Thursday, October 31, 2013

On the Menu this November

I know, I know... I should really be posting these menus a bit earlier in the month, shouldn't I? The thing is...although I am a planner and not at all a last minute person, things have been a bit busier in our household this month and won't really be slowing down unfortunately! :) I guess on the positive side, the menu is out BEFORE November 1, right?  :) On another note, if you happen to celebrate Halloween, let me use this post to also wish you a HAPPY HALLOWEEN! :)

November  2013 Menu

November2013 menu pg1November2013 Menu pg2

* * *

Your comments make my day ! 
(Please note : comments won't be visible until after my approval!)

* * *

Today, I'm happily linking up to

If you would like me to link up with you, please don't hesitate to ask, it might take me a week or two, but I generally do!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Music Appreciation Class for Kids : Beethoven

While we lived in New York, Adrian attended a music class and loved it. He still talks about it as if it were yesterday. Unfortunately, we moved away and could not find the same type of class over here. Music is important to my family and I do hope we will eventually be able to find another good class or even private instruction for the children. In the meantime, I am putting together some small lessons for them in the hopes of keeping their love of music alive.

Beethoven Music Class Toddlers Up
Beethoven Music Appreciation Class

Our first class featured Beethoven. I picked him for a very specific reason: Symphony  # 6, 2nd Movement, also known as the Pastoral. Being that we were working with the "Farm" thematic, I thought it would be perfect and would integrate well in our week. But just how did I present a classical composer to a nearly 3 year old girl and a 5 year old boy?


As I welcomed my "students" in the classroom, I played Symphony # 6, 2nd movement on my IPad. (You Tube has many versions to offer, I picked the one played by NFZ/Kocsis). I asked Zahavah and Adrian whether they had heard the "song" before, or this kind of music before (classical). I told them this piece was by Beethoven and that it was a classical piece of music and then invited them to lay down on their back to enjoy the music some more. After they had settled, I asked them quietly how they felt. Angry? Excited? Sad? Calm? Happy? Relaxed? They both agreed the symphony made them feel calm and that it was a slow piece of music. I asked them whether they like that calm feeling and that calm Beethoven "song". They did.

EXPLORE...with cows!

Apparently, Zahavah and Adrian are not the only ones to like this piece. So do cows and I told them so.  I ventured to tell them that cows who listened to this piece of music and other slow, calm and steady paced songs made more milk for them to drink. They of course thought it was hilarious and a bit odd. We discussed why that could be and I then gave both Adrian and Zahavah a toy cow and played Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Was their cow munching slowly in the fields? Was it a calm cow? Was the song keeping the same slow tempo? It was according to them.

I then switched compositions and played a vocal Symphony number 9 in D Minor Op.125 (aka Ode to Joy). Were the cows still walking peacefully in the meadows? Were they still feeling serene and calm or had they been startled? Adrian's cow had jumped in the air very high and did not like the song at all. His cow was now very scared because the music was sometimes quiet and sometimes loud, sometimes slow and sometimes fast. Not a good day to make lots of milk apparently... :)


Ode to Joy is a very famous composition and I made sure my children understood that. After we listened to it, I told them how lots of people made their own version of it because of their love of that piece. I even showed them "The Muppets's Ode to Joy" version on You Tube. They were thrilled (I made sure to end it because everything goes havroc) and we then set to make our own version with our own instruments. We used rhythm sticks, a triangle and a floor drum with mallets. We also sang along...Everyone got their chance to do the song with each instrument and for days after the children requested a do-over of the "me me me me" song by Beethoven! :)

*  *  *

Overall, this first music class was a success. The kids cannot wait for me to hold another so I'm trying to quickly put another one together. All my classes will be introducing "classical" composers I'd like them to be acquainted with but in a fun way. I'll also try to introduce music vocabulary here and there and of course...let them play! :)

* * *

Your comments make my day ! 
(Please note : comments won't be visible until after my approval!)

