Friday, January 15, 2010

the queen of kindergarten : painting with young children

To work at my school I have to be the queen of kindergarten. My Friday afternoon ends with three back to back classes of Kindergarten. Whatever, you say, I teach back to back classes all day long. When I say back to back I mean I have three classes that are scheduled for 25 min. During that period of time I have to teach the lesson, clean up the mess, the kids, walk them to their next elective(library), pick up the class that is at library, walk them to the other end of the school, pick up my class at gym, walk them back to my room, let everyone take a drink, get them settled down, teach the lesson, clean up, repeat three times.

Yes I am the one who walks ALL the kinders to and from their electives. Why me? why not the library or gym teacher....because I'm the young teacher that's why. do you clean up the stuff after each class? Who washes the paint brushes between classes, how does the paper for the new class get put out, or a un-mixed plate of paint? IT DOSE NOT! I have been given the task of teach 3 classes with no time in between.

Ok fine I do the same thing with the 1st graders and 3rd and 4th and 5th grade, but they can do way more of their own clean up. they can manage to put on and take off their own paint shirts. They can carry a water bowl to the sink without dumping it on the floor.... really asking me to not only teach a kinder art lesson in under 20 min but with no clean-up time.

We have reached item #1 on my list of why I am either transferring schools or going to have to leave the school if the schedule is set to be the same next year.

So the easy way out here would be to only do draw and color projects. Maybe a nice collage here and there. And truth be told we do a lot of that. However, I have made it my rule that we MUST paint once a month to develop our skills.

So how do you manage painting with that many young children that fast?

1. All paint shirts need to be large adult tee-shirts (most kinders can put on and take these off on their own)
2. We use paper plates for all paint...sorry earth, easy to dump and clean up. One plate per table in the middle all hands can reach but paint is not tipped over.
3. Give the kids their paper and as they are writing their name on it put a plate on the end of each table, put paint on the plate. Leave on end of table (NO touching yet!)
4. Go demo first painting step.
5. Go hand out bushes. At each table move the paint to the middle of the table
6.Prep next color of paint on another plate if doing one at a time
7. Demo next step
8. Rotate paper plates, take away first color of paintbrush and give a new clean color
9. If your kids can handle washing their brushes in a bowl in the middle of the table make sure to have a tray underneath the bowl to catch spills
10. Have plenty of empty drying racks ready to go
11. Paint shirts go on the seat of the chair for the next student
12. No washing hands at the sink. When kids are lined up hand them a baby wipe (I like the packs from dollar tree) kids wipe their hands with the wipe and drop the wipe in the trash on the way out.

We use this phrase "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." If you don't like where you are sitting or who you sit next too...too bad, you get what you get. Want a different color of scissors or the purple glue stick...toooo bad, you get what you get. I don't cater to individual wants and I don't feel a bit of guilt about it because I am teaching them the basic facts of school and life...sharing, making do with what you have, personal problem solving, separating the small from the large problems.

and that is how you become queen of the kindergarten.

1 comment:

  1. I fully understand Why you would like to move school. At least I get 1 hr with my Pre primary(5yr olds) I also get a teacher assistant with them. I use old plastic lids lined with a piece of scrap paper cut5 to fit I can be a magazine page. paint is put on it and at end of lessons disposed. I wash at the end of the day. I have more brushes than a class set so they dont need to wash. It has taken me 20 years to get what I want. I see 400+ kids a week and have most lessons grade based back to back for ease of prep. I think it is time you put your foot down!!Migraines and stress not required for art teaching
    Cheryl Perth Australia