbles at preschool, art project for young children,

What I LUV is that teachers, Miss Danielle + Miss Sharronda have made their own fun!!!

Don't you just LUV combining the PROCESS within a FUN PRODUCT????
Are you eager to start planning for spring? UMBRELLAS!!

[I'll be working and working and working on this post, so come back later once its finished!!!]

+++++This post is being created for the VERY FIRST LINKIE PARTY EVER over at PreK+K Sharing!!!!!!!!!! Amy has written an amazing article of ideas for using paint with children and we are so eager to have others link up their ideas to this L-O-N-G running initiative on PAINT!!!!!! Just click on our button below -- to be transported over to the store-house of all sorts of incredible and inspiring ideas on: ALL THINGS PAINTING!!!! Come get inspired and leave your links to inspiring ideas as well!

PreK + K Sharing

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Paper Plates + Zoo Animals

How about these creations for your ZOOOO Unit?
How many take a field trip to the zoo at the end of the year?
photo of: giraffe crafts, paper plate craft for zoo animals, preschool jungle crafts, easy crafts for zoo theme
Preschool Giraffe Zoo Craft: painted paper plates, spots + goggle eyes
Get thee to the dollar store and purchase several stacks of paper plates with a lip..... maybe you can even find some shallow paper bowls for a similar concept. The wigglie eyes are always a favorite detail in these types of projects -- so pick up a couple packs of those, too, while you're out! 

These spotted creatures would be the PERFECT project to combine with my picture book, "Tall Giraffe." Click over here to see those details on my website: Rainbows Within Reach. Do you remember my promo code....... for ordering any time in the future? I try to remind you from time-to-time. My promo code is the word, GREAT, as in 'Grass Roots Efforts Are Terrific!' You save 10% upon check out at my web, so remember those 5 letters!

Here's a peak at a few of those interior pages. There's also a CD insert of the song included!

photo of: Tall Giraffe by Debbie Clement
"Tall Giraffe" picture book to song by that same name, by Debbie Clement. Photos by niece Kelly + friends trip to Africa.

While you're thinking about zoo animals, remember enough plates for the zebras!!

photo of: zebra craft project for children, zoo art project on paper plate, jungle theme crafts
Preschool Craft Zebra-Zoo Projects: cutting zebra stripes

Did you have a chance to see the various "LION" images from my visit to the VPK site in FL recently? You can just scroll down a couple of days or feel free to click right here. The images and the projects are awesome, but the story is what will captivate your heart. You owe it to yourself to read the transformation of one child by love.

-- Debbie 
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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Best Practice in Preschool

photo of: Visual schedule for preschool, Preschool day schedule with photographs
Visual Schedule for PreSchool Activities

"I'm glad I'm at school today!"

Arriving on location to a 'new-for-me' school I'm so excited to have the time to go from room to room to see how things are organized, see how the day unfolds, see the projects that have recently been completed.

This is a visual schedule for one room here in Florida at VPK. Love the description, the little clock, the time frame and the photograph -- all 'clues' into how the day unfolds, what comes next, running a smooth day and building consistency and trust in the process...... all supports to children's sense of anticipation, what-comes-next and ease with transitions + the children's planning. KUDOS!!
Click back here to see a visual schedule for younger children, from my recent NY visit.

photo of: Fine motor at the chalk board, fine motor development, fine motor in Preschool
Traditional black-board: opportunity for fine-motor fun in preschool!!!

As I'm buzzing about the program taking a look at as much as I can, the children are already arriving and having fun creating some original work on their traditional blackboard. Letters being written and little creatures taking shape. ALL at the same time!!!! LUV me some opportunities for cooperation! Plenty of chalk and a big enough blackboard: TA-DA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have opportunities to CHOOSE fine motor fun -- available in a heartbeat, strengthening all of the muscles in the process.

