As you know, all Ridgeview students participate in the RPAC (Ridgeview Parents Advisory Council) fundraiser, “theCardProject.” Each student creates a piece of art work, which is then used as cards, journals and other stationery items. You’ll be able to purchase these items with your child’s art in the next few weeks. Right now, we’re in the process of completing our project.
For the Kindergarten, we are making these delightful boho birds, based on Pattern Birds from DeepSpaceSparkle, an outstanding website and resource of art ideas for educators. We belong to the “Sparklers Club” (of course we do) which gives us further access to amazing projects we can make with your children. These projects are multi-step, complex and incorporate the fine motor skills not all children have had the opportunity to develop. We do a lot of tracing, cutting, pasting, drawing and painting in class. The activities also require the children to use the “big” skills of focusing on a task, listening carefully to instructions and following teacher directions. It also requires the children to “peer reference” which means look to others if you’re not certain of what you’re doing, or to confirm that you are on the right track!
These spectacular birds took us two full art classes and two small group sessions to complete. On Day One each child drew a large “U” or smile shape with pastel on their ½ sheet of construction paper for the bird body. Then they drew a stitching line on the inside of the smile line and cut the body out independently.
We had painted paper earlier in the week. One of the many great things about working with Christy is we like to divide and conquer so can get twice the benefit for our children. We each painted paper for two colours, cut the strips and shared them between our classes. We’ve been working on patterns in Math so the children created an AB pattern with the open space and painted paper (any opportunity to integrate and layer the learning, we will do). The children glued on the painted paper strips, turned the bird over and trimmed off the extras. The final step was teaching a variety of lines (stitched, wavy, zig zag) and dots to make the pastel pattern lines in the open spaces.
After we had finished our first session, one of the children asked, “Were we in the green zone?” And our answer? A hearty “YES!” because we know the depth of self-regulation this art project required, and we were so pleased the children were concentrating diligently to follow the steps in sequence.
Day Two saw us working as a class on the bird heads. After choosing their pre-cut head, we gave each child a small black construction paper dot to glue onto white construction paper to cut and make an eye. They each chose five diamond shapes we pre-cut from scrapbook paper to form the crown and beak. We asked the children to put gluestick on half the diamond and place it on their bird. After we glued the head onto the bodies we felt our birds were really taking flight.
We worked in small, teacher-led groups during Activity Time to finish our birds. We asked the children to select, fold and cut scrapbook paper for the legs, cut out construction paper claws and glue on the paper feathers for the tail.
On our last day we had some fun layering in feathers on top of the paper feathers and let the white liquid glue dry overnight.
We weren’t sure we were going to make the deadline of October 11 to finish our sweet birdies. But make it we did, although we never like to rush in Kindergarten. The children are learning that time and patience are necessary requirements to make something they take can pride in, and want to say, “I made it myself!” We’ve said several times we like projects that take several days to complete so our children can learn about pacing themselves, anticipation and enjoyment of the process. Nothing is worse than rushing and feeling that completion of an assignment is a competition, where everyone must be first.
In thinking back on our boho birds, creating and expressing themselves by making great art is another excellent self-regulation strategy for the children. While we may choose to walk, run or deep breathe, Christy and I also know (as long time crafters) that the sight, smell and textures of paint, coloured paper, pastels and scissors goes a long way in helping us to down-regulate after a tough situation or long day. Our hands are busy, our minds focus on the task at hand and the possibility of “what might be” after our efforts hovers over us.
One of the things we love as teachers is being to share our love of fun and creative activities with our children, so they can use them to help lift their mood, or simply relax. So when we get to work on a fun mixed media project such as this, we think we’re headed in the right direction. We’ll be making another big project soon, so check back with us to see how it’s going.
Thank you again to Patti Palmer of Deep Space Sparkle for her inspiration!