Thursday, August 15, 2013

Arts & Crafts - A Challenge to Me

As a first grade teacher I feel I have many strengths. Unfortunately, arts and crafts types of things are not on that list. As a fourth or fifth grade teacher this didn't really bother me. As a first grade teacher it does. A least a bit. Arts and crafts types of things are fun and great for building motor skills. That matters at first grade.

So when SmileMakers offered me their Art Starter Kit it seemed like something I should try. School hasn't started for me so I took it with us on a visit to our niece. My two girls (10 and 6) and my niece (5) were thrilled by it. In fact, my niece requested (quite adamantly) that we leave some materials for her when she had to leave for a birthday party. We practically had to tear her away from her art.

As you can see, it comes with googly eyes, pom poms, pipe cleaners (although they go with the more modern name of chenille stems), feathers, spangles (different shapes and textures of paper), colored pasta, and buttons.

The three girls immediately set out with scissors and glue. The pipe cleaners were a favorite and they strung pasta and buttons on them and glued pom poms and spangles to them. Sometimes they had a plan for what they were creating (a necklace) and sometimes they were just exploring. Both were fabulous.

Luckily I still have quite a bit of the materials to take with me to school in a couple of weeks. For me, this is perfect. Having a variety of items in one set is great for someone who doesn't really know where to start.

I think I'll offer these materials to my students as an option during our exploring time (when we play with blocks, magnets, puppets, etc.). Watching that I will see which materials most interest them and should be replenished. Hopefully, I'll also be able to get some ideas of ways to incorporate these materials into more academic parts of our day.

I firmly believe in allowing and encouraging students to explore with things and to be creative. I hope this kit will push me to do that in some new ways.


Sneaker Teacher said...

In half day Kinder we sadly have no time for art. The only way kids get art is through the Art Literacy program which requires a parent volunteer and takes place only once a month. Kids get to draw and color on a weekly basis, but that's not the same as truly creating. Especially since we don't do a lot of art, when we do, I really try to emphasize that art is whatever they want it to be. I don't want them thinking they have to make an exact replica of something that is modeled. It's fun to see what they come up with on their own!

I've been contemplating a 3-D art assignment where kids have to create something using household 3-D objects like toilet paper tubes, empty tissue boxes etc. I'm not sure yet if I'll make it a family project or have a collection for items and then let the kids go at it. But it's really fun to NOT give specific directions and see what they come up with!

Jenny said...

Sneaker Teacher, ugh, that is painful. I'd love to see what they do with a 3-D assignment like that!