-- Debbie --

Friday, January 27, 2012

The LION Lady? A Miraculous Roar!!!!

photo of: Zoo projects for preschool, Lion art project on paper plate, jungle animal art project for children
Preschool LION craft, built on paper-plate with construction paper manes: curly + straight styles.
I will remember forever the telephone conversation that started off,        
                          "Are you the LION Lady?"

It was in the last century. Truly. I was on a land-line, old school phone, the kind that attached permanently to the wall, remember those? It is a story that will forever warm my heart. It's a story that literally ended up on Oprah's Medical Miracles, while she was still on the air. Those of you who have 'seen' me in person at a conference have quite possibly heard me tell the story.........

photo of: Zoo art project on paper plate for preschool, craft project for zoo theme
Curly lion's mane craft. Gotta LUV those whiskers!
Once upon a time at  the birth of a little baby-boy there were many emotions. Upon his birth he scored such a low Apgar score that his parents were counselled by the hospital staff not to hold him, but instead to place him immediately, forever and permanently into an institution. They were told he would never __________ (fill in the blank.) He would never sit up. He would never speak. He would never walk. In their informed opinions: He would never. Never ever. Never.

photo of: handprint zoo animal craft project, paper plate crafts for zoo theme, preschool art project
Handprint lions with paper-plate heads, embellished with scissor-cut manes + pompom noses
But the parents knew that option of institutionalisation was not for them and they hugged him tight and took him home to love him. Sure enough, he didn't hold his head up. He didn't sit up. Milestone by milestone he didn't. For years, he didn't. It seemed that the experts had been correct. The milestones came and went and he "didn't" -- the distance between his peers was dramatic.

Then one day the heroic daddy in the story was able to run in the Boston Marathon -- as a testament to what can be accomplished. He was interviewed on a good morning Boston TV show. A super-duper specialist got ahold of the family to say, "I have new insight. I have an idea and I believe that I can help, based on your eloquent description of your son in your interview. I think there is reason for hope."
And the miracle of transformation began.


Happy-lion Handprint with written label

The mommy on the phone had called to ask me if I ever 'do' birthday parties. My initial response was "No, there's not enough time." But I have a hard time saying no -- so I kept rambling, "I only get involved in birthday party fun, for families that have a child with special needs -- as there are fewer appropriate options for them."

So the mommy excused me from participating, but asked if I had time to hear her story. She told me of their family's journey. She told me about her son. She went on to say the words I will remember forever:

"Lion Lady, I just got a note from my son's speech therapist at school and it says that the 'ROAR' at the end of your Lion Song is our son's first spoken word.... HIS FIRST, SPOKEN WORD!"

Without pausing for a second: my response?
"So when's the birthday party?"
Paper plate lions with magic marker 'coloring' complete with the ever-popular google eyes and marker smiles!
You just never know when you're shopping at a re-sale or thrift store, when you're going to pick up a something oh so amazing, a something oh so spectacular: a little miracle-for-a-dollar!!!!
I found my infamous lion's mane at a Bexley resale, consignment shop -- hanging right there on the Halloween costume rack, right there on East Broad Street.

Yes, it's actually a dance tutu made of multi-colored netting!!!
[I always tell the teachers that any tutu meant for around a child's middle will fit nicely around your face.... and that observation always gets a chuckle.]

Infamous thrift shop tutu: lion\
Debbie Clement, the "Lion Lady" with thrift store tutu-mane for $1.00 miracle.

I bought my mane and went on to I compose one of my favorite and simplest ditties, "LION PROWL" based on Dr. Pam Schiller's insight regarding the whole topic of delayed gratification. [Her thoughts on that subject as I remember them, can be the subject here for another day.] I just knew at that moment  as I clutched that tutu to my heart, that every child that ever saw me in my 'tutu-mane' would want to roar -- just as soon as they saw me. So I designed the song so the children would have to 'wait' to roar. Three full verses of waiting!!! DELAYED GRATIFICATION, indeed!!!!

