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Lesson Plans

Re: Kindergarten

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Teri Sanford Mason (terily)
Mon, 21 Jun 1999 09:32:27 -0500

Hi Sue,
Yes, I have a classroom. I have been fortunate to have one at all 3 schools in
which I have taught art. I am now, after many years, in my "dream job," in a
smaller district (rural, but fast becoming a suburb of the Austin/Round Rock, TX
area), a HUGE art studio with more closets than I could ever have imagined, a
great budget (at least so far :?), parental and principal support, etc. Last year
I had 4 sections of K, 50 min per week, M-Th. I had a weird schedule, though,
having to teach K-12. Next year will only be K-5 and I will most likely have 5
sections at 50 min per week.
I hope that I didn't make it sound like teaching K is a piece of cake. It is
NOT, especially at the beginning of the year. It is amazing how far they come in
just one year (for some, even just one semester). You have to TRAIN them to
behave/perform how you want them to. I think it is most definitely harder on a
cart because you are competing with what the classroom teacher has set up as
expectations. For me, I am able to say "In the art studio, we do it this way"
whereas in the classroom it might be different. Then they know that whenever
they come to art it is always THIS way, etc.
I have them come in and sit on the rug in the center (I do this with K-5). I
do a direct teach for about 15-20 minutes (which is VERY LONG at first, w/K's).
Sometimes this is giving history or looking at a print, sometimes reading a story
and discussing one element, like finding all the lines in the illustrations, or
looking for primary colors. During this time I also show them what we will be
doing that day. I demo the medium or project, going through the steps
carefully. Then I do a little "quiz" as I go through the demo again: What do I
do first? (they tell me and I do it). Next? Etc. If they tell me the wrong
thing I will attempt to do it (without ruining my project) so that they get a
visual of what is the wrong step vs. the correct step. Finally, I let them go to
their seats, dismissed by tables, to get started, again reminding them of that
first step. When everyone is at their seat working, I watch to see when a good
time for a step #2 reminder and I give it aloud. Then step #3, etc. All the
while, I am walking around and helping individuals. I find that having them
going from rug to seat and back to rug is very distracting. More kids will get
off task and it takes longer (for me) to get them "back" to my attention.
With Kindergartners, keeping them seated is a constant battle, I just refuse to
acknowledge them until I see them with their hand raised, from their chair. If
they walk over to me, I turn to look at them and I silently raise my hand and
they remember to go sit and raise their hand. This takes about the whole first
semester, you just have to be patient. It's like getting a new puppy... you want
it to come pre-programmed for good behavior, but it doesn't! It takes training!
You have to expect some mistakes, but just be firm and consistent. The ONE time
you give in and talk to someone who didn't raise their hand, you have set
yourself even farther back.

As for sharing their work, I don't do that right away. We have to have some
procedures in place first. One way to do it, once you have established the
procedures and the kids are responding appropriately, is to have some kind of
visual chart and let 3-4 kids go per day. You can use 10 min of your time each
day for critique. Have them choose when their project is REALLy special to them
(all will be at first, later they will be able to discern a difference, esp as
they get older) and let you know they'd like to share that day. After their name
is checked off, they don't get another share until the next month. (you have to
divide your class into groups of however many in a month, groups of 5 for a class
of 20). When doing critiques, I start by asking questions of the artist (what do
you like about it, what was hard, what were you thinking about, etc.) then let
2-3 people share their feelings about the work. It always has to be positive and
it has to be specific, not just "I like it" but what about it do you like? "I
like the bright colors." I like the wavy and loopy lines." "I think it looks
happy because the person is smiling." Kinder will, at first, say what you say,
like if your example is about colors, all 3 that talk that day will say they like
the colors. The next time, it will be the lines or whatever. But eventually
they will use those phrases and concepts on their own.
I don't have a critique every time. Be careful setting up that expectation,
because Kinder don't forget. If you said you would do it every time, they will
expect it and be disappointed if you don't. So you have to decide if you are
willing to let go of that time each week. I think it is a great way to develop
thinking and reasoning skills, as well as speaking before a group. But I'm not
willing to do it every time. Sometimes I just want to let them keep working or
it takes longer to clean up, etc. Sometimes, I just can't take it (K's can be
very long winded, often without a point in site!!), so I just surprise them and I
keep track in my log book of who has shared and who hasn't. With older grades, we
can do it more often because they are more succinct and to-the-point. Plus, we
do lots more discussing in 1-5, with prints, etc., so they are used to
discussion. With K I am mostly trying to set the stage for future learning.

Gosh, I'm sorry this has been so long! I hope I have answered your questions.
Good luck with your struggles on a cart. I don't think I could do it!!


Skiart wrote:

> Teri
> I have difficulty because the procedures of the classroom teacher are
> opposite of mine. I come in on a cart. I keep them seated, then to the rug
> for whole group instruction, body movement, discussion, paper selection,
> cutting. Then they go back to the tables to glue, then back to the rug for
> the 2nd step, etc.
> I hold back the slow kids and reteach this small group on the rug.
> I don't let them go to the sink in the back room, I don't have time to
> monitor and let them all go back there. I distribute baby wipes or soapy, wet
> paper towels to them at their table. They can't get up, if they do, they
> leave their mess, and I have to get them back.
> The classroom teacher has stations, they move about freely. This works if you
> are the Kdg classroom teacher. I can't do more than one project at one time,
> I have Early Childhood thru 7th grade and 6 classes a day on a cart.
> I found they love to show their art but not listen to each other. What do I
> do about this? I have one idea, I need more. This was successful.
> I tried a puppet show with their puppets they made. I called the green table
> puppets to go behind the puppet stage. I asked the question about an element
> on Patti's puppet. The audience on the rug held up their puppets to answer,
> then Patti called on a puppet to answer. After all green table puppets had a
> turn, then I called the yellow table puppets, etc.
> How many classes of kdg do you have? Do you have a classroom?
> Sue in Cicero, IL, schools