A few years ago I took place in a training that encouraged the use of art integration in the classroom. The idea is to use art and art techniques to reinforce skills taught in the other subjects. Over the last few years I have tried to use it in my lessons. Honestly I haven’t done a great job with it. It’s so hard to fit in something else and although I personally love art I just haven’t put in the time to make it work effectively in the classroom. This year things are different and our school is actually trying out the Art Integration program at the third grade level. I can already tell you I am loving it. We started with some basic lessons on different types of lines and a little bit of shading.
I was trying to find a way to introduce the idea of different types of mediums and techniques to them. I wanted to help them understand that art is more than pencils and paint brushes. I started by drawing the outline of a tree on a piece of butcher paper. I told them we were going to put leaves on the tree but could not use any of the following materials….pencils, pens, brushes, markers, crayons, glue, scissors or colored pencils. I wanted them to come up with an idea for how to make the leaves. They had some really great ideas. “How about we rip up colored paper and glue it on?” “We could pour paint on the paper.” My personal favorite….”we could take our shoes off walk in paint and then walk on the paper.” 🙂 Personally that sounded like a lot of fun.
I was pretty impressed by the ideas they came up with and with a little, okay a lot, of guidance from me we decided that we would use our fingerprints in paint to make the leaves. This lead to a wonderful discussion on how no two fingerprints are alike. They were particularly impressed that the identical twin in our classroom does not have the same prints as his brother. See? Art integration….love it.
Because I can not stand chaos in the classroom I decided to have one table at a time come up to paint. I started by painting the tips of each of their fingers a different color.
They loved this part and we came up with all kinds of adjectives to describe how it felt. We were able to make a list that added to our vocabulary. Squishy, gooey, soft, ticklish, cold, squirmy and the list goes on. Again………Art Integration! 🙂
They were very politely giving each other guidance on where more “leaves” were needed and making sure to get out of the way of their friends. When we were finished we hung the tree on the door of our classroom.
Most of the art that we will do this year will be individual pieces where each student creates their own piece. This is one of those rare opportunities for them to see how working together is so important. I have seen them bring friends from other classrooms in to see their “masterpiece”. So excited to continue with the art integration and see the growth they make through using art in all the subjects. Off to plan my next project. 🙂
There is a really cute children’s book that I read to my kids the first day of school each year. It;s called “First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg. I won’t spoil the surprise ending for you because you must read it yourself. Anyone who has ever been a student, (wait isn’t that basically all of us?) will understand the jumble of feelings that go with the first day of school. We have all felt it, the butterflies in our stomachs, the sweaty palms, the restless night before. What will they think of me? Will I be able to do the work? Will I make new friends? Will I know everything I am suppose to know? Will my teacher be nice or mean? Will my students be nice or mean? The thoughts are endless. What will I wear? What time should I get there? How do I start?
Over the years of being a student and now a teacher I have had everyone of those thoughts and more. This year I experienced something I have never experienced before. I know what you are thinking…….I woke up the first day of school, found out I had won a million dollars, would only have 10 students in my class this year and someone had come in during the night, cleaned my house and did all my laundry while preparing a bunch of freezer meals for me. Umm yeah I wish. No let me share my reality with you. I woke up around 5:00am with my first thought being excitement and anticipation That very quickly changed to the realization that I was sick. I’m not talking about the under the weather, not at my best kind of sick. I’m talking the violent, desperate, stomach flu kind of sick. After a few moment of hoping it wasn’t real the full reality set in, I knew this was going to be a first day unlike any other. After a long desperate prayer, I did my best to get ready and get to school all the way praying that somehow I would be able to make it. That I could muster up the strength and health to get through my first day and then…..I could take a nap
It became clear pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to make it through my first day no matter how hard I tried or how much extra strength I gathered, the bug had won. As always God provided and the school had hired an extra sub for that day to help out at the school. Thankfully the principal was able to move him to my classroom. Even better it was the sub that I most often use. A retired teacher who worked at our school for 25+ years. He knows my classroom, knows my expectations and knows the school. Those of you who are teachers understand the stress that would come with missing the first day of school. I quickly showed him all the things I had hoped to do, gave him every activity I had prepared just in case there was a lull in the day and I needed an activity to fill time.
I did my best to put on a smile, greet my students and their parents, help them find their seats and then explain to them that I would be going home for the day and we would have to start over tomorrow. It killed me to have to do that but you only can do so much. I drug myself home and then……..well what happens at home stays at home.
The wonderful thing about children is they are resilient and forgiving To be honest I was way to sick to feel the normal worry or guilt that I usually feel when I am out sick However I must say I truly worried about missing the all important first day. I think it is in the first week of school that the tone is set for the year. The work that is done in that week is some of the most important you do all year.
While lying in bed I just remember praying and giving it to God. It was in his hands, the kids were safe and in good care and I knew I couldn’t be THAT sick for TOO long right?
Thankfully the next day, 7 lbs lighter and very weak, I was sure I was going to live and I finally had the opportunity to get to know my kiddos. I will say the last two days with them have given me a renewed excitement and anticipation for this year. I am so ready to teach, learn, and grow with this years class. After all we came through my worst first day of school ever and are doing just fine.
Lord it’s in your hands!