Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Don't Have a Catchy Title For This

Maybe it's for lack of trying??? I don't really know, but this is a lesson I did hundreds of years ago (perhaps I exaggerate just a smidge).  I think I called it "Shape Patterns" or something like that, but I never remembered what it was and I'd have to look at that little picture I draw on all my lesson plans to remember what it was.  Now that I've really sold this lesson to you as totally stellar, here it is:

And a whole-display shot:

I've done a lot of questioning about lessons lately.  As in--"is this lesson worth it? Is it worth my time? The students time?  Is it meeting real learning objectives?" etc.  Because it had been so long since I'd done this lesson, I pulled it back out to do and check/think about those things.  I decided I do like this lesson and it's a keeper (though maybe not something I'd do every single year) for these reasons: it's pretty successful for everyone.  It has a twist that makes it something the students remember for several years, AND I can change it up (like, this year we talked about warm and cool colors, but we could do primary/secondary, complementary/analogous. . . )  With all of that, here's what we did:
We talked about shape.  I had the students raise their hands and name some shapes.  Then I showed them how to draw a shape inside a rectangle on the board, in such a way that it touches every side (because I don't want those itty-bitty middle of the paper shapes).  Then I gave each student a thick piece of paper that was really compressed sponge (you can order it from supply catalogs, or from here, here or here) and had them draw their shape on it with pencil.  It's hard work to cut them out, but they're so strong that they can manage.  Now the magic happens, people!  They throw away their trash, I give each table a small cup of water, and they put their shape in there! Oh, it's amazing, I tell you! The screams of delight that fill the room!

Like magic, it becomes a SPONGE!
Then we squeeze the extra water out and print with them on 6" x 12" paper:

Now the messy part: having 20+ first graders washing paint out of their sponge so they can take it home to keep forever and ever (I tell them it's a great bathtub toy, it makes lots of bubbles with your soap!) I have extra paper for drawing/coloring while they're waiting their cleaning turn.
The next time, I talked with them about warm and cool colors and had them pick warm or cool crayons and color around their shapes:

 We also talked about power coloring and using our art muscles to get a nice, thick layer of color on there (some did better than others with this).  
The final step was to use puff paint to outline our shapes:

My final review of this lesson is it was good for fine-motor control (the puff paint/outlining their shape) as well as shape review and learning about color.  I hope they're having some fun with their sponges at home, too.

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