Monday, April 26, 2010

Tissue Paper Suncatchers and Emergent Curriculum

To celebrate spring and the sunny days ahead, we have been working on "stained glass" tissue collages. Each child was given a canvas of waxed paper, a brush, and a cup of watered-down glue (tinted with color so the kids could see it better). Spread out on the table was a variety of tissue paper. I encouraged the children to first paint the paper, then stick the tissue onto the glue- this helps the tissue stay down rather than getting stuck to their fingers.
Rogan experiments with putting the tissue paper directly into the cup of glue.

This week we also welcomed our new friend, Addicus, to class!
After discovering the scissors last week, Richie asked for them again- determined to learn how to use them.
When the kids began asking for more glue mixture, I offered them squeeze bottles of tinted water so they could add it to the glue themselves.
Pretty soon the glitter came out as well!

The kids were interested in working with the water and glue so I brought out some eye droppers for them to try. The eye droppers help kids develop the "pincer grasp" which is an important pre-writing skill.

For the easel projects this week I set up two types of sticky collages. For the first one, I cut a variety of colored tape and placed it on the edges of the tray for the kids to stick onto the paper.
Some of the kids showed more interest in painting the collage, so I offered them watercolors to use as well.
On the second easel I taped a piece of clear contact paper (sticky side out) for the base of the collage. Then I filled the tray with materials such as paper, cotton balls, and feathers and showed the children how they stick to the paper.
Towards the end of class, the children began to choose different activities to work on. This group wanted to use the spray watercolors, so I set them up outside to create a spray mural.
In this group, Lucia took a break to hang out in the garden with her mom during class. She found a small lizard and a "roly poly" bug that she brought back to the class to show her friends. They all immediately wanted to go outside to find more bugs.
As a believer of emergent curriculum, I want to honor the children's interests and shape the lesson plans to allow them to explore these interests. With half of the class left to go, I dragged out a tarp, paints and brushes and offered them the opportunity to paint some rocks for the bugs. We collected rocks from the ground and everyone took part in the rock painting. I also moved one of the easels outside in case anyone was interested in continuing the collage work.

As we happily looked for bugs and painted rocks, it suddenly began to rain. We all moved back inside where I quickly got out some powdered tempera paint for a rain project. I offered each child a tray of paper and powdered paint to bring out to the rain. The idea is that when the rain falls onto the powder, it suddenly turns to liquid paint.
But when we walked outside, it was sunny again! So I went back to the studio to collect the spray bottles for each child to make their own rain.

Although the spontaneous curriculum adjustments were a little exhausting, it helped me to realize how I can bring more of the Reggio Emilia approach (especially the concepts of emergent curriculum and project work) into my art classes. Which got me thinking about my oldest class... (stay tuned for more about them)

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