Friday, December 2, 2011
Snowflake Paper Dolls and a Snowman Mosaic
Have you ever looked for shapes in the clouds? What about in snowflakes? That's what Will C. Howell challenges us to do in Zoo Flakes ABC, in which each page contains a photograph of a paper snowflake, with an animal cut into the design.
The text is extremely simple - A is for alligator. B is for bear - and so on, but the animal designs cut into the snowflakes are amazingly intricate. There are instructions at the back of the book, for a complicated to fold, but simple to cut, six-sided design.
I'm not sure exactly what animal it's supposed to be, a rat, an anteater, or an aardvark, maybe? But, whatever it is, the children were thrilled to watch it multiply as we unfolded the paper, revealing the completed "snowflake".
We also tried copying (sort of) one of the designs from the book. Below is our version of "T is for turtle."
Then, it dawned on us, that basically we were just making paper dolls in a circle - which meant really, we could use any design we wanted...
...as long as we left a portion of each side of the folded paper in tact.
Once we got going, we left Howell's complicated (though not difficult) folding instructions behind, and opted for the more familiar, six-sided, coffee filter, snowflake fold, starting with a circle...
...folding it in half...
...and then into thirds...
...before snipping away the bits around our shape, but as I said, leaving some part of the two sides attached.
A (age 10) spent most of the afternoon coloring in our creations...
...except for a few we saved to look more like snowflakes, by adding decorations with a hole punch, before they were unfolded.
We stuck, pretty much, with a six-sided design for our snowflakes, after learning from Jean Marzollo's I Am Snow, a Level 1, Hello Reader Science book, that real snowflakes have six sides. The book is a very easy reader, with just the one simple lesson about snowflakes, and instructions for folding, and cutting six-sided snowflakes from a square piece of tissue paper.
Nancy Poydar also includes instructions for cutting paper snowflakes in her Snip, Snip...Snow!, beginning with a circle, and following steps similar to the traditional method I detailed above, but with one extra fold, for a very pretty eight-sided design.
This book was probably the favorite pick of the three, for the younger girls. It tells the story of little girl (like them) named Sophie, waiting for the snow to fall. It has been very cold - wintry cold (like here), but without any snow (like here, since before Thanksgiving, when all of our snow melted).
To pass the time, with restless students, waiting for snow to arrive, Sophie's teacher allows her students to spend the afternoon cutting paper snowflakes.
My only complaint against the book, is the difficulty involved in reading it aloud, when "Sophie" and "snowflake" are alternated in almost every sentence. It's a tongue twisting task not to read the little girl's name as "Snowphie".
However, I really like that Poydar turns clean-up into playtime in the story, by having the children pretend to "plow up the snow", while sweeping away all of the paper scraps from the floor, and even suggesting recycling the scraps into a snowman mosaic.
My girls had a lot of fun with that, too.
It's great to be a homeschooler.
Linked with What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows Mouse Learns.