* * *

Today, I'm happily linking up to

If you would like me to link up with you, please don't hesitate to ask, it might take me a week or two, but I generally do!

Monday, October 21, 2013

On the Farm Unit for Toddlers - Part 2

Was I too ambitious when I planned spending only one week per thematic with my toddler or was the farm theme just was one of those themes that requires more time than most topics? Anyhow...Zahavah and I ended up spending two weeks instead of one "On the Farm" and we both really enjoyed every minute of it. We'll see if we need to adjust down the road and spend two weeks on each unit or whether it's only for certain ones but for now...let me share with you the rest of our Farm Unit...

Farm Sensory Bin Close Up
Farm Sensory Bin

First Sensory Bin of the School Year! Part of me missed making them, part of me...didn't. Adrian was never really fond of them. He liked a few but overall never liked them that much so making them always felt like it was very time consuming considering the time he spent exploring them. I must say Zahavah REALLY liked this one and spent a lot of time "playing" with it. I based it on an idea I saw on The Imagination Tree but toned mine down! :) I used a Melissa & Doug wooden crate and filled it with yellow split peas. Scattered some farm animals around (Safari Ltd Toobs farm babies and farm animals) as well as a few real pinecones in a corner, a few real shrub leaves in another and a few real wheat sprigs in another. In the middle I put a cow bell (which Zahavah loved to ring!).  Around the crate, I installed a white picket fence with more animals, a tub with blue colored water and a small tub filled with coffee ground (very aromatic). I tried to make it appealing to as many senses as possible as it is a sensory bin. Not pictured but also provided were a small wooden rake and spoon from Montessori Services as well as two small plastic bin Zahavah filled to "Feed" the animals around the fence.

Farm Sensory Bin
"Aerial View" of Farm Sensory Bin

Muddy Pigs Sensory BinSensory Bin Fed Animals 
The pigs getting muddy and the livestock getting fed

Farm Animals Stencil Painting
Art: Farm Stenciling with Paint

Stenciling can be fun even for toddlers. These farm stencils were too intricate for tracing...but not for painting. Zahavah being in love with all things painting, I let her pick a color and paint over one animal at a time. She loved stenciling and made one farm animal everyday. Found the stencils at Hobby Hobby. 

Baster Water Transfer
Practical Life: Transferring Water with a Baster

Water fun is...always fun! Zahavah transfered all the colored water from one glass to the other using the turkey baster you see above. She loved seeing the water going in the "tube". As it was her first time, it was a learning process for the squeezing and releasing of the baster pumping head. We'll be doing more of those as whole hand transfers are important to prepare for future handwriting. 

Stamping Farm Animals on Blank Farm Scene
Creating a Farm Scene with Farm Animal Stamps

This was a very well loved activity. Zahavah loves stamping (what child doesn't?) and having the liberty to create her own scene was simply magical to her. She picked up her tray with this empty farmyard and stamped all the animals in the field, stables and yard. She then went on to color the rest.

1:1 Chickens and Corn
Math: 1 to 1 Correspondence : Feeding Corn to Chickens

A math readiness activity involving farm animals and their feed! I printed a chicken grid game and provided 20 corn kernels for Zahavah to feed the chicken. Picking up the corn with her tiny fingers was  great for her fine motor skills as well. Not easy as they are tiny...

Stamping Activity Farm Animal Sounds
Who Made that Noise? A Stamping/Listening Activity

Having purchased a set of Farm stamps for "Farm week" for both Zahavah and Adrian, I needed to make sure they would be used more than once. One of the activities I had in mind for that week was the one you see here: a listening activity where Zahavah listens to a farm animal noise, identifies the animal who made the noise and stamps that animal down on the paper. She LOVED doing that. I made two columns per sheet (made those basic sheets myself) but we repeated the activity everyday! :) Of course, some animals didn't get to be heard (such as the rabbit) but they got to be used as stamps in the farm scene activity seen earlier in this post.

