Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

A touch of Matariki for 2017

One of the sad things about when I was a reliever was not being able to get your teeth stuck into those annual events, such as Matariki with a class.  But one principal rang me to relieve in a Year 3/4 class in early Term Three of 2017 and asked if I could do some artwork for Matariki with the students.  I was happy to oblige.

So I took along my favourite Matariki picture book, Stories from our Night Sky by Melanie Drewery and Jenny Cooper.  We read the Matariki story with the tuatara in it.

I've blogged about this book before in 2012 in the post Matariki - an overview of a unit of work when my class used the same story about the tuatara as inspiration and two years ago I blogged about using the story The Seen Stars of Matariki in the post Matariki Art.

After reading the story, I wanted the students to rewrite it in their own words.  So first of all I had the class retell it to me orally and I wrote the brainstorm on the board to assist them.  This is a class used to a lot of structure around their writing.

Then the students went and rewrote the story in their writing books.  Many were able to rewrite the story in their own words.  Some really relied on the brainstorm written on the board.  You can see examples of their writing at the bottom of this post.

Afterwards we choose a part of the story we wanted to illustrate.  We drew our pictures on draft paper first before I asked them to do it on the good black paper.  I asked the children to make their pictures big.  I don't want to wear binoculars to see the pictures and it is easier to colour in with pastels when they are not doing teeny tiny pictures.

Just below is the progression of my picture.  I always do a picture to demonstrate the skills I want them to use.

Firstly I demonstrated drawing a simple picture and using the majority of the page.  This was A4 sized.  Once they had drawn their pencil drawing and I had demonstrated using chalk to draw on the black A4 paper, I let the kids draw their picture on the black paper with their chalk.

Next I demonstrated using the pastels by outlining the shape of the tuatara in my picture.  One of the teachers at this school teaches the kids that outlining is drawing a fence for you to colour inside of, and don't colour outside of the fence.   So I reinforced this concept with the children.  I also showed them how they can use several colours to colour in their picture to get depth and richness of colour and to define the shapes.

Below are some of the drafts drawn by the children with pencil on white A4.

Below you will see some more drafts, but you will also see the evolution of the children's artworks and how hard they worked to make some pretty amazing artworks in one day.

I love how this student really used colour to tell the story.  It's bright, vibrant and bold.

I like how this student blended the colours in their tuatara and the way they have made their sun shine.

This is another truly bright and dynamically colourful artwork.  And the look on this tuatara's face is priceless. 

A few days later I was in another class in the school and I did the same story again.  This time the class did not have pastels and black paper and we had less time, so I adapted to using coloured pencils and jovis.

Below are some samples of the stories the children wrote when I asked them to retell it.  You will see that I have taken the opportunity to conference with each child.  I have edited spelling and punctuation, sometimes helped them with making it make sense and written feedback to highlight what really stood out for me in their writing.  Sometimes the feedback is as simple as a smiley face.  Sometimes I highlight what stands out.  I'm looking for deeper features such as the author's voice and similes and descriptive words.

This was a pretty amazing day with this class and I really enjoyed working with them.  I was really impressed with their ability to retell the stories.  Not bad for one day in the class and their class had some gorgeous artwork as a result.