I am so happy to introduce Tania from Mrs. Poultney’s Ponderings. She is from Australia!
She is my FIRST (at least that I remember! LOL!) guest post! She is going to share some amazing ideas on how she incorporates art into the classroom. I love her ideas to make learning more meaningful! Here we go!

Hello friends!  I am so happy to be guest blogging for Mandy and very excited to be the first of a range of guest bloggers to come! I love her blog and she has fabulous ideas for making life easier and more efficient in the classroom.

I wanted to share just a little bit about me.  My name is Tania and normally you would find me at Mrs Poultney’s Ponderings.

I have been teaching for 16 years in Australia (that’s right I am from Down Under!) no I do not ride a kangaroo to school but we often have them coming to eat our green grass on the front lawn.  I have taught a range of year levels from Kindergarten through to Year 5 but Year 2 is my fave!  I wanted to share some ideas on using Art in your classroom as I feel very passionate about students being able to express themselves and their creativity.  Those kiddos blow me away and inspire me everyday.

Creativity is something we try to encourage in our classroom and Art and Crafts is the perfect way to do this.  Lately though I feel like Art is being pushed further and further out the door to make way for testing prep, data collection and lots of things that are not creative in the slightest.  Here’s my take on it, if we want students who are able to use creativity to design, problem solve and imagine then we need to provide ample opportunity for them to express themselves.  Art has a place in the classroom as a regular activity, it is part of the curriculum and we need to recognise that it is a valid learning experience.

Art can be incorporated into sooooo many different subjects and this is one of the ways I make sure my kiddos are getting that creative experience every week.  That’s right we do Art EVERY WEEK in my room, sometimes we even do it first thing in the morning…GASP!

I wanted to share with you some of the Art experiences we have done in my classroom and how I have woven it in to be part of our Social Studies, Science, Literacy and Numeracy programs.

Papier Mache Bowls with South American designs
I am not going to lie to you, this was an epic project that I worked on with a Grade 4 class, I was only in for one afternoon a week.  If I was doing this in my own class I would have a station set up that would allow small groups to work on at any given time during the day.  Here is the Geography component to this Art project.  
Students had to research an area of South America and draw a design that would show where these bowls came from.  Some students chose animals that were endemic to the area, some chose geometric patterns and some chose symbols.  They had to write a blurb on what each section of the design represented and why they thought it was important.  Like I said, it was epic but the final product and the variety of designs blew me away.  We also touched on symmetry when were discussing the designs.
To make the bowl we used strips of newspaper soaked in a glue (PVA or Elmers) and water mix (not too watery) then laid them on the inside of the bowl making sure we had  about 3-4 layers.  When it was super dry and hard we painted them in a block color.  To put the designs on we used oil pastels as these were very bright and went on easily.  
African Animal Silhouettes
My inspiration for this art work came from Pinterest.  Again this was a Year 4 class but this could be easily adapted for other grades.  Students had to choose an animal to research and write an Information report to go with their Art piece.  We also had Science discussions about the placement of the Sun in relation to the earth to create shadows and silhouettes.

We painted the background using watercolors to represent the sunset at dusk and left it to dry.
Then the students cut out the silhouette they wanted to use….

traced around it and added in details
We then used black paint to fill in the shapes.  Easy yet effective.

These painting make a great bulletin board or display.
Kandinsky Life Circles

 This was a project I did with a Year 2 class.  Each student was given a piece of paper and asked to draw concentric circles to represent each year of their life.  They were then asked to use a different color to represent that year.  They were asked to think about what they thought the first year of their life would have been like and we wrote a list of all the things that might happen to them in their first years right through to their current year.  We then put the circles altogether in a large mural and under it the students had written a description of their favorite memory.  At the end of the year I cut the mural up and sent them home with the memory, I did get a lot of feedback from parents on how much they loved it.

Newspaper snowmen.

I will admit this project came about because I had an excess of newspapers that needed to be used but the kiddos had so much fun with it and I loved seeing the different landscapes they made.  We actually didn’t have a writing component with this but you could have a poem or a narrative on what snowmen get up to at night.  Don’t tell anyone but sometimes we do Art just for fun 🙂

I hope you have found some ideas here for incorporating Art into your classroom and encouraging your kiddos to be creative.

Thank you so much, Tania!  Aren’t the animal silhouettes GORGEOUS?!?!? Make sure to hop on over and check out her blog here!

Published by Mandy Gregory

Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website (www.mandygregory.com) and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.

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