Love is in the Air! Talking to Grade Ones

Grade ones…well, what can be more fun?

Of course, we will do our calendar!  Where is my engine? Where is my caboose? (a unique approach at assigning helpers…and yes…you’ve got it…for their special day the engine leads the line and the caboose is at the end! LOL)

Here’s a valentine’s story book…gather on the sharing carpet, please.  Isn’t it funny that the little girl made a card for her dog?  Are you excited?  (Heads nod)

Time to get our work done first!  Let’s do our worksheets.  They are supposed to be done at the end of the morning, but let’s do them first…let’s do letter “J” in our printing books at the end of the morning,  OK?

OK! They call out in unison.  For a while, the students work hard at their four pictures of red things and their matching questions about chocolate, pink, valentines and cards.  It takes some effort to figure out the difference between valentines and cards.  Even the teacher is stumped for a while.  Those are collected up…

Let’s paint before recess, so they can dry while you are playing outside!  (A cheer lifts from the desks.)

Is it alright if we move your desks a little? (The class explodes into a burst of energy and commentary…all about the various concerns around moving the desks…the tape markers on the floor…who is away) Can we move them across the room?

Let’s create a LAND OF LOVE!  And…how about during the days of the dinosaurs?  Let’s talk about the shapes of dinosaurs.  Do you know the names of any types of dinosaurs?  (We draw turtle shaped dinosaurs on the white boards…long necked dinosaurs…)

They eat from trees!

One young boy, stretches out his t-shirt (I think one arm is out)…his eyes and head down….and he shouts out, “Look!  T-REX!  He eats meat!”  (One can never be so grateful for small surprises on days when one is teaching grade ones to paint dinosaurs!)

In your practice book, draw the dinosaur shape that you want to paint today.  Touch all four sides of your practice book.  YES!  It has to be THAT BIG!  Imagine when you get big paper!  Look how big your dinosaurs will be!

Let’s paint the main shapes of the dinosaurs before recess.  You can look at your practice book dinosaur.  You can draw them in chalk first and wipe anything that makes you unhappy.  You can start over and over again with chalk.  But remember, in art, there are no mistakes!  How to share the paint bucket with your partner?  How to care for your brush?  Dip. Wipe. Stroke. How to decide if your paper is ‘up and down’ or ‘wide’.  Don’t forget to touch each side if you can!

P1150117 P1150118 P1150119 P1150120 P1150121Now…let’s wait for those to dry.  Outdoor recess this morning!  It’s above -16 degrees!  Toques! Gloves! Snow Pants! Crackers on the floor!

How do you know your paint is dry?

Mine’s not dry!

Yes, it is!

Except for here!  It’s dark here!

That’s right!  Your paint is darker when it’s wet!

While we’re waiting, LOOK, I have different valentine’s colours!  Will you each cut out 15 hearts…I don’t mind…any sizes!

15?  That’s too many hearts!

You can do more if you want!

Wild decoration begins…

What’s a colour family?  Let’s decorate in our colour family.  Choose your pinks, red, white, purple out of your oil pastel boxes…

Can I do a green palm tree?

No. (It is here that I consider why not…and think about the outcome for a class if I invite one student to colour a green palm tree)

A monologue begins in the back of my mind as I’m answering other questions, sorting out oil pastel boxes and dealing with one little girl who is painstakingly still painting in her dinosaur shape.

(I guess I’m like an artist here and have made a decision about an overall composition…I’m busy creating unity in my piece…if one boy draws a green tree…my composition falls apart.  Is that what is going on?)

Piles of hearts begin to heap on student desks…things are happening.

P1150130(A boy asks routinely to go to the washroom…I say, “sure”, and moments later the kindergarten teacher from the hall sticks her head inside my classroom and informs me that my student has had an accident in the hall.  You know what that means.  I approach quickly, mouth hanging open…dinosaurs growing throughout the classroom…she says…”Never you mind…everything is under control.”  I say a prayer of blessing.  I am so grateful.  No one knows what layers unfold for a teacher in a single day.)

The dinosaurs are dry!

P1150123 P1150126Have fun now!

P1150137 P1150138 P1150139 P1150142 P1150143 P1150145 P1150147 P1150148 P1150149 P1150151 P1150155 P1150156 P1150158If you are finished, you may clean up your desk area and practice your letter “J” in your printing books while you are waiting for your friends to be finished.



A student comes from the back of the room with a single paper towel.  With one more trip to the back of the room, I avert a major disaster!

How are we supposed to draw a picture of Joe Just Jokes?  That’s a bad sentence!

Oh, just draw someone laughing!  (I laugh to myself as I tuck the art into stacks as they are finished and pick up red paper bits that are scattered everywhere.)

As I head out the door for lunch, I quickly tack some of the amazing creations to the bulletin board!  An awesome morning with grade one!

P1150160 P1150161

My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.

Pablo Picasso

2 thoughts on “Love is in the Air! Talking to Grade Ones

  1. Perfect description of a day of teaching the little ones, have been there and completely understand. Your words and photos are endearing…we think we are teaching them but they actually teach us so much…

  2. Pingback: Big Brushes! Big Paper! | The Chapel

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