Action Word Art

Yesterday, I started teaching a winter-break class at the AGNS for 4-5s called “On the Move”.  As the Canada Winter Games are taking place in Halifax, we were asked to tie the theme of our class to the games, or more broadly, “movement”.

I had various things planned yesterday, one of which was a moving valentine, but I think one of the most successful was an activity I came up with as a “filler”. (These kids can get through a lot of things in 3 hours, since in general 30 minutes is the limit, at least for some.) I originally thought we would use paint for this, but since we had just been doing some painting for another activity, I turned to pastels and resist. (Oh resist, how I love you. You make EVERYTHING amazing.)

The children were each given a large sheet of water-colour paper and a box of pastels was placed on the table. Before starting we talked a bit about “action words” and I asked them to come up with some examples. Then I told them to each pick a pastel, and that when I said an action word, they were to make the pastel respond. I actually phrased it a few different ways, both making the pastel do the action, or making the line to the action. I gave them a few second with each word before asking them to stop, pick another pastel, and respond to another word. Here are some of the words I used: bounce, slither, zap, plop, ooze, fly, skip, ripple, run, zoom….

They were remarkably focused. I liked seeing how they approached negotiating the words. Some responded in a kinesthetic way, using violent scribbling for “zoom”, while others tried to show the action visually, with clean lines racing from one side of the page to the other.

When we were done (the pages had started to fill up!) I invited them to add some more colour to their work with water-colour paint. (did I mention how much I love resist?)

I plan to display these at the end of the class show, along with a list of the action words we used. If we have time we may revisit these later in the week, and see if we can spot the various actions hidden in the work.


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Filed under art, art classes/workshops, art with children

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