Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Little Twist

I love teaching kids. I always enjoy discovering a new idea, something that I've never seen before. (For example, check out this homemade dump truck. A new idea for me!) I also enjoy using the familiar activities - things that seem comfortable to me and that kids enjoy. However, sometimes those familiar things become a little too comfortable and familiar for me...and I may not remember to teach with them.

In the past year or so, I've been finding or experimenting with ideas that put a little "twist" on those familiar things. That little twist can interject a little extra fun or learning into a familiar idea. One of our regular activities in the classroom is painting, especially at the easel. We do it almost every week. But we've been challenged to adjust it from time to time - to give it a little twist - and generate a little new thinking about this old favorite.

A few weeks ago, we tried still life painting. We were focusing on grain/bread (since we were talking about Ruth in the Bible). So we had some wheat in a vase.

When "C" came to the easel, I told her she could look at the wheat and paint a picture of it. Or she could paint something else. Here's what she did.

We've experimented with still life painting before. I like encouraging the children to look at something and think about what they see...and then create something that is their interpretation of it. It certainly gave a different dimension to easel painting that day. And encouraged C to use her skills in a different way.

I'm looking at other ways to use the easel or to adapt our regular easel painting. Sometimes we have various shades or hues of the same color. Sometimes we paint on shaped paper. Sometimes the paint may have a texture or scent. I've seen some other ideas from Sherry and Donna that challenge me to expand our easel painting experiences even more. (And, although I'd love to try fly swatter painting like Teacher Tom, I cannot work that out yet in my classroom!) Our reliable easel painting has been energized in different ways - especially for me.

What familiar activity in your classroom could use a little "twist"?


  1. Easels are so versatile Scott, we love them. I've included a couple of our other easel ideas you might be interested in offering the children. It's so nice to mix it up sometimes.
    Donna :) :)

  2. Thanks, Donna! I always love to mix it up!

  3. I love easel painting Scott - we spend time everyday at the easel but we haven't tried the still life painting yet. I am hoping to try this soon!

  4. We have NEVER tried painting a still life at Woodland Park, Scott. I think we'll give it a go tomorrow. Thanks for getting my juices going for the last two days before spring break!

  5. This week we've been mixing things up a little by going for a bigger scale. So often the kids get standard A4 sized paper so we thought we'd take a long paper roll and see what they'd like to make - a flower meadow as it turned out. It's here if you'd like to see:

  6. Cathy, what a great meadow! Thanks for sharing it with me.

    We did larger scale painting, too, a couple of weeks ago.