Hello! My name is Cindy Feeney and I am the author of a very new blog called LOVE THOSE KINDERS. I am so honored to be a guest blogger on Crystal’s wonderful and FUN blog! Thank you Crystal!
I am in my 17th year of teaching kindergarten! I can’t believe it myself – time has flown and so many things have changed since I began 17 years ago! When I first started we were still teaching colors and counting to 20. Now we are teaching color WORDS and counting beyond 100! Our students are writing stories and putting letters together to form words. Most of us teach thematically and this was just starting to emerge as a favored way to teach 17 years ago.
One thing that I love to do is to incorporate drawing, cutting, gluing, and writing into every thematic subject that I can! I truly believe that when children illustrate a book, create a paper Mache animal, or use construction paper and glue to create, they take a dynamic role in their learning adventure. They retain the knowledge longer because they become an active participant in their educational journey. I love for my students to illustrate books that are written in words in which they can read or to write about a project that they created. I am not really a teacher who gives my students patterns and templates in which to trace. I know there are some projects that need a template, but for most activities, I prefer to give directions and then let my students fly with them. Do I get some pretty diverse projects? Absolutely! But that is what makes their art delightful to me!
Obviously my students do not start the year being able to create the projects they do now! As with any beginning of the year activity, steps are taken in increments and learned slowly. I start with teacher-directed lessons and then once they get the hang of how it is done, I let them go and usually what they come up with is SO MUCH better than what I could do! I am NOT an artist! I struggled with drawing and painting all through school – just like most of us! But once I started observing the world through different eyes, I realized that just knowing a few basic shapes or strokes can help us to create almost anything!
At the beginning of the year, we do a shape search. We simply attach paper to a clipboard; walk outside, and start sketching! It is so amazing to see what children can see! Their observation skills are so much more attuned to visual cues than mine and they have taught ME to see shapes I didn’t realize were there!
From the beginning lesson, I ask my students to add some words to their picture. Even if is only the beginning sound of the word prefaced with a high frequency word such as “the or a”; it is the start of their writing journey. The drawing/cutting techniques that I use with my students help them with their handwriting, too! Once they can take control of their pencil or scissors to create a picture, they have more confidence in their ability to write a letter, a word, or even a sentence. The end of the school year astounds me by what they can do!
There are SO MANY skills involved in drawing and cutting techniques! Children must be able to sequence to know what they should create first, then second, then third, and so on. They must be able to have control of their pencil and scissors and know the purpose of glue. This is fine motor practice. They must be able to look for sizes and shapes. This is math practice. When children are asked to illustrate a book, they are learning to recognize the differences between author and illustrator. They are identifying the front cover, title page, and back page of a book. They are describing their illustrations and the text in which they appear. They are blending and segmenting words. They are recognizing proper punctuation! Whew! Don’t let anyone ever tell you that skills are not being learned when children are illustrating their books or creating paper projects!
Here are a few pictures of some of the fun projects that my students have done this year!
Here are some examples of the “How to Draw” illustrations I give my students to help them follow steps to draw or cut.
If you would like to see more ideas, hop on over to my blog! And I thank Crystal once again for allowing me to be her guest blogger! Have a great week!