Tar Beach is a children's book written by Faith Ringold who is also an artist who creates quilts that tell stories. Tar Beach is the story of young Cassie who lives in the heart of New York and her favourite place to be is up on the rooftop of her apartment building at night where she can look at all the twinkling lights and see buildings from up high. The rooftop is covered with tar, which is why the story is called tar beach!
It tells of a child's simple wish for a better life and how dreams and fantasy can help us all to escape and to create a world that makes us feel happy and hopeful.
The Doodlebugs will create their very own Tar Beach collage. Today they created the sky and the George Washington Bridge and coloured in a picture of themselves arms and legs outstretched like they are flying over the city just like Cassie in the story.
My Picassos are getting into the whole Dr. Seuss celebrations too! In honor of his birthday we talked about our favorite Seuss stories and favorite Seuss Characters! Who doesn't remember learning to read (or for some of us more recently, watching their toddler learn to read) Green Eggs and Ham?!? There are soooo many to choose from!
Each character of course has its own look and style but they are all distinctively Seuss. So we looked at a few popular ones and talked about what they had in common and then the kiddos got to create their very own Dr. Seuss character which they drew and painted.
They also had an additional exercise today... they each had to complete a little worksheet of sorts that gave a bit of description to their characters. Let's hear it for Dr. Seuss!
Dr. Seuss strikes again with his fun rhymes and hilarious sentences that can always provoke a giggle! I introduced the Doodlebugs to Red Ted before we read the story and asked them to look out for him so they were all leaning in waiting for him to make his appearance in the story!
Of course they were repeating the rhyming words and then we got down to our directed drawing of Red Ted and his crazy hairdo! They also got to cut him out and stick him onto a very Seuss-styled background that we created with glitter! Whaaaat? Scissors and glitter in one class... what was I thinking? LOL
Oh my goodness! Or should I say "Oh Dios mio!" When I came across this little picture book I was over the moon! It's a Mexican twist of the classic The Little Red Hen... with all the repetition and morals of the old story, but with the added benefit of introducing some Spanish words!
I don't have to tell you that we had a blast repeating;
"Yo noooooo! I move tooooo slooow!" and "If I grow arms tonight, I'll help you manana igauna!"
Then we painted our desert background and drew and cut out Tortuga the lazy tortoise who refused to help Iguana prepare for her fiesta!
Last week the Picassos looked at the struggles of Horace Pippin and his determination to get back to painting after injuring his arm. (He took 3 years to complete his first painting after his injury!) They created pictures of themselves sitting at their easels and imagined what they would be painting and conjured up their fantasy bedrooms/art studios! See the first part of this lesson here.
This week they painted them and they are just dreamy!
The Picassos were introduced to the artist Horace Pippin and I used the book A Splash of Red to tell the story of his life and give them an idea of the man and his art. Horace overcame his poor upbringing and even survived a war albeit with an injured arm but none of that could keep him away from his love of art! He found a way to prop his injured arm so he could still draw and he worked and worked until it got stronger and he was brave enough to exhibit his paintings even though he had no formal art training and his work eventually made him famous!
This story is meant to highlight that everyone's journey is different and really gives the children a chance to be quiet and imagine. (Something that can get lost in a world full of distractions!)
They looked at some pictures of his art and then they started drawing from their imaginations... which is what Horace did! They all started off with the shape of an easel on their paper and they were tasked to imagine the rest of the art piece. What would they be painting on their easel? What would their room look like? Take a look at the start of their imagination pieces... Next week they'll complete them with paint!
This adorable little book celebrates the creative process with simple but powerful descriptions and really beautiful illustrations. Marisol is at first worried that she won't be able to paint the sky because she has no blue paint, but then she discovers that the sky can be almost any colour depending on when you look up! After hearing the story the Doodlebugs really understood that the sky doesn't have to be blue and then we talked about what kinds of colours we might use to paint the sky!
Then they got down to creating their watercolour skies which turned out really quite beautiful. They also drew and coloured a picture of themselves arms outstretched and cut and stuck it onto the background to mimic the last picture in the book!
My doodlebugs are between the ages of 4 1/2 and 6 so it goes without saying that they jump at any chance they get to move and shake! We don't usually start art class with a dance but today was a class with a difference! They listened to this catchy little sing a story called The Really Silly Robot and they all got up and tried to do the wiggle, squiggle, shake, shake! It was hilarious LOL.
Then we discussed the parts we need to make a robot, namely a head, body, arms and legs. Now some of them are great with shapes and some need a little reminder but they all loved creating these crazy shape robots!They all created a dancing robot but we approached it differently according to their age. My 4 and 5 year olds traced and cut out their robot part and really worked those fine motor skills, while my 6 year olds drew their robots and we discussed the shapes they could choose from and how to position arms etc to make the robot look like it was moving and shaking lol! Check them out as they piece together their robots and learn all about shapes in the process!
This morning, our last class for the term (gasp... where did the time go?!?) I did another read aloud for my Doodlebugs! This time our story was How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss and boy oh boy was this a hit!
Some of them knew the story but a few were hearing it for the first time and it was a joy to see them go through all the emotions that this rhythmic fun little story brings to the fore! They were shocked that the Grinch didn't like Christmas... why Miss why??, then they were angry he wanted to spoil it for the Whos and finally they were thrilled that he came round in the end!
I asked them to describe the Grinch before his heart 'grew' and they gave me words like, mean, selfish, and angry... all pretty accurate I think. Then I asked them what they thought the Grinch learned from the Whos and they said, "that Christmas is not about presents, that it was about friends and family!" Couldn't have asked for a better answer really!!
They made some adorable little Grinch heads for our art project which was of course a total hit!
I thought I would usher in Christmas at the studio by reading this great little book "A Bucket of Blessings". While it is not a Christmas story it certainly has some beautiful lessons that tie in well with the season of giving.
In the story they see that one person ( or monkey ha ha) can make a big difference just by doing something relatively small and it also underscores that you can find great joy in helping others. Of course, the colours are vibrant and the pictures appear textured so it is very visually appealing.
They created the peacock from the story using a collage technique which they approached in the manner of a puzzle! Lots of fun and lots of learning and the art isn't too shabby either!
Be a fly on the wall in our art room! Take a look at what we do, how we do it and the smiles that I get to see week after week :)