I was having a conversation with a colleague the other day at lunch about the importance of teaching kids the "little things" that may make their artmaking (and general school work) more successful. She works with a child with special needs and sees daily how important the little steps can be. We started listing all the little things that some kids sometimes (BUT NOT ALWAYS) have learned intuitively. As art teachers, we probably see examples daily -- things like: using a glue stick, scissors, "pinch tearing", how to hold a paintbrush, using white glue, carrying scissors, etc.
I taught primary grades for years and was used to not taking anything for granted and teaching all the little steps. But this year, working again with upper elementary, I was surprised to see how many kids must have missed the lessons on the use of some of these materials. So, since this blog is (in part) for families and others who work with my students, I thought that every now and then I would focus on one "little thing" and detail how I like to talk about it. I also think it's a good idea MODEL everything I say for the kids so there are no misunderstandings.
Today, it is the GLUE STICK. First of all, I have found that not all glue sticks are made equal. My favorite right now is Avery Permanent Glue Stic. It is a small stick -- the larger ones are actually harder for kids to handle, particularly when working with small pieces of paper and small spaces. If you have other sticks you like even better, I'd love to know about them!!!
I impress on students to:
1. Put the lid in a safe place where you can find it later (we have table trays that are
good for this purpose).
2. Wind up the stick a VERY little bit -- maybe 2 millimeters at a time. Otherwise, as
the kids say, "It gets all smooshed up."
3. When gluing, put glue on the small piece of paper you are going to glue, not all over
the large sheet you are gluing to. (I know that's a dangling preposition - but kids
understand what I mean when I say it that way!)
4. Place that small paper on the newspaper on your desk and press hard enough to
get the glue on the paper or hold it in your hand and press hard enough to transfer
5. If the corners are popping up, add some more glue and press them down.
6. When done, replace the cap and listen for the "snap".
7. When a glue stick is out of glue, throw it away, instead of putting it back in the
8. We keep a basket of old caps for those times when one gets lost (which happens
9. If your hands get too sticky after awhile, go clean them and them come back to
continue the work.
Have I forgotten anything??