“When a Line Bends…A Shape Begins” by Rhonda Growler Greene illustrated by James Kaczman

The next book recommendation I just recently got and I have been using it to help students transition from lines to shapes, the book is When a Line Bends…A Shape Begins by Rhonda Growler Greene illustrated by James Kaczman.  It has colorful simple shape and line illustrations that cover the pages.  Examples of where students can see all the different places to find shapes are great to keep students thinking and excited to make discoveries.  The only problem is this book is too long for one class so I have split it up into two classes or just read a few pages to highlight one specific idea.

I have tried different parts of this book with a couple of different lessons about lines and shapes.  I also found the book to be a good review of lines and I was surprised by how many of my three-year-old students remembered all the lines we talked about months before.  We experimented with using lines to make shapes such as drawing a zigzag line and then a straight line underneath and by doing so creating triangles.  Combining lessons about lines and shapes gives students a strong foundation for later visual art exploration.

As I was introducing watercolors to some students and reviewing the technique with others I wanted to allow time for students to explore the material.  I change the format so sometimes they work on paper that has a hole in the middle and I ask students where do we paint now?  Other times the paper is a triangle instead of a rectangle how does this change the artist’s work?  Will they fill the whole page or create hypnotic movements around and around?  The students start to notice differences and similarities in the culture of the classroom that keeps them thinking about art in new ways.  These are subtle changes but it keeps us moving forward and working towards new learning experiences.

A memory from last school year I had a student ask me why we always read books in art class.  I’m not sure what I said probably something along the lines of it helps us learn about new art ideas, but he left me wondering if I needed to change gears and maybe the students were getting bored.  The next class I just happened to not being reading a book and the same student asked why aren’t you reading us a book today we always read a book I like that.  My students always keep me guessing and it takes time to understand what they are telling me, but I try to be always listening.


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