Tuesday, June 30, 2009


My wishlist of places I would like to visit if my road trip gets extended to 3 weeks (which is possible, as Steve and I work to negotiate the summer schedule).

If I don't get the girls back until 9 am on July 25th, I have the ability to do some sightseeing in the Southwest before I head back East. I spent the summer, fall, and part of the winter in New Mexico when I had first graduated from college, but I never visited Utah or Arizona, two places I'd love to see. Time to do some research!

This is a nifty little map, just click on the state or type in the zip code to find National Parks nearby.

National Park Service Guide - Colorado

Dinosaur National Monument
4545 Highway 40
Dinosaur, CO 81610
(970) 374-3000

distance from Boulder CO - 294.44 miles (5 hours 15 minutes)

National Park Service Guide - Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park
Grand Loop Rd
Yellowstn Ntl Pk, WY 82190

distance from Dinosaur CO - 553.89 miles (9 hours)

National Park Service Guide - Utah

Antelope Island State Park (Great Salt Lake)
4528 W 1700 S
Syracuse, UT 84075
(801) 773-2941

distance from Yellowstone National Park WY - 329.37 miles (5 hours 20 minutes)

distance from Dinosaur CO - 238.77 miles (4 hours 7 minutes)
*** if I skip visiting Yellowstone ***

Arches National Park
Moab, UT

distance from Antelope Island State Park - 264.82 miles (4 hours 22 minutes)

Natural Bridges National Monument
Lake Powell, UT

distance from Moab UT - 144.29 miles (2 hours 51 minutes)

Bryce Canyon National Park
Highway 63
Bryce Canyon, UT 84764

distance from Lake Powell UT - 270.46 miles (5 hours 31 minutes)

Zion National Park
Highway 9
Springdale, UT 84767

distance from Bryce Canyon UT - 85.02 miles (1 hour 45 minutes)

National Park Service Guide - Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park
Highway 64 N
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

distance from Springdale UT - 252.67 miles (4 hours 30 minutes)

Petrified Forest National Park & The Painted Desert
Winslow AZ

distance from Grand Canyon AZ - 144.97 miles (2 hours 24 minutes)

Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Chinle AZ

distance from Winslow AZ - 157.02 miles (2 hours 34 minutes)

Hey, it's a Wishlist, what can I say! Arches National Park and the Grand Canyon are the two I'm really passionate about. Yellowstone may be too far off the beaten path for this trip.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Summer Camp plans for the field trip to Annmarie Garden:
(this is the second of 2 weeks; the first week is Portraits)


Wednesday – introduce topic

This week we are continuing the art topic, leading up to the field trip to Annmarie Garden on Friday. Begin today by making homemade playdough. I recommend that you double the recipe to ensure that you have enough for each child. An adult will need to cook the playdough in the downstairs kitchen or at home and then bring it upstairs once it has cooled slightly for the students to add the coloring and glitter. The color mixes best while the playdough is still warm. (As an aside, grape Kool-Aid powder does NOT make purple, it makes black.)

After making the play dough, allow the children some time for free exploration with it. Then let them know that you will be talking about sculpture today. Ask the children make a cube shape with their playdough. This is sculpture. Then ask the children to make a ball with their playdough. This is kinetic sculpture (it moves). There is a wonderful example of kinetic sculpture at Annmarie Garden called Three Red Lines.

Read Norman the Doormanby Don Freeman to inspire students! Art is any creative process which expresses a feeling or idea. Today we will make kinetic sculptures to express the feeling JOY. Read a poem or two about the joy of summer from Summersaultsby Douglas Florian. Then follow that with the “Standing Mobile” activity from Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters (Bright Ideas for Learning)by MaryAnn Kohl. Students should focus on expressing the feeling of JOY with their sculptures. (Use Styrofoam balls cut in half as the base of the sculptures).

Finally, read Sandy's Circus: A Story About Alexander Calderby Tanya Lee Stone, about an artist who specialized in this art form.

Thursday – explore topic

Again, we are talking about the connection between feelings and art. Start today by playing charades. Ask one student to get up and SILENTLY act out an emotion and have the other students shout out guesses to try to identify the feeling. The first child who is correct gets to be the next “on stage.” An alternative way to play this game is for the child to tell the camp counselor (by whispering in his/her ear) the feeling he or she plans to act out, then get up in front of the group to do it. As the other children begin to guess the feeling, they come up and quietly whisper their guess in the camp counselor’s ear. If correct, they are allowed to join the first student “on stage.” Once three people are on stage acting out the feeling, the other children can call out their guesses. This is particularly interesting because different people can express the same feeling in different ways and this is one of the things that makes artists different from one another.

Next, read the story Where the Wild Things Areby Maurice Sendak. What feelings did the little boy have and how did he express them? What imaginative tools did he use to help him work through his feelings? Do the “Stocking Mask” activity from page 98 of Making Make-Believe: Fun Props, Costumes, and Creative Play Ideasby MaryAnn Kohl.

If there is extra time, have the students try to guess what feeling each other’s masks are meant to convey. Let them act out stories using their masks and borrowing each other’s masks as they change their feelings. For example, ask a child to pretend he has been caught in a rainstorm while wearing a “cheerful” mask, then have him borrow another friend’s mask and act out the same situation with a mask showing “grumpy”.

