The first day of school for an art teacher is a lot longer than you would think. This is because we art teachers have a Groundhog’s Day kind of situation where we re-live the first day over and over again for 30 times during the first week. It becomes a performance and by the 30th encore presentation you know which punchlines will get a big laugh and which will get blank stares. You know which things to skip over for kindergarteners because they just stare at you like “…….” and which things to skip over for 5th graders because they have been in here for years and duh they already know where the pencil sharpener is.
The first day/week is important because this is when you set the standard for what you will and will not allow and what you will and will not do and who you will and will not be. Its very important to use this time to practice sitting properly in chairs and lining up quietly and walking around safely. I also like to throw in a little bit of activity for the first day. Afterall, it is difficult for me to sit still and listen to someone talk for 45 minutes and I am (technically) an adult!
So after my performance of telling my students all about me (I love outerspace and I traveled a lot this summer and here are the projects we are doing this year) in a lovely PowerPoint, I give them a tour of the classroom. This year I decided to read them a story right after the tour. We read “Only One You” by Linda Kranz which is a beautifully illustrated book about wisdom.
I used this activity to see what my kiddos could already do. Can you create a pattern? Can you use lines and shapes in your art? Can you cut out a shape with scissors? This was a really great informal assessment especially for the kindergarten noobs. I also used this to notice who my Leftys are so I can make sure to give them the correct scissors for the rest of the year. The completed fish were stapled to the bulletin board outside of my classroom. Each fish is so unique and some of them really impressed me with how creative they were (like a swordfish made with scraps or a fish that is half herbivore/half carnivore) This year’s artists are really making a splash!
The other bulletin board was inspired by a billboard I saw when I was driving down 285, I think its a great message.
Here are some pictures of my lovely classroom:
Kinders are learning about Mondrian’s lines and primary colors.
1st Graders are learning about Kasndinsky’s abstract paintings.
2nd Graders are learning about Matisse’s Drawing With Scissors artwork.
3rd Graders are learning about Georgia O’keeffe’s flowers and bones.
4th Graders are learning about Van Gogh’s Starry night. (Inspired by this.)
5th Graders are learning about Mexican Guitars.(Inspired by this.)
Happy 2nd week of school! 🙂