Monday, April 9, 2018

Art Ed Blogger Network- Early Finishers: Architecture Challenge

The Art Ed Bloggers Network has agreed to post about Early Finishers this month. I'm really excited about this subject because this is an issue in every Art Classroom so it will be great to get others ideas on this subject. 

This lesson can be adapted in many ways but I'm going to address this project for the Elementary section that is ahead of the other sections.  You know... you're teaching the 1st grade about weaving and there is an assembly so you miss one of your 1st grades. Then your daughter is sick.... well there goes a missed class for another 1st-grade section.  This means that one 1st grade section successfully finishes their weaving and you want to get all of your sections back together again.  You need a lesson for the 'early finishing' group.  

I borrowed these awesome blocks from the kindergarten classes.  I laid them all out on the floor and then asked the 'number 1's' at each table to come and pick a block, then seat number two, then three, then four, and back to one again. I continued that until all the block is distributed.  At this time the students think that they are picking blocks for themselves. That is when I drop the bomb and tell them they will be working at building a structure with their table group.  The kids freak out and get started right away.

I give them a set time to complete their building and then I assign them to work on the drawing.  The first drawing I give the students NO help, no suggestion, no teaching at all. They struggle, complain and are frustrated... all by design my friend.  Again, the timer has been working (you have to set a time that is 'right' for your group). When it goes off, students come to the carpet for a team meeting. We talk about what was hard.  As the conversation starts, I gently direct the conversation to where the kids are understanding that blocks are just simple shapes that they already know how to build. If the drawing didn't fit, what can you do? If you have extra time, can you add 'made up' details such as windows and doors? what can you add around your structure drawing? How did it feel to work together to build the block? What do you think we want to change or do the same if you were to build with your team again? Lot's of ah-has in the class.

Then, the very good news! students are asked to take down their buildings and build a new structure. They cheer and skip back to their place (I love the energy in the room with this project). The process is repeated... maybe one, two, three more times. We wrap up by picking our favorite drawing to share with the class in a gallery walk. There might be some good lead-in's why practice is good, or sticking with a task is important, or even a conversation on collaboration and teamwork. So many directions you can take this powerful and engaging lesson for our early finishers. 

Here is the best part of this lesson. Once you have done it as a large group, you will see your Artist using this activity on their own.  I also have them challenge their families at home (and reports have come in that 'homework' has been completed). It's a fun one that I hope you can adapt for your students in your classroom as well!

Find more on this subject here...


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