Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Paper Tearing

The children have been enjoying this activity on the Art shelf over the past week.  I particularly appreciate how the the kids delight in tearing the paper because amidst all that fun, they are actually developing the muscles in their hands and fingers.  This in turn, prepares the child for writing.  Additionally, the way I have the materials set up on the shelf and they way in which they place the items at their work space moves in a left to right pattern, giving more opportunities for training the eyes to move from left to right in preparation for reading and writing.

From left to right, top to bottom:  3" torn paper squares in yellow and blue inside blue pail with fish; white construction paper circles and green construction paper rectangles in a desktop paper divider; white basket to collect material with pencil inside; the clear tray holds our standard gluing materials: bottle of glue, two condiment containers -  one with small condiment cups (like the ones in fast food restaurants), and one with glue applicators which are Q-tips cut in half.  To the right of all of this (not seen in photo) is a white-ish clear art mat.
 Initially, the child takes one torn paper square in each color and places them inside the white basket.  Then, they place one circle and one green paper in the basket.  Next, they open the glue bottle and squeeze a small amount of glue into a condiment cup, close and replace the glue bottle, and place the small cup with glue in the basket along with one glue applicator.  The child then takes the entire basket and the art mat (which you can't see in the photo) to a place where they would like to work.
Once the child has laid the materials out at their workspace they are ready to begin.  The basket is always to the left of the art mat.  Here is a photo sequence depicting how the child completes the activity:

The child has already written their name on the back of the green paper.  Now, they glue the edges of the while circle which is on the art mat (hard to see it, but it is white-ish/clear...) with the gluing materials.

Next, the white circle is pressed onto the green paper in the center (glue side down).

Now, the child tears one colored paper square into smaller pieces, placing them to the left of the green paper with white circle....

....and then tears the other colored piece into smaller bits.

Next, the child applies a dot of glue with the applicator (q-tip cut in half) on the while circle...

...and presses a piece of torn paper onto the glue.
When the child has finished, they take the artwork to the drying rack and return to their workspace to clean up.  Gluing materials go in the trash and everything else goes back on the shelf, ready for the next person.

So simple, yet so fun!  Here are some of them hanging in our hallway:


  1. Interesting to know more of the process, it makes such sense to organize left to right in order for them to be thinking in this pattern.

  2. One of the beauties of a Montessori setting is that the whole classroom is set up with this pattern in mind!

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