We just completed our CA standardized tests, which are rumored to end after next year in second grade. I am looking forward to that! Watching second graders try to sit attentively for an hour each day reading passage after passage of text is painful, especially if some don't understand why you can't help them when they are stuck. Fortunately, it's over for another year and we can get back to our regular schedule!
During testing, I like to make sure my students have opportunities to have some fun. This year I asked my wonderful art docent, who is a parent volunteer, to come in and teach us a lesson in making collages. The lesson is called Matisse Magic and she did a great job.
First, she displayed photos of Matisse's work as well as samples of the student project on the board. She then explained who Matisse was and showed students how to cut various shapes using 4.5x9 inch pieces of colored construction paper. She showed them how to fold paper in half and cut out two symmetrical shapes and how to avoid cutting on the fold to get one larger shape that is symmetrical. Students practiced and each added one of their creations to the large white poster paper she posted on the whiteboard. This became our class collage.
Next, students chose three or four colors of 4.5x9 inch paper and began to cut out various shapes in small, medium, and large sizes. They were encouraged to create a layout on 9x9 inch black paper that was symmetrical and small/medium pieces needed to be layered on top of the larger pieces.
When the children finished creating a layout they were happy with, they glued everything down onto the black paper and were done. Simple as that!
I found that this is an art docent lesson I can easily do on my own when I don't have a parent volunteer to take on the job in future years. There is very little preparation time involved and it's also great for all grade levels. If you need a nice display for Open House this year, this takes about an hour or so and looks vibrant on a bulletin board. Let me know if you try it out and feel free to email me a picture of your students' work!