Posted by: keepingthemistakes | April 16, 2013

Common Core in the Art Room

I’ve actually participated in two in-services this spring about Common Core and Art. I’m excited by it, and encouraged that I’m already doing a lot of things in the art room that qualify as common core, even if I didn’t recognize/call it that. I’ve become more intentional and conscious about it, and am sure to point out the connections to my students. I used to do things that I knew tied in with what they did in the classroom, and waited for them to make the connections. Now, I point them out. Put dots on the corners of these shapes and connect those dots with the vanishing point — what are we making when we connect the dots — line segments, that’s right! Just like you do in math! Anyway, I’m kind of pumped about it.

Also, in prep for our upcoming 4th grade field trip to the art museum (!!!), we are spending some time “reading” works of art. I talk to them about context clues, title, author (artist), characters, setting, plot! It’s pretty awesome, and they really get into it!

And, clay. Yesterday marked the beginning of CLAY WEEKS in my art room. It’s intense, it’s exhausting, but such energy and excitement. I come home exhausted and dirty (well, ok, I always come home dirty. Teaching art is dirty work), but energized too.

Kindergarten is making texture necklaces.


For this project, I give them a small – about 1 inch square – piece of clay and have them roll it into a ball. Next, they use the palm of their hand to flatten it so it looks like a cookie (but don’t eat it, and don’t make it too flat!). They are exclaiming that it’s cold, why is it gray, will it turn white, can we paint it? I then show them some texture rollers I have and have them feel it — talk about how it feels and that that’s texture. They gently roll texture into their circle, and when they’re done I poke a hole it it, put their name and grade on the back, and we’re done until glazing.

Second grade is making sculptures of their mammals which they’re doing reports on. I love them. I do help them start forming the body, head and limbs but then I let them do their thing. It’s so fun to watch them work. They are totally engaged and enjoying it. I wish I could have them for longer, because I always feel like I’m rushing them to finish.

A moose, with a flying squirrel behind it!
A rat!
A caracal! This one amazes me!
A view of many. The one with the really pointy ears and the curly tail is the caracal.

I must say that during clay weeks, centers are my friends. I didn’t use centers my first year or so, and then I did. Centers changed my life. I’m not even kidding. Imagine 25 kids making a sculpture as you demonstrate. It was total chaos. Now, I have 6-7 at a time, while the others are occupied doing other independent art activities (well, mostly independent). My centers range from texture rubbings, to drawing mammals, to reading art books . . . sometimes coloring pages. Ahhhhhh, I love centers. I do.


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