Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Add a Little Art Enrichment!

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My school was one of the very last in the state to end this year, so I am just now enjoying my second week of summer break.   May was crazy.  You know how it is... crazy-in-a-good-way.   I did my best to focus all my energy on making every last day with my kinder-babies count!  One of my favorite end-of-the-year activities is our...

 If you have been following my blog for a while, you probably already know that over that past few years I have worked to create my own type of "art enrichment" program called "Artist of the Month."  Every month we devote one half-day to learn about a specific master artist, his/her unique style of art, his/her master works, and special techniques.  This program originated in my I truly do love art... both creating art and simply appreciating the great art works of others.   With the help of my best friend (who is also one of my instructional assistants -- I know! Right?! How blessed am I?!),  we have developed what we believe to be a pretty outstanding program.  (And one of the best parts is that it's actually a realistically "do-able" program for ultra busy teachers too!)   Each month, we begin our "Artist of the Month" time with a multi-media SmartBoard presentation which introduces the kiddos to the focus master artist, his/her background, famous works, special techniques and mediums, etc.  (All age-appropriate of course! For example, we do study Vincent VanGogh.  We do NOT discuss how he cut off his ear at the K level!)

These are some pics from our Vincent VanGogh introduction.   Note that we like to keep our introductions engaging!  On this day, our principal agreed to dress up like VanGogh!  Notice his palette and straw hat with lit candles (Ok, ours are battery-powered!).

(These pictures are from our Mondrian day.  We brought yellow, red and blue to life, didn't we!  Hee!  Don't I look good in a blue wig?!  Ack!  We extended the lesson with Mondrian inspired cookies before diving into creating our own Mondrian styled works!)
 After that, we are fully inspired to create our own works of art using the style and techniques we just learned about.  We spend the next hour with our sleeves up... creating our own breathtaking masterpieces!  I can not express how much THE KIDS love this program.   (To my surprise it is often the sport-minded boys who most often ask, "Can we have Artist of the Month today?")  Every month I post the kiddos' masterpieces in my classroom "Kinder-Gallery" (an area above the lockers in my room).

When we switch out the gallery displays and take down the prior month's art, I do NOT let the kids take home their art.  I keep it until the end of the year because we hold our big "Kinder-Gallery Art Show."    This is THE BEST!   Not only do we take over the gym and turn it into a realistic art gallery; art matted and hung everywhere, clothed tables with fancy "champagne" glasses full of grape juice and "artsy" foods like grapes and cheese & crackers, and classical music filling the air.... but we also do something else that is extra-"techy"-special!   In May, we break the kiddos into small groups based on their favorite artists and each group makes their own artist mini-movie on one of our iPads.   The day of the show, we invite friends and family to our room (it's wall to wall, standing room only folks!) where we show the mini-movies...and then invite everyone to see our own master artist inspired art works at the show.  The movies are AWESOME!  I can not post them online, due to privacy issues.  But it you are interested, email me and I will give you access to view them!  :)  I can walk you though what you need to know to create your own.  You'll be amazed!

We began implementing this program during the 2011-2012 school year, just in my class.   The first grade teacher saw how much the kids and parents LOVED the program...and we expanded it to include both kindergarten and first grade this past year.   After seeing it in action, the third, forth, fifth and seventh grade teachers at my school have asked us to help create and implement the program in their rooms!   I'm so excited!!!  And actually.... SO blessed that my friend/assistant loves art as much as I do and is now spear-heading the program!
If you are interested to learning more about how to add a little art enrichment into your kinder-schedule, be sure to post a comment or email me!  I would be happy to share our ideas, and resources with you!  Below you will find a few pics from our Kinder-Gallery Show.  Enjoy!

Piet Mondrian Inspired Art

Art inspired by Freida Kahlo.  Can you believe how well 5 year olds can draw birds!? Crazy good!

Check out these Georgia O'Keefe kindergarten works!   :)

Water lilly inspired works.  Thank you Claude Monet!

POP ART inspired by Andy Warhol!  These were a little freaky...but this kids LOVED them!  They were SO different than anything else they had ever created before!

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  1. I'm so happy to find your blog. I teach pre-k and do a big art unit. I will definitely be adding some of your ideas next year. Stop by my blog and check out some of my art posts if you get a chance.
    Mrs. Goff's Pre-K Tales

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this! I would love to hear more!
    (Kathleen!) PS - I love this!!

  3. I absolutely love this! We have done a few other artists, including Cezanne still lives with acrylic paint, Picasso using black and white photographs of students heads and Kandinsky.

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  5. I LOVE your Artist of the Month program and I would really love to hear more about the specific lessons you do. Do you sell your program? Or could you share a lesson plan for one of the artists you study so I could have a starting point? I am so inspired by this post. I've had it bookmarked for quite some time, and I feel like it's really time to delve right into the possibilities. My email address is Thank you!

  6. I would really appreciate if you could share each month's artist plus the activity. Our school does not have art but I got an art grant to help with integrating art into our subjects and I thought it would be fun to do an artist of the month. I think they will really love it! Thank you!!