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March 23, 2017 Book Buzz: Art for All By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    Art is not only vital to a child’s development, but it is also a reflection of our culture. I love this quote from Damian Woetzel, a retired Principal Dancer, formerly with the New York City Ballet: “We say arts education is good for general education, but that’s not the point. The arts are what great nations are remembered for. They are a mirror.”

    Although not part of many public school academically gifted programs, visual and performing arts are widely accepted areas indicating giftedness. After all, art was the essential component that turned the STEM movement into STEAM. Check out these books and art activities that will easily take your class full STEAM ahead! They are sorted into three topics: color, perspective, and style.

    Color Books

    Color books are everywhere. The trick is to find the books that your students will relate too. In my classroom these four books are beloved:

    Penguins Love Colors

    In Penguins Love Colors, author Sarah Aspinall creates a beautiful color book with a fun, loving story. Six penguins that reflect the colors of the rainbow create a surprise for their mother penguin. I love how this book matches colors with different flowers and encourages the idea that getting messy is not only acceptable, but creative.

    Little Blue and Little Yellow

    Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni is a classic. Lionni has so many great books out in the kid lit universe but Little Blue and Little Yellow is my favorite. I love the idea of two colors hugging and how the colors mix. The kids love the idea of mixing colors and always wonder if that really happens, so this book leads perfectly into our play dough activities.

    I Don’t Draw, I Color!

    I Don’t Draw, I Color! by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Felicita Sala is the perfect book to connect your students’ crayons to their emotions. At the beginning of this year, I had a student look up at me while he was in our Guided Reading Art Station and say, “I don’t do art. I do play!” Now, this student doesn’t hate art and he doesn’t love it either, but it’s through performing arts that he has experienced self-expression and that is what he loves. This book is a great book to share because the main character, talks about how even though he doesn't draw so well, he can use his colors to express many emotions.

    Star Wars Colors

    A Star Wars book about colors — what’s not to love! My kids can’t get enough of this book. I bring it out at the beginning of the year while we are learning our colors and again at this point in the year as we learn to recognize and spell our color words. (Did I mention that it’s a Star Wars book?!)

     

    Color Activities

    Combining Colors

    Create small primary color play dough balls. Divide each ball into half and join it with another half of a play dough ball. Each child will get one ball after you read Little Blue and Little Yellow and the colors will hug while students combine the colors in the ball to create a new color.

         

    • 1/2 red and 1/2 blue will make purple
    • 1/2 blue and 1/2 yellow will make green
    • 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red will make orange

    While students are rolling and mixing the dough, I talk about how this process reminds me of digraphs (my class already knows the definition of digraph by this point, which is two letters that make one sound). I love how these two things connect. It really helps make the idea of digraphs stick!

    Note: Make sure that you make small balls of dough or your kids will be “hugging” their colors much longer than you might want. You will also have kids complaining about their hands hurting. This is one activity where less is truly more.

    Ice Cube Colors

    Fill an ice tray with water, drop a drop of red food coloring in four of them, a drop of yellow food coloring in four of them, and a drop of blue food coloring in the last four.

    Once they freeze, you will place the following combinations in a clear glass or bowl so that the students can watch the colors mix as the ice cubes melt.

    • 2 red and 2 blue cubes will make purple
    • 2 blue and 2 yellow cubes will make green
    • 2 yellow and 2 red cubes will make orange

    For both of the color activities, don’t forget to have your students make predictions about what colors they think they will make.

    Perspective Book

    They All Saw a Cat

    Perspective is one of my favorite words to teach when I talk about art and They All Saw a Cat, the new, award-winning book by Brendan Wenzel is perfect for teaching the concept. The conversation about perspective really starts when the fish sees a cat. It’s at this point that I start to read the page and ask students to describe what they think the picture may look like.

    Perspective Activity

    Perspective is an important concept to teach students as it applies to reading over all the grades, but also it applies to social skills such as empathy and sympathy. Seeing different perspectives is essential to both reading and life.

    Pointillism

    My classroom activity was completely inspired by the pages of the bee seeing the cat and the bat seeing the cat. I love the idea of pointillism and it’s a great chance for your kids to practice their fine motor grasp on their color pencils, crayons, or markers. (If you aren’t familiar with pointillism, it is when you create a picture just using dots.) We all have students who either hold their writing utensil like it’s trying to escape, or so lightly the tool is often slipping out of their grasp. This style of art requires muscle control that many students need to work on. 

    For my class, I typically give them a picture and instead of having them color, I have them fill the space with dots. It’s a great, fun way to introduce them to a different style of art. For some, this is the only activity that they will ever use this style, but others will continue pointillism in many of their art projects. 

    Any of the adult coloring books would work for this activity. The more abstract the picture, the more creativity is typically allowed. I've seen many teachers talk about appropriate colors for objects in pictures so using mandalas or any other pattern frees up all of those adult thoughts of order.

