SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2014

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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42 August/September 2014 SchoolArts types of fish and their habitats, and, sometimes, we actually get up-close and personal with a real fish. Building excitement in the theme allows stu - dents to become invested in the work they will be creating over the course of the unit. As with all my kindergarten lessons, each class begins with a story. I have a large selection of fish and underwater animal storybooks in my classroom library. If you don't have an extensive classroom library, your school librarian should be happy to help you find what you need. Building with Shapes With each lesson, I break the sub - ject matter down to basic shapes and review how those shapes come together to form the objects students will be drawing. Most students find great suc - cess with this. Though the shapes are basic and the theme consistent, there is plenty of room for each student's personality to shine through in his or her creation. Every lesson builds on the previous one and applies similar ideas to different media and techniques. Back when I taught random projects to introduce new media in those beginning weeks of kindergarten, students would get I have been teaching elementary art for the past sixteen years. I love my students' enthusiasm, the reckless abandon with which they approach their work, and their ability to see beauty in the messes that hap - pen during learning. They reflect an attitude and approach to art we should all possess. My favorite group to teach is kin- dergartners; these little sponges grow by leaps and bounds every day. Because they come with such varying experi - ences and skills, creating an introduc- tory unit that captures their attention and builds skills with a variety of media is extremely important. Getting Excited About Fish I start each school year with a fish theme for kindergar - ten. Fish are a fun and accessible sub - ject, and a great way to build confidence in young artists as they explore new media. On the first day, we list every - thing students know about fish, discuss a PowerPoint presentation on different Ted Edinger FISH Sample Fish Unit Lesson One: Fish drawing/cra ons Lesson Two: Fish famil rawings/markers Lesson Three: Collage fish/scissors, glue, construction paper Lesson Four: Fish/watercolor Children's Books for Fish Unit Swimmy b eo Lionni Fish is Fish b eo Lionni The Pout-Pout Fish b eborah Diesen Fidgety Fish Ruth Gallowa Ten Little Fish Audre Wood I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean Kevin Sherr A Fish Out of Water Helen Palmer Early Childhood Studio Lesson frustrated because they were not only trying to tackle a new media each class time, but a different subject matter as well. Rather than fish, you could substitute any subject you feel your stu - dents would enjoy. I may try birds next year just to shake things up a little! Ted Edinger is an art teacher at Tulip Grove Elementary in Nashville, Tennessee. tededinger@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K FUN! Building excitement in the theme allows students to become invested in the work they will be creating.

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