Since we teach English Through Art, it’s not always easy to create a good balance between teaching English, allowing enough room for the kids to be creative and experiencing different artistic techniques. This project was a good one clear idea: creating pumpkins that showed various emotions-not too complicated on the English, the kids could get creative by drawing the emotions they chose and the shape of a pumpkin is pretty generic so they could experience watercolors without struggling too much with how to draw.
To learn the emotions we did several games before actually rolling up our sleeves and getting to work each session. We used the cards below we played memory, charades and pictionary. Click on the link for our pumpkin emotions crossword puzzle.
We also had contests trying to create different emotions using our pumpkin game, the first few times we asked them to do which emotions to do and after a while they had fun experimenting and have each other guess what they were doing. Before beginning to paint, the kids used the game to create emotions and then sketch them – taking careful notice at how the eyes, mouth and eyebrows had to be placed in order to convey the emotion they wanted to do.
When we finally dove in, we first divided a large paper into 4 sections and the kids used a black crayon to draw their Emotional Pumpkins. They were instructed to draw 1 pumpkin and 1 emotion per section and to do the pumpkin as large as they could, but they had to stay inside the confines of the space and they had to try and use their sketches. Using water colors the kids had to shade from dark to light inside each segment of each pumpkin to give the pumpkins more dimension. This was a real challenge – trying to control a very spontaneous medium. There was one more challenge to this project – the kids were only given primary colors to paint with, so all of the other colors had to be mixed. (This was not the first project mixing water colors, otherwise I think I would cut this step out so as not to get too overwhelming). They did great and had a lot of fun.
To play What’s Missing, you will need several flashcards (FCs) and a square scarf, handkerchief or other piece of NON transparent material. Here’s how to play:
1. Set down one FC, point and say what it is – have the kids repeat the FC back.
2. Set down a second FC and say what it is, have the kids repeat the FC back.
3. Set down a third FC and say what it is, have the kids repeat the FC back
4. Cover all your FCs with the scarf. Wave your hands over the top like a magician and say ‘Hocus Pocus.’ Slip your hand under the scarf and pull out a card, but don’t let your audience see what it is.
5. Point to the empty spot and say what’s missing.
Whoever guesses the correct card wins!
Simple right? Yes, the kids know it’s not magic, some will even call you out. But, who cares? They have just learned 3 new words. After you’ve done it a few times, you can get the kids to be the magician, they really like to play the role. Congratulations, you’ve just gotten your kids to talk – and that is the real magic!
For younger kids, we usually keep the number of cards to just a few (3 – 5 cards). For older kids keep adding more cards:
1. Put the missing FC back and add another FC, say what it is and have the kids repeat.
2. Add another FC, say what it is and have the kids repeat.
3. Add another FC, say what it is, have the kids repeat. Point and repeat each FCname -either the kids will chant with you or they will repeat after you.
4. Repeat Step 4 from above. Keep adding FCs in the same way and see how many cards you can get up to. It gets a bit difficult later on because cards start flying away when you pull off the scarf, but the kids will usually remember the order of the cards and want them put back exactly the same.
Playing the game like this is also a good way to make yourself feel old, you will be amazed at how much better the kids’ memories are compared to yours! I try and figure out which card I pull away, but usually I have to check.
Sometimes we Muggles can pull off a magic trick, even if we didn’t get to go to Hogwarts!