more than a collage

We took the children on a nature walk so they could make some observations about things they noticed in the natural environment.  Although not many leaves had yet changed colours, there were several on the ground that the children found interesting.  We collected some of the things they found and brought them back to the classroom.  The children collected a lot of the same types of leaves.  We put what they had collected out on some butcher paper to see what they would do.  For me, this was another lesson in patience and honouring the unexpected.  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for the children to sort and I could have easily told them to do so.  Instead, I decided to watch and listen.  A couple of children immediately brought the magnifying glasses over and began examining the leaves.  They noticed that some were soft, and some were “crunchy” (There was the sorting I had anticipated, but that was where it ended.)  A few of children decided to rub the crunchy leaves between their hands and enjoyed watching the leaves become “crumbs.”  Someone decided to make a picture and realized she needed some glue.  Her piece of paper was cut and she brought it over to the Studio to create her masterpiece.  

This encouraged a friend to come over and help.  The individual work of art now became a collaborative piece as the two girls created together.  Other children also wanted their little piece of butcher paper cut so they could create their own collages.  The girls’ collage became a story about their nature walk and a demonstration of cooperation.  What I thought would be a simple sorting exercise turned into a much richer experience.  The children observed, wondered about the crunchy leaves, engaged in a sensory experience, artistically represented their thinking, retold the story of their walk, and collaborated with peers.  What seems on the surface to be a simple collage of leaves, is really so much more.  It will be interesting to see what the children find on our next walk and the changes they might notice.  

self-portrait collages

This week’s post is a continuation of the found materials collages the children have been creating.  They used the materials to create self-portraits. Once the children completed their portrait, I snapped a picture and printed it for them to draw.  It was interesting to see how they interpreted their artwork and the details they considered to be important.  (For more ideas, check out Beautiful Stuff!) Our Education Week theme is “You Are the Smile.”  The children wrote a sentence about a quality or trait that makes them smile.  Me?  Well, these make me smile! : )

 “My hair makes me smile.”

“Funny faces make me smile.”

the beauty in found materials

A few weeks ago, I read the children “My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks.”  We love this book!  The children had quite the chuckle over the pictures which are collages of a girl, her family and you guessed it — her smelly dog!  We were inspired to look around our homes for everyday items that would have otherwise ended up in the recycling or the trash.  Our shared writing lesson was to make a list of some things we might find:  bottle caps, tops of markers, feathers, pinecones, string, ribbon, and corks – to name a few!  Thanks to the parents for their help!  Once all the items came in, we dumped them into one big pile and talked about ways to sort them.  Some of the children decided that sorting by colour would be best.  Quite a few children were VERY interested in taking care of the sorting, so while others went off to different learning centres, a group stayed at the carpet to carry out the task.  Once we had our piles, I transferred them to containers.  We now have new materials in our studio!

Today, we revisited My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks.  It got as many chuckles as it did the first time we read it.  The children spent today simply exploring the materials and placing them on construction paper.  I’ll be posting pictures as this collage project evolves.  In the meantime, here is a “city” where the sticks need to find their way around by finding the keys which have been strategically placed in, on and around objects.  The book Beautiful Stuff! is filled with many more inspirations and wonderful ideas.

snowman art

As much as we keep hoping, the snow just doesn’t want to stick around this winter.  We’ve had a few dustings but not enough to make snowmen or forts or sculptures.  It’s a little ironic that tomorrow is Groundhog Day.  I’m actually hoping he sees his shadow…maybe we’ll get a little bit of winter!  In the meantime, we’ve been trying to make our classroom feel just a little more “wintry.”  We read Snowballs by Lois Ehlert and painted our own snow people over a collage of torn tissue paper.  The idea for these charming little snowmen came from Deep Space Sparkle.  If you’re a teacher looking for art ideas, you must visit.  It’s full of wonderful art lessons for K-6.  You will find instructions for these snowman collages along with so many other awesome lessons.

You could pre-cut pieces of tissue paper, but I love the look of the torn pieces.  I was going to pre-tear the paper, but decided to let the children tear the paper themselves.  I remember trying some torn paper collages (à la Leo Lionni) with older students and never forgot how difficult it was for them to get over the “imperfect” look of the torn paper.  They wanted to use scissors to get that perfect cut.  One of the things I love about Kindergartens is their creativity and willingness to try anything.  Their creative techniques often include things I would never think of and their results are often quite delightful.I find different colours of tempera paint give different results with regards to texture and coverage.  I tried the liquid tempera and the tempera pucks.  I like the transparency of the white paint and the collage.  Unfortunately, the white paint was a little too transparent, so I decided to use the tempera pucks.  The paint dries faster and the children were able to add a second coat to their snowman.  I can’t wait to display these little masterpieces!