Grade Ones Meet Pablo Picasso

You haven’t heard from me lately.  I wish that you had more insight into what I’ve been up to.  It’s as though I’ve dropped off of the map.

I’m teaching grade one…but, you knew that.  What you maybe don’t know is how a grade one world surrounds you and gobbles you up.  And when you arrive at your front door at the end of each day, it seems there is a buzz in your ears and everything outside of the classroom where you’ve submersed (and yes, I meant to type submersed and not immersed) yourself all day, seems to be going slow motion…and you are still going way too fast; in the grocery store, in your kitchen, in a coffee shop.

Today we talked about Pablo Picasso.

picasso-flowers

Alright…it really isn’t that simple.

The agenda message first thing this morning was something about practicing reading at home and finding groups of things at home…counting by twos…counting by fives.  And don’t forget to return the yellow form to the school by Wednesday!  While the children were hard at this, I played Pete Seeger’s later-in-life version of “Where Have All the Flower’s Gone?”  The children, by second verse, were singing along.  (Apparently, and I just learned this, the grade ones had done a version for the Remembrance Day observance this past year.)  I told them that I had flowers on my mind.

The day continued with library book deliveries, observations of lima beans tucked carefully in wet paper towel and sealed in Zip Lock bags on the window sills. (Thank goodness for Zip Lock bags!)

“There are roots!  Look at my roots!  Awe…I didn’t get roots!  Mine are cracked!  Come over here and look at these.  I have three roots!”

Note your observations… a drawing…don’t forget the date.  I see_______________.  What?  Now, let’s wrap them in another paper towel and we’ll see them on Day 8.  You are the scientists!  Make sure that you’ve sealed your Zip Lock bags!

We had better check the eaglets…”OH, LOOK!  Another turtle shell!  They’re growing big!  They are walking so tall now and they are getting black like their Mom and Dad!”

Spring in grade one is overflowing with butterflies, eaglets, seeds and talk of weather.  Having already completed a reflection on Picasso and his elegant drawing of a bouquet of flowers, these students created a depiction.  (I will include photographs of these on a later date.)  We did the drawings early last week and talked about hands that go over things and hands that go under things.  I explained, after the obvious suggestion, that no, we wouldn’t be tracing our hands.  I thought that it was possible to draw the hands, without tracing. (Secretly, I wondered if this was possible.)

So today, out came the chalk, the permanent markers and left over paints from previous painting projects of weeks ago, today, seeming months ago.

Ideas like… lines that are smooth-like-butter…lines that are choppy…shapes around stems and placing a paper towel under a painted edge and moving it along…stems that squeeze in to a middle point where hands will be circling…and then the stems releasing out again.  It went on and on, really.  Art always does…go on and on.  We will be colouring our bouquets tomorrow…more photos will follow.

Teaching grade one is like that place where magic and crazy converge.  When a light goes on for a grade one child, it is like the most amazing thing because you know that  what has just been made sense of is a very basic concept that will be at the base of absolutely everything for the rest of that child’s life.  As I think about this tonight, I’m in awe.

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One thought on “Grade Ones Meet Pablo Picasso

  1. Endearing and completely captivating…was that really Picasso’s full name? Wow, who knew. Have never taught grade one but can relate entirely…wonderful post Kathleen…

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