Posted in Art, Math, Passion Project

Practicing Numbers and Learning the Four Seasons

You can incorporate math into artistic endeavours at any grade level!
This activity is appropriate for students who are learning their numbers, i.e. Preschool or Kindergarten kids.

Thumprint Leaves by ArtsyInquringMinds / CC BY 2.0

To get the template for this activity, check out Tina’s blog: Fun Handprint Art.
While I only used this template for the activity of counting the leaves while I made them, Tina has a few games that can you can use with the template to make it interesting, if you want to switch it up a little.
If we instill a love for numeracy at a young age, we will be setting up our students well for their futures.  As an adult, there is no way to get through even a single day without using math, so a strong numeracy foundation is super important.

Posted in Art, Lesson Plan Ideas

Kindergarten Art Ideas

For the art class that is part of my education post-degree program at UVIC, we were to create a graphic organizer showing possible ideas of how to incorporate art into the classroom.  Within it we explored possible age-appropriate mediums for each of the following disciplines:

  1. Drawing
  2. Painting
  3. Print-making
  4. Sculpture
  5. Mixed Media
  6. New Media

This is what my classmate, Willson, and I came up with!

Art Possibilities by ArtsyInquringMinds / CC BY 2.0

It was super fun to think about what we could do and search through all of the cool things people are doing and sharing on the internet.  I can’t wait to try some of these projects with a class someday!

Posted in Art, Math, Passion Project

Geometry Stars

I can remember learning geometry units in school on multiple occasions, and while I LOVED them, others dreaded them.

This activity was really fun to do, especially for me, since I’m quite visual.  Of course, creating the star and then colouring it was the best part, but taking the time to label the simpler one is how I (pretending to be the student) show my learning.

Here’s the link to the activity that inspired these pictures.

You could easily include other math learning goals to this activity.  

Off the top of my head, I can think of:

  • Measuring the line segments
  • Calculate the perimeter of your star
  • Label the different kinds of triangles within your star
  • Compare values (such as perimeter or longest line segment) with a partner

On top of those options, as far as increasing the amount of art in this lesson, you could:

  • Fill the final star with different patterns or textures
  • Talk about primary, secondary, tertiary colours as a way of colouring in the final star – or even complementary or monochromatic colour schemes
  • Talk about warm or cool colours as a way of colouring in the final star

Simple Geometry Star by ArtsyInquiringMinds / CC BY 2.0

Colourful Geometry Star by ArtsyInquiringMinds / CC BY 2.0

By having each student complete two stars, you able to assess their understanding from the first one, and adjust your lessons accordingly, while they move on to the one that they have freedom to decorate as they choose.

The completed coloured stars would make a really interesting display as a class set and perhaps could be used as the beginning or end to a space unit.

The possibilities are endless!

Posted in Classroom Ideas, Technology

Learning to Code with Swift Playground

This is not my first foray into coding, but it has been a while.  My first degree included several computer science and software engineering courses, so playing around with the Swift Playground App has been a bit like returning to a loved hobby after a long time.

I love to jump into a new app with both feet and very little instruction, and this was definitely possible with Swift Playground.

Check out this YouTube video for a brief introduction.


Here’s a great article to read about the app – it explains it better than I can, so head over there and give it a read.

As a potential tool to be used in a classroom setting, Swift Playground has many things to offer.  Plus, because it’s a game, students may not even realize they are learning!

Skills to practice:

  • Directions – right vs left
  • Spelling
  • Typing (if you don’t use the quick prompt options given at the bottom of the screen)
  • Counting

Characteristic and Methods to master:

  • Logical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Predicting patterns and behaviours
  • Trial and Error
  • Persererance
  • Patience

These all seem like worthy things to allocate class time to, if you ask me!

If you can get your hands on an iPad, I highly recommend giving this app a go.  There is lots of learning and fun to be had!


*** Something else you might like to check out: Another student in my PDPP Elementary cohort, Genelle, focused on a different Apple coding app – check out her blog here for an introduction to an app called Scratch Junior that would be a great way to teach kindergarten students how to code.  The app uses symbols instead of words, so kids aren’t excluded from learning to code simply because they have not mastered the concept of ‘words’ yet.