I haven’t shared a craft in a while, but I use them about once a week in my class to teach specific targetted skills. This koala craft was no exception. My goal for this lesson was not creativity ( process art is much more appropriate for that) or even specifically learning about koalas ( check out the books below for that). It was about following directions and introducing graphic organizers to my students in a low-risk environment. As I set up this craft, I made a graphic organizer that had four steps for making the craft, then as we created it and my students asked what’s next, I reminded them to look at the organizer, then ask me if they weren’t sure. My goal was to help them learn a few things; First, that information can be shared using images and text. Second, they can use that text to follow a series of instructions. Third, they don’t always need a teacher to tell them what to do, even in a structured activity like this. They have what they need to figure it out. Want to see how we made the koala craft? If you like paper plate crafts, check out this huge list!
Paper Plate Koala Craft
Gather your materials. You will need some grey and black construction paper, black and white paint, a white crayon, glue, cotton balls, scissors, googly eyes, and paper plates. You will also need a plastic cup and paintbrush for each student.
To prep the craft, I used grey paper to make ears and put a little white and black paint in each student’s cup. I also drew ovals on the black paper to make a nose, but the students will have to do the cutting. I had everything the students needed to make the paper plate koala so they could focus on the steps.
Start by mixing the paint and painting the plate.
Next, cut out the nose. I try to include some cutting practice in at least one group lesson a week.
Next, glue the cotton ball on the ears.
Finally, glue the eyes, ears, and nose on.
This is a simple craft but let me tell you, hearing the children beam with pride about “reading” and following the directions on the organizer I made paid off. I wasn’t sure how it would work, but it worked so well. It was also an excellent opportunity for me to see who breezed through the process, who got anxious without me leading it 100%, and who diligently used the graphic organizer to see what was next. An activity like this may not be what your class needs, but it was an excellent fit for mine. It met their growing need for independence and boosted their confidence. Many times I heard, “Ms. Allie, what’s the next step?” to which I would reply, “Look at the directions, and you tell me.” Not once did the student respond incorrectly. ” Yep, that’s exactly it, and you figured it out yourself!” As you can see, the koalas all turned out fantastically!
Books About Australian Animals for PreK
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A is for Australian Animals by Frane Lessac is an in-depth alphabet book all about Australian animals. There is a lot of great info in this book, and it definitely helps teach the idea that there are animals that live and thrive in Australia that are not found elsewhere in the world. As a PreK teacher trying to introduce the concept of specific habitats, this is a handy book.
Over In Australia: Amazing Animals Down Under by Marianne Berkes is an excellent book that introduced my class to animals they have never heard of before. Yes, there are koalas and crocodiles and a few Australian animals I wasn’t very familiar with all wrapped up into a rhyming counting book. As we read it yesterday, my students noticed that some of the animal babies are referred to as Joeys, while others are hatching or chicks. This opened up a student lead discussion about different kinds of animals like marsupials, birds, and reptiles. How awesome is that? This is what group reading time should be like, interactive and exploratory, and a good book helps make that happen.
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