At the beginning of the year, within the first week of school, I like to get something up in the classroom that personalises the classroom for the new cohort of students I am teaching. This usually takes the form of some sort of art, whether it be a self-portrait, name art or some sort of personal goal pop art exercise, these little touches from the students themselves really bring the classroom to life!
So today I thought I would share with you a fun name art exercise which as always can be modified to suit any age level. The way I have designed this particular exercise to share with you today, will allow your students to explore mixing primary colours to make new colours. And for the lower primary grades, it also gives your students a fun way to practise writing their name.
So to get started you will need: – table salt – Edicol dyes (blue, red, yellow) – paintbrushes/pipettes (I prefer paintbrushes for this as the amount of paint added can be better controlled for littlies with a paintbrush but up to you) – craft glue (in squeezy bottles) – A3/A4 cartridge paper (this paper is thicker than normal printer A3 paper, therefore withstanding higher volumes of liquid without tearing) – lead pencils – plastic or baking tray
Here’s how to make your very own salt name art: 1. Give each student an A3/A4 piece of paper. Have them write their name on the piece of paper using their lead pencil and then go over the pencil lines with craft glue – demonstrate squeezing the glue to follow the lines before letting your students loose with the glue!
2. After their name has been fully written with glue, give students some salt to shake over their paper (students will need a lot of salt to ensure it is all covered). Demonstrate to students how to gently lift the paper and tip any excess into a tray at their table (alternatively a teacher or teacher aide may like to assist younger students).
3. Once the excess salt has been removed, introduce your students to the Edicol dyes. Demonstrate the following to the students: dip just the tip of your paintbrush into the dye (they won’t need a lot of paint to make this work). Wipe off any excess on the sides of the dye container. Touch the salt gently with the paintbrush tip. The dye will transfer to the salt and the salt will spread the colour along the letter.
4. Using the same technique as described above, encourage your students to use more of the colours to cover the letters of their name. What do they observe? The colours will mix with the other colours, creating new colours. This should prompt a great discussion about mixing primary colours.
Annd you are done! Well done!! I hope you and your students enjoy decorating your classroom with these masterpieces this year. Don’t forget you can send me photos to share on social media either by tagging me in your Instagram posts @ridgydidgeresources or by sending them to my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year, no matter what grade I teach, I get my students to do a Self-Portrait in the first week of school. This gives me the opportunity to lay art expectations and rules down early in the year and they also make a great display for the Parent Teacher nights that are usually the following week.
This particular Self Portrait is quite simple and although I say it is for Early Primary, really, any grade good give it a go. It explores the mixing of primary colours as well as focusing on choosing colours that make pictures more realistic – students are required to observe themselves (in particular their skin tone) and mix colours or choose a colour that best matches their skin tone. A great way to lead into conversations about appreciating one another’s differences.
I highly recommend doing this art activity alongside Mem Fox’s book Whoever You Are.
Here is what you will need: – acrylic/washable paints (acrylic paints give a richer, bolder colour but are not as easy to wash out of clothes) – black, yellow, white, brown (in various shades), skin colour, tan – A3 cartridge paper (this paper is thicker that the A3 paper you put through your printer – using cartridge paper will help avoid the paper tearing in case of over painting) – Edicol dyes (primary colours only) – Spray bottles of some sort – Pegs – Paintbrushes/Foam brushes – Pool noodle cut into pieces
And here is how to create it with your class this year: 1. Allow your students to spray their piece of paper with the spray bottles filled with edicol dyes. Encourage your students to use a variety of the colours provided. What do they observe? What colours are being made as they mix together?
2. After your student’s spray paintings have dried, provide them with a variety of different skin tone paint colours (also include some black and white so students can mix the colours to suit their needs).
3. Ask your students to observe their skin tone and discuss the colours they will need to make their skin tone. Also discuss the impact of adding white and black to the colours provided (white lightens, black darkens). Allow your students to mix the colours until they are happy they have produced a colour similar to their skin tone. Students can then dip the pool noodle piece into their unique paint colour and print two circles one underneath the other to create a head and body.