Number or Animal Sorting
Math: Number or Farm Animal?

Before doing any real math activities, there's math readiness. The tray above was prepared with that in mind. I mixed numbers and farm animals in a basket and Zahavah had to sort the numbers (taken off a puzzle) from the farm animals.

Pouring Beans Pitchers
Practical Life: Pouring Dry Beans from Pitcher to Pitcher with Handles

Dry pouring with red kidney beans. Initially planned on using lima beans but didn't have any on hand. Zahavah used two small pitchers with handles to do the pouring (purchased through Montessori Services).

Muddy Pig Painting
Art and Fine Motor: Using a mini sponge to create a muddy piggy

Zahavah likes the idea of a muddy piglet and loves paint so this activity was a no brainer. I cut out a pink pig from construction paper, prepared a bowl filled with brown washable paint and...a tiny sponge (1/2 inch cube). Why the tiny sponge? Well, it forces the child to use their pincer grip (thumb and index finger) and it's never too early to develop the pincer grip, right? :)

Farm Peg Puzzles
Math/Fine Motor: Farm Themed Puzzles

Puzzles are a great teaching tool to children. Unfortunately, Zahavah is just in the middle of a huge breakthrough where peg puzzles such as the ones above are too easy and the the jigsaw puzzles required just a bit too tough when not chosen by me (or require help which she dislikes at times!). I still put out these four puzzles out this week (all made by Melissa & Doug) but Zahavah had little interest. I am eyeing a farm floor puzzle with a farm theme made by Melissa & Doug for her upcoming birthday. That one would have been perfect! :)

Farm Animals Cards and Figures
Matching Real Farm Animal Pictures to Animal Figures

Having matched each farm animals to their exact matching picture earlier in the week, I now put out real pictures of farm animals and figures for Zahavah to match. It demanded more attention as some animals were now be different in color, position, size, etc. It was revision time and she did excellent! Time to move to our new unit! :)

* * *

Your comments make my day ! 
(Please note : comments won't be visible until after my approval!)

* * *

Today, I'm happily linking up to

If you would like me to link up with you, please don't hesitate to ask, it might take me a week or two, but I generally do!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

On the Farm Unit for Toddlers - Part 1

"On The Farm" is such a timeless, classic theme for kids to explore. My goal for this week was for Zahavah to learn more about farm animals while having fun. She of course knew of several farm animals and their noises prior to the beginning of the week so adding "new faces" was a must.  She loved most of the activities but the "Artsy" ones were the biggest winners. I must also mention that although we initially planned on spending one week on the topic, we ended up spending two! :)

Finger Painting Spots on White Cow
Art: Finger Painting a Cow

At almost three years of age, Zahavah loves art. There is never enough painting activities so I made sure there would be lots of variety this week. Older toddlers/preschoolers seem to love working with their fingers, hands and feet so I try to provide these opportunities often. Here, I supplied a "white cow" and black washable tempera paint. All my daughter had to do was to paint black spots onto that cow using her fingers. She loved the feelings of the paint on her digits! :)

Creating Farm Scene Stickers
Art: Creating a Farm Scene with Stickers

Stickers are another item I cannot seem to stock enough of. For this activity, I chose "Cardstock stickers" made by PaperHouse. They are thicker, bigger and peel off very easily from the sheet. Zero frustration process. :) I also liked that they featured "real" pictures, not drawings of farm animals. Zahavah created her scene on a drawing printed off of Free For Kids.

