Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tradition be BLEEPED! I'm teaching Color FIRST!!

Some traditions are important. 
Some traditions become traditions because it means something or makes sense of something.

But sometimes, you do things because it's always been done that way. 

And then you find out a much, much better way to do something and you have to stop and wonder why you did it the other way in the first place. 

And it boils down to... it's the way things have always been done.

Well, I've experienced one of these situations over the last week. Lesson Learned!!

With school back in session, this week in my classes, we started the first unit or "bundle." Traditionally, it seems that LINE has always been the first concept taught. I don't know why. That's the way textbooks are set up. Someone along the way liked line most and did it that way. No matter, that's the way secondary art curriculum is arranged. 

Well, over the summer when all of the art teachers in the district got together and aligned the curriculum, our Kindergarten art teacher said no way! She couldn't teach line first! Line is a fine motor skill. She had to start with color! So after discussion, that's what we did. All of the art teachers in the district at all the levels would teach color first.

And it has been WONDERFUL!!!

Five days into the semester and my art 1 students were PAINTING!! I taught classroom expectations and procedures while they were PAINTING! Students were engaged the entire class. There wasn't a fuss, a moan or even a whimper. Every day students walked in and immediately got to work.

We spent four days on the color wheel. WAY too long from a traditional mindset. But it was perfect! I'll never go back to teaching line first! Over the last week I had students paint primary colors and secondary colors on a color wheel. I talked to them about the primary colors and how they can remember them as PARENT colors.  And that the kids get between the parents and are made from the parents. And these are secondary colors because they are the second generation.  Students get this. They laugh and talk about what the next generation of colors is called! They even remember how to space them on the color wheel. It's easy to remember that kids get between parents. It's hard to remember primary and secondary colors.

Then I had the students make another wheel, this time divided into eight parts. Now they had to take the colors from the first wheel and mix new colors. No repeats. This took two days! But you know what? They LEARNED that mixing colors across the color wheel makes for muddy brownish colors... no matter where you start on the wheel. And they LEARNED that pretty colors are next door neighbors, because they are friends!  Your friends stand beside you while you face your enemy (complimentary color) across the wheel.

Next week, they will make another color wheel. But this time, they are going to make a 12 section radial design and then embed the color wheel. Guess what.. it's a fine motor skill line project. But I'm not telling them that!

Here are some samples I found on the Internet.

Below is the teacher sample that I made. I'm going to make another one that has the pattern fully developed into one pie and leave the white space.

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