Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Michigan radio commercial announces that the "Greatest Show on Earth" happens every fall. I ask children to identify this show. You don't need a ticket. It happens outside. You can probably see part of the show from your bedroom window. There's no age limit. This show is enjoyed by people of all ages.
Reinforcing the concept of seasons is often found in the autumn months of early childhood classrooms.
Using a drawing program such as KidPix, children can show their understanding of seasons while improving their concentration, dexterity with the mouse and knowledge of drawing tools.
We begin with the line tool to cut the screen into quadrants. Then with the alphabet stamper we put one season name into each quarter. With the "wacky paintbrush" bare branch trees can be added to each section. Finally, using the spray can in the "wacky paintbrush" tools we can add the proper leaves to each section. Lots of colors for the autumn trees. No leaves for winter. Bright green leaves for the new emerging leaves of spring along with some pink for all the flowering trees, and then full green for the summer.
I encourage writing the names of the seasons in a location where children can see them from their computer work stations.
With first graders, each season can be elaborated upon with the background, by adding some seasonal stamps and some common weather.
While this project can be difficult for kindergarten students at the very beginning of the year I often begin the week prior by just making a collection of fall trees all over the screen and spray painting them with the proper fall leaf colors. This helps the students be able to easily create the trees when having to segment them for each season.
After printing in color, I staple each paper to construction paper to emphasize how important our work on the computer has been. Regularly I hear from parents who hang the matted work on the refrigerator and around the house. As this becomes the practice, I see children putting in extra effort in order to have a work of art to proudly take home with them.
Visit [] for examples of this project and many more.
Kathy Cothran is an elementary media specialist committed to helping teachers turn toys into learning tools. Her vast teaching experience ranges from preschool through Master's level education classes.
For years Kathy has been a "Gadget Girl." She loves technology! Tie that to her extensive teaching background and she has been able to interest, invigorate, and inspire children and teachers to use technology in a rich, exciting manner.


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