"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.
(The original post has some other ideas for using the easel. We use it every week in some way.)
I can't wait to see how this new class will help me see things in a new way - and remind me of all those lessons I thought I learned but need to learn again.