First off, congrats to Nicole S for winning the $10 TpT voucher. Please check your email for your prize!
Today’s Sunday Showcase is actually a suggestion/request from one my Facebook followers, Rosie. She wanted to know if I taught art in my Prep/Foundation classroom, and if I had any lesson suggestions.
I have a confession: last year I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked of our art/craft activities, but I have gone through my photos from the last few years and pulled out a few examples.
Art at my school:
At my school we’re very fortunate to have Art as a specialist subject, so once a week my students have a 50 minute session with one of the art teachers. (This year we happen to have 3 teachers teaching art part time, with one – very awesome teacher! – who is in charge of Foundation art.)
Any art and craft that I do within the classroom is extra and fun because I love art and craft and I think it’s important for students to have extra exposure. Plus, it also encourages fine motor development, as well as consolidating the basic art skills students are learning in art.
Things I tend to focus on: lines/patterns, colour and colour-mixing, using a variety of media, how to use tools like pencils/crayons/markers to get different effects, cutting/scrunching/tearing/punching paper, etc.
Obviously, with our youngest students, we’re not talking Amazing Artwork (although, let’s face it – it is ALL amazing artwork) – but we are talking developing little artists who are confident in producing a piece of work. To that end, a lot of encouragement is really important.
I don’t consider myself an expert, by any means. I just love finding ideas for my classroom that are easy to implement and that can be tied in to a Reading or Maths focus, because let’s face it: finding time in the classroom is hard. The better you can integrated your lessons, the more successful they usually are.
Some of my class art and craft activities:
One craft activity we do regularly in our reading sessions is a ‘sound craft’ (we have a phonological awareness program we follow, so we do have a sound focus each week). I love using Pinterest to find ideas for these letter crafts and then usually use PowerPoint to create some templates for students to cut out and piece together.
This encourages scissor-skill development, and a bit of puzzle piecing, too as they work out where all the pieces.
Using coloured pasta is a great way to create artwork with different mediums. I’ve used it to create the rainbows (below) – which are great for any work on colour or for a sound focus on ‘r’ or anything else you can think of. I’ve also used them for creating patterns in maths, as well as picture frames. They have a unique texture and look about them (including being three-dimensional) and it takes a step back from the usual ‘noodle necklaces’ (which I do love!) to create a different kind of piece. An alternative to dying the pasta would be to either paint or spray paint them.
Using pasta also teachers students to think about how much glue they need – how much is too much and what is not enough.
This particular piece was used for International Dot Day (based on The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds). He has fantastic books for stimulating discussion on art with students, because the characters in his books are all very self-conscious of their art and work through that feeling to develop confidence.
For this task all students were given 6 blank circles to decorate using a variety of lines, patterns and colours that we discussed as a class. This time I chose the medium – crayons – but in the past I have used water colours, regular paints, glitter, markers, etc. Students had to cut out their circles (fine motor), cut them in half (maths) and then trade one half of each circle with a different person in the class to create 6 new and different ‘dots’. We used black backing paper to make the colours pop!
This art piece was done after reading The Lorax with students, and focused on colour, paper tearing and scrunching. Students were given a blue backing page and a selection of coloured paper on their table to share and had to tear a foreground and background colour for their hills. (They did need a bit of help tearing all the way across the page, but they determined which colour was required wear and some did have a good go at tearing their own paper.)
We used popsticks decorated to look like Truffula Trees and students then tore and scrunched tissue paper to create the Truffula Tufts.
I have used similar techniques for art projects (ala the paper tearing) for book responses to Isabella’s Garden and For All Creatures by Glenda Millard, as well as for a maths activity response to Perfect Square by Michael Hall.
Eric Carle is perhaps my favourite author to use as inspiration for artwork because, quite frankly, the ideas are endless. This particular piece was inspired by Mr. Seahorse.
Students painted their own backgrounds using sponge rollers and blue and green paint. They also painted a page using brighter-coloured water coloured paint, which they then used to cut out their seahorse shapes. (There were some seahorse templates, but most chose to attempt their own!) Finally we added cellophane ‘seaweed’ over the top, and students had the choice to glue it flat, or twist it, or scrunch it, etc.
Obviously, you could use similar techniques for ALL of Eric Carle’s books. I also like using this technique to create student-painted papers for ‘Spring’ pictures early in Term 3, too.
Every Remembrance Day I do some form of Poppy craft with my class. I believe it’s very important to teach them about both Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day and why it’s so important to remember those who have gone to war to keep our country safe. These make really wonderful displays.
We have painted coffee filters, torn and scrunched tissue paper and finger-painted poppies over the years.
My final example for today is a piece of artwork we did using newspaper to create a different feel, inspired by the book Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon. (This is a truly beautiful book – definitely have a read if you haven’t!) It was a Shortlisted book a few years ago so we did this for Book Week.
Students were asked to consider their background – light blue on dark blue background, as well as what they might see in the night sky. They used metallic pastels to create the stars and moon. They had to consider the heights of their buildings – what would it look like if they were all the same? What would it look like if you had some tall and some short buildings? They also had to consider the position of the Herman and Rosie figures. Finally they had to add detail to their buildings and you can see how each student did something a little bit different!
Thanks for reading this super long post! I hope you got something useful from it. If you’re interested in seeing more artwork from my classroom, let me know in the comments, and feel free to ask any questions. This year I aim to be a bit more on top of photo-taking with my class!
If there are any other topics you’d like me to address on my blog, please leave them in the comments – I love suggestions. I’m definitely more than happy to take them!
Enjoy your weekend!