The First-Grade child
Characteristics of First Graders-
- Have difficulty with more than one idea at a time
- Are more aware of the people around them, and can work with others in a group
- Can draw a complete figure, but exaggerate the more important parts
- Love lessons that are full of activity and fu n: imaginative stories, fantasy, plays, games, and dances
- Can work enthusiastically and be absorbed in creating art
- Show satisfaction with artwork and desire approval of the teacher and classmates
- Are interested in mechanical devices and moving parts
- Draw what they know, not what they see
- Have a great range of maturity that results in wide differences between them on ability to listen, comprehend, and follow directions
What First Graders Can Do with Materials-
Brush: learnto make cont rolled (dragging, not pushing) strokes with the brush
CIay: make pinch pots or form a piece of “pinched out“ sculpture from clay; make simple coil pots and apply glazes; simple slab construction
Equipment: use safe practices with art tools
markers, pencils, or crayon:use materials to fill an area with solid color or value differences
Paint: mix primary colors to make secondary colors; fill an area with solid color, make value differences (colors lighter or darker), finger paint: watercolor; understand and use crayon resist
Glue: use with control, take care to close the bottles
Paper: fold and identify and edge; glue; fringe; pleat; tear (with difficulty); cut
Print: make a Simple mono-print by painting with watercolor (damp paper will reactivate the watercolor)
Weaving: weave paper in a Simple pattern
First Graders’ Understanding of Concepts-
- Recognize and describe line, shape, color, and pattern in historical artworks
- Respond to a feeling about a work of art based on their own lives
- Appreciate rhythm in a work of art such as Van Gog h’s Starry Night
- Understand that form and function go together (a clay pot must be strong)
- Know that artists have designed clothing, buildings, and furniture
- Recognize and use different shapes (geometric and free form) and categorize size differences
- See the difference between two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional forms
- Discuss subject matter in art; understand differences in still life, portrait, landscape, seasons
- Understand careers: police officer, doctor, minister, firefighter, barber
- Understand how to show space (with reminders): overlapping, figures smaller in background
- Identify the concept of middle or center
- Recognize texture and pattern in clothing or in nature, and describe it
Suggestions for Teaching First Graders-
- Teach students one step at a time.
- Encourage them to talk about their own work and that of others.
- Introduce the vocabulary of line, rhythm, shape, and space.
- Have them identify line and shape in the room or on their clothing.
- Teach them to thread a large-eye needle, tie a knot, and do simple stitchery.
First-Grade Content Connections-
Language Arts: oral directions; working in sequential steps; rhyming words; categorization of objects, picture stories; care of materials.
Have students draw a picture with their family “all dressed up and ready to go” somewhere (the beach, a film, a picnic, a worship service, a wedding). They should write who is in the picture and where they are going.
Math: patterns, sets, geometric shapes, rhythmic curves; comparison of lengths; picture graphs; symmetry; problem solving; corners and sides.
Have them create an alternating pattern (ABAB) using line or shape.
Science: size relationships; changes in nature (moon, plant life, wind, clouds, light, animals, seasons]: light and shadows; mechanical devices.
Have students fold a paper in fourths, horizontally, then draw a deciduous tree in four seasons- winter, spring, summer, and fall – one per section.
Have them make a marker drawing of one location where they have seen animals such as a zoo, a farm, or their own pets, and discuss the jungle or desert, and other natural habitations of animals.
Social Studies: t he extended family; community helper s (barber, police officer, grocer, fire fighter); earning and spending money; symbols such as traffic signs; U.S. symbols (flag, Liberty Bell, eagle}.
Show artwork from different cultures or parts of the world such as Asian, Native American, and African. Talk about similarities and differences using some of their “art words” such as color, shape, texture, line, and subject.