Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Playful Playgrounds!

I saw this cool unit on The Art Cart. Every year, I teach a kindergarten unit that includes drawing a playground using primary colors. When I saw Ms. Stalker's unit, I felt inspired to incorporate it into mine.
Kindergarten students were each assigned a random letter of the alphabet (I actually have about 30 students per class, so we were able to do every letter of the alphabet, plus a few extra!) They drew it with pencil as large as they could. Then, they added structures and details to turn it into a playground. To make their lines POP, they traced them with Sharpie. To finish, the students colored the playgrounds with oil pastels in primary colors. They were encouraged to mix the primaries to see what they could make. I love the simple compositions. Kinder did a fantastic job with this unit!

The week I began this lesson with kinder, I also began a related unit (unexpectedly) with second grade. I needed to leave sub plans, but didn't feel like using the same ones I usually do. I had leftover paper and black lines from the Piet Mondrian unit, and had just thoroughly enjoyed teaching the playground lesson to kinder. So, I came up with this lesson, which now has expanded into a two-day unit that I implemented with all my second grade classes.

Instead of having the students draw everything out first, I had them collage black paper lines to make one of the initials belonging to their first, middle, or last name. Then, they transformed it into a playground structure by adding more lines and drawing details with Sharpie. This was a little more challenging than the kinder unit, so it fit nicely with second grade. Last, I allowed the students to color their collages any way they wanted with oil pastels.

So fun to see one idea go in so many different directions. It was definately a subject every kid was in to! Thanks to the Art Cart for the great starting point!


Anonymous said...

I love how you adapted the project! It turned out lovely.

Mrs. Weymouth said...

Wouldn't it be fun to go outside and find these playgrounds! Those Kindergarteners had lots of good ideas! It was interesting to see the adapted project of the talented second graders, too. I wonder what names they would come up with if they were challenged to make the name of their playground start with the letter that is a part of the drawing.

Snippety Gibbet said...

Oh, I like that!

May I say that I really appreciate how your students' work looks individual. It makes me so sad to see art that is only a step or two removed from cookie cutter art.

Katie Gonzalez said...

I really appreciate that compliment. I try very hard to make my art program one that truly allows authentic art-making, problem-solving, and self-expression. Our students are capable of so many things! To me, cookie-cutter art reflects that a teacher has underestimated their students' talents and ideas... it's so sad to see so many limits put on what they get to create. Art made by children is the coolest, most interesting and beautiful art I've ever seen! I feel so lucky that I get to be a part of it.

Lori Decoite said...

this is a great lesson! i am going to try it! thanks for sharing.

Snippety Gibbet said...

Hey, Katie......I hope you don't mind. I linked to this post on my blog "Art Sub Lessons."