Wednesday, January 25, 2012

BEWARE of Kindergarten

So Kindergarten...mostly filled with a bunch of 5 and 6 year old kids who have saucers for eyes and missing teeth. Man they are cute...but don't let that cuteness fool you. They are artists in training...they must be taught EVERYTHING. From how to stand in line to wash hands, how to use a pencil sharpener correctly and how to cap a marker so it doesn't dry out. These little doe eyed cuties are artists for you to mold-so instead of looking at it as an inconvenience take it as a challenge. Once these pint size Picasso's learn the minor details of classroom behavior they are sponges waiting to be soaked with knowledge.  I always break down Kindergarten into the simplicity of art - projects based of shapes, color knowledge and art vocabulary(words like symmetrical and overlapping). So what their motor skills are a little off par if you give them projects that don't challenge them and show them your standards they won't ever reach the ability you want them too. So take it slow, step by step, one direction at a time and  by the time these kids hit first grade they are rearing and ready to go... this picture is of a kindergarten piece. Using Piet Mondrian as our muse, students learn about primary colors, line, overlapping and asymmetry. That is a lot of of stuff for one lesson- this isn't just cut and paste,  not in my room anyways!

Little Fingers = Big Talent

As I said previously I teach the little guys...but don' t let their size fool you, they are beyond talented!  I start off first grade with some control lessons. A little project we call "Silly Shapes"- this lesson teaches them control and it looks awesome in the end. It is a lot of work but if you are looking for a quiet day in the art room this is the lesson to use. I swear these repetitive motions put the kids in a trance...if only everyday could be so peaceful. Sometimes during this lesson- I can actually sit at my desk for more then 15 seconds, which also gives me a chance to wear fancy heels over the usual go to flats. So in the end I get a great project, a peaceful mind all while wearing some fierce shoes.

More than meets the eye...

Art teachers are often disregarded as the low man on the totem pole, have the time schools , that actually have art teachers-have us work from carts which they expect us to be able to fit enough art supplies to do valuable lessons to all students that attend that school. I am proud to say I am not art on a cart,nor am I the low man on the totem pole. I am one of the lucky ones who landed a gig at a great school with great supporters of the arts. I could only wish most schools could even begin to understand and respect the importance of art in schools. Art teachers,especially  passionate art teachers, create lessons that do more then please the eye. We introduce a vast amount of vocabulary and help kids learn to problem solve and to exercise their voices. We all know most art teachers  start off as little rebels fostering the inner anarchist is second nature. Art teachers don't believe in cookie cutter images but still uphold the highest standards for their students. It is about quality not quantity in the art room. Not only are we building solid art techniques but we are developing ways to channel creativity through different art mediums. I hope you see through this blog that art is important and often times like art teachers, children are under estimated in their potential. My students are amazing kids  who I feel so lucky to be able to teach them the skills to become knowledgeable and capable artists.