There was a beautiful soul that taught at my school. She was a kindergarten teacher. I didn’t know her too well, but we bonded for many hours when we taught summer camp together. She died very suddenly in the Fall.
Even though I was with her for only a few short weeks, I could tell I was in the presence of a woman who knew how to inspire young children to learn. She was one of those teachers that never raised her voice. She never let students ruffle her feathers. She was serene. One of the weeks’ themes was Hawaiian Fun. While I was scrambling about and searching Pinterest to accumulate enough activities for the themed week, she was able to think of a perfect open-ended, art, geography, and science activity without batting an eye. She guided those kids to make a mural of the Hawaiian islands out of cardboard cup holders. So simple!! And so powerful!
At summer camp, one of the weeks’ themes was Hawaii. While I was scrambling about and searching Pinterest to accumulate enough activities for the themed week, she was able to think of a perfect open-ended, art, geography, and science cross-curricular activity without batting an eye. Those kids made a mural of the Hawaiian islands out of cardboard cup holders, paints, and glue. They chatted with us while they painted. They asked questions. They decided what tools and materials would best make the mural. It was an immersive learning experience for all of them.
I respect her so much and when I started our class unit on 2D and 3D shapes, I thought of her and the mural project and I made a connection that I could introduce group mural projects for just about any subject matter. My first experiment was this 3D to 2D shape mural. I’ve seen activities similar to this on Pinterest, but we took it two steps further.
- First students chose 3D shapes and traced their faces onto craft paper.
- Then, they colored in the 2D shapes with colored paint.
- Next, they examined the corners and sides by outlining the shapes in black paint with small watercolor brushes.
I love how this activity hits SO MANY early childhood standards!! It’s also a mix of self-directed, peer group work, and teacher-guided learning strategies.