Integrating art projects into classroom themes.

January 12, 2020

1.13.2020 An ARCTIC them is one that kids always love.

Can’t you just feel the icy breeze on your face, and hear the crunching of snow under your feet when you take in these chillastic projects created in classroom themes?

You’d think we were right in the Arctic!

 

Walking in the snow in your warm mittens, boots, hat and coat, meeting up with penguins and polar bears, and building snow people, along the way.

These are the types of images that come to mind for Winter for many people, and images the teachers in this classroom want their students to have in mind as well.

Looking at these masterpieces, you can see that the students got lots of practice of tactile and fine motor skills, opportunities for communication and interaction, and a reinforcing sensory experience too. Great job, everyone!

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12.31.19 A snowman craft gives students in room 7 an activity integrating art and language.

A theme of snow and winter gives students a host of activities to engage in to understand the uniqueness of the season as well as to learn about weather forms at a beginning level. Snowmen crafts are highly favored – children can translate the concept and teachers can integrate it with all subject areas as needed.

In Room 7 recently, a fun snowman project allowed students to build an ornament from a gathering of items, and to use words to talk about each step of the process.

One little boy is working on the language and conceptual understanding of hot vs. cold. Another has a goal of labeling parts of a body, so eyes, nose, arms and mouth became part of the conversation. All of the students were engaged with feeling the sensory attributes of the items in the making, such as the hardness of the paint stick, the shininess of the buttons and the softness of the scarf.

The class did a great job, not only with the project, but also with sitting and working together in a group. Important for school-readiness, students in this room are young. Some have never before been in a daycare or school setting! The gains they’ve made since starting the school year is huge. Kudos to all!


10.17.19  Children learn in an endless number of ways.

At Crossroads Center for Children, teachers and therapists are skillful at using multiple modalities to give their students plentiful opportunities to learn and practice the skills and concepts they need. Integrating Art with other subjects works well with children of all ages, because kids love being creative, just as much as teachers do.

Art projects are known to allow children of all abilities to access complex topics and concepts.

Engaging in art provides students with a connection to subjects and ideas, whether new or familiar. Art encourages attending, problem solving and spatial understandings.

Projects are fun, simply by virtue of being opportunities for creative expression. They’re also experiences filled with chances to build social interaction and school readiness.

At Crossroads, students have a chance to do all of this and at the same time to practice fine motor skills.

For example, learning to use a glue stick requires learning to remove the sometimes sticky cap, twist the bottom just the right amount and direction, press it to paper with the appropriate amount of pressure, put the paper to the surface as desired, and return the cap with similar expertise.

Grasping small morsels of black construction paper, which have been cut out as apple seeds and placing them in the correct area of the apple shape, takes a bit of spatial attention and develops understanding of  size and space, too.

Picking up a paint brush, wetting it, dipping it into the tiny spot of desired color on the watercolor palette, and applying that same brush to a certain area on a paper, is a sequence of skills which sometimes need to be isolated for teaching, especially with young children.

 

It’s important that we appreciate the finer details of teaching art skills, as much as the art of using such projects to bring alive the awesome themes that have to do with other subjects, apples, pumpkins, water and all of the themes being taught.

We’re so thankful for the grants and donations that we’ve been given to help with social skills development, since art projects are one of the areas where teachers and therapists can target social skills with students. Some examples of goals that students might have are sharing materials, passing items to one another, attending to a speaker (the teacher), showing one’s project to peers in a group, or even sitting in a group for increasing durations of time. Considering that the overwhelming majority of our preschool students have never been in a school setting before, there are so many skills that their teachers will shape over the course of the school year.

If you love the art projects that the students make here, be sure to follow us on Facebook where we share frequently!


12.3.18 Science and Art Meet Again

Here are just a couple of recent examples of high interest art projects that taught science concepts, too.

Here is a finger paint and collage project that Room 7 did recently. As you can see, the children made snowmen – melted ones. They’ve been learning about snow, and their art wall is currently full of snow flakes, snow globes and snowmen including melted snowmen. Learning about the water cycle, weather activities and the melting of snow are science concepts that are challenging in the abstract, yet graspable when introduced through a highly interesting art activity such as this.


Another clever activity was done in Room 4. Using wax crayons, the children colored their penguins. They then sprayed water on them. As they conducted this crayon resist art technique and experiment, they learned about the oily feathers that penguins have that helps keep them safe from cold and wind.  This serves as a basis of understanding how different animals are suited to live in different habitats.

A third example is found in Room 6’s recent pumpkin painting activity. Painting pumpkins is cool enough, but Room 6 took it a step further, and used mashed pumpkin to paint their trays with. The object was to describe the way the pumpkin feels to the touch, smells to the nose, and looks to the eye. Children were encouraged to paint with their hands if tolerated and to use a brush if that was preferred. Learning about the senses is an important area of science.

We hope you enjoy seeing what our classrooms are doing and how. Your comments are most welcome – we love seeing what others are doing.

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