Children and the arts


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Children and the arts

  1. 1. Children and the Arts<br />
  2. 2. Children should be provided, “from infancy on with opportunities to express themselves using many different ‘languages,’ including clay, wire, words, paint, construction, and dramatic play” (Christine Chaillé, Constructivism Across the Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms)<br />
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  4. 4. These illustrations were made to accompany stories the children had written. I wanted each piece to have a focus on background and foreground elements, and so, had children work on their backgrounds first, thinking about the scene or setting of their story, and analyzing pictures and paintings of landscapes, noting especially where the horizon is. After the backgrounds were completed, we worked on foreground elements, mainly people, though there were a few unusual subjects (like a button). I wish I had focused more on the human form and sketching details on people before we had made these illustrations. I think it would have been useful to spend time sketching humans in order to understand proportion better before making these illustration people. <br />I feel that this illustration helped us to see the details in a story that we might not have thought about otherwise. The children, in most cases, had to reflect on where they were when they told their story, what was around them and what they wanted to include in an illustration.<br />Every time I look at this photograph, the incredible diversity in these illustrations astounds me. I think this is made possible because of the classroom environment in which these children live their school lives. The children were permitted endless opportunities to express their learning in art, and so, they already had ideas in their heads before they sat down to illustrate. <br />
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  6. 6. A poem about the parts of a bike sparked our interest in bicycles. We brought a bicycle, as well many bike parts (gears, chains, pedals), into the classroom for the children to explore. They became infatuated with the movement of the bike, and my collaborating teacher suggested that we create a bike of our own out of junk parts as an illustration of the poem. <br />This was very much a collaborative project: all of the children made sketches of a bicycle to help draw their attention to the minute details of a bike, but then, only a few children worked at tracing the shape of a bike and then a few other children worked at painting the background. Because of the environment of the classroom, there were no comments from the children about a lack of involvement (i.e. “How come he gets to do that and I don’t”). The children understood that if they wished, they would have a role in this piece.<br />My practicum was finished before the bike was, so I left at this point, and then saw the piece at the end. <br />I was inspired by the ability of this teacher to bring the children together to make something collaboratively. I also appreciated seeing the various techniques used to make this piece (projecting a drawn image to trace, sponge painting the background, and using real objects to make a two-dimensional bike).<br />This bike was integrated seamlessly into our work as a classroom: the children were used to illustrating poems and other pieces, and they were also truly engaged in working with a bicycle. <br />
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  8. 8. This project was done as part of a study of the Canadian North, after we had looked at many photographs and read many books set in the North. I wanted the children to experience and represent the geography and physical appearance of the North in a more engaging way than simply colouring in a map or filling in a chart. <br />The children in this classroom are largely English as an Additional Language students, and so, having the children work at making a piece that was wordless was so successful. The children were not expected to write anything about their piece, but instead, could incorporate images that they had already seen into their drawing without having to name them in a language that they do not yet feel competent. I think drawing connected these children to the North in a way that they would not have experienced if they had to do research and fill in a chart. The children of this class also love to draw, and I feel, are not given enough time to draw.<br />Given more time, I would have liked to have spent more time talking about the elements of a landscape and the features that we would like to include. I also notice, even from the drawings, that these children have not had much instruction in representing what they see. These children tended to fall back on cartoon sketches and were unsure how to fill a whole page with colour, so I would have given more instructional time to these.<br />
  9. 9. the blending in this piece indicated to me a really good beginning sense of use of colour and medium<br />this young girl struggles in most subjects, but felt confident that she could make a drawing about the North. Though her person indicates an early sense of representation, her use of line is just beautiful.<br />
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  13. 13. This project emerged entirely out of the children’s interests. At any point, when I turned the classroom projector on, children’s hands sprung into the air to make hand shapes along the bottom of the SMART Board. I decided to take advantage of this interest in light, and set up two overhead projectors in the classroom. The children and I spent at least an hour experimenting with animals and shapes that we could make with only our hands. At one point, some children had congregated around a computer, and I went over, expecting to have to drag them back to the task, but instead found that they had undertaken to researching different hand shapes they could make.<br />I decided that we could integrate shadow puppetry with our study of animals of the North. I provided the children with a period in which to make silhouette puppets. The children, surprisingly, worked at these simple puppets for almost two hours, experimenting with shapes and how they looked behind our shadow puppet screen.<br />Some of the children wrote their own plays, featuring the animals they had created, while others co-wrote a play (or dictated a play while I transcribed it). I wanted all children to have a chance to present a play, and so, would write for those children who did not yet have the competence in English.<br />I think working at a project that emerged from the children’s interests helped to keep them motivated. They were engaged in what we were doing, and so excited to present their plays. This short project incorporated so many areas of the curriculum: art, drama, social studies, and science. <br />Now, with a shadow puppet screen all made up, I think I’d like to integrate shadow puppets again in the coming semester. <br />
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  15. 15. We created inuksuit as part of our unit on the Canadian North. We studied inuksuit and their various purposes in the North. The children noticed that in many stories we read, there were inuksuit present. <br />Each child designed and created their own inukshuk. I gave each child a six inch by six inch square of paper on which they sketched their designs. Almost exclusively, the children sketched tiny landscapes. It wasn’t until they began working with the tiles (which I children to look at in planning) that they realized that tiny landscapes would not be possible. <br />Almost all of the children made human-like inuksuits, most likely because I had made a prototype plan and inukshuk tile. I did not want to do this, feeling that the children might take too much from my plan, but the teacher that I was working with encouraged me to do this. <br />I need to keep in mind that children will want to incorporate their teacher’s ideas, but also, in a classroom where children are given ample opportunity to be creative and express themselves, they will have more ideas and want to contribute these. Working with children at Riverbend, the children rarely looked to what I was doing for ideas; they had ideas themselves about what they planned to do.<br />In the end, I think this small art project really helped to children to understand inuksuit a littlebit better, especially those children who do not speak English fluently. <br />
  16. 16. I think children are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. I would like to think that in my classroom, I will follow those wonderful ideas and questions that children come up with, because these are the opportunities for real and valuable learning. Art and the varied things that children can create can play a huge and important role in a classroom. <br />Classrooms should be placed filled with art and music and life. Classrooms should be places that children feel comfortable expressing themselves and want to spend their time. I think this will be possible if, and only if, we listen to children and respond to what they need and want.<br />