Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Cutting / Art Work in the Classroom

I literally stumbled on this amazing book when I was looking in our library for a story to read to my students. I was fascinated that it showed how to create art work by tracing, cutting and arranging state-shapes into a pattern resembling animals and people. I decided I would show it to a few of my older students and see if they would be interested in doing the work. They were. Below is a photographs of one of the children's work.

I actively look for extensions of preliminary or introductory materials. I have always had two scissor cutting lessons available for the children. The first one being cutting on a line or zig zag.

It is a very familiar work in a Montessori Primary classroom. The other work is a symmetry cutting work. I have several examples of this work including one of the ten bead bar, an evergreen tree, a pumpkin and a heart. But even these are not that challenging to third or fourth year students.

While looking through several catalogs last year, I found a cutting work that resembled an item I once saw in a book on Kindergarten, a historical perspective. As described in AppleSeed Montessori's catalog, children trace the magnetic stencil, cut out the traced shaped and then open it to create shapes that resemble quilting templates. Each board has a set of directions alongside the stencil on one side and shows an example of the finished pattern on the other. The material includes 20 boards and a wooden storage rack. It arrived a few weeks ago and is actively being used by my older 4 year olds, and the five and six year olds.

I began the presentation of this work with a re-presentation of cloth folding. I demonstrated how to carefully fold the cloths corner to corner to make a rectangle, a square and a triangle. I immediately followed this work with a presentation with the new cutting material (which also ties into magnetic and non-magnetic as only one side is magnetic and therefore fits accurately into the shape on the board). Like the folding cloths, the child folds the pre-cut paper twice - once into a rectangle and then into a square. The template is placed over the folded square, traced, cut and opened to reveal the pattern that matches the card.

Recently, several of my four year olds used it and they made such lovely compositions that I pulled out the Matisse matching cards to extend their work. After they completed their compositions, I showed them how Matisse signed his work. He signed it using very small handwriting, like most artists do. I encouraged this group of four years to attempt signing their work the same way. One of the children signed her work soooo small that other children went and got magnifying glasses to see it. It was a lovely moment viewing them leaning over the art piece with the magnifying glasses in their hands attempting to see the small, small handwriting. Have a look for yourself.

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