Mothers and Babies Matching Farm Animals
Mothers & Babies Self-Correcting Puzzle

Made by Educa, this puzzle has been in our collection for a few years now but it was the first time I let Zahavah try it. It usually is on the higher shelves, accessible only to adults and big brother Adrian. She was VERY happy to get a "big girl" puzzle and worked on it everyday. This puzzle features farm animals but also a few pets and some wild animals. I love these self-correcting puzzles. :)

Farm Animal Figures and Pictures Matching
Match these farm animals to their picture

In anticipation for farm week, I purchased two Safari Ltd. toobs (farm animals and farm babies). During the entire two weeks we spent on the thematic, they were out everyday for various activities. For the one above, I simply put all the animals in a basket and put a picture of each in another. Zahavah then had to match each animal to their picture (printed off of a key found on Living Montessori Now). Earlier in the week we of course "studied" the animals to make sure each and every one of them was known by name.

I Spy on the Farm Map
Language: I Spy at the Farm

Who doesn't like playing a little game of "I Spy...?"? With this cute (and real!) farm map, I questioned Zahavah as to where I should go to find the sheep, the cows, the hens, the ducks, and so much more. It was fun and she felt so proud being able to find all these animals. It was a very nice vocabulary review for the beginning of our farm week.

Spooning Corn
Practical Life: Spooning Corn for the Farm Animals

Spooning corn, beans and other dried legumes is somewhat traditional in Montessori classrooms. This was the first time Zahavah tried her hand at spooning dry goods from one bowl to another so I chose a bigger and deeper spoon and bigger and deeper bowls. She did very well, dropping few kernels.

1:1 Farms and Farm Animals
Math: 1:1 Correspondence Farm Animal and Barn

1 to 1 correspondence is a nice way to introduce math to toddlers. It prepares them to math and they usually love the activities that come with it. Here, I provided a "grid game" with 20 barn and 20 farm animals. When done properly, each animal has its own barn (they are put on top of it) and the basket is empty. Zahavah was very careful (the Safari Ltd. farm animals fitted just right on each square) in placing her animals with a good control of movement.

Handprint Footprint Peacock
Art: Footprint, Handprints and Digits Peacock

Totally in love with painting, Zahavah tried every single painting activity suggested during the Farm Unit. This included the beautiful peacock you see above, originally seen on Sweet and Lovely Crafts. We started with a footprint, then added four handprints, followed by several index finger prints. The final touches such as the goggly eyes, beak and legs were added once the paint was completely dried. Zahavah LOVED making this peacock and using all these colors. We usually stick to one color per painting so this was very special to her! :)

Farmyard Poem Basket
Language: Farm Poem Basket

Farm "Week" brought us our first poem basket of the year! For the occasion, I picked "Farmyard", a simple, descriptive poem perfect for toddlers Zahavah's age. To go with the poem, I prepared a few pictures of what the poem refers to as well as animals encountered in the poem. I also prepared our "pointer" using a wooden dowel and goggly eye to point to each word dot as we read. I'll be honest, Zahavah was more interested in my "wand" than the poem. Hmpfff.

Farm Animal Footprints in Dough
Farm Animals and their Footprints

Using Learning Resources' Jumbo Farm Animals, we made footprints in the play dough. I simply let Zahavah discover what footprints the animals made at first and we discussed who made big prints, small prints, and eventually, I prepared the prints you see above and Zahavah had to find the animal that made the prints! :)

Handprint Sheep Collage CottonBalls
Art: Handprint Sheep Collage

This is actually a craft that Adrian did last year. :)  I remembered it and thought Zahavah would like to make her own sheep as well. We basically painted her hand in black and stamped it onto the paper. Then, she stretched cotton balls and dipped them into liquid glue before gluing them onto the sheep's body. We finished by choosing a goggly eye and a ribbon that we also glued on.

Farm Books Toddlers
Zahavah's Farm Book Picks

During farm "Week" we read quite a few books related to farm animals. Zahavah picked her favorites here.

Top 5 Farm Books according to Zahavah, Nearly 3 years old

My Big Farm Book by Roger Priddy
(Loved the real pictures and the quiz questions!)

Maisy's Morning on the Farm by Lucy Cousins
(I love Maisy Mouse...All the Maisy Mouse books)

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
(This one has animal noises and lots of animals in it and rhymes!)

Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming
(Lots of animal noises and colorful pictures. Mama asks me to look for Goose)

Chicken, Chicken, Duck by Nadia Krilanovich
(A funny book where animals do a pyramid on top of one another)

Honorable Mention:
Polo a la ferme by Ginette Anfousse (French book)
(I like the entire Polo collection. This one shows mommy, daddy and baby farm animals and calls them all by name. I like looking for Polo the mouse on every page.)

* * *

Your comments make my day ! 
(Please note : comments won't be visible until after my approval!)

* * *

Today, I'm happily linking up to

If you would like me to link up with you, please don't hesitate to ask, it might take me a week or two, but I generally do!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Europe Unit for Kindergartners

Ah...the much awaited week! It had better be good! :) For lack of a better word, Adrian has been fascinated/borderline obsessed with flags and maps and countries since summertime. Needless to say, many of the activities presented were simply thrilling to him and he could have gone on and on. I felt like these activities were repetitive a bit but he loved them all. I also felt like he didn't learn that much because he already knew a lot of this stuff but it reinforced what he already knew and we were able to concentrate and what he knew less of I guess. I made a point of including lots of flags because he LOVES flags. I also made sure to include phonics as this is an ongoing struggle...

Produce Origin
Where Did My Produce Come From? - Europe or Not?

For the past few weeks, Adrian has been asking me where our fruit comes from. You see, he noticed the berry containers had German flag stickers on them and so I had told him they had been grown locally. Well, now he wants to know where everything is grown of  course, so during Europe week, I put together a basket of fruits with flags. He was delighted! His task was to sort the fruits into two groups: the ones that had been grown in Europe and the ones that had been grown outside of Europe. I am actually looking forward to doing this again this winter when we study Africa. I know Europe gets lots of vegetables and fruits from there in the wintertime so it will be exciting. Of course I could just do make believe but when it's real, it's even better! :) By the way, Adrian was allowed to use his reference book in case of doubt!

Europe Map Where I've Been
Where Have I Been? - Coloring a Map

This was an absolute favorite. Being that we live in Europe, we get to travel a lot. We love traveling and took "baby Adrian" to a lot of countries before he even turned two. He doesn't remember much but he still thinks it's really cool that he's been to all these countries. Here, I supplied the flags of the nations he's been to and a map ready to color. At this point in our week, he knew where each country was except for Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Still working on these... :)

European Landmark Cards and Objects
European Landmarks - Cards & Miniature Objects

This one is more of a cultural activity. I would have loved to used postcards for it but instead made some cards myself. I thought of making 2 part cards but at five years old, matching cards like these feels a bit boring. Instead, "I saved some trees", printed only one set (even saved myself lots of research by using mostly pictures we took ourselves during our travels to make them), and used Safari Ltd. "Around the World" Landmark Toob to match with some of the homemade European Landmark Cards. We of course didn't skip the presentation of the cards and I pointed out the landmarks Adrian saw himself (he was a mere tot back then so it was mere disbelief to him). 

Flags and Beginning Letters Europe
Beginning Country Letters & Flags

Yet another activity involving flags...because yes, my boy is in love with flags. To satiate this love, I presented him with six different country names to decipher by sounding out the 3 beginning letters (a CVC combination). Once these were sounded out, he had to find the matching flag. This was actually one of Adrian's favorite activities this week. So many possibilities in terms of countries to put out there. In the end, I think we exhausted all the CVC combinations for Europe! :) I liked that it was both a phonics, geography and a bit of a "thinking" game at the same time. Of course, the child has to have a deep knowledge of geography for this, otherwise, whether they sound the letters right or not, they will not come up with the country that it starts with! :) For this activity, Adrian matched:

Portugal, Norway, Finland, Turkey, Romania, Belgium, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Bosnia, Monaco, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Denmark, Netherlands, Serbia, Kosovo, Vatican City/Holy See, San Marino, Luxembourg, Malta (Cyprus).

