Thursday, February 5, 2015

In the Art Room: A Village of Kindness, Part I

So y'all might recall me mentioning that we're doing a lil Be Nice campaign at my school. Quite simply, it entails us doing something kind for others. In the art room, we created a Gallery of Gratitude for all who work in our school, we wrote letters to fellow artists praising their hard work, and my fourth graders created a Legacy Mural as a gift both to the school and our principals. And just last week, we began work on our latest creative effort in being nice: our Village of Kindness!
Our super fab cafeteria manager has been saving the morning milk cartons and rinsing them out for us (I told you she was super fab) which is great because the smell of sour milk makes me do that Ima-bout-to-heave wobbly neck chicken dance. I seriously have hundreds of 'em in my room right now all in the process of becoming this awesome. The concept is that each house in our village has a door that opens with a nice message inside. This one reads: "Your cool litraly soooooooooooooo cool." Gotta love third grade.
 I'm always pushing the idea of being your unique self in my art room. It's kinda been my mantra this year what with words like original, creative, non-conformist and unique being our Words of the Week. So this message of "UR the Best YOU!" is one of my faves.
So just how did this project get started? Well, every kid in the school is creating a house for our village. To start, we did a quick review of the warm colors and in our first thirty minutes together got about this much accomplished. I only had a coupla rules: don't forget to clean your paint brush and write your name on the bottom of the house. Other than that, paint away, dudes!
On the second thirty minute art class, I read the book The Big Orange Splot. I LOVE this book and so do the kids. If you've not read it, it's about a dude who paints his house "to look like all of his dreams" and inspires his neighbors to do the same. It's a great example of conformist vs. non-conformist. And it serves to really inspire our second day of house painting.
On that day, the kids are given smaller brushes and cold colors. They were encouraged to add any sort of line designs and details they might want. These kids were also introduced to Rizzi at the start of the school year which was a great tie-in for this portion of the project.
 On our third day, the kids were given a wide variety of media to work with to finish off their house. I got out the "funky monkey" scissors for cutting and creating a door and a roof. Oil pastels, paint and colored pencils were available for the kids to finish off their masterpiece. I found that by giving them a ton of media to pick from, they really got creative.

When writing our messages, I told the kids to write something that they would like to hear from a friend. What kind words would really make your day? It was funny to read their responses. I got one that read, "Like your top, bro" and another that said, "You are the best gamer IN THE WORLD!" Many others said kind things about being an awesome artist or smart student. They were such a pleasure to read after the kids had cleaned up.
Since our focus is on kindness AND because I really enjoy reading aloud (just ask my mom-in-law as my fave thing to do when visiting her is read to her the Dear Abby column), I have been reading The Hundred Dresses while the kids are working. It's a chapter book (so the young kids love it for that reason alone) that's all about a girl who is teased by others for claiming to have, you guessed it, a hundred dresses. Turns out she does have that many only not in the way you might think. It's such a sweet book that all the kids (even the dudes) really enjoy. And it fits in so very well with our chats on kindness. 

ADDED BONUS...Here's something super interesting that I found: when reading the book, the kids don't ask for help or even reminders of what to do. They magically remember! They also magically seem to have more focus on their creation! When I discovered this on my first day reading to them, I was all "why has it taken my 17 years to figure this out?!" 
 I can easily say that each and every kid loved this project. And each and every house is totes presh. Our end goal is to attach our village on a painted backdrop. Usually I share with you projects at their completion but I really wanted you to see our works in progress. Mostly cuz they are just about the cutest thing everrrr.
 My goal is to have our Village of Kindness up and ready by Valentine's Day but that's sneaking up on me rapidly so I'm not holding my breath. I'll be certain to come backattcha with a  Part 2 so you can see the finished results. 
 I mean, c'mon. Is it just me or are these not the happiest lil houses? I'd totes live in this wee one. 
Or perhaps this one! They are all just too happy, bright and colorful for me to pick a fave.
 So until then, I hope y'all have a happy, bright and colorful week!


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5 comments:

  1. I love this idea! Coincidentally, I started reading The Hundred Dresses to my 3rd graders this week. Do you do an additional project to tie in with that book? I love and am inspired by all of your ideas! (Am doing a weaving activity this upcoming week to conclude a Nigeria unit...)

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  2. Aw, thank you, Becky, for your kind words! I'm not really sure how the dresses book will tie in other than how we are being thoughtful in our words/actions and treatment of others. I doubt that the dudes would be up for a dress design class although THAT would be a fun tie-in ;)

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  3. What a rich unit you created! I have never tried reading a chapter book to the kiddos, but I will have to give this a try. Sour milk grosses me out too-- I have a three year old so sour milk is a smell that is all too familiar to me- yuck! How are you going to display these? They deserve a place of honor!!!

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    1. Laura, thank you! I'm STILL working on the display idea (I have this bad habit of starting projects without the end product totally developed in my mind. Story of my life, really, ha!) but I'm thinking of attaching them to some large pieces of painted foam core (I have several big pieces) and screwing them into the walls in the hall. That's what I'm thinking...but I'll keep y'all posted. Let me know what chapter book you go for. My kids have loved The Indian in the Cupboard, the Choose your Own Adventure Series (big hit!) and The One Hundred Dresses. Have fun!

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  4. Hi I can see this l'm very happy

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)