Little did I ever, in my wildest imagination suppose, that my dollar investment would motivate an amazing 'mini-miracle' of its own. That my dittie would be the motivation of a nearing-his-sixth-birthday child to want to

......... listen for that roar...........................

But roar he did!
I made it to their home in Westerville Ohio, just a mere ride around the outer belt of 270 to arrive at their family room transformed into the most jungle-i-est of jungles you can possibly imagine.

Everything about his sixth birthday was on a lion theme. All five of the party-goers (friends from his class of buddies with special needs) were decked out in lion gear costumes while garlands of vines hung round the room filled to over-flowing with 'therapy' tools tucked neatly into corners for the party festivities.

The special activity of the afternoon was for each child to spread icing on a personal over-sized, gigantic cupcake and then sprinkle coconut 'manes' round the lion's face they would create with Peanut M+Ms.

I get goose-bumps just typing out the story. You can imagine my delight walking into a school last week to find all of these lion projects. Every one unique. Every one smiling at me as though to ask, "Are you the Lion Lady?"
We 'sang' together that afternoon long ago, "listen for that roar:________________."

He defied every initial professional prediction.
They proved wrong every one of those initial specialists.
The window of opportunity slipped open a crack and he

Lion loved doubly, filled with grace!
Never say 'never' to a family filled with love.
When there's plenty of love and plenty of grace?
That makes room for a miracle.

****Always believe that there is a rainbow within reach!!!!!

--Debbie --

The parents are the heros in this story, along with their support team of many specialists. 

Now you know why I have such an amazing collection of lions as a Pinterest board.

For another heroic story of parenting a child-turning-adult with special needs, click back here to meet Eric. I am the 'conduit' in that story because of having made a House Ten illustration for my picture book, "Red, White and Blue"..... which was inspired by the events and aftermath of September 11th. 

Eric is fascinated by all things fire-station: fire truck, fire-bells, fire house, firemen, fire hoses, fire sirens. He is the official mascot for 'House 10' in Orlando. We met last year. 

This post has been linked to other blog hops and linkies at RedTed Art Blog, Nurture Academy. Sunday Showcase  + Family Frolics. This has also been added to the permanent linkie party over at The Mommies Made me Do It! for all sorts of birthday party ideas! Now with other Fun Lessons at MamaSmiles and JDaniel4's too -- with special permission. Now added to TBA's International Blog Hop: Teaching with Courage!  (I couldn't get their awesome button to work, just follow the link.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Letter Recognition + Fine Motor

photo of: Bulletin board of Names and letter recognition, M is for Mosaic, Art projects for name recognition
"M is for Mosaic" Preschoool Art Project: 'tiles' of color glued to names
We are back in the car, on the road, traveling "home" ........which in my vagabond life is more of a concept than a destination. (Is that kinda profound? Or maybe I'm just getting a tad slap-happy and can't tell the difference between philosophical and silly.) 'Home is when I'm with my honey.'  We are so fortunate that we have made the opportunity to support one another in our endeavors. We are still in the first half of our 7 week road-life, vagabond. Send no snail mail. LOL.

The conference in Baton Rouge was A-MAZ-ING!!!!!! Despite a technological challenge in each of my presentations -- I had a blast!!!!!! Reading through my evaluations -- so did those in attendance. Happy participants can apparently forgive a CD that skips in one presentation and a laptop that 'stops' in another...... as long as there is lots of engagement. Ah, technology. Special thanks to my tech-angels who came to my rescue -- in the nick of time. Many thanks to Pat in real life who had a magic wand, and Pat in heaven who orchestrates nonsense just to see if I'm paying attention. Life is seldom perfect, keep smiling and carry on!

photo of: Preschool name projects, letters in preschool, art project for names in preschool

These are collages I've assembled from my recent "music-lady, author/illustrator" school visit last week. These are from my second VPK in Florida -- which is "Voluntary" Pre-Kindergarten. Little ones. Little wonders.