Friday – make field trip journals

While waiting for the field trip, introduce the children to tessellations. Let them look through examples of M.C. Escher’s work (in M. C. Escher: The Graphic Work). Then do the activity “Tessellation Design” from Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters (Bright Ideas for Learning)to decorate the cover of this week’s field trip journals. Have each child write his/her name on the back of the artwork. Fold and hole punch 8 ½ x 11 white paper, punch artwork to match (to be journal cover). Tie ribbons through holes. Have each child write the name of the field trip destination, the date, and his/her age on Page 1 of the journal. Have each child write a prediction of what he/she expects to see and do on the field trip on Page 2. Take the journals and a pencil for each child so that he/she can take notes on the field trip.

Materials List

Cream of tartar
Cooking oil
Unsweetened powdered drink mix in various flavors/colors
Iridescent glitter
Wax paper (to cover work surface)
Plastic baggies (for children to take playdough home in)
Craft wire
Styrofoam balls cut in halves
Bits of paper, foil, stickers
Old clean pantyhose
Wire coat hanger (one for each mask)
Yarn or string
Optional scraps for decorating, such as buttons, craft fur, curled ribbon, fabric scraps, felt scraps, googly craft eyes, needle and thread, paper scraps
Construction paper
Square shape to trace (box lid, block, etc.)
3 hole punch
8 ½ x 11 inch white paper
Ribbon in various colors

Friday, June 26, 2009

Road Trip!

Okay, so I've decided to drive to the conference in Colorado. I just Mapquested it and it is 1759.90 miles from my house to the Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten. At 27 hours, 47 minutes, we are looking at a pretty easy drive. My drive to New Mexico was worse. I leave on July 4th -- the workshop is from the 8th to the 12th -- and arrive back at home on the 17th. That's four days to drive out, five days at the workshop, and five days to drive back. I'd like to take some scenic detours on the route home. I am taking my laptop so I can update my blog with chirpy notes from Suzanne's course. And my workshop attendees at Nicole's conference in August will also be hearing a lot about what I have learned. I am presenting on Grades 1 & 2 so the storytelling should be very appropriate! I also hope to share a lot about puppet-making. In my experience, homeschoolers have done the research so they know WHAT to teach, it's the HOW. They want someone to demonstrate, to show them the hands-on part that they can't get in books. And that's my job at the conference.

By the way, I just got the court order today approving the restoration of my maiden name. Hooray! I am now Rhoda Switzer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Summer Camp plans for the field trip to Annmarie Garden:
(this is the first of 2 weeks; the second week is Sculpture)


Wednesday – introduce topic

Use the book Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni to review color mixing. Refer to the color wheel and show how two primary colors combine to make a secondary color.

Activity 1: Make homemade sidewalk chalk. Allow the children to make their chalk a primary color or add different powdered tempera paints and shake vigorously. They will not see how the colors have combined until tomorrow when they break open the eggs.

Further explore color mixing within the primary (yellow, red, blue) and secondary colors (orange, green, purple) by making ice cubes with a few drops of watercolor paints added. Once the ice cubes have frozen, you can combine several in a cup – write on the outside how many of each color you are putting in the cup – and watch them melt and combine to see the resulting color. For example, what color does 1 red + 1 orange + 1 green make?

Activity 2: Make and freeze colored ice cubes for later exploration (today or tomorrow).

Read Pezzettinoby Leo Lionni. This book explores the question, “Who am I?” Tell the children that they will be painting their own self portraits today. Allow them to look at a selection of books illustrated by famous artists (such as Sharing with Renoir (Mini Masters), Sunday with Seurat (Mini Masters), A Picnic with Monet (Mini Masters), A Magical Day with Matisse (Mini Masters), all from the series by Julie Merberg) to see different painting styles.

Activity 3: Have the children paint their self portraits using any style they wish. Have them first sign the back of the paper with their name and age.

Thursday – explore topic

Begin by reading My Mama Had a Dancing Heartby Libba Moore Gray or The Giving Treeby Shel Silverstein. Today we will be doing self portraits of the inside of ourselves. We all know what you look like on the outside – how would you describe the inside of you: your hopes, feelings, and dreams?

What was the girl’s mother (or the tree) like on the outside? What was she (or he) like on the inside? As you lead the discussion, write the students’ comments on a large piece of chart paper. Make two columns labeled Outside Portrait and Inside Portrait. At the top of the chart, write the name of the character being discussed.

Give students some time to create T charts for themselves. This can be a private exercise – creating art is a very personal experience! If students seem to be struggling, lead another discussion modeling the process (which means that you do it yourself and talk your way through it out loud, as an example, so do a chart for yourself – what are you like on the outside, what are you like on the inside). But tell the students that their self portraits will be better if they have really thought about it first and don’t allow them to come to collect the collage materials until they have a completed T chart to show you.

Have as many kinds of collage materials as possible available to the students. Colored construction paper or plain white paper may be used as the background to their portrait, then encourage them to add torn tissue paper, pictures or words cut out from magazines, bits of ribbon, and other collage materials. Emphasize that they are doing an internal self portrait so the materials don’t need to form a human shape at the end. It can be done in any way that the student feels reflects him or herself. Again, have them first sign the back of their paper with their name and age.

Materials List

Color wheel
Snap-together plastic Easter eggs
Empty egg cartons
Petroleum jelly
Disposable cups
Plastic spoons
Plaster of Paris
Crafts-only measuring cup (¼ cup)
Cold water
Powdered tempera paint
Ice cube trays
Watercolor paints (in squeeze bottles)
Popsicle sticks
Large piece of chart paper
Construction paper OR Plain white paper
Tissue paper, magazines, ribbon, and other collage materials

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cooking Seasonally

One final book recommendation for today. This one caught my eye by virtue of its focus on seasonal cooking (with the bonus being that it's actually about foraging).

The Wild Vegan Cookbook

by "Wildman" Steve Brill

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