Last Year in Kindergarten, my art lessons were centred around investigating different art materials. This year, now they are in first grade, we will explore those materials further, whilst learning about the elements of art and introducing new artists.
A Lesson about Line
Ask a child to draw a line. The first child I chose drew a bumpy line. The next child drew a straight line.
Discuss different types of lines and introduce the terms horizontal, vertical and diagonal.
Look at how to use the different lines to make shapes, two diagonal lines and a horizontal line make a triangle etc.
Introduce Mondrian’s paintings. Talk about how he arranged horizontal and vertical lines to make the shapes and sizes he wanted.
It is then time for the children to try their own.
Black tempura paint in a flat tray
A square or rectangle of stiff cardboard
Show the children how to dip the edge of the cardboard in the paint and remove any excess paint by dabbing it on the tray.
Show them how to print lines on the paper in different arrangements to make shapes. Though Mondrian only used horizontal and vertical lines, the children in my class were also allowed to use diagonal lines in their compositions.
3. While the children print, talk to them about the shapes and arrangements they have made. Remind them to close up their shapes so they can be coloured later. As Hallowe’en was looming, spider webs were particularly popular.
Making a Fancy Line
While we waited for the paint to dry, we talked a little more about lines. We looked at a sketch and found the different types of lines used in the picture.
The next challenge was to make one long line, composed of five different types of lines, without taking their pencil off the paper.
I demonstrated them some examples.
They tried their own in pencil and then went over their lines in marker. Some children had difficulty making a single line and wanted to join it to make a shape. For those that did this I encouraged them to focus on the line by outlining it in marker without filling in any colour in the centre.
Mondrian and Primary Colours
Look at Mondrian’s compositions again. How does he use colour?
Talk about primary colours, what they are and why are red, blue and yellow the primary colours?
Look at how Mondrian paintings used primary colours to shade some of the shapes in his compositions.
The second part of the project
Ideally, I would leave the black paint overnight to dry. We have limited time for art so this was not possible and some of the paint was still wet. We blotted the worst of the paint off with a tissue.
Red, yellow and blue markers (you may also want to include black)
What to do
Use the markers to fill in some of the shapes, leaving some of them white. Try to fill in each shape with solid colour and not leave any gaps so they look like Mondrian’s compositions.
Oxbow Farm is my favourite place for field trips. The guides are wonderfully entertaining and keep the kids motivated with songs, movement, challenges and a fast paced, hands-on journey through the farm.
The children learn about the farm plants and have an opportunity to investigate, pick and taste everything, whilst being shown respect for the plants and their environment.
They eat leafy plants being careful not to stand on the plants.
They eat seeds, learning about where the seeds come from, how they are spread and dried out in the greenhouse.
They eat stems. We found tiny celery sticks to try.
They eat flowers. We ate small yellow flowers that tasted like licquorice.
They eat fruit. We ate juicy apples from the tree and found the seeds inside them.
They eat roots. We pulled salad turnips and carrots from the ground, washed them and ate them.
I love the simplicity of I Am Bat. I can easily hear it being read in my own child’s voice and see her acting out and reciting the text as she does with Elephant and Piggie books. Bat is over dramatic in a similar way to Elephant and this really appealed to my kids. The illustrations evoke the bat’s emotions perfectly. A wonderful book for younger readers.
As a parent of 3 children, I love Middle Bear. It is heartwarming and uplifting without being overly sentimental and conveys perfectly the mediocrity of being a middle child. I love the shell-shocked/glazed expression of the bear and the use of child like illustrations, as they convey perfectly his perception of himself as unremarkable. As the story unfolds, middle bear find out that there are some things he is just perfect for. I loved the way this unfolded and it made me smile. A perfect book for middle children everywhere.
