Wednesday, November 11, 2015

K's Shape Journals

Let them know you love them, see them, enjoy them...

I have made this a habit the last couple of years, to write a little note to every kindergarten student, just in time for conferences. In the past, I did Shapescapes with my k's (see post).  They got to take home a portfolio of their work.  I always wrote a little note to give things to celebrate about the work as well as places to grow in.  This year I'm running stations in my K-2nd grade and boy did that change the look for these art journals this year.

This is how I set up the room most days.  I have the K-2 after lunch so that is when I switch into station gear. There is 6 stations, one at each table.  I intro with the kids on the carpet and then when they clear, I set up one more station on the floor. This is where I call the kids up, 8 at a time.  When do you get to work with students 8 at a time when you are teaching art... Well, this year I am.  I love it.  I feel like I'm really 'getting to know these kids."

First day of the journal: Squares and rectangles.  At least two stations were built around this idea of squares and rectangles (the other stations visit the concepts covered in 2nd and 1st grade).  I called the kids up and asked them to draw their squares and rectangles and gave them GLITTER crayons... that's right, GLITER CRAYONS... they couldn't wait to use them.

Day 2: Circles and Ovals: I should mention that students are able to stay as long as they want to make their shapes.  I found that medium has a lot to do with the time they spend.  They loved the markers! So many kiddos took their time at this station experimenting... not all... but many. 

Day 3: Triangles.  This day I showed students that they can use shapes to make a picture so some students choose to do that.  We used colored pencils.

The final day was using their shapes to make a picture.  This one was a fun one because it was exciting to see the creativity the kids had.

I asked the kids to use 15 minutes of their time to work on the final page.  This was really hard for the kids.  I have given them choice on how much time they put into their project up until now and on this day, I asked them to push themselves.  I had a time posted on teh whiteboard and reminded the K's (about every 2 minutes) that they are using the whole 15 minutes to work hard on this one picture.  

Now, back to the art notes.  Because I have the students come to me in small groups, tell me about their artwork, and explore the rest of the time, I feel more connected to these little guys than ever before after seeing them only 7 times for art class thus far. I like this practice and will continue it for sure.  Parents like getting the journals at conferences and reading the notes.   These notes are less about the art work and more about the person they are sending to me. I want to make sure I... 

... Let them know you love them, see them, enjoy them.


  1. This is great. This is my second year having students use art journals, and feel like I am barely figuring out a good way to do this. Last year I only did journals with 3rd through 5th grade. This year I am trying it with 1st through 5th. I have not been as consistent as I would like. I hope to tighten up ship on that as the year goes. I like that you have printed prompts on your pages. Ours are just made from folded paper. I would love to know more about your procedures with art journals, and would be very willing to share mine. Love the notes. How many kindergarteners do you have?

    Thanks, Jack Fleming

    1. Great questions. I will post more about journals soon, but in short... I do mini-portfolios... I only have about 4-8 pages and when they are filled up, I'm done with a unit. They are sent home, and the learning is shared with parents. These mini journals allow me to evaluate what I'm doing, make changes for the next mini journal, and share home more often. I'll post more about it soon.

    2. At my school I am required to keep anything that is graded for at least 6 weeks after a report card. I decided to do journals so that I could grade them and let students take their artwork home when they are done. I know another teacher that does journals for the students to have a reference guide to the elements and principles that they can go back to, as well as drawing references for things like figural proportion or block lettering, etc. Always interested in how others do something similar to what I am doing. Hope to improve the way I am doing art journals in my room. Look forward to a future post on art journals. Thanks