Thursday, August 12, 2010

Favorite Things: Easel

"L" was first in the classroom and began to build with the blocks. He looked around the room as he built and saw the easel. "We have yellow paint today?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "We had red paint last week and yellow paint this week."

"I wonder if we'll ever have blue paint," he said wistfully.

"I'll tell Mrs. Cindy and we can have blue paint next week," I said. I smiled and we continued to build together.

My new class is helping me see things in my room again through fresh eyes. They remind me that some things are new and different for them, things that have become familiar to me. One of those things is the easel. An easel has become one of those indispensable things for my classroom. We use it every week, usually for painting.

For these young 5s at the beginning of the year, we offer one color of paint. That allows us to practice and master the skills of using the easel:

  •  Put on a smock before painting
  • Tap the brush along the edge before using it on the paper (to remove the extra paint drips)
  • Control the brush to make the marks just like we want them (even though we end up covering the entire paper with paint)
  • Paint only the paper (and not the clips, paint can tops, and so forth)
  • Ask for a turn so our names can go on the waiting list; and being patient, knowing that we'll get a turn (even if we must wait until next time for a turn)
In a couple of weeks, we'll add an additional color of paint. By then we'll be easel painting experts.

Our easel has become a "center" all to itself. If we're painting elsewhere in the room, we will use the easel for another activity. 

Dry Erase Markers
We love our squeegee eraser!



My young friends have a lot of easel experiences to look forward to this year. Even blue paint!


  1. I have a Squeegie eraser too!! I love it too:) I like how you break down the expectations into simple stages so the children will really have a good grasp on how to be successful in your classroom!

  2. i like the idea of one color in order to focus on the process and the procedure the first few weeks. i love the responsive classroom's book "the first six weeks" for just that reason- take the time to teach them about their environment!

  3. I have never thought to just offer one color of paint, Scott. How could I have never thought of that? Really.

    As you know, I don't care a lot about the kids painting the clips, walls, etc., but what a great idea to limit them to a single color to work on technique. Brilliant! =)

  4. In my daughter's nursery class the teachers organise each month into a colour theme, the art is usually based around this colour (like you, sometimes only providing one colour at the easel) and one day a month they hold a colour day, when they have to dress up in that colour. Yellow day, red day etc. They have a snack that colour too! The photos are great... and at the end of the year... Rainbow Day :)

  5. That's a really cool easel Scott. Our easel is ... well just an easel.
    We also love to offer one colour at times. it aides the children's concentration to detail as opposed to correct colours for things ... then again it looks great just covering the whole page too!
    Donna :) :)

  6. An easel is such a great classroom tool! And hooray for blue paint LOL! When Emily was younger, I would bring out one color of paint at a time, but in several different shades. That squeegee eraser looks so neat-- I'll have to get one of those!