Monday, August 31, 2015

Letter Value Studies

I'm always looking for that perfect "First Project of the Year" project. The one that's not too stressful or complicated, but sets the tone for learning and thinking creatively. Oh, and it has to be fun for the students, too! Fifth grade was a struggle for me, but I think this project, inspired by a lesson from ArtEdla,  fits the bill. We started by creating a grid on our paper with a little bit of math (STEAM anyone??). Then we added the letters of our names, starting in the first box, and adding letters to each box until we came to the end. Then we started over at the first box, adding letters until there were two overlapping letters in each box. The students then had to color in each box using crayons, pushing to create different values of each color. They turned out pretty neat, and it was a good way to start the year with a successful project!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thinking "Ish"ly in Kindergarten

Ah, kindergarten. There is nothing in teaching quite like having a group of kindergarteners for the first time. Everything is brand new. And exciting. And different. And there's so much to remember! We spend the first classes in the art room learning how to be artists. We learn how to use the room furniture, how the paper should look, the right way to use the supplies... the list goes on. Everything is new! One of my favorite first lessons is based on the book "Ish" by Peter H. Reynolds. You may have heard of his other book, "The Dot." That one is good. But this one is my favorite! The little boy in the story worries that his drawings don't look quite right, but then he discovers that they look "ish." We made creatures that didn't have to look perfect as long as they were "creature-ish" and gave them silly creature things like eyes and tongues and feet. There are so many different ability levels in kindergarten, and it's fun to be silly and use our imagination while I am learning about where the kids' abilities are. I love how different all our "ishes" turn out!