• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Friday, October 2, 2009

first day exploration

A new school year has finally started for me, and I've completed my first round of Art lessons (at three different schools) for Kindergarten, First, and Second graders. To start the year, I decided to do rotations at which students could just explore different common media and art tools. The lesson part varied, obviously, according to grade level, with very explicit directions about scissors and glue sticks for the Kindergartners, simple reminders for the same tools for first graders, and a demonstration on how to use watercolors for second graders. I also used read alouds for all three grade levels, to spark discussion about certain elements of design and ways of thinking.

Kindergarten students did two rotations using one sheet of 12x18 drawing paper:

-- construction paper cutting and gluing
-- stencil shape tracing with crayons

I started by reading The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. We talked about the concepts of same and different, and I asked them to make sure that their art work was not the same as anyone else at their table. We gathered into a circle to practice holding scissors and opening and closing glue sticks, then they then chose a table to start at. Students had about ten minutes at the first table, then they took their papers to the other table to add to their art work.

First grade students had three rotations using one sheet of 9x12 construction paper:

-- crayon drawing
-- construction paper collage
-- eyedropper painting

I started this group by reading The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. After the story, I demonstrated how to create large and small dots by using circular strokes. I showed them how to use the eyedropper to make small dots of paint and how to blow on the paint drips to make interesting shapes and lines. I also reviewed the use of construction paper scraps, asking them to cut new shapes rather than just use whatever they found in the basket. I asked them to make at least some dots at each rotation. Students had about seven minutes at each table.

Second grade students had four rotations using two sheets of 9x12 construction paper:

-- crayon drawing
-- construction paper collage
-- stencil tracing with colored pencils
-- watercolor painting

I started by reading Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds, and we talked about how it isn't important to draw things perfectly, and that we should think -ishly. After a quick reminder of how to use small dots of white glue and how to distinguish between "trash" and "usable scraps" they chose a table at which to start. Each rotation only lasted about five minutes and students got a second sheet of paper after the first two rotations, so each art work was composed of two different media/techniques. Depending on where they started, their papers had watercolor plus collage, collage plus stencils, stencils plus coloring, or crayon plus watercolor.

With all three grade levels, I purposely gave no suggestions about content; instead, I focused on proper and careful use of the tools. At the end of each lesson I gave students a little time to walk around and look at everyone else's creations, emphasizing that the number one big rule in art class is to not touch anyone else's work without their permission.

And of course, several pieces went immediately up on the wall for display. Since I have almost 200 students at each school, I can't display everything, so I explain to the students that I just choose a few from each class that are different from each other, to remind us about the lesson.

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