Small Hands in the Big World

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Art Lady

Eager to get involved in my son’s Kindergarten classroom, I volunteered to be the Art Docent. I had never heard of such a job before it was introduced to me at Parent Orientation but apparently, public schools have come up with this creative approach to filling the Art gap in the elementary school curriculum. At least once a month I’ll schedule a time with his teacher to come in and teach a brief art lesson. There were a couple training sessions and a  beautifully organized binder came home with me, full of creative ideas for classroom art projects.

Considering the season (and wanting something simple), we started with Leaf People using Lois Ehlert’s book “Leaf Man” and this blog post as inspiration and the leaves around us for materials. To prepare for the lesson in William’s classroom, the kids and I wandered around the neighborhood collecting leaves of all shapes and sizes (the ones picked directly from the trees are best—they have the brightest colors and are still nice and pliable to work with). We ended up with big, messy bags full of leaves but once they were sorted and organized, they looked like beautiful art just stacked in their piles ready to be rummaged through by Kindergartners.

I have to admit I was more than a little nervous about heading into a room full of 5 year-olds, they can be a tough crowd… but this kind bunch was gentle with yours truly, Ms. Liz the Art Lady, and the lesson went really well. They arranged their leaves first, used glue stick to secure the leaves, then added googly eyes, signed their names and gave their artwork a title. Some of the kids decided it was a self-portrait and gave it their own name while others came up with friendly names like Earl and Nancy. My personal favorite was the name one creative young man decided his fierce leaf monster:  "Hanny the Alien Beaver."

If you decide to do this project, be sure to press the leaf arrangements and let them dry before posting them... I'm afraid the leaves shriveled up a whole lot more than I realized they would

William decided his Leaf Man should go in a boat
 Along with providing an opportunity to have a lot of fun, I was able to teach them a new word, “Collage,” and introduce the concepts of shape, color, and contrast.

I made a little Leaf Family too -- isn't my Leaf Lady having a good hair day?
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