The Prep Inquiry subject for term 3 is Living & Non-Living and, as part of my aim to make all art room activities tie into classroom learning, this has been our focus for the last four weeks.
The first two weeks were spent doing an art room cult classic – Eric Carle Inspired Collage. There are a million different ways to do this up on the internet so I will not bore you with the details, however there are a few steps that are worth mentioning. I began the first lesson by looking at Carle’s book Head to Toe. As I read the book the students acted out the different movements – stamping their feet, thumping their chests and wiggling their toes. Much fun was had by all. Following this, we discussed Carle’s technique for creating these images. It is really very easy to see the process (of which you can read more about here) once you know it and there was a lot of oooohing and aaaahing going on and even a little bit of “yeah I knew that”.
After this came the painting of the paper. Since we were focusing on living things I sourced a whole lot of natural materials to apply the paint with, including pine cones, pine needles and halved apples. I made no rules and part of my reason for choosing this activity was to make the Preps’ first painting session in the art room a free form one in which they could just enjoy the experience of playing with colour, and boy did they.
In week two I supplied them with glue and scissors and the painted paper from week one which I had cut down into smaller sheets. I learnt this trick from my daughter’s kindergarten art teacher, who pointed out that kids will generally cut very small shapes right from the middle of a big piece of paper when making collages. To avoid this I teach them, as my daughter’s teacher taught me, to take pieces that are roughly the size you are looking for and then cut away at the sides till you get the right shape. It worked a treat. It was much easier for the students to make larger images on their paper.
After brainstorming a whole list of living things we might make and looking at some of Eric Carle’s images for inspiration, the students went about creating some gorgeous collages. Here are some of the finished works.
'The next two weeks were spent repeating the process, except a few important changes were made to suit the subject non-living. Rather than free form painting the students used a variety of recycled packaging – bottle tops, plastic biscuit trays and corrugated cardboard - to print a limited palette of colours onto the paper. I loved this session. The effects that some of the packaging created were spectacular and again induced many an “oooooh” and “aaaaah”. Here is some of the paper that was produced in this session:
In the final week we used this printed paper to create collages of Non-Living things. I was so impressed with the students’ willingness to work with collage this time around. Having tried this process two weeks earlier meant they had a far better idea of what they were capable of and really challenged themselves to put more detail into their work.
Tyler’s Log Truck
Scarlett’s Mittens, Scarf and Beanie
So there you have it - Living & Non Living Collages by the Grade Prep students.
Special thanks to Lauris at Spensley Street Primary, Clifton Hill and Ms. Ale at artlessonsforkids for their versions of the Eric Carle Collage lesson. Thanks to Dominic Belvedere at The University of Melbourne Early Learning Centre for the printing and cut down paper techniques. Special thanks to my daughter Jean for suggesting that I do this lesson with the Preps.