Friday, September 30, 2011

Adventures in Teaching Art

I didn't really expect to be teaching art, it's never been in my plan, but when Neil and I were asked to for my daughter's new school I thought what the heck. I have Kindergarteners through 2nd graders and Neil has 3rd through 6th. I must stress that I have no educational training. Neil started to get his teaching certificate and did some student teaching so he was a little better prepared but I went in this almost completely blind. I only have five students and thought that it would be pretty easy but my daughter is nine now so it's been awhile since I've had to deal with younger children. I had forgotten about how little one's psyches work at this age and the lack of a prolonged attention span. It's really been a learning (and re-learning) experience for me as much as it has for them. So any-hoo, I thought I'd share some of the projects we've done so far! The first three are from my class and the last is Neil's. 

Our second week project was Spider Monkey Mobiles! The kids were learning about rain forests in class this week so I thought I'd tie it in with art class. I got this project from a book called Crafts for Kids Who Are Wild About Rainforests by Kathy Ross. This book had lots of great projects but I love monkeys so I had to do this one! One tip I have for this project if you are doing it with Kindergarteners would be to pre-cut your shapes. This cut down our time making them which was around an hour. I think if they had had to cut them they would have probably lost interest but this way they just had to assemble the pieces and then they could add unique touches like in the pic below the student decided to give her monkeys clothing!

For the third week we did cave art since the kids were learning about the beginnings of ancient history.
We first watched a virtual tour of the Lascaux caves in France (see here). Then we looked at cave and rock art from other cultures such as African, Aboriginal and Native American. Some of the kids got on a volcano kick while others liked to draw animals and symbols that they made up. 

This past week I grabbed our project from a book I have called How to Teach Art to Children. This book is great for teaching young children grades 1-6 about the 7 elements of art - line, shape, color, value, texture, form and space. It's filled with very easy to do projects and also worksheets. The first week of school we had done some line exercises so I thought I'd come back to that this week. The idea was to do line designs, each containing either vertical,  horizontal or diagonal lines but it kind of turned into a free for all and the kids just did whatever they wanted which was ok by me as long as they were engaged and content!

For Neil's first class he had them do aboriginal inspired (endangered) animals. He pre-cut the animal shapes for the students to decorate. He also brought in ground up pigments from rocks and clay he had made for them to use in addition to regular acrylic paint. 

All in all, I think our projects have been successful. Hopefully in the next couple weeks I will get this whole classroom management thing down! If you have any project suggests or teaching tips 
we'd love to hear them! 

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