I LUV the name MOSAIC pictured up top.
M is for MOSAIC!!! 
Isn't that a brilliant idea? They were big, bigger, and biggest -- depending on the name of the child and that would have been a lesson within the lesson. Glued bits of precut paper squares to letters from construction paper on paper roll lengths. Got it?

They were glorious decorating the room!!!!!!!!

Now, I have to plan to arrive early enough, that before I set up the space for our concert time together, I allow for enough time to go dashing through a building to snap up as many pictures as I possibly can to share here and on through Pinterest. I am so glad to give you an opportunity to look over my shoulder on these amazing visits!

photo of: Letter recognition, letters and sensory presentation, M is for Macaroni
Letter M traced with Macaroni pasta for sensory integration + letter recognition!!

And I don't believe I've seen letter "M" as a study of macaroni previously? Not even on Pinterest?? This may not be the very first place on earth to trace M in appropriate pasta, but the first for me to see it..... and truth be told? It made me giggle. ENJOY!!!

The Letter M studies remind me of the recent Letter Q's I saw at my first VPK visit -- before the holidays. Click here to go see those in all of their glory and to see how I used the word 'quixotic' in a post. You know I work at these little snippets, right? LUV the sensory exploration for these children as they get acquainted with letters.

*******As to other bits of trivia that entertain me on L-O-N-G road trips? I have indeed surpassed the 100,000 page view threshold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Party in the clubhouse!!!! Shaking PomPoms!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah Teaching Blog Traffic School!!!!!!!!!!!! At some point I need to go back and see how many page views I had in the first 3 years versus the most recent 6 months. You would be astounded -- I know I am!

Edible Snowman Science at PreK+K
 Today over at PreK+K Sharing, Laura has such a clever round-up of all things snowman. It's worth clicking over -- just to see her oh-so-cute, melting snowman, edible science experiment!!! Such fun!!!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snowmen Writing

photo of: snowman art project, snowman writing in kindergarten
Snowman writing project for book, "Snowmen at Night"

Right this minute I'm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana!! 
Returning to their state Department of Education Early Childhood PreK +K Conference. Last year I was the keynote and the response was so positive -- they've invited me back! This is my third year in a row to be here -- so I've got friends!!! People who know me! People who have been using my work!!!! It's so awesome to have a fanclub and be greeted with hugs and stories. I'm able to blog thru Allen's router on his phone. Technology is so awesome -- when it works. 

My workshops are this afternoon, so there's a quiet moment currently. Enjoy these awesome writings from Gator Run Elementary. Isn't it fun to read these writings?

Did you get to see my earlier post on "Snowmen at Night"? There are some clever snowmen paintings from wee ones. Just click right here to go back to those ideas.

photo of: snowman bulletin board, winter bulletin board, kindergarten winter bulletin board
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Mittens + More Mittens


photo of: Winter bulletin board, Preschool winter bulletin board, Mittens in childr 


Mitten Art project: Construction paper, squares of colored tissue paper, cotton cuff


Winter-time Bulletin Board of Colorful Mittens
 From the hallways of Gator Run Elementary.
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Art Appreciation + Application

photo of: Mondrian in children's art, children's art from Master Artists, primary colors in Art
Do you love this work? I DO!!!!

The ol' Art teacher in me just smiles so widely at seeing this sort of work in the hallways!
Can you name the artist for whom this work reflects their style?  

Back a few decades ago when I was the elementary art teacher for a brand new building K through 6th grade, these pieces could have been displayed outside of my room. Have you thought of the name?

First name: Piet.
Dutch painter.
Non-representational, later termed: Neo-Plasticism.
Remember your Art History class?

Need a first letter?
Collage of four different student's Mondriaan creations......... AWESOME!!!!!
of course!!!

Younger children could use this conceptual approach for a study in primary colors.
Or how about geometry?


****Here's the direct Wikipedia link if you're looking for examples and specifics.

++++Here are some direct links from Pinterest.
First Mondriaan. 
++++Secondly below are some amazing projects from Small Shop. 

Source: google.com via Ginger on Pinterest

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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