Looking around the classroom I noticed that we have so many pieces of work demonstrating our explorations with blue and yellow. But now, when I look outside I see the fiery colors of fall – red, gold, orange. It got me thinking about how we need to do some more color exploration.
Just this thought gave me a huge rush of relief and excitement. In all the activity of these last few weeks of school I feel that simple exploration of materials has been lacking. How did that happen? Isn’t that one of the things our school is based upon?????
Well, out came little glass dishes, plastic droppers and watercolor paints.
When the children came in there were several squeals of delight. How wonderful! They remembered how to use the droppers and were soon hard at work. Discussions about what the colors were and what they could make by mixing them together.
“It is going to be pink”
“I am going to make gold. Like princess slippers”
“Look at my truck. It is all orangey”
Later in the morning, when they were busy elsewhere, I quietly refreshed the paints. Another rush of exploration occurred. This time one child discovered he could make bubbles in the paint with the dropper. How exciting! Soon all of the children were trying it. There needed to be a few reminders about keeping the paint on the tray!
My watercolor paper dilemma got me thinking about art materials. My husband is an art teacher and between the two of us we have tried out a lot of what Blick and Discount School Supply have to offer. I have tried to cut corners due to budget restrictions but am often then really disappointed (these liquid watercolors are my exception – they are amazing!). It is frustrating as I want to be able to offer my students the best but in order to do this I would have to raise tuition dramatically.
Through trial and error I have finally settled on my favorite pencils and crayons. They are certainly not cheap but they seem to last forever so I think that in the long run the money is very well spent. The Lyra Giant pencils are beautiful. They are chunky and therefore easy for little fingers to grip. They highly pigmented, therefore giving a richly rewarding coloring experience (sounds like a blurb sorry, but it actually comes from me!). The children love them as they are so satisfying to use. They seem soft but rarely need sharpening…..not sure how they manage that?!?
My favorite crayons are without a doubt the Stockmar beeswax crayons. We are currently only using the blocks but they make sticks as well. The design means you can easily cover large areas, but also use the corners to make lines and detailing. The pigments are rich and they really do last for years, even with very heavy use. The big plus for me is that they simply will not break, no matter how hard you try! Oh yes and they smell of beeswax which adds to the sensory experience.
Well, it is getting late so I will continue this post tomorrow. The students today were having such fun drawing that I took photos and notes to share with you. until tomorrow……
Just near our classroom is a field that was full of beautiful long grass. Just today it was cut down to use as hay for nearby sheep and cows! I managed to grab some just before it was cut and offered it to the children.
Along with the grass they were offered a dish with acorns they had collected
and a dish with dome grass stalks
I also offered some circles of soft black velvet.
The children seemed to prefer to work individually and would quietly come over to the table when others were busy with something else. They would quietly arrange the materials on a circle. What surprised me was that every time they would then put everything away when they were done!
I have not really seen this with other activities, except for the easel sculpture. It was fascinating that they were determining the permanence of their work. That they were making the decision that it would be an experience for experience’s sake rather than to produce an end product.
Children are pretty amazing aren’t they!