My first class Monday morning is Kindergarten, sometimes they are tired, other times hyper, or sometimes just cranky. It is the only class I never know how they are going to be until they get there. I always have one lesson plan and then a back up just in case. I once had a pinch pot clay lesson planned and most of the boys had a little league game that Sunday they were all tired and bickering with each other. So I swapped the real clay for my practice clay, non-drying clay, and had them sculpt their favorite thing that happened this weekend. It took 5 minutes and all of a sudden they were all ready and in the mood to work. So I had the class ball up the practice clay sculpture and practice how to make pinch pots out of the practice clay. After that I handed out the real clay and away we went with a great project. I know if I had handed out the real clay and just began the lesson it would not have been a successful. So my Monday motto be FLEXIBLE and ADAPT your lessons to fit the mood of your class. Play music, get some modeling clay, have legos, pattern blocks, and other manipulative handy ready to pass out introduce a lesson idea and collect that can open up a lesson in five minutes. If the class just doesn't seem in the art mood when they come in, just a little 5 minute pre-lesson is all it takes to save a lot of headache and wasted materials.
A few of my good old standbys are:
Songs: I have a good collection of the Putumayo World Music series which has African, Reggae, Celtic, Paris, Latino, Arabia and more which can go with almost any lesson, the kids love it and it just puts you in a good mood. If you just want to get one I recommend the One World Many Cultures, World Hits or World Lounge they all have a nice mix
Nasco sketchbooks they come for 1st - 5th grades These little books are great lesson starters
Non-drying modeling clay
Dollar Store generic legos and building manipulative
Math manipulatives I use to borrow the tessellation and pattern blocks off the classroom teachers but now I have my own set and these are great for color, shape, mosaic, and other geometric lessons.
- Color lessons
- Geometric shape and mosaic lessons
- Love having the kids create a pattern and then draw different math manipulative on example: Giant links clips
- Over head math manipulative are great for showing color mixing
- Pattern block pictures I love using these and then having students create drawing using just shapes a favorite for the little kids K-2, they can create some of the weirdest animals and creatures using just shapes.
- I have had students come to the board and see who can create a cat, dog, frog, tree using magnetic pattern blocks.
These are a few I also use many dollar store finds!