Friday, September 24, 2021

5th Grade Experiments (LINE with Kwikstix)

This year calls for some outside of the box thinking! 

Don't they always?

I started out the year as I always do with a nametag project for the 5th graders art folders. This is a good way for me to:
  1. Get to know their names
  2. See what they can do
  3. Chat and connect with them in a low stress way
As I was doing this, I was noticing that some of my expectations needed to be adjusted. Our district had a remote option last year and some of the students hadn't been in school for 18 months. I did dive into our first "real project" but we have 90 minute blocks twice a week and those blocks can be looooooooong if you are a fifth grader (or their teacher) and it's been hot and sticky in the art room. 

So sweaty guys. So sweaty.

So once I got my bearings and had about two weekends in there to catch my breath and see this situation from some distance, I decided I needed to shake it up a bit. So things I'm doing this year:
  • Going outside for a walk during the 90 minute blocks (or a trip to the baseball field with the directions to "just run around for five minutes!")
  • Consciously incorporating movement into my lessons--having the kids come up to the board, have them act out directions, doing activities where they move instead of listen to me yap (like "four corners" activities for art room rules).
  • Doing big "experiments" with art supplies--even ones that seem a little "young" for middle school
  • When we have mask breaks, showing videos on youtube that are about different artists and non traditional art (they also like stop motion by PES, domino challenges and how things are made videos). 
  • Creating an outdoor classroom area right outside my door (so I don't have to schlep supplies and am more likely to go outside with them)
  • Going back to my Responsive Classroom training and asking LOTS of questions, modeling pretty much everything and stopping and retrying things if we need more practice with a procedure or task.
The kids don't know it yet, but our experiments are going to be used in these large scale animal collages (I'll post about those more later). Right now, we are relaxing, moving our bodies, playing with art supplies, working together and learning art room rules and procedures.

Here's our first "experiment." We were learning about line and pattern and making these great tooled metal creations but they started to lose steam during the 90 minute classes. I grabbed some large paper we have hanging around the room, taped it down and had the kids at each table take turns ("like you are playing aboard game") making different lines all over the paper. Once they'd filled up the paper from side to side, they could start to make more lines going perpendicular (and by this time all teammates were drawing together).

I LOVE kwikstix!! Like, a lot. They are so fun to use and the colors are vibrant. We also used the neon tempera sticks from Sargent Arts and those worked awesome too!

Yes, some students decided to go scribble-wild and I believe that is what they needed. I find that kids who tend to get into "the zone" and go scribble-wild or glue-wild or cutting-wild and just zone out and goooooooooo tend to need it. How do we know how much is too much if we never find out what too much is?

Anyway, high hopes for these changes in 5th grade and can't wait to see how our experiments become something AMAZING!!


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