A book by Michael Rosen about stealing chocolate cake. What isn’t there to like? The sumptuous use of onomatopoeia and descriptive language makes it a perfect book to use in the classroom. Chocolate Cake would provide lots of inspiration for children developing their descriptive writing and would be a great opening to language and vocabulary lessons. I love the way the typeface changes to enhance the descriptive words as they work seamlessly with the pictures. The illustrations are atmospheric and the boy’s expressive eyes are skillfully drawn to show every emotion throughout the book. (currently only available in the UK).
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My kids are huge Great British Bake Off fans so my daughter chose a bake-off themed party for her 9th birthday. The idea of ten children all baking together at the same time was a little daunting but I needn’t have worried. I think this was probably one of the most successful parties I have organised.
Since I first heard about Pop Stars in My Pantry – A Memoir of Pop Mags and Clubbing in the 1980’s, I have been eagerly awaiting its release. When I was a child, my dad and his friends would play 60’s music and talk about what they were doing when particular records came out. He used to say “One day you’ll talk about 80’s music like this’, but I could never see how ‘my’ music could ever be thought of nostalgically.
In the early 80’s, when Paul Simper was embarking on his career as a music journalist, I was still at Primary School. Even at the tender age of 10, every Tuesday, I would race home for lunch, grab my pocket radio and run back to school. Our group of friends would huddle around the radio listening to the lunchtime announcement of the top 40 on Radio 1, hoping that the bell would be late so we could make it to number 1 before we were called to line up.
By 1983, I was approaching my teens and had fallen madly in love with Wham, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. I read Smash Hits every week, memorising lyrics from my favourite songs and plastering pull out posters over my bedroom wall. Like most of my friends, I would record the top 40 onto cassette tape, pausing after every song to cut out the talky bit in between. Sometimes, I’d even tape music shows on television with my little cassette recorder (possibly before we had a video recorder). My husband challenges me sometimes, to see how many 80’s songs I can recognise from playing the intro. He loves how many I know from just the first few notes.
It won’t come as a surprise then, that I expected Pop Stars in My Pantry to be an indulgent treat for an 80’s music fan like myself. What I didn’t anticipate however, was sitting on my hands in a coffee shop, to suppress the urge to jump up and down flapping my arms, like my teenage daughter, when she got tickets to see her favourite band. The cause of such uncharacteristic, emotive demonstration? Simper’s account of his interview with Kate Bush; almost as exciting as meeting her in the flesh. This was one of many similar moments, as stories of my teen idols revealed themselves.
Pop Stars in my Pantry is much more than an account of interviews with the stars. It is an immersive chronicle of the 80’s music and club scene. It’s about a time when young journalists and music stars moved in the same circles, danced together, drank together and were friends with one another. For me, it demystified many of my teenage heroes like George Michael, and made me admire them more. I loved hearing about big events like the Wham farewell concert, Prince’s after show parties and a New York trip to interview Sade, but the smaller everyday moments, paint a perfect picture of the era and transported me to my youth.
It took me back to a time when music and fashion were everything. To digress slightly, Paul Simper is married to an old school friend of mine, who as a 16 -year -old, I idolised. She introduced me to some of my all time favourite music – the Cocteau Twins and David Bowie’s Hunky Dory. She showed me cool, independent clothes shops. We memorised the whole of a Lloyd Cole album together and poured over magazines with brooding black and white photos of beautiful people. We were inseparable, until I found my first boyfriend and sadly (and with hindsight regrettably) the intensity of first love, left little room for such an earnest friendship, and we soon followed our own paths. I’m not surprised at all that she ended up with someone with so many great stories to tell.
Pop Stars in my Pantry is funny, honest, revealing and tremendously exciting. It is the absolutely perfect book for anyone who grew up in the 80’s and I can’t wait to share it with all my friends.If you didn’t grow up in the 80’s, read it anyway, as it will give you a wonderful taste of life back then. I was excited before I read it, I’m even more enthusiastic after.
Pop Stars in My Pantry is currently available in the UK (this link and all links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links meaning if you purchase a product using this link I will receive a small commission)
If you’ve read the book and are craving more, check out these audio clips from Paul Simper’s interviews with the Stars. I challenge you to wipe the grin from your face.