Last spring, as school let out for summer, teachers left in the hall some stuff they no longer wanted or needed, and I found this bizarre little box of squishy rubbery ears, feet, hands, and noses. I took the box and promptly threw out the noses (just TOO creepy) and put the rest away until today. My students have begun learning about Van Gogh. Obviously they learned about him cutting off part of his ear. So today, I came across the box of body parts, and had some fun with the 5th graders. I explained what it meant to "have my ear". I tossed the ear to a student and said he "had our ear". The person in possession of the ear had to share a fact he recalled about Van Gogh while everyone else listened, and then toss the ear across the room to someone else. The kids were SO excited to have their turn at having the ear. What a silly fun gimmick! They remembered so many great facts, and had a great time, too.
Meanwhile, the lure of giant sunflowers were the inspiration to teach Van Gogh this year. We have a wonderful new "Roots & Shoots" school garden, and this is where this flower was growing. When the garden was still in the planning stage, I said that if there were sunflowers in the garden, I would teach Van Gogh this year. My friend "C", one of the driving forces behind the creation of the garden, made sure that sunflowers were in the plan.
So early this morning I traipsed outside to the garden and cut this sunflower for a kindergarten lesson. I was recalling an easy sunflower lesson on a post by Art Project Girl that I had saved back when I was a new blogger. Using that lesson and my giant sunflower as inspiration, I changed it up a little and mixed some tempera - a fabulous golden yellow, and a rich leafy green. And then I waited for the class to show up. And waited. And waited some more.
But it was school picture day, and the photographer had gotten behind schedule and the first class was in danger of missing art time completely. And I realized that even if they had shown up on time, painting with kindergartners on picture day was a big mistake (the kids were dressed in their best!). I sadly put away all the freshly mixed paint and took out crayons. The kindergarten teacher called me, upset about the loss of art time, and she asked if we could put two very small kindergarten classes together at one time, so that everyone would get to have art. There was a teaching assistant who would come in to help out, so I agreed.
Everything started out quite well - I don't know the kids at all yet (this was only their 2nd art time), so we reviewed names, and then enthusiastically examined the giant sunflower. I had quickly cut some big paper into tall shapes and proceeded to hand it out. But I had miscounted, and 2 kids were without paper, so I cut 2 more sheets. But while I was cutting, one of the little boys without paper had decided to claim the paper of the shy little girl next to him, and they both had a stronghold on the paper sheet. The T.A. tried to intervene before I got there, and the little boy, a special ed student with a severe speech problem, got upset because the T.A. didn't understand him and he so badly wanted the paper. The paper tore and he started to scream and wail. The little girl looked totally devastated and the rest of the kids froze, wide-eyed, in total amazement at what was taking place. The boy just wouldn't calm down.
Finally, we got the boy calmed down and everyone began to draw, and that's when the wasp arrived.
It flew rapidly, divebombing all around the room. (This seems to be an annual occurrence in my room, but we've never been able to find the source of the wasps.) The kids all started screaming, and one shouted "I'M ALLERGIC!!! I tried to convince them the wasp wouldn't bother them, but since it was landing ON the kids and their papers, and they don't know me well enough to trust me, the only solution was to kill the wasp. Finally it landed on a non-human location. I grabbed a phone book and became a murderous art teacher, whamming the wasp on my first try. Hopefully now I can be a hero to these kindergartners! Or maybe they'll be afraid to come back to art again. What a morning...