4. From the body of their pool noodle print, use paint brushes or foam brushes to paint on arms and legs.
5. Allow your students to add hair and facial features to their portrait to complete their self-portrait.
And there you have a pool noodle self-portrait! Easy hey?! Why don’t you try doing a pool noodle family?
Firsty, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to find out more about me and how Ridgy Didge came to be.
Initially I started this business as a means of keeping myself busy while living in Central Queensland. My husband was working at one of the mines there and I was on maternity leave, so we decided, we would move from our home in Brisbane, rent a house in Moranbah, in order to give him more precious time with our then 9 month old daughter.
Now, Moranbah is not the coolest of places to live and with limited indoor activities available in town and a child who was still sleeping 2/3 times a day I quickly found myself getting a little restless. I had extended my maternity leave for another year and while I was glad for the additional time I got to spend with my daughter, I began to miss the job I had previously adored.
Cue cute baby photos…
I can’t actually remember the events that lead to me finding TPT and then opening my own store, but I do remember being intrigued by the possibilities this venture could offer me. I could still stay connected to the job I loved and stay at home with my daughter… and maybe even more importantly at the time, it gave me something to do while she slept during the day.
As I began creating resources and then selling them (which to be honest was somewhat of a shock to start off with) I realised the potential I had for helping Australian teachers meet the requirements of the Australian Curriculum. I was reducing their workload and giving them the resources they so desperately needed.
The following year I returned to the classroom but only 4 weeks into Term 1, I required surgery, which lead to complications that prevented me from returning.
Now 5 surgeries later I am so thankful for the provision of my little business – in more ways than one! Not only am I helping ease the workload of busy Australian teachers, I have also been able to provide for my family financially (even though I have spent much of the past 18 months sitting on a couch recovering from surgery) and I have been able to spend precious time with my daughter (who’s existence in itself is a true miracle – but that is another story).
I am so privileged to work alongside so many amazing Australian teachers and help them with their curriculum planning. And this is what continues to motivate me even while I sit on my couch now, recovering from my latest surgery. Thank you so much for your support (and also for reading all the way to the end of this blogpost ;p).
PS If you would like support with planning using the Australian Curriculum please don’t hesitate to contact me: email@example.com. Let me help take the stress out of planning!
I think I have confessed before my obsession with planning. I LOVE it!! I compare the success of fitting the Australian Curriculum into one year to fitting every last dish into the dishwasher… there is great satisfaction in completing the puzzle – anyone else out there with a dishwasher filling obsession?
However, when I returned to work after maternity leave 2 years ago, the thought of putting this puzzle together I found completely overwhelming. This may have been due to the fact that I was still recovering from baby brain (which I swear is a real condition) and any normal functioning brain cells that had survived my pregnancy were now occupied with remembering nursery rhymes and wiggles songs… but for whatever reason the thought of trying to cram every last piece of content in the year before me, as well as care for my student’s social, emotional needs, was purely terrifying.
AND THEN… I also had to juggle the responsibilities in my own house… cleaning, washing, grocery shopping, nurse, mediator, playmate, teeth cleaner, bottom wiper… the list goes on.
My husband will testify to the anxious mess that I became as the start of the school year approached.
I was determined though to not let my anxiety get the better of me. So, with a block of chocolate by my side and a day free of toddler interruptions I surrounded myself with curriculum documents and set out to plan my whole year. I used the exact same documents that are in my Free Resource Library (the password is available when you sign up to our mailing list) and I mapped out how I was going to fit everything in. I can tell you, it was the best thing I could have done for myself. My year was mapped out. I now had a plan. My brain was now free!! Now I could focus on ALL the other things required of me as a teacher and a mum.
Now, if you know my story, you will remember that I didn’t really get much of a chance to implement many of the plans that I had made for the year ahead but I can assure you it certainly helped having my plans there when I was on sick leave for six weeks, in and out of hospital and still required to send detailed lesson plans for relief teachers that were covering my class. I can not emphasise enough the importance of having a bigger picture plan in place to help balance your home and work life!
So is this something you do? Or is this something you need help with?
Let’s start a conversation… Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your curriculum concerns. I’m here to help! I would love to help you find a better home and work life balance as I did!