Thursday, April 4, 2013

Yellow + Red = Orange

I wrote this lesson when I was student teaching 13 years ago.  It is still a great one that the Kindergarten students love and almost always feel successful after completing.

Teaching little ones who have no understanding of boundaries is a challenge.  Someone in my art teacher circle recently compared teaching Kindergarteners to herding true.  My kids in the city seem to have even less understanding of boundaries and have a really hard time stopping once they have a material in their hand.  I will tell them 10 times to make only one brown circle in the center of their paper and fill it in with oil pastel, then hold their up in the air and wait for the next step.  If I do not get that oil pastel out of their hand or off their table as soon as they finish I find they have drawn all over their paper(usually beautiful brown preschematic families, floating little circles with sticks coming out of them).  And I fully admit to scolding kids for grabbing the oil pastel from their peers and drawing on their neighbors paper, the table, the stool, the wall, themselves.  I have one little boy who cannot stop gluing everything.  If there is an unattended glue bottle anywhere visable in my classroom he will find it.  He will pick paper out of the trash and put glue on it.  He has glued book pages together on my bookshelf.  I opened a cabinet this morning I and grumbled his name under my breath as I realized the handle was coated in dried glue. (Yes, I have spoken with his parent). 

Back to the point...I demonstrate making a big dot at the center of the 12 x 12 paper for the flower center, then I show the students how to dip their brush into the yellow paint first, then dip just a little of the red on the tip and then pull the brush on the paper from the center dot out to the paper edge, repeating with each flower petal.  They seriously get so excited that the yellow and red make orange.  I never tire of the awe students have when they see the artistic magic happen.

I give each child a 12 x 12 white paper and a brown or black oil pastel and instruct to make the circle.  Then I collect the oil pastels as quickly as I can possibly move.  Because I have no sink in my classroom this year, I use small paper plates for each child instead of my washable and reusable styrofoam trays.   Brushes and plates with red and yellow paint splotches are distributed, then I pretty much just watch the magic and try to keep kids from painting anything but their paper.

I think I will do an entire post on the management and the clean up process when there is no sink, so for now I will just say that the kids (who are trained well enough) place their paintings on my long window sill because I have no drying rack, then we clean up.  Day 2 of this lesson involves cutting stems and leaves without the use of a pencil and gluing it all down without glue oozing everywhere.  I was really happy with the process and product of this lesson and my administration and faculty/staff loved the bright spring color in the hallway during this dreary winter/spring in Chicago.

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