Kindergarten Collaborative Friendship Fish

Out of all the projects we’ve done this year – this has been my favorite.  I spoke with my Kindergarten classroom teachers and they mentioned that collaboration would be a great thing to work on with the students as we wrap up the year.

So of course, I jump and scream at the opportunity because collaboration is my middle name – don’t we know it.  I immediately thought of Rainbow Fish because they read that story and it’s a simple way to talk about sharing and being good to others even when you don’t want to do something their way.

We sat as a class and read through the book, talking about all the important parts of the story including the shiny scales.  From there, each student was given a paper plate and put their name in the dish.  We talked about how this was our own scale and as a class, we can work together and share by putting all of our scales together to make a class fish.  To start, we used crayons and created circles (to practice this shape) around and around from the center out.

The second day, we used Slick Sticks – if you haven’t tried them with your students, do.  They glide on paper, like oil pastels, only better.  They have lids and twist up and down.  Only downfall is that Crayola hasn’t perfected the packaging yet, so over time they still dry out – but I’m talking a year or two.  I simply walk through the expectations with students (listen for the click, use it like a glue stick, don’t spin it all the way out, etc).  We do the same thing, making circles around from the center which gives students who didn’t finish with crayon time to fill in the rest of the space – students who did just go over the crayon to add bright colors.

Finally we use glitter and pearl mixing mediums (the small bottles you mix in with colored paint to make it glittery or pearled) and painted them directly on top of the scales to make them shimmer.

To construct the fish, well, I’ll be honest – I kind of played it by ear.  After all, I have never done this or seen it done but imagined it needed a base and some sort of framing.  So, behold:

The center tube, or base, is an old wrestling mat tube originally used in last year’s legacy project and cut down to about 3 1/2 feet.  The framing is made of wooden dowels bent to connect and held together with tape.  I may have wasted some tape and staples in this process – but again, I was playing this by ear.

From there I just started laying out scales upside down in lines and taping them together, taping them to the frame and stapling them where needed to keep the form.  Once I had the scales/body put together, I used colored butcher paper to make the face.  I folded it in half, cut the shape, stapled it closed and stuffed it with tissue to make it 3D.  Finally, I added tissue lengths of bright color to the top, back and bottom for the fins and tail.  As I was working, I honestly wasn’t sure where it was going and was discouraged for a short while but it came together beautifully and the Kindergarteners were SO excited to see the finish project.  Never in their lifetime did they expect to see it so large or colorful.

The picture doesn’t do the shimmer justice – it sits in a hallway full of light but it’s currently dark out.  Here are some close ups but really, you’ll need to just stop by, mmmk!?


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