My first year back to teaching was a little bit of this and a little bit
of that. I then switched to working on a theme, Celebrating the Arts
Around the World and the music teacher and I coordinated our countries
(travels). We were able to put on a wonderful program when visiting
Australia called the Singing Snake, after the book.
The following year we changed to A Time for Art. This we have continued
for two years and will continue next year until we get to present day.
I started with dinosaurs because we had a group of teachers who went to
Wyoming and they visited the dinosaur museum there. The entire school
took part in a Wyoming Rendeavous family night. We decorated the lobby
with paper stuffed life-size bison, elk, etc. and backdropped them with
mountain and wildflower scenes. We even had a waterfall. It was so
cool! That inspired the archeological dig that is also ongoing. One of
my third grade classes made a stegosaurus skeleton out of slab clay and
along with some real bones, fossils and artifacts it was all buried by
my husband and me. (husbands are great)
We proceded with cave art, Egyptian, Greek and Roman the first year.
This year we got caught up in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and spent
the whole year there! Next year we will move onto 1700 and 1800's to
Impressionism -- unless we decide we like something and we will focus on
it for awhile.
I love teaching by themes. It makes everything flow more consistently
and you have such opportunity to introduce history and cultrues and have
it make sense. I had more plans than I had time to do. I exposed the
kids to as many mediums I could and wish I would have had more time.
We had a visiting artist come and hand sew illuminated books with the
fourth graders. They loved it. This happened at the end of the year
when some fourth graders were composing their own poems in class. Some
used them as autograph books, some for journals. They were a big hit.
They did an embossed aluminum letter and attached it on the cover with
I encourage the theme idea and throw in all that you can pack in. The
last day of school I had a group of third graders for the last time.
They thought that we would just have an extra recess or something since
I actually came to their classroom and they did not come to the artroom.
I told them that I had one more hour left to stuff one more hours worth
of art in their little brains and I wasn't going to waste one minute of
it. They all rolled their eyes! Then I dramatically read a book about
gargoyles and showed them my Dav Pilkey God Bless the Gargoyle poster,
and I did a guided charcoal drawing with them. We used our artist eyes
and broke the gargoyle down into familiar lines and shapes. Then I
showed them how to shade with tissue. When I told them that it was time
to clean up, they had a fit. They didn't want to stop. One of the
little girls said that it was the best drawing she had done all year and
couldn't wait to show her mom. They wanted to stay throught lunch!
And, I said, "Is this the same class that boohooed when you didn't get
an extra recess?" I loved it...so did they.
By the way, I also painted three murals with the kids this year. It was
a very busy year!