Language: One of My Favourite Read Alouds...
Me: “As we walk back to the classroom, I want you to think about 2 words: PIG and PARADE. When we get back, I want you to look inside your brain at the picture those words made and SKETCH it on the paper on your desk, and, go!”
(We discussed the word SKETCH so that they would not be surprised and upset if they are not done after 5 minutes.)
We sat around the perimeter of the carpet with our pictures. I chose students to tell one thing that they put in their sketches and anyone else who also put that item in their picture raised their own up to share. (The option was there if students did not wish to share.) We could easily see the things that were the same or similar and the things that were different. New ideas were also generated and the students were eager to go back to their sketches and add more. I told them to hang on to those ideas because they were going to use them in a little while.
For this group, due to time limits, during reading we simply counted all of the authors reasons as to why he thought a pig parade is a terrible idea. We also briefly discussed his explanations for those reasons.
A __________ parade is a _______________ idea because…..
I told the class that they were to complete the words in the sentence and then either use words, pictures, or both to finish the sentence. In passing, I also suggested that they use interesting words, other than 'good' or 'bad' which provided an enrichment component for some (differentiation on the fly). Knowing this particular bunch of students, I fully expected many pictures, but I also got many more words than I had expected to get. I think it is because it was each student’s personal choice. As the students handed in their masterpieces, I got further elaboration if required, but the pictures did a mighty fine job of depicting what they were meant to - quite the group of artists, I tell you!
Reflection to Guide Change:
I found it interesting to see which kids stuck with 'good' and 'bad' and that many who chose to add words would have struggled had I made it a strictly writing assignment. Often, the very act of drawing can make words flow.... Hmmm....
If I were a classroom teacher....
Art Lesson: Van Gogh and his Flowers
One of the best things about my 10th year of occasional teaching is revisiting lessons. With reflection, they adapt and change and become even better than before. And knowing my students allows me to tailor the lessons for each class and/or grade level.
Being a much more enlightened Teacher and Advocate for the Arts, especially after many Professional Development opportunities attended in that area, I made changes:
Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists: Vincent Van Gogh DVD - 2006
Playful cartoons and great art come together in this animated video about Vincent Van Gogh. Meet Vincent, his brother Theo and fellow artist Paul Gauguin in this remarkable story of Van Gogh's life and art.
The students were well into the animated version of Van Gogh's life, and unfortunately, due to time restraints, I had to cut it short so that we had time to explore the paints, as well as make our art. We discussed Van Gogh's use of colour in regards to how the pictures made us feel and thought about how he felt while he was painting them. I told them that since Dear Classroom Teacher's instructions were painting flowers that was the only rule (aside from filling the page). Some of the kids came up to me and asked if they could do a video game flower... sure!... a monster flower? Sure! Field of flowers, potted flowers, single flowers, whatever!
There was no brown. Tragedy? Not at all.... they had to make their own by collaborating with the students in their groups, so they did, and we had many different shades of brown. If we had more time, I would have given only primary colours, plus white and black, so that the students would have been forced (ha ha HA!) into more problem-solving than they did... and many of the students created their own colours in separate plastic cups. While circulating, I asked them to name their colour creations as an impromptu enrichment activity, or asked them to explain how they came up with their colour. Of course, a few students will always be finished sooner than I'd like, but most were engaged right up until clean up time! Done one picture; make another! All good:) And, while I was not yet in the habit of documenting student work, I do have an updated flower picture for my files!
Clever Teacher Move #5: Preparation for Cleaning Up...
The fun of conducting painting art lessons with no sink in the room is Awesome, but luckily, with preparation, the kids were actually able to be fairly neat. I used Word Work trays to put paint in egg cartons on, plus empty mixing containers, brushes, and even some brush alternatives (anything can be used as a paintbrush!)... We covered the desks with the big paper used earlier in a math lesson and I filled water containers to rinse the brushes out and provided paper towel to wipe excess paint off brushes before dipping in next colour. And, I had to be a meanie and tell them "no painting on hands or finger painting because we have no sink access" and we simply had a short discussion on why I needed to make that rule... they knew; kids are smart when we give them time to think:) Finding drying space was also quite a challenge... I so wish I took that picture.... there were paintings drying on every flat surface in the classroom. It was Art-ly Awesome!
- Clever Teacher Moves,
- If I Were a Classroom Teacher... Next Steps and Questioning, and
- Gratitude Attitude Alert!
- the concept of VGB - a Very Good Book (a very versatile read-aloud that is good across ALL grades; has enjoyment factor + matches curriculum expectations),
- references to a Supply Teacher Bag O' Tricks,
- the importance of Reflection To Guide Change, and
- a Bonus Clever Supply Teacher Move...
IT IS MY SUPER POWER!