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Friday, September 12, 2014


I’ve been so busy giving you ideas for intentional teaching lately that I haven’t been giving enough LOVE to art. Here are a few ideas for what I call “smart art” - or reinforcing skills through art media. 
Note! I titled this blog “The Spot” because a teacher told me she called her art center “The Spot.” I thought that was rather clever and perfect for these simple, open-ended activities.
*Remember, it’s the process and not the product. Children will be using problem-solving and small motor skills as they do these projects.

Pop Up Scene
Skills: comprehension, setting
Materials: construction paper, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, scrap box
Directions: Prepare pop-ups ahead of time by folding the construction paper in half. Cut two slits from the fold 3 ½” from each side and 2 ½” down as shown. Bend the tab in so when you open there will be a 3-dimensional tab. Have children close their eyes and make a picture from a book you have read in their brain. Have them draw the setting of the scene on the inside of the pop-up. Finally, have them draw the main character and glue it to the pop-up.
*Pop ups are perfect for habitat studies or scenes from history.

Skills: letters, color, shapes, parts of speech, seasons, senses, etc.
Materials: paper plates, scissors, glue, catalogs, magazines, markers
Directions: Choose a theme for the collage that relates to a skill – letter, shape, color, noun, etc. Children cut out pictures and glue them on the paper plate. They can also draw pictures or decorate the rim of the plate.
Pipe Cleaner People
Skills: book characters, famous people, retelling a story
Materials: pipe cleaners, scrap box, cloth, scissors, glue
Directions: Demonstrate how to make a stick person from two pipe cleaners. Children can then add a face, clothing, and other details. Let them retell a story with their pipe cleaner people.
*Lunch bags are also perfect for creating puppets of characters from books.

Skills: geometric shapes
Materials: toothpicks, clay, Styrofoam
Directions: Children can use clay or Styrofoam to connect toothpicks and make sculptures. Encourage them to name their sculptures.
*If your school allows food then it’s fun to make sculptures with pretzel sticks and miniature marshmallows.

Dot to Dot
Skills: cardinality, counting
Materials: 2 dice, paper, crayons
Directions: Children roll the dice and add up the dots. They take a black crayon and make that number of dots randomly on a sheet of paper. Can they connect the dots and create something out of it?
*Have children make dots and then exchange papers with a friend.

Skills: shapes, numerals, letters
Materials: paper, crayons, markers
Directions: Draw a shape or glue a shape in the middle of each sheet of paper. The children choose a shape and then try to create something out of it. Encourage them to fill in the whole page to “camouflage” their shape.
*You could do something similar with letters or numerals.