Here is my rainforest plant making project for 21 first graders...they did an AWESOME job yesterday! I put together the paper bag instructional above for those that might want help getting started, and cut some templates below for others to experiment with.
What we got was a hugely varied miniature forrest of amazing creations. Now - there are different philosophies about teaching, and 'teaching' art and sometimes I wonder what the powers that be, the educational standard setters are thinking. I don't really know. I should ask someone.
My belief is that probably the most beneficial 'teaching' comes from some place philosophically in between. That is - I always was taught that you never draw for a child - that 'coloring books' aren't good, and that stickers, stamps and all that glitter are just low brow distractions. I know - it sounds snobbish.
BUT - I've seen children learn allot from drawing with adults, from coloring books, from copying stuff. Heck - how did I learn about every other painting in the Orsay or the Tate? From drawing them. Copy copy copy...but it's different than being told exactly what to do...or is it?
It's amazingly hard helping a class full of 21 first graders when there are only two of you. No wonder so many projects have very little wiggle room in them. It would be chaos without more help.
My feeling is this. Children are massively innovative, and we should foster that as much as possible. They also need to be directed and trained. I really like the idea of projects having elements of both. We're painting them next week and I have some other ideas about how to further their awesomeness.