My students had a BLAST in our kindergarten classroom for Halloween last week, yet they were amazingly well behaved. We didn’t have a week full of candy and silliness. We had fun, but it was more academic in nature and it really helped my students to remain in control of their actions. Our first order of Halloween business was a little practice in the fine art of water color painting. After two weeks of learning color words, our new favorite book to read in class is Go Away, Big Green Monster. In light of this beloved, not-too-scary book character; we created our own Big Green Monster paintings.
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The secret to any well-crafted painting in my classroom is PRACTICE. I have a block of time for “drawing lessons” in my weekly lesson plans. Last week, we practiced drawing Ed Emberley’s monster step-by-step on our whiteboards. The most important element of a successful drawing in kindergarten is proper proportions. I find that coaching students through their drawings and giving plenty of reminders about our goal to fill the entire space has a dramatic impact on the quality of their drawings, both during the lesson and later on during independent work time.
Drawing lessons take place on the carpet in my classroom. I draw the students around me nice and close. I find that it helps them remain focused and I can easily provide extra support to students that are struggling with the shapes or sizes in the lesson.
After two successful monster drawing attempts, we were ready for the real deal. I handed each student a piece of white cardstock. Each child worked from their desk while I led a reminder lesson on how to draw a monster using our classroom Elmo. The children sat further away than they were during our practice lessons, but by the third try, they had confidence and knew what shapes to add to each monster each step of the way with minimal personal coaching from me.
After drawing with a pencil, students traced every pencil line on their paper with a black crayon. In addition to adding an extra bold pop, the wax from the crayons helps prevent the watercolor paints from blurring into each other.
Drawing and tracing was a task that we spent one class period on. Once all of the drawings were complete, I collected the papers. On day 2, it was time to paint! This was a whole class activity. I painted my monster under the classroom Elmo and students painted their monsters step-by-step with me.
Our completed monster paintings were positively adorable and I know Ed Emberly would be proud!
If you are not familiar with the book Go Away, Big Green Monster, you need to buy it today. It’s a fun twist on the traditional scary monster story and my students can’t get enough!