Friday, December 21, 2012

Wait, No Paint!

So, one day I was in line at the public library waiting to return my books and saw a child return this one:

I was smitten.  It's wonderful, adorable, genius!  Not to mention perfect for the art room. In a nutshell, it's the three little pigs, but the illustrator has a major role and chaos begins when he runs out of red paint. Kids LOVE IT!  It's funny in a humorous way that kids enjoy (the wolf hurts his nose, one of the pigs is painted to look like a clown. . .)
After I read the book to first graders, they make their own pig on 3" x 4" tagboard (I lead them through "draw a circle", it's the tummy, "draw a circle on top", for the head. . . )  Then we cut them out and trace them onto 12" x 12" white paper three times. This usually takes one class period.  The next time they come I give them a 6" x 12" white paper, have them fold it in half and draw a line from corner to corner:

They then cut on the line they drew and end up with three triangles: one big, and two little:

I always have extra ready for the few that mess up somehow--
keep cutting, don't keep it folded, whatever.
The big triangle is the roof for their house, one of the little ones is cut into a rectangle to be the chimney, and the third one is theirs to keep or recycle.  We glue our roofs and chimneys on, then use our pencils to add details to our pigs and houses.  Later, Sharpie marker is added and they paint with tempera blocks that have NO red in them.  Love these!

All these months of blogging, you'd think I'd learn how to rotate
a picture, but nope!  Anyway, Batman pig is on his head--
a creative solution to his not-enough-space problem.

These pigs are sporting utility belts and some top hats!
This friend obviously didn't trace his pigs (note the size difference)
but I LOVE his thinking--everything he did was for a long, first-grade-boy
reason, and all of them were adorable.
This is a closeup of a pig in high heels.  I know some parts
of it look pink (which we can't have without red), but
rest assured that it's actually purple/violet.
I just think this book brings out so much creativity in them--
see the bikini, the glasses, and the tie?

This is a lesson they always enjoy, that teaches them so much about color without hitting them over the head with it.  Oh, and the second day (after we glue the roofs on and draw our details) the bonus is that they can color their tagboard pigs and take them home.
So check out Bruce Whatley, I love everything I've read of his (even though I must admit, this is the only one I've read!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hard Week

It's a hard week for those of us who make our living educating little ones.  Connecticut's tragedy has me very sad and very grateful right now--sad, no devastated, for those having to endure this tragedy.  And grateful I'm lucky enough to spend my days with children who are funny and silly and insightful: sometimes all at the same time.
Anytime a child is taken from a parent unexpectedly (and I speak from experience here) the question Why? looms large for months, even years later.  Why would someone take a child from this earth who draws pictures like this:
 Or this:

Because that's what six-year-olds in my room have been working on. Fun little pictures of houses and snowfall with a fence and snowmen. Things six and seven year olds think about when it's cold and winter. 

I've been thinking about and praying for all of those who were touched by this horrible thing that invaded our safe place, our happy memories--elementary schools are no place for savage violence.

I'm also needing to deal with this pile:

Work that needs to be hung up, passed back or filed for the April art show.
As long as I deal with it before it topples over on someone, I'll feel OK about it.
I've been enjoying my students a lot this week, just appreciating them for the little people they are right now.  Because childhood is so very short, and they need to be admired for being the people they are right now.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  Enjoy your upcoming time off, but enjoy today for the day that it is.
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