Flexible Lessons

I had the joy and privilege of creating art with my homeschool class today. I have nine students grades K through 3, and they really are a joy to teach. Sometimes they get the benefit of my experience with lessons with my school students, and sometimes it’s the other way around. Sometimes, with the homeschoolers, I may even still be working out the kinks in a new lesson. I know I can do that with them. Today was one of those days.

The younger students are doing a variation on the Faith Lutheran kinders’ colorwheel caterpillar, a project I KNOW I saw somewhere on a blog, but for my life cannot find it now. (Anyone care to help me so I can credit it?) We painted 4×4 squares with large dots, inspired by The Dot last week, mixing primaries for secondary colors. We double-dipped our brushes, so they would have to remember that red and yellow make orange every time they reloaded.

But my older students practiced mixing secondary colors with a project idea I just came up with this week. It sounded like fun to me, so I ran with it, even though it was only half-developed in my head. I knew I wanted to draw umbrellas. We would draw primary umbrellas in a row, and then under them mix oil pastels for secondary-colored umbrellas, located according to their parent colors, like so:

the mistakes from which I learned


I kept looking at them, thinking something wasn’t right. Then I realized I had made the umbrellas like tulips, all messed up on the scallops. They should be curved up, and they are pointed. Obviously, I taught them differently than my model showed. I also really didn’t like how dark the red and blue made the purple, so I decided to walk the kids through my evaluation and point them to light blue and red instead. See the heart in the corner where I tested the new color combo? It was only this morning that I worked through what shapes to direct to make people for the umbrellas, but it was a great place to introduce neutrals. The background was their idea, during the lesson! And then we added rain as a watercolor wash, as prayerful hope to end the drought.

One student’s proof that I did fix some things!

I had fun walking through this little lesson (review for most) in color mixing. Teaching really benefits from being able to adjust on the fly. I would love to hear other examples of tweaking lessons in the last minute!

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Filed under Art, First/Second Grade, Kindergarten, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

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