Thursday, December 24, 2015

Authentic or Real Art

Through a book study of Teaching With Intention  and sitting in a Writing Workshop training discussing asking kids to write in the way that writing IS in in the world (to be read by others not just daily journaling) made me examine the way I use art in kindergarten. I love a cute turkey handprint but what am I really teaching kids about art when I press their cubby little fingers into paint? This year I have been trying to incorporate real artists or mediums into our kindergarten art. I am NOT an artist and I don't remember much from my works of art class in college but I excel at scouring the internet for ideas. At the beginning of December it was time to take my Thanksgiving Family Turkey projects down and that left the windows bare - I didn't want to display anything Christmasy - I figured the kids are nutty enough without the constant classroom display to remind them of Santa. I called on my good friend Pinterest for art ideas - specifically the alphabet since I had just finished introducing all of the lowercase letters. Pinterest never disappoints! I found information about an American Modernist Painter named Stuart Davis. We looked at his work and I read the class a little about his life. We studied how he layered his paintings and that sometimes it looked like the art was popping out. The first day the kids just painted letters in white. I told them to turn the page so the letters would be in different directions. The second day they filled in the black space with color. The third day they added foam sticker letters for the pop art look.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Writing like Scientists

This is the second year I have used Lucy Calkins Units of Study for writing. I absolutely love it! I was lucky enough to have additional training this summer from the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project. The trainer suggested that I try the unit Writing Like Scientists that is in the If/Then unit. It fit right along with the Core Knowledge plant and harvest unit as well. I loved teaching this unit. The students LOVED it and really got into collecting nature items. They brought in things to write and learn about as well.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Antarctica Unit

Our culminating activity to our kindergarten Antarctica unit. We went through the performance cycle from the book A Reason to Read - the students picked out the major events in 4 information texts about the Emperor Penguin and created storyboards and monologues from the penguin (or krill, squid, & seals) point of view. They included facts and vocabulary they had learned and designed and constructed puppets. Through much trial and error, reflection, and revision I am proud to show off their work!