Matching Beginning Ending Country Letters
Matching Beginning and Ending Country Letters

Using the chalkboard is always popular over here. Phonics...not so much. Combining the two together? Makes it "palatable".  Adding country names? Now we've got a fun activity apparently. I first wrote the first three letters of three different European countries and wrote their ending (2 to 3 letters long) on the other side of the board, usually not next to the country they belong to. Adrian then had to sound out the letters to match the beginning and ending letters and make the name of the countries. My goal was really just to revise the letter sounds in a fun way with Adrian. He seemed to be struggling with that last week so this was a good occasion to revise them all... Here are the matches we made:


Watercolor a Flag
Watercolors - Flag of My Country

Everyone loves art. My son used to shy away from it a bit but I'm glad I always "suggested" activities every week. He nows enjoys art and "requests" it. This week, I had this watercolor activity and it was the first picked! :) Of course, it also is flag related. I picked the flag of Germany as it is where we live but the website I downloaded the printable from had lots of free printable flags to choose from. :)

Europe Pin Flags Map
Pin Flags and Continent Map

Nothing new here if you use the Montessori method. I purchased my pin flags from Montessori Print Shop and printed the "giant" map myself. Once again, it's an older map that needs revising so some countries' flag won't be used unless you draw them in yourself! :)  I mounted my map on a thick cork board sheet I bought from Hobby Lobby. Not the best idea apparently as the corkboard is so dense it broke two of the toothpick flags! :( Maybe I'll go for play dough mounted flags next time or try a styrofoam mounted sheet, not sure... Anyhow, Adrian loved pinning the flag into the country activity but since the board was so dense, it was hard to punch through and frustrating a times when the flags broke. Once that technical problem is fixed, it should be a great activity. He did very well too only unsure where to put a few of the flags for part of the Balkans.

Flag Peg People in Action
Flag Peg People and their Country of Origin

In case you missed this post, I explained how I made these and where the idea originated from here. This week, we finally got these peg dolls out (to Adrian's delight) and I got the labeled Montessori map out as well. We got this map when we purchased our Europe Puzzle Map so I thought we'd use it with the peg people. It is a bit old as some newer countries as missing but I hadn't painted dolls for every country so it wasn't a problem. Adrian was VERY fast at putting the dolls on the country where they belong and asked me "to make the rest of the dolls" hahaha Who knows...?

Montessori Wooden Puzzle Map - Europe

The three period presentation was of course given here and Adrian did rather well. As mentioned above, the Balkans and Baltic States still pose a bit of a problem at time in terms of their exact location and flags (he mixes them around sometimes) but other than that, he knows the other countries' names and location very well.

Tracing a Country
Tracing countries - Making your Own Map

What started as a "let's trace a country" ended up as a tracing project. Adrian, still struggling with the proper pencil grip and handwriting was given the opportunity to pick a country of his choice off our Montessori wooden map so he could trace it on a thick cardboard with a pencil. He picked Germany (probably because we live here) and then proceeded to trace all the neighboring countries as well. In fact, he liked the tracing activity so much that he is planning on tracing the entire Europe map that fits on his cardboard sheet! :)

* * *

Your comments make my day ! 
(Please note : comments won't be visible until after my approval!)

* * *

Today, I'm happily linking up to

If you would like me to link up with you, please don't hesitate to ask, it might take me a week or two, but I generally do!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Art Class for Kids: Van Gogh

Twice a month, both Zahavah and Adrian "attend an art class" together. Given by no other than myself,  I strive to keep the class focused on one artist and I usually try to link this artist to the theme we are exploring that week. As a result, this week, we explored Vincent Van Gogh's Self-Portraits to fit in with our "All About Me" thematic. It was our first "Art class" and the children were definitely excited to see what we were going to be doing. 

