Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Art Geometry!

Holiday time is a wonderful opportunity to intersect geometry and art. This week we share two fun ways to teach and reinforce geometric shapes. The key is oral expression. So, get children talking about their work!

Painting Geometry:
First paint a large green triangle on a paper. 

Talk about the shape and ask children to find other shapes that look like a triangle in your classroom, on the playground, or in the home. Give children green paintbrushes and ask them to fill in the green triangle.

After it dries, suggest they paint red circles or other shapes on the tree. Again, discuss the shapes and ask children to verbalize. For an added touch, I like to have children use a straw to create a string of lights. Dilute paint with water and then put a dab on the tree. Have children use a straw to blow the paint around. There will be lots of giggles and excitement!

Shape Tree:
You can also glue a geometric tree scene. Cut several sizes of green triangles. I cut out squares and rectangles to look like gifts, too. 

Ask children to layer the triangles from small to large. This is good practice with key math vocabulary.  Have children glue the triangles. Later add the gifts as you discuss the shapes.

This project can become a winter scene, too. Skip the gifts and glue cotton balls to the trees. As you do this, talk about circles and spheres. The finished product is a winter wonderland of geometry!

Happy Holiday Art! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Art = Science and Oral Language Skills

Many of you likely made the famous “hand” turkeys but did you know handprints can be used to make many other animals, too?  As you do this art project, remember the key is in the conversation. You can teach and reinforce color words along with direction words as children make their caribou (or reindeer) masterpieces.

Begin by showing children a picture of a reindeer or caribou. For interested children, you may want to point out that reindeer are smaller caribou. They live with people. For curious children, you can even introduce the word domesticated. You can talk about dogs, cats, or cows as domesticated animals. Ask children to think about animals that are wild animals like squirrels, bears, seals, and caribou!  You can show children this drawing of a reindeer:

Tell children they are going to make a reindeer (or caribou) head. Have them clench their fist as shown:

Ask children what color the reindeer’s face could be. This child chose purple:

Paint the part of the hand as shown above. Have the child put his/her hand down on the paper. Emphasize the word, “down. “

Then have children make the antlers. Talk about these structures that appear on caribou and reindeer. Ask children to choose a color and paint the hand:

Emphasize to children to put their hand “above” the head.

Let the paint dry. Then ask children to paint the eyes and nose on the face.  See if children can point to the place where these facial features should be before painting.

When finished, have children describe the sequential steps in creating their pictures. See if they use appropriate color words and proper direction vocabulary such as down, on, and above.  Also ask children to talk about the differences between caribou and reindeer. The key is the conversation!