      

    My favorite book to pull pointillism pictures from is my copy of Art Masterpieces to Color: 60 Great Paintings from Botticelli to Picasso. After they complete coloring in their pictures, I show them a picture of the real masterpiece so they can see how their choices differ from the original.

     

    Art Styles Books

    Louise Loves Art and Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship

     

      

     

    I know this category is Art Styles but I must say that the author of Louise Loves Art and Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship. Kelly Light, is a true inspiration. Her knowledge of style is amazing and her artistic ability across styles is unbelievable. If you don’t own these books, you need to add them to your library. Check out how I used Louise Loves Art to give a class party an educational twist. I seriously love these books.

    Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing

    Even if you don’t know Keith Haring, I bet you know some of his work. His sister is setting out to make sure the world knows about Keith and his genius in the field of visual art. Kay A. Haring and Robert Neubecker’s book, Keith Haring, The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing is a wonderful story of a gifted artist and his unique look at the world.  

    The Dot

    I don’t know Peter H. Reynolds personally, but in my estimation, he is one of the best humans on Earth. His art is amazing in every book he illustrates, but when he both authors and illustrates a book, it’s magic on the page. The Dot is a great book for building confidence (see my blog post on building confidence in young learners) and it’s so inspirational to children and adults alike. I love how the central character, Vashti, found her own style by exploring different artistic styles using her dots.

    Art Styles Activities

    Everybody has his or her own artistic style and that is reflected in their artwork. My personal style is best described as “so sincere but still looks like a toddler did it without even trying his hardest.” Maybe not so accomplished, but it’s a style.

    Dot Symmetry

    Finding the time during your packed day to dedicate solely to art can be the deal-breaker to incorporating art into your classroom at all. The trick is to find art projects that address several educational needs. This project is super simple and covers myriad topics. 

    Fold a piece of paper in half (vertical or horizontal, it doesn’t matter).

    Starting at the edge of the fold, have students paint a half circle using any color. They can draw the outline of the half circle in pencil first. While the paint is still wet, have students unfold the paper and fold it back so that the half circle is now on the inside of the fold. Have the students press the two sides of the paper together.

    Self-Portraits

    After learning about different art styles, I have my students draw self-portraits. We read the book One Love by Cedella Marley and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Vanessa Brantley-Newton. After we read, my class recalls the message from Martin Luther King Jr. Day and they all create a self-portrait that when put together shows our class as a cohesive community.

         

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Istagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

     

    Art is not only vital to a child’s development, but it is also a reflection of our culture. I love this quote from Damian Woetzel, a retired Principal Dancer, formerly with the New York City Ballet: “We say arts education is good for general education, but that’s not the point. The arts are what great nations are remembered for. They are a mirror.”

    Although not part of many public school academically gifted programs, visual and performing arts are widely accepted areas indicating giftedness. After all, art was the essential component that turned the STEM movement into STEAM. Check out these books and art activities that will easily take your class full STEAM ahead! They are sorted into three topics: color, perspective, and style.

    Color Books

    Color books are everywhere. The trick is to find the books that your students will relate too. In my classroom these four books are beloved:

    Penguins Love Colors

    In Penguins Love Colors, author Sarah Aspinall creates a beautiful color book with a fun, loving story. Six penguins that reflect the colors of the rainbow create a surprise for their mother penguin. I love how this book matches colors with different flowers and encourages the idea that getting messy is not only acceptable, but creative.

    Little Blue and Little Yellow

    Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni is a classic. Lionni has so many great books out in the kid lit universe but Little Blue and Little Yellow is my favorite. I love the idea of two colors hugging and how the colors mix. The kids love the idea of mixing colors and always wonder if that really happens, so this book leads perfectly into our play dough activities.

    I Don’t Draw, I Color!

    I Don’t Draw, I Color! by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Felicita Sala is the perfect book to connect your students’ crayons to their emotions. At the beginning of this year, I had a student look up at me while he was in our Guided Reading Art Station and say, “I don’t do art. I do play!” Now, this student doesn’t hate art and he doesn’t love it either, but it’s through performing arts that he has experienced self-expression and that is what he loves. This book is a great book to share because the main character, talks about how even though he doesn't draw so well, he can use his colors to express many emotions.

    Star Wars Colors

    A Star Wars book about colors — what’s not to love! My kids can’t get enough of this book. I bring it out at the beginning of the year while we are learning our colors and again at this point in the year as we learn to recognize and spell our color words. (Did I mention that it’s a Star Wars book?!)

     

    Color Activities

    Combining Colors

    Create small primary color play dough balls. Divide each ball into half and join it with another half of a play dough ball. Each child will get one ball after you read Little Blue and Little Yellow and the colors will hug while students combine the colors in the ball to create a new color.

