Wednesday, September 11, 2019

PreK Lilacs

One time I read an article that was about how to teach a child to draw. Rather than follow step by step directions which teach one way to draw one thing, you spend some time activating their thinking by talking about what you notice in the thing you are observing. It was an awesome article and I hope I can find it again someday. That is the process we used for these PreK lilac watercolor paintings. The students and I talked about what we noticed in the lilacs and then they painted, first the stem, then the flowers. For simplicity's sake since we were nearing the end of the school year and had one day to finish the paintings, I gave each student just a purple and a green prang watercolor well instead of a whole set of paints.

We use ice cream buckets or coffee containers for cleaning brushes when painting. They are much less likely to spill than smaller cups and they are big enough that I can pretty much get by with putting one in the center of each table for students to share.
Here are the finished paintings from my PreK artists!

Monday, September 2, 2019

PreK Process Art

I think that the art process is more important than the product especially in early childhood. I usually see my PreK students for 40 minutes once a week and since 40 minutes can be a long time for 3-5 year olds, I've started reading a lot more books to them. I wanted the book to connect to what we'd be doing while still having open ended lessons. Here is an example of how we worked on some process art over 3 weeks last spring.
Day 1: We read Mouse Paint and after talking about what happens when you mix colors, each student was given the primary colors and a 12x18 inch piece of construction paper. The students explored mixing colors and painted whatever they liked.
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Day 2: We read the book Mouse Shapes and talked about how you can put simple shapes together to make a picture. I spread out pieces of paper on the tables (my room is set up for middle and high school students and has tall stools so it's not easy for little ones to get their own supplies) and the students cut and glued papers on top of their paintings.
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Day 3: The students wanted to keep working on their artwork. Someone asked about adding crayons and since there was no reason not to, I added some crayon tubs in the mix. The students worked on their projects until they were satisfied.
Every art work was different, the students all practiced skills and learned how art supplies work, but the end result was up to the student.
I'm working on growing my collection of books that tie in to PreK art concepts. What are your favorite books for PreK?

Friday, August 30, 2019

2nd Grade Dots- Throwback!

I happened to notice that I had a bunch of draft blog posts and some of them date back quite a few years. This post has pictures from Dot Day in 2013! Each grade at my K-3rd school created a dot with a different starting point as it was close to the beginning of the year. 2nd graders used oil pastels and tempera cakes to create dot artwork and then some decided to add yarn and other materials when that was dry. International Dot Day is coming up on September 15th so this was a good reminder of how much fun we used to have with it! I think we'll have to participate again this year.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

First Day of School Collaborative Artwork

Here is the large mural displayed above some lockers.
I teach in a really small school where everyone pretty much already knows everyone so instead of a getting to know you activity, I like to start the year with some type of collaborative project. This helps us get some artwork up in the blank hallways quickly, gives the students a chance to interact and helps establish a positive classroom culture. Do you have lots of students switching classes in the first couple days of school? This helps with that issue as well. There were no abandoned projects because of students changing classes.
Here's my room before I moved tables to hold the in-progress murals.
Our StuCo picked "Nobody rides this ship. We all row. We're all in." for a theme for the year so I drew the biggest “mural” out ahead of time based on that saying and had it stretched across 3 tables in the art room. Each class painted and we finished it before the end of the day. The students planned the colors and added more details as they worked. When it became clear that it would be finished before my last class came in, I grabbed some more butcher paper and sketched out another table sized mural. We ended up making a couple more that the students designed and I sketched out under their direction to make it quicker. Next year I may have the students work in groups to completely design and create murals I just did not expect them to finish so quickly this year so I adapted!
We used tempera sticks to sketch and outline details as well as add highlights on top of tempera paint. We’ve gotten so many positive comments on the paintings and I was even asked to send a picture for the district newsletter. This may become our first day of school tradition!