Saturday, August 4, 2012

1st Grade Tornado Safety

 This is the 3rd year I've taught a variation of a tornado safety lesson. The first year it was pretty much just a collage. Last year I added more mixed media elements, and while it improved the visual, I still wasn't completely happy. This year I am much more satisfied. The difference this year, is that the students wrote their own safety tips. I was afraid to do this before because I wasn't sure if I would have time to read all of them, and I didn't want the students to write something that would actually be dangerous when we were learning about something that could be a real life and death situation. I emailed all the 1st grade teachers about having the students write tips in the classroom and bringing them to Art class ready to go. Fewer than half remembered to send them (I'll send a reminder on the day of Art class next year) but the classes who forgot were able to write them in Art class without too much trouble.
 Day 1: *Tornado safety info, geometric shape review, give students primary colored tempera paint to paint squares or rectangles for base of house at bottom of paper, students cut triangles from newspaper to form the roof for their houses, glue newspaper to background. (Start with squares of newspaper and show the students how to cut diagonally corner to corner or cut off a corner with one straight line to form their triangle. This saves lots of time and frustration if they actually listen.)
John Steuart Curry, Tornado Over Kansas, 1929, Muskegon Museum of Art
*Edit: I forgot to say that we also discussed John Steuart Curry's painting Tornado Over Kansas. We pointed out how the family is taking cover to stay safe.
Day 2: Students use crayon to color background/sky while supplies are being passed out, demonstrate tearing 1/2 sheet of black construction paper into an organic tornado shape, glue tornado onto paper, use color stick or opaque colored pencil to write safety tips directly onto black paper tornado, add more details with crayon. (The students may be frustrated by not using scissors, but push through! It's good for developing fine motor skills and makes the edges of the tornado soft which is good since they are not solid things.)
This project could be adapted to help review and prepare students for any natural disaster or safety situation. I like to do this in the spring around tornado season when we start having hallway drills at school.
 I decided to make a hallway display with the tornados this year since they were finished a little earlier- last year they were just finished in time to go home before the end of the year. When students finished early, I asked them to think of a word that they associate with tornadoes. They wrote the word on a big torn paper tornado I made out of butcher paper and labeled with "Tornadoes Are..."

Here's the hallway display. I used the big tornado and picked 10 pieces of student work that had different (accurate) tips on them. I cut out my letters and used a 1 inch round punch for the negative space in the letters. I thought it was kind of fun. Then I used the resulting 1 inch circles to make a dotted line under the word "Safety".

1 comment:

  1. Believe it or not I just used this article to figure out how to cut a tornado from paper for a final project in a college class! I had been cutting it out...of course, I should have ripped! I have to say, the kids' projects look better...and more educational...but I'm on my way! Thanks :)