Thursday, March 27, 2014

More Imaginative Play? YES please!

Remember when Kindergarten was Kindergarten?  Not that I want this post to turn into, "Back in the days...., but it used to be about learning AND learning how to get along with others, keep our hands to ourselves, share, take turns, and PLAY?
My heart goes out to our classroom teachers and the enourmous pressures to keep up and keep upping the test scores. However I am so sad to see groups and grade levels arriving at school or progressing through the lower elementary MISSING so many of these attributes. What gives? IMAGINATIVE PLAY! Seen by many as "play" time. You could insert in the quotes what some may think of as wasted time but I need to rally the wagons! Our students NEED time to use, create and explore their imagination.  The other day I had a particularly challenging group move from center to center investigating modeling clay, paper and simple shape stickers, blank paper and paint, blocks LOTS of blocks. It was beautiful to hear and see.
Notice how they are all engaged, except one who saw my camera!
New modeling clay from Blick and tools






Some students build UP, 

Some build flat on the table

Friday, March 21, 2014

Color Theory and so much MORE…






This is a great lesson for so many reasons. 

The students start by folding a paper in half, then again and again. I use vocabulary such as landscape and portrait. I know some use hotdog, hamburger, soldier, etc., but I figure if they can remember those names they can use these terms that they will need in the computer lab. Yes, folding is tough for lower and some Upper El students. 

The students then paint over the creases creating boxes. I asked first graders to fill each box with a geometric shape or flower. Second graders focused on creating oval shapes. For the second day students fill their shapes with one of 8 colors.  The key is that they can only use a color ONE time. What to do after they have used 8 colors and still have shapes to fill?  MIX! Students are so empowered by this process. You would think they have discovered a new planet.  After the colors are dried we add pattern and other things to the artwork and I will show that in a later post.  Happy Weekend!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tree Stamp Printing





I projected a painting by Grandma Moses on the white board so students who finished could use the dry erase markers to find lines and shapes in the trees. 

First and second grade students learned about the different limbs of decidious and evergreen trees. We have had a crazy amount of snow this year in Michigan. Record amount of snow days and low temps so as much as I was ready to say good bye to the snow I thought I'd embrace our visual environment. Students used cardboard edges to dip in green or brown paint. The next week the students added snow as it piles up on the ground and branches. This week they cut out red cardinals of their own design to add to the landscape. Promise to post those by next weekend.
Here's looking forward to Spring!