Monday, February 28, 2011

Painting with Spoons

One Art activity I have on the shelves this month is "Painting with Spoons."  I set this lesson up with the two colors we are focusing on this month for color mixing - yellow and blue.  Also,the children in my class have been introduced to painting with two colors (with a paintbrush) and I didn't want to overwhelm them with too many color choices. You may recall this lesson from a previous post:

Painting with Spoons
Moving from left to right; top to bottom:  basket of pre-folded white construction paper, yellow apron (folded above tray with paints), tray with a pencil (for writing name), yellow and blue paints (mixed with a little liquid laundry detergent) each with a color-coordinated spoon.

The materials are placed on the shelves in the order of how they will complete the lesson.  First, they take a piece of pre-folded, white construction paper from the basket and place it on a piece of newsprint at an available spot at a table where they wish to work.  (Our classroom has a basket of newsprint next to the Art shelves which the children use for any Art activity to help protect the tables). 
Next, the child puts on the yellow apron which is next to the basket, above the tray with paints.  Now, they take the entire tray with paints to their workspace and place it to the left of the newsprint with the pre-folded, white construction paper.  The placement of the tray is actually quite important.  By having it placed to the left of the workspace, the child is then able to move in a left to right direction.  In turn, this aids in the development and training of the eye to move from left to right in preparation for reading and writing. 
The child is then ready to write their name on the back of the pre-folded, white paper with the pencil.
Now, they open the lid to yellow paint and scoop a small amount of paint with the yellow spoon and dab it anywhere on the white paper.  During the initial lesson, I explained that we should try to keep the paint a little bit away from the edges of the paper because during the next part, the paint might spill out...  Next, they use the blue paint with the blue spoon in the same manner. 
When the child is finished, they fold the paper and press down, rubbing over the paint underneath.  Next, is the big reveal - the child opens the paper and a beautiful design is uncovered.  
The big reveal!
You can see here the paint set up at the left of the workspace which aids the training of the eye in left to right movement in preparation for reading and writing...

Lastly, the child rinses the spoons at the sink and returns the materials to their proper places on the shelves.
The children in my classroom have delighted in this activity!  Usually, they want to do more than one and  by the time they are  finished, a small gathering has assembled to watch.  There have been plenty of smiles over this art lesson!

I feel it is important to describe in detail the process of such an Art activity.  There is so much more that goes on than just simple painting.  One needs to remember the following:  Firstly, the child has chosen this activity on his own and is acting on his own decisions.  Secondly, the child must remember a sequence of steps in order so that the activity may be completed.  Thirdly, they have been engaged in a thoroughly creative process as they decide how much paint to use and where to place it on the paper.  Once a design in revealed, they are further enabled to explore their creative impulses as they describe what they see.  Fourth, they have been actively involved in a lesson that will assist them with reading and writing skills (training of the eye movement).  And lastly, let's not forget that part of the lesson is cleaning up after themselves and leaving the materials ready for the next person!

Please, please please remember this while looking at your child's artwork!  Take time to celebrate if your child brings home repeats too -there is nothing more depleting for the child (and the teacher) than to hear a parent say, "Oh, another one?!"  Yes, another one!  Celebrate all that your child has accomplished in one lesson!

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