Today was my second day observing my cooperating teacher’s new lessons after Spring Break. Today, I still felt tired, moody, and stressed out. My sleeping schedule is backed to being messed up as I am having trouble adjusting to the school schedule. I ended up falling asleep after school yesterday, woke up in the evening, and wasn’t able to get back to sleep until much later in the night. So I was tired this morning and not in a good mood again. This semester is really draining on me and I can’t wait for it to be over.
Today the second grade students actually did seem to understand the concept better than they did yesterday. While there were a few students who actually painted a sun, or ground, or insect, most of them followed instructions and simply painted colors. There was one student in particular who was tirelessly painting colored dots all about her page and when she showed it to my cooperating teacher was told to fill in the page better as there was still a great deal of white paper left in between all of the dots. I followed her to her seat and offered that she wet her brush and try dragging it across her colored dots to create some new, blended colors. She was intrigued by the idea, tried it out, and loved it. “Wow!” she exclaimed, “I didn’t know you could do this!” Soon the students around her followed suit and began mixing new colors together. Her paper was completely painted just moments later. I love seeing students understand new concepts and get excited about it.
The first grade students are doing an activity that I thought may be too advanced for them at first. The students are creating landscapes from torn up tissue paper and are focusing on using a variety of shapes and colors. To begin the landscape, though, my cooperating teacher walked them through creating a 3-dimensional tree from a brown paper lunch sack. The students were instructed to open the lunch sack, cut a corner off, stick their scissors in the hole from the cut corner and cut the bottom from the bag. Afterwards, they were told to flatten the bag and cut about four or five vertical strips from the bag, without cutting all the way through. This caused the bag to look hula-skirt like. Then the students twisted the bottom of the bag to create a trunk and each of the cut strips to create branches. The end product really did look like an interesting 3-dimensional tree with texture and variety. I was actually surprised that with the walk-through with my cooperating teacher, the students were able to create the tree. Only two students messed up their trees so badly that they had to start over because they cut the strips completely from the bag rather than leaving them dangling.
After the students had completed their trees, my teacher and I stapled them to their papers and they began gluing torn tissue paper to create their landscapes. Unfortunately, many of the students didn’t understand this concept and would glue entire sheets of tissue paper to their papers to create land or sky. There were also issues with the use of glue as students would completely unwind the gluesticks and complain when they broke. At one point we ran out of gluesticks and students began complaining when they had to share or use a glue bottle. My teacher explained that most teachers avoid glue bottles because of the mess they can create, but with proper instruction, the students can use them well. This gives me confidence as I’ve always been weary of glue bottles, even when I was a student. I’ve always found them to be too messy and difficult to use effectively.
The fourth grade students seem to be partaking in a somewhat difficult lesson plan. Inspired by Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, they’re creating paintings or drawings using pointillism. The students were given freedom to choose what they would like to depict and were told to color the image with dots in watercolor paint, crayon, or colored pencil. One student really embraced the idea and depicted a nuclear explosion. His red, yellow, and black colored pencil dots were really-well done and were beginning to create a successful looking image. Most students, however, were struggling with the concept. Not only were some struggling to come up with an idea for what to draw, but most were having issues with the dots. Some students drew small circles, some did incredibly large blotches, some did dashes. Several students didn’t even put dots in their paintings and drawings. Students who opted for watercolor also quickly discovered that if they put their dots too close to each other and used too much water that they would blend together and not be dots anymore. My cooperating teacher had to explain to several students that they would have to go over their images with darker colors to try to put the dots back in. I really feel that the students could benefit from a demonstration from my teacher on how to use the dots, especially since she didn’t have a completed example to show them.