SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Early Childhood Studio Lesson Discovering Natural Materials Reggio-inspired lessons allow all children, regardless of ability, to experience the art process in a nonthreatening and rewarding way. Cathy Topal L essons inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach allow all children, regardless of ability, to experience the art process in a nonthreatening and rewarding way. The following lesson allows children to create artworks using one of the simplest and most readily accessible materials available: stones. Objectives While exploring, sorting, and arranging stones, young artists will: • Noticeanddescribetheircharacteristics: color, shape, texture, size. • Usetheartelements,principles of design, and their own words to describe their discoveries. Teacher Preparation Collect at least ten stones per student of different sizes, shapes, and textures. Have white drawing paper and pencils handy. Have students work in groups 38 August/September 2013 SchoolArts at tables. (Other natural materials can be added or substituted for stones.) Engage Introduce the stones to students. Give students time to handle and explore the stones. Ask students to use art vocabulary to describe the unique qualities of the stones and to share ideas with the class as to how the stones could be sorted or arranged (by color, shape, size, texture, weight, etc.). Have students figure out how to display their stones. Ask, "How can you communicate what you discovered about the unique qualities of your stones through your arrangement?" Tell students that they can work as a group, with a neighbor, or individually. Once arrangements are complete, encourage students to think of them as a museum exhibit. Have them visit other displays, paying attention to details they find interesting. To save a memory of the experience, offer paper and pencil for drawing the arrangements. Reflect End the lesson by sharing the following ideas with students so that they recognize what they have achieved through this exploration: • Materialsforexpressionareall around us. • Theuniquequalitiesofamaterial are revealed when we take the time to look. • Eachofushasanabilitytocreate order and beauty. • Bysharingideas,workingtogether, and respecting one another, we have taken the first step toward building a community of artists. Excerpted from Creative Minds Out of School, by Cathy Weisman Topal (Davis Publications, 2012).

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