Riding the Wave

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”  Vincent Van Gogh

Heart-a-Day #3 Op Art Heart

When a teaching technique is working well and going right, I obviously want to keep doing it. It’s sort of like catching a really good wave and body surfing to shore – and then catching another one. Last spring, our class planted sunflowers outside in a large square of dirt. When they grew, the sunflowers would form the walls of a “house.” To enhance this exercise, we counted the days until our seeds sprouted. Then we regularly tallied our sunflowers to see how many were growing. We measured the height of each plant. We read books about sunflowers – including one about Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings. We painted sunflower pictures, using his style as a guide. Finally, we celebrated by presenting the sunflower blooms to members of the school staff and administration who had been kind to us all year. So many lessons from one exercise – and I can’t wait to do this again!

What’s working for you? How can you grow it? Is there a beloved book you can extend into other subject areas? How about creating a story around a math problem, so the problem is more fun to solve? Can you introduce a social studies topic with a drawing lesson? Take a chance. Catch your wave and ride it.

(Access to these photographs does not constitute a transfer of copyright or a license for commercial use.  The images are for personal use only.  No portion of the images can be used without the expressed written permission of Michael B. Stanley, Jr.)

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I am an artist, musician, author and kindergarten teacher wanting to share what I have learned about teaching and making art.

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