Thrilling Thursday it was!
Thursday’s group continued on their studies with letter B and Matisse’s work, THE SNAIL. During morning centers/rotations, Ms. Newman worked in the classroom, working with small groups of children to create a paper bag puppet of a Big Blue Bear. Each child either traced or copied upper and lower case B’s and the words “Big Blue Bear.” They cut the lines and curves of the bear’s body parts, colored some facial features and then assembled the puppet. The children were shown how the bottom of the flattened bag serves as the mouth or movement piece of the puppet and were shown how to carefully glue on their bear’s head so as not to make him unable to speak! Of course, as they created their bears they were encouraged to help sing “The Bear went over the Mountain!”
Mrs. Lozano worked in the hallway with 2 children at a time to create GIANT spirals on large paper that had been attached to the wall. Each child was given 3 colors of paint and encouraged to experiment with size movement and color. They were again shown pictures of the spirals that create the shell of a snail and were encouraged to notice how the colors blended, how their smaller and larger movements altered the shapes they created. They were all so excited to observe, show and talk about their paintings….both to one another and to the teachers! Later in the day, the children cut the body of the “mollusk” (yes, we learned about the physical features of REAL snails and even did some snail/slime science!) and added facial features to create a more “realistic” snail of sorts (These look like a cross between old fashioned “Spirograph” creations and an illustration from an Eric Carle book.)
Most fascinating, however, was the gradient painting SNAIL that the children created. Each child was given a small cup of white paint into which they slowly added navy blue paint to alter the depth of color. Each time they added a bit of blue to their cups, they painted a small white square and glued the squares onto their giant paper which had a pre-drawn spiral on it. They were shown how to approach the work; how they would find an area on the floor to place their large paper, add glue to the spiral BEFORE placing their painted squares down, and then return to the long table to continue on with their painting process. Although it took a little while for some of the children to figure out how to glue the painted squares on to their paper, instead of correcting them, we allowed them to experiment and problem solve their way through the activity. It was AWESOME watching them approach the work, some of the children placing their painted squares upside down on the paper, leaving paint/prints where they had temporarily been left. As a result, beautiful, painted “shadows” of sorts were made next to their actual creations! The children were so engrossed in the activity that the room was actually SILENT for quite a while. Mix, paint, glue, observe….REPEAT! It was hard to tell who actually enjoyed the activity more – the children or the teachers (the enthusiasm the children had was so energizing for us!
If all that wasn’t enough, we even had time for a music/painting experiment during which each child mixed red, yellow and glue paint that had been poured onto a large paper and then covered with plastic wrap. The children were encouraged to experiment with the color and motion of the paint as music of varying tempo was played. Once again, each child made the process unique!
Of course, at the end of the day the children went home happy, tired and looking as if they had really been studying Picasso’s BLUE period!