Friday, 1 July 2011

Finger bobs

When you have one class coming in after the last with very little time in between, it is important to have your day thought through. Doing anything in the messy department of arty and crafty certainly needs thinking about carefully - if it can go wrong, it will!

Children are enthusiastic mess-makers, as I'm sure any parent/teacher will already know. Give them 10 tubes of colour paint, and you have the recipe for disaster on your hands - literally. But, today I wanted to see if we could be semi-messy and still keep on track. We were doing an activity that I had not thought of before, and one I will certainly be using again, namely finger-painting. A decent dollop of colour on one finger tip, and make a nice smudge. Repeat until you have sets of ten worryingly colourful & wet fingers.

Instructions here are important - "keep your hands up and in front of your face - do NOT touch anything! Now go and wash your hands, slowly!" Also important that teacher is not tempted to join in (you'll be unable to do anything 'sensible'). Our aim was to put a bit of life into our verbs, by making stick drawings around our fingerprints to show eg "I'm running" or "I'm drinking" with a speech bubble. I find a lot of my students need a line to place their letters on, and poorer writers need two more parallel lines to make sure they get the different heights of letters right (Japanese characters are all the same size).

Another important point I realised here is to write the phrase first, then wrap your bubble around it, otherwise you get clumped up letters/all kinds of confusion squeezing into an inappropriate shape/space. My Japanese students 'naturally' switch to writing down the page vertically if they have to, which is something I want to avoid.

So we have creative work reinforcing a 'physical dictionary' of movement, in colour and 'my' art with a bit of book work (finding the right words, copying the letters correctly)....students clearly had a good time, and with luck a bit more than usual went in :)