Prior to the beginning of the class (given in a different room of our home), I had prepared different corners for the class: a cozy corner with pillows and books featuring Van Gogh, a Museum corner (with paintings by Van Gogh "taped" to the wall), and a creative corner (with tables, chairs and supplies). The only thing missing was indeed, the children! :)

Van Gogh Book Selection
A few books we had or borrowed for our class about Van Gogh

We started the class in the cozy corner where I invited the children to sit on a cushion after they had had a few minutes to look around. We read together the first page of Vincent's Colors (the book itself is written by Van Gogh himself with additions by The Metropolitan Museum of Art). Although very short, it still gave us a look at Van Gogh's life. With our giant wall map, Adrian showed us where Van Gogh was born and later on lived and even pointed us the flags accompanying those nations. 

Van Gogh Self-Portrait Home Gallery
The  "Van Gogh Self-Portrait Museum"

Rather than looking at all the paintings in the books put out on the shelf next to the floor pillows, I told the children we'd visit a Van Gogh Museum filled with paintings he had painted himself. While in the "museum" (where all my selected self-portraits were at the kids' eye level), I asked the kids if they noticed anything similar about the painting. For example:

-"What are the paintings about? A man? Yes. A man called Van Gogh." I explained what a self-portrait was and even showed a real picture of young Van Gogh to compare with the paintings. "How are the paintings the same? Different?", I asked. "Were the colors used always the same for each paintings? How about the brush techniques? Did Van Gogh use some stronger brush strokes on some, some dabs on others but more of a swirl motion on certain? How's Van Gogh's expression?"

Self-portraits selected for our Museum (See them all at Arty Factory):
Van Gogh with Pipe 1886
Van Gogh with Bandaged Ear 1887
Van Gogh in a Felt Hat 1887
Van Gogh 1887 (pointillism in that one)
Van Gogh : Saint-Remy 1889
Van Gogh 1887 (some Impressionism influence seen here)

Van Gogh Influences
Matching Van Gogh Self-Portrais and Artists/Techniques that Influenced Van Gogh

Once our tour of the Museum was completed, we went back to the cozy corner. I handed each child two paintings by two different artists. Each of these artists had an influence on Van Gogh and had possibly influenced the outcome of the self-portraits put up in our Gallery. We looked at each painting for a minute and I explained that fact to the children. I explained how influence can show through someone's work via colors and techniques and we then ventured, paintings in hand, to match these to the self-portraits they could have influence. Adrian loved that.

Paintings used for matching activity: 
Horses, Cattle and a Farm Hand by Anton Mauve / Van Gogh with Pipe 1886
When Will you Marry Me? by Paul Gauguin / Van Gogh with Bandaged Ear 1887
 Eiffel Tower by Georges Seurat / Van Gogh 1887 (pointillism in that one)
Recolte des Foins a Eragny by Camille Pisarro / Van Gogh in a Felt Hat 1887

Self-Portrait by Tot and K
The Children's Rendition of a Self-Portrait "a la Van Gogh"

Once the matchings were done, it was time for the children to let themselves BE influenced by Van Gogh. Using chalk pastels, it was their turn to draw their own self-portraits, borrowing some technique or colors from Van Gogh and of course, letting their own creativity flow as well.

At the end of the class, I invited the children to answer a few simple questions such as: "Did you do your best today with your drawing?", "Did you use some swirls, dots, big lines or popping colors in your self-portrait like our artist liked to do?", "What is a self-portrait anyway?" and "Can you tell me the name of the artist we talked about today?".

Overall, the first art class was very much liked. I found both my children looking through the Van Gogh books later that week and wanting to read them. Our next class should focus on Cezanne and his famous apple work...

* * *

Your comments make my day ! 
(Please note : comments won't be visible until after my approval!)

* * *

Today, I'm happily linking up to

If you would like me to link up with you, please don't hesitate to ask, it might take me a week or two, but I generally do!