         

    • 1/2 red and 1/2 blue will make purple
    • 1/2 blue and 1/2 yellow will make green
    • 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red will make orange

    While students are rolling and mixing the dough, I talk about how this process reminds me of digraphs (my class already knows the definition of digraph by this point, which is two letters that make one sound). I love how these two things connect. It really helps make the idea of digraphs stick!

    Note: Make sure that you make small balls of dough or your kids will be “hugging” their colors much longer than you might want. You will also have kids complaining about their hands hurting. This is one activity where less is truly more.

    Ice Cube Colors

    Fill an ice tray with water, drop a drop of red food coloring in four of them, a drop of yellow food coloring in four of them, and a drop of blue food coloring in the last four.

    Once they freeze, you will place the following combinations in a clear glass or bowl so that the students can watch the colors mix as the ice cubes melt.

    • 2 red and 2 blue cubes will make purple
    • 2 blue and 2 yellow cubes will make green
    • 2 yellow and 2 red cubes will make orange

    For both of the color activities, don’t forget to have your students make predictions about what colors they think they will make.

    Perspective Book

    They All Saw a Cat

    Perspective is one of my favorite words to teach when I talk about art and They All Saw a Cat, the new, award-winning book by Brendan Wenzel is perfect for teaching the concept. The conversation about perspective really starts when the fish sees a cat. It’s at this point that I start to read the page and ask students to describe what they think the picture may look like.

    Perspective Activity

    Perspective is an important concept to teach students as it applies to reading over all the grades, but also it applies to social skills such as empathy and sympathy. Seeing different perspectives is essential to both reading and life.

    Pointillism

    My classroom activity was completely inspired by the pages of the bee seeing the cat and the bat seeing the cat. I love the idea of pointillism and it’s a great chance for your kids to practice their fine motor grasp on their color pencils, crayons, or markers. (If you aren’t familiar with pointillism, it is when you create a picture just using dots.) We all have students who either hold their writing utensil like it’s trying to escape, or so lightly the tool is often slipping out of their grasp. This style of art requires muscle control that many students need to work on. 

    For my class, I typically give them a picture and instead of having them color, I have them fill the space with dots. It’s a great, fun way to introduce them to a different style of art. For some, this is the only activity that they will ever use this style, but others will continue pointillism in many of their art projects. 

    Any of the adult coloring books would work for this activity. The more abstract the picture, the more creativity is typically allowed. I've seen many teachers talk about appropriate colors for objects in pictures so using mandalas or any other pattern frees up all of those adult thoughts of order.

      

    My favorite book to pull pointillism pictures from is my copy of Art Masterpieces to Color: 60 Great Paintings from Botticelli to Picasso. After they complete coloring in their pictures, I show them a picture of the real masterpiece so they can see how their choices differ from the original.

     

    Art Styles Books

    Louise Loves Art and Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship

     

      

     

    I know this category is Art Styles but I must say that the author of Louise Loves Art and Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship. Kelly Light, is a true inspiration. Her knowledge of style is amazing and her artistic ability across styles is unbelievable. If you don’t own these books, you need to add them to your library. Check out how I used Louise Loves Art to give a class party an educational twist. I seriously love these books.

    Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing

    Even if you don’t know Keith Haring, I bet you know some of his work. His sister is setting out to make sure the world knows about Keith and his genius in the field of visual art. Kay A. Haring and Robert Neubecker’s book, Keith Haring, The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing is a wonderful story of a gifted artist and his unique look at the world.  

    The Dot

    I don’t know Peter H. Reynolds personally, but in my estimation, he is one of the best humans on Earth. His art is amazing in every book he illustrates, but when he both authors and illustrates a book, it’s magic on the page. The Dot is a great book for building confidence (see my blog post on building confidence in young learners) and it’s so inspirational to children and adults alike. I love how the central character, Vashti, found her own style by exploring different artistic styles using her dots.

    Art Styles Activities

    Everybody has his or her own artistic style and that is reflected in their artwork. My personal style is best described as “so sincere but still looks like a toddler did it without even trying his hardest.” Maybe not so accomplished, but it’s a style.

    Dot Symmetry

    Finding the time during your packed day to dedicate solely to art can be the deal-breaker to incorporating art into your classroom at all. The trick is to find art projects that address several educational needs. This project is super simple and covers myriad topics. 

    Fold a piece of paper in half (vertical or horizontal, it doesn’t matter).

    Starting at the edge of the fold, have students paint a half circle using any color. They can draw the outline of the half circle in pencil first. While the paint is still wet, have students unfold the paper and fold it back so that the half circle is now on the inside of the fold. Have the students press the two sides of the paper together.

    Self-Portraits

    After learning about different art styles, I have my students draw self-portraits. We read the book One Love by Cedella Marley and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Vanessa Brantley-Newton. After we read, my class recalls the message from Martin Luther King Jr. Day and they all create a self-portrait that when put together shows our class as a cohesive community.

         

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Istagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

     

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