Friday, August 1, 2014

Learning How Things Are Made

Last summer I read Victoria Finlay's ColorIn the 1880s European artists experienced a disconnect from how their paints were created and often their artwork had issues because of the "artists' loss of technical knowledge." At this point, artists "rarely had to mix paint from basic materials" and "never had to grind a rock, or powder a root, or burn a twig, or crush a dried insect" to make their own paint. These artists did not know the process in which to make their own materials and their products greatly suffered.

In the art room kids experience the wonderful process of making artwork all the time. One of my goals is to more often teach the process of how things are made. This year Kindergarten students loved experiencing how to make paint by hammering chalk pastels into powdery pigment and mixing it with an egg binder.

Also, this past school year, in an unplanned way, a few of my boys learned how things are fixed. During clean up one afternoon they accidentally dropped two paintbrushes down the new art room sinks. After an email home to the parents I thought about the next step.  Instead of keeping the boys in for recess to help clean the art room, a different lesson presented itself. Our school plumber was fixing the sinks early one morning. He was on his back with his upper body in the cabinet under the sink and his legs sticking out. I ran up to the boy's homeroom and asked if they could be excused for a few minutes. I introduced the boys to the school plumber and let them watch him work a bit. I loved how the plumber did not get up, but paused from his work and shook the boys' hands as he continued to lay on his back! The boys looked shocked to see how difficult it was to service these new sinks. Lesson learned? Lesson appreciated? I like to think so.

You and your Littles can learn how things are made in these age-appropriate videos
In the spirit of teaching Littles behind-the-scenes processes, I found a great site through Mister Rogers' Neighborhood that shows how people make things.

Check it out with your kids! You will likely learn some new things as well.

Are there any other videos about making things I can show my Littles? 

Leave a comment or send an email! I'd love to hear from you!