Thursday, October 6, 2011

FINALLY I Get to Start Teaching Classes!!!!

Our District started early this year -- before Labor Day -- but I didn't adjust my schedule forward and have been regretting it since September as I watched everybody else start teaching with kids. Granted, I had a lot of preparation time, but I was DEFINITELY ready to start this week!!!!

3rd graders started with a slightly tweaked lesson that I did last year based on Bill Martin Jr. and John Archembault's The Ghost Eye Tree. Last year I did this with a small group of kids who had finished another project early while others finished up another piece. Of course, everyone else wanted to do this one too!!

I started reading the book with the kids. Then we talked about sky colors and silhouettes, with a short Smartboard slideshow of night skies (and how the color varies from the moon outward) and spooky looking silhouettes of trees.

Before hitting the tempera paints, we did a little brush practice with kids focusing on how to hold a flat brush, how to turn one's brush as you turn corners, how to focus your eye on the side of the brush to get a "clean" line, and how/when to reload paint. I used very watered down watercolor for this instead of the tempera. I blogged about this a few weeks ago here. Again, SO interesting to see how hard it was for some to turn the brush and paint at the same time!

When the practicing was done it was on to mixing tints and shades to paint concentric circles. The center circle is supposed to be the moon in Martin's scary story. Before students painted I had them draw a circle, using a bottle lid as a template, so that the moon didn't get painted away once they started the circles (that happened to some last year).
Drying on the drying racks
Mixing shades in some colors provided good fodder for conversations about color mixing. Some were quite surprised to find they were getting brown when mixing black into their orange paint!

Another interesting side conversation was the differences between good-natured teasing between siblings and bullying (we have a new bullying program in our school so that is a "hot topic.")

I had foolishly contemplated doing the painting, and cutting/gluing the tree all in one session -- WHAT WAS I THINKING??!!  It was my first day back with classes; it was the first rainy day of the year; and kids were on a different schedule because of the rain. So, we did the painting (which everyone pretty much got the hang of) and put it aside to dry. Next week we'll get to creating our "ghost-eye tree" and all the little details to add to the background. Check back for the final results later.

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