Each month in preschool, I use the children’s hand prints to make different pictures. Usually these hand print paintings are related to our monthly theme or an important holiday. For November this year, I went with hand print Mayflowers.
It was pretty simple to do — I painted the kids’ hands brown, then had them press their hands down on light blue construction paper. Once the “ships” were dry, the children added white sails that I had cut out of construction paper. It was fun to see where the sails ended up. One little girl very carefully placed three sails on the tips of her painted fingers. One of my boys took a deconstructionist view and had the sails willy-nilly in the space under the “ship”.
Once all of the hand print Mayflowers were done, I called each child over individually. In addition to a monthly hand print painting, I also like to do a writing sample with each child. It’s a great way to show growth over the course of the year, as well as being a meaningful writing experience for the students.
I asked each child what she wanted to tell me about her ship. From there, I helped her stretch the words and write down the parts she heard. If she knew the word/letter, she wrote it. If not, I wrote it, after a quick explanation. This was basically an individualized version of interactive writing — the story was student-driven, I modeled how to walk through the writing process, spelling and writing conventions were adhered to, etc.