I just didn't see how I was going to get 20+ Kinders to focus for 50 minutes!! But, the art teacher whom I had replaced left me a few ideas. She used ART CENTERS! I had heard of CENTERS in the regular classrooms but had not thought about them in the art room. After some research I discovered that Centers make Kindergarten so much easier to teach. After all, it's how they are taught in their own classroom. Small group learning is the key. Here's how I do it.
- 3 groups of 6 to 7 students (depends on class size)
- Each Art Center is 15 minutes long (this leaves 5 minute cleanup at the end)
- Students use "Table Talk Voices"
- I use a bell to ring 2x for center clean up and sitting quietly. Then I ring the bell 1x when I see everyone is ready, to change centers. Repetition is key to nailing the clean up and center change.
Play-Dough is great for fine motor skills, sculpture, and responsibility.
Most days are free choice, but others we learn how to make forms and other fun things. I don't always give students tools. I like for them to use their hands.
Keep play dough in zipper zip lock bags and add a little water each week to make play-dough last! Store all bags of dough in a plastic container.
Center 1 Rules:
GermX before you play!
No eating, throwing, or sharing your playdough
Clean up by mushing up your crumbs and putting all play dough into your bag, hug bag, and zip. (this is to get the air out of the bag)
CENTER 2: BLOCKS
Students love to build with blocks. I love to watch them working together as a team. Blocks are kept in 3 plastic shoe box sized containers. Best blocks are the soft foam blocks because there is no noise when they fall. I found that a pack of 100 blocks is perfect for a group size of 6 to 7. I hope to purchase a rug so students may do this center on the floor.
Centers #2 Rules: Sit on your bottom
Get 1 block out at a time
Share when you are not using a block
Build no higher than your head
CENTER 3: PROJECT CENTER
Drawing, painting, collage and more! This is the center where I spend most of the time. All my art lessons are conducted here. 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time to teach short attention spans. This project center involves a short instruction that is broken down into the simplest of directions. You may even have students make the project step-by-step along with you. Also, this center is always closest to the sink for washing hands. My project table may even be 2 tables next to each other if it is a project that involves a lot of materials or more space is needed. I sometimes use a small dry erase board to hold examples and demo. If we don't have time to finish a project then we will continue the next week.
As you can see, it is easy to fit 3 baskets of any material on my long rectangle tables. I may even use 2 tables next to each other if more space is needed like this picture >
This center is by far the favorite especially when paint is involved.
More about Art Centers
- Depends on class time
- Try simple centers the first time so students will get in the groove and learn the center rules.
- Each group always starts class at the same center and learns through repetition what center to go to next. After week 3, most have this down.
- Use signals for cleanup and when to change tables. (I use a bell)
- I choose tables that are cleaned up first and sitting quietly to line up at the end. I also choose an art helper from each table to put supplies away.
- Two centers will need to be simple do-it-yourself if you will be spending most of your time at the third center. Never turn your back to the other 2 centers. Always keep vigilance. Walk around to check up on them when project table is working well on their own.
The centers above were the 3 main ones I use, but here are
MORE ART CENTERS
- chalk boards
- art toys