The First Month of Kindergarten in the Art Class (part 2)

IMG_4933The Kindergarteners are coming!  The Kindergarteners are coming! What in the world will you do with them?

One thing I have identified, is that Kindergarten students have the expectation that the paint is going to come out on the first day of class.  Yet, I want them to learn my routines and behavior expectations.  So I came up with this little one month unit that lets students get a little time to draw and make art, while learning how to get things cleaned up and on the drying rack in an orderly fashion.

Each lesson has one or two children’s books that start and end the class.  (You can read the first part of this article here.)

Day 4: The Rainbow Fish


The secret about this lesson, is that it is really about clean up procedures and not about making art.  You can trick the kids into having a good time and slide a little printmaking and color theory in at the same time!

As always, the whole class starts on the on the carpet and I bring my big tub of smocks (giant t shirts) up to the front.  I talk about their beautiful cloths and how to keep them clean by putting the smock on over top.  I pick one kid and demonstrate how to put the smock on, then call up a few at a time to pick out a smock.

Once everyone is dress and seated again, I talk about how to put the painting on the drying rack.  (Yes- even before showing how to make the art!)  In my room I have the traffic move in a big circle around the outside of the work tables.  They stop by the drying rack, then the sink, and finally put their smock in a tub before coming back to the carpet.  I demonstrate this 2-3 times from various tables.  Then, I have a kid demonstrate how to do while I announce their movements like a sports broadcaster.


Now I show them the final project and show them how make the fish like this:

I pre-fold all the paper before class and have the paper already at the tables.  Then I run around to each table squirting paint into the folds.

As they clean up, I have a video of the Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister playing so they will be occupied while the rest of the students are cleaning up.

If there is time at the end we dance to the “Red and Yellow Blues” and then its usually time to head back to class.

Day 5: Decorating the Rainbow Fish

Day 6: Making an Ocean for the Rainbow Fish

Today students grab a smock out of the tub which is by the door.  They put in on after they get to the carpet. We review the drying rack procedure.  Then its on the demonstration about how to make the ocean.

At the end of class we read Pattern Fish.

Day 7: Putting It All Together

On the last day of the project, we review the drying rack procedure and talk about GLUE BOTTLES!!!

I use the term “Ladybug dots” and model how to glue their fish to the ocean and then to layer tissue paper seaweed on top.  I have little pieces of aluminum foil that each student cuts into scales that are glued onto the fish.

Day 8: Reflecting on the Artwork

On this day, each student gets their artwork back and also gets the following two worksheets.

I model how to cut out each step and glue it in sequence (BIG Common Core value) with a glue stick.

Students go back and put the worksheet together and use crayons to color in the pictures.

This is also a good time to have kids who have missed any classes catch up.

Halfway through the class, most students are done, so I introduce sketchbooks to the class.

My sketchbooks are just 4 pieces of paper folded in half and stapled with a saddle stapler.  We store them in magazine holders and each class has their own box.


The last 10 minutes of class is spent drawing in sketchbooks.

Congratulations!  You’ve made it through the first month of Kindergarten!


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