When this trick doesn't work, or if I happen to get the art project set up before any of the kids arrive, I create an interest by sitting down and doing the art project. I know a lot of teachers who just gasped. Yes, I said I sit down and create an example art project. Because opinions of this practice differ, even here within Beansprouts, I then display my art project or put it on the drying shelf. I don't ever say to the kids, "See, this how you do it." I simply make an example and put it a place they can see it, if they need to get ideas.
Typically they do their own thing anyway and I sit near by in case an emergency intervention is needed. I only intervene for safety or sanity. When someone can get hurt or the teacher will have a melt down trying to clean up the aftermath (most of our projects turn into hand painting experiments for our youngers).
|My example project is the small square in the middle.|
Many of the kids jumped right into mixing colors. This is a fun art project and one we do sometimes, but cardboard and water colors don't work well for that. I started jumping in a little and explaining to the kids that their colors wont stay unless they use glue and paper.
When one of the children lifted up her art project to show me her "fish bowl" the colors ran everywhere and her creation was no more. The expression on her face broke my heart and brought up a big question for me.
When I plan an art project that is new to the kids, should I introduce it? Should I explain to them how the mediums work and what could happen if they choose to use only some of the materials?
Sure the kids are learning through trial and error, but I could have saved that child from the heartbreak of a ruined masterpiece if I had just explained the project a little better.
Q: What's worse letting her experience the disappointment or risking limiting her creativity by introducing the art project?
A: Find a happy medium. Introduce the work, explain how the materials work and then let the kids experiment. This way, when a child's work gets ruined, a connection will be made. Maybe the light bulb will turn on and the child will think, "Oh! That's what she meant when she said I'll need glue and paper for the colors to stay put." Then she can modify or try again.There's no right or wrong way for the kids to do art. There IS a right way for teachers to introduce and facilitate an art project. I must remember it's all about the process.
Let me know what you think. I'm sure there are many different answers out there.