Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lesson of the Day: Sometimes you just need to paint on the floor!!

"There is an artist in all of us...." -Unknown

Yesterday, I got a much needed lesson in flexibility. As a preschool teacher, its imperative that I be flexible. However, me being the control freak, type-A, planner that I am, I struggle with flexibility. As always my co-teacher and I had set plans for the activities of the day, and yesterday we were going to mitten paint as a go-along activity with our reading of the, "The Mitten"by Jan Brett. However, our students had other plans! One of the girls asked if she could start painting on a big piece of paper,  so I pulled out a long piece of butcher paper to cover the table, but it ended up being longer than the table and the end trailed on the floor. So, another little girl asked if we could just put it on the floor and paint it there. Since I couldn't think of one reasonable reason as to why we couldn't, I taped the paper to the floor and started passing out the paint brushes. Soon, other kids wanted to participate in painting on the floor and it quickly became a group activity! I taped another long sheet of butcher paper to the floor connecting it to the original piece since I love the idea of a cumulative team effort. Kids started grabbing things like stencils, roller paints, crayons, etc, from the art shelves began adding their own ideas to the huge mural. Soon we had one of the most beautiful creations that I had seen in a long time. It was a definite proud teacher moment. (after I stopped freaking out about the paint that was accidentally getting on the floor and carpet.) The kids had a blast with all the freedom and learned so much in the process. One child loved the fact that when he mixed yellow and red paint together he got orange. The pride that emanated from him was infectious. I was proud of him, too! They used different size paint brushes, glued pom-poms to the paper, they even painted over the stencils instead of just tracing them. Once the paper was covered I asked the kids what they wanted to do next, and I bet you can guess what their response was? Yup, you guessed it, they wanted to make another one. So we rolled up the mural, tossed in the trash and started a new one! We did this about three more times until the students lost interest! This was a totally child-lead activity and we all enjoyed every minute of it.

Not only did my students take a lot away from that activity, but I did too! I learned that sometimes the best experiences come from the simplest places. And a reminder that the world will still rotate on its axis, even if my daily lesson plans don't get accomplished!

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