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Aug 16, 2013

Posted by | 17 Comments

A Winning Lesson for the First Day of Kindergarten Art

You may think I am crazy, but I jump right into an art project on the first day of Kindergarten art! In the video below, I will tell you all about what project I do, how I accomplish it, and how I use this first art project as an important assessment tool.

Click Here to download the PDF of the shape sheet that I use for this lesson.

What is your first Kindergarten Art Project? 

What are your tips for surviving the first day of Kindergarten Art?

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  • artteacher16

    I think this is a great lesson for the beginning of the school year, and I’ll try it as my second lesson. The first lesson I have my Kindergarteners begin with is having them draw a portrait of themselves with their family. Of course, the combinations of “family” members are endless (don’t forget your pets!), and we talk about that from the get go. We also spend some time talking about what people look like and what shapes, colors, and details we might need to be able to draw a person. I do not create an example or demonstrate because, like the lesson shared here, I use this as an assessment piece to find out where they’re at cognitively-familiarity with the subject matter, materials, following directions, etc. They outline in pencil first, and then they have the opportunity to add color to their drawing. When the class is over, I collect their drawings, not to be returned to them until their last art class. Come June, I repeat this same lesson, and then we have a show-and-tell to view both their September and June drawings. The grow is absolutely incredible, and this simple opening lesson is one of my very favorites. They can actually see their own growth as budding artists and their huge smiles in are priceless.

    • http://www.theartofed.com/ Jessica Balsley

      This is a very nice idea for the first day of Kindergarten! Families are so important to our little ones, and this really gives students a chance to draw more details, which provides you more information about their skill level. I personally made little notes in my seating chart with students who I feel were advanced or needed extra support in art class based upon these initial results. Saving them for the end is a perfect way to show growth. Thanks!

    • kathleen

      I also save the first day self-portraits and then they glue those to a construction paper sheet with the last day portrait. We label them a send them home as proof of their great growth. Many go from a circle with 4 sticks to writing about their well detailed last day drawing.

      Scissor on the first day with my kinders would be scary.

  • Beth Bataoel

    This will be a great assesment tool for the first few days of Kindergarten art, and I plan on using it this fall, thanks, Jessica!
    On the first day of kindergarten art this year, I plan on reading to them the book, “No One Saw” by Bob Raczka to introduce them to paintings and artists. I plan on discussing each painting with them as we are reading. Day 2 we will read a book on color and then play I Spy with colors in the art room. Day 3 we will read “Lines that Wiggle” by Candace Whitman and again discuss the lines they can find in the art room. We won’t start any art production until Day 4. I think I can use this assessment lesson after reading them a book on shapes. (Our school district has a large emphasis on literacy… can you tell??) I also like the idea artteacher16 posted on a self portrait, and hope to use that as well. My students come Monday!! Can’t wait to see them all!

  • Erica

    My poor kindergartners, some have never seen scissors. Taking the scissors out I always feel like I’m taking my life in my hands. I start in small groups and try to work through the thirty kids 5 at a time! It’s so hard to plan for the first day when some don’t even respond to their own name! I always read ART and we “air draw” the lines in the book then draw them on paper.

    • http://www.theartofed.com/ Jessica Balsley

      Erica,
      Yes, you definitely need to know your students. Starting with cutting and scissors can be daunting, it sounds like you have a good plan!

  • Mrs.C

    Thanks Jessica! I love this lesson! When i saw it this morning it inspired so many ideas in my head! Thanks for sharing it and I am definitely going to use a version of it for my first lesson with my Kinders! :)

    • http://www.theartofed.com/ Jessica Balsley

      Totally! You can take this in so many different directions. The download can be used for many different kinds of shape projects. Good luck!

  • Donna Staten

    Hi Jess! Love that kinder project! Why don’t you pin it to the group “Art” board to share it with a bigger audience! :-)

    • http://www.theartofed.com/ Jessica Balsley

      I just did! Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Dnutter

    I really like this idea. I, too, and not sure how it could be done in a 45 minute class unless it went into two classes. How much time do you spend going over class rules and expectations with kinders? I usually talk about this with them even though I know it will take lots of repeating before they really get the picture. Esp. those who have never been in a classroom before.

    • http://www.theartofed.com/ Jessica Balsley

      I go over mini lessons for the rules briefly during each class period for the first few months. This takes 2 class periods. One to color in the shapes, find our seats, etc. and the second to cut and paste.

  • DES

    great idea! Just added that to my first week plans.

    • Kathy

      On the very first day, I tell students that they are already artists and today they will work as a team to produce something BIG to hang in the hall for everyone to see. This gets their attention, and I make a big deal about teamwork and how they could never make something so big working alone in just one class. I have 17 students. They stand around the tables (pushed together) with a piece of paper 36″ X 8′. We talk about the subject, and I show photos or whatever is needed (I have done sunflowers, tall buildings, a saguaro cactus, an emperor penguin…). First they vote on the color paper we will use (I have several precut to size) then one by one I hand the chalk to a different child to draw a part of the subject, passing the chalk to finish a line, etc. This goes quickly as they get the idea, and more than one child can use the chalk to add, say petals and leaves to the sunflower. (Easy to erase mistakes with a damp sponge). Then I give some guidelines and everyone uses oil pastels to color it in–making discoveries— that if there is no green oil pastel, they can use blue and yellow for example, or use the side of the oil pastel. I assign the tasks needed–”OK, you two make seeds in the center”, “now could you add a few more leaves” and ask if we need anything else (rain, sun, insects?). They are so proud at the end of class! I go over rules on the second class period, since on the first day every teacher is talking about rules (imagine how boring this would be for 5 classes in a row).

  • Laura Hubb

    I love this! I am going to try it with my first graders (no art in kindergarten anymore in our school district). Do you have any ideas for something similiar for 2nd or third graders?

  • Bonnie Powers

    Jessica,
    Lovin this lesson and I’m going to try it as my second lesson. I just started teaching PK – 1st grade Art where we are working toward developing a core curriculum based program. We did not get our schedules until a few days before school started. My class periods are only 25 minutes long (was expecting 30-35 minutes) and are back-to-back with each class having 20-24 students. Any tips or ideas you have are greatly appreciated.

  • http://www.theartofed.com/ Jessica Balsley

    Some people have asked what criteria I am looking for (aka a rubric) for this lesson. I don’t have a formal rubric created, but here is what I would be looking for – at a glance.

    1. Cutting and Gluing

    2. Appropriate Placement of Shapes

    3. Following Simple Directions

    4. Ability to draw lines, fill in shapes with color, etc (more fine motor)

    5. Creativity – Did the student add something original to the hat design. Did the student add anything else (I’ve had students add earrings, eye lashes, tassels on the hat, etc, etc…. This shows they are thinking beyond and can tell me a lot about their future performance in the art room, although somewhat subjective.