A collection of teaching tools, inspirations, & reflections

Category: Free Inquiry

Gallery Walk Posterboard

This week’s arts and crafts were made up of a lot of cutting and gluing. We had to create posters for our Inquiry Gallery Walk for our Field Experience seminar.

My Inquiry for the term was “How can I help instill confidence in early writers?”.

Although I didn’t take pictures of the process of making my board, I did make sure to take some pictures of the finished product.

  Flaps! Great way to make a presentation board more engaging.

  Magnets! I painted an old baking sheet, and used it as a magnet board to show other ways to engage learners in writing.

  More cutting and pasting..

  The whole setup!

Dot Painting

As I peruse Pinterest, I often see these neat looking ‘dot paintings’, (as featured here in a quick google images search).

For this week’s art project, I decided to make myself a Christmas themed dot painting, that I’ll be able to happily display much earlier than is socially acceptable.

I started with an inexpensive canvas from the dollar store – a wonderful art product that could be used for an entire class to make their art feel a little more special.

Then I painted it black so that my dots would really pop:

Then I outlined the design in pencil. The great thing about doing this craft with kids, is that the outlines can be very simple, but the end result looks much more interesting!

Then I dotted away!

And dotted some more…

Bejeweled a little:

Aaaand a few more dots:

Added a little writing to mix things up:

And voila! My festive dot painting is complete!

Remembrance Day Craft

Well… I felt inspired after learning a crayon/watercolour technique in a recent art class, to replicate it somehow in relation to Remembrance Day. I didn’t have a clear plan in mind, but just decided to go for it, with a white crayon and some paint… This project proved to be another valid learning experience for me — ALWAYS HAVE A CLEAR VISION BEFORE STARTING AN ART PROJECT.

I didn’t think too much of the logistics behind the project, and I was not happy at all with the end result (in fact, I threw it out right away to hide the evidence of my failed attempt).

Here is the process of my failed painting:

My materials:

I began by drawing out my crayon design in white:

My cat wanted to “help” with the project too..

Then added water colour paint… This was the point when I realized I had messed up. With this idea, I should have filled in the poppy with crayon, not just outlined it. I also didn’t had enough wax crayon to the poppy, so the paint covered the majority of it.

Then I lost all hope for this, and just finished the project with some odd looking tye-dye style painting.

The intention was there.. but I’m definitely glad this was not a craft idea that I brought into a classroom before trying it out for myself! Yay for learning!

Painting with Youngsters – A Learning Curve

This past weekend I got to babysit my oldest niece, and decided it would be fun to do some painting with her.

I set everything up nice and organized, with paper underneath to protect my table, a brush, and cleaning water. Did all this help contain the mess in the long run… No.

What I soon realized is, you can’t keep a two and a half year old’s attention to paint while trying desperately to clean the brush between each colour, and keep her mucky hands from touching everything. So my neatly envision paint activity soon turned into a finger painting mess. But that’s okay! She was enjoying it so much!

Another big lesson learned: hide the black paint! The final colour she dove into before losing interest was black.. And so follows the covering up of all the beautiful colours she had put on the canvas up to this point:

But did she ever love it!

Painting the Weather

In a lot of our courses so far, our teachers have discussed the usefulness of having ‘soft starts’ in your elementary classes to help calm the kids and get them ready to focus and learn. Some suggest silent reading, others suggest quiet, calming activities such as painting, kinetic sand, and playdough.

Another morning activity that has been discuss in class, is alternatives to the typical ‘going through the calendar, days of the weeks, and weather visuals.

I thought, why not combine both of these classroom morning routines into one, and make a soft start activity of Painting the Weather. Each student could have the option to come in in the morning, grab any supplies they need, and break into the school day slowly by painting whatever they feel inspired from outside that day.

So, here is my process of today’s soft start of painting this beautiful fall day.


And the finished product:

Autumn Wreath Craft

This week’s craft inspiration was from the beautiful changing fall colours we’re all seeing outside, and a little trip to the dollar store.

When I was shopping for craft supplies at Dollarama, I found a wooden wreath that I thought could serve as a great inexpensive craft to do with students. I initially thought the craft would be good for all ages, but once I dove in, I quickly realized it would be best suited for older elementary or middle years students.

I decided to incorporate some outside time into this activity, because who doesn’t love a brisk fall walk on a beautiful sunny day?! I went through a path near my house and scavenged all the ‘supplies’ to decorate my wreath with.

I then just jumped right in and began shoving sticks in the nooks and crannies of the wreath, pinning branches and leaves under the wood to stay in place, using hemp to tie certain branches in place, and using a hot glue gun (another reason this would be best suited for older children) to put leaves, pine cones, and acorns in specific spots.


What I liked most about this project was the outdoor component of it, to get kids outside in the fresh air; and that the finished product is something that the students can display at home, and *hopefully* keep for years to come.

Here is my finished product, all ready to be hung on a door to welcome fall! 🙂

Student Assessment File Folder

For this week’s craft, I’ve decided to make my own version of the file folder for assessment we saw in our ED 407 class.

I really liked the idea for a quick way to go through your class list and make comments day to day on each student. Then when it comes time for reporting, you’re able to quickly flip through the sticky notes for each student to find proof for their evaluation.

Here is a picture of the sample that was shown in class:

Here is the process of me creating my own:

And last but not least, the finished product:

Free Inquiry: Teaching Arts & Crafts

For my free inquiry I am going to be completing teacher-related arts and crafts as both a resource for me to draw on in the future, and also just for a nice relaxing little study break. The projects will be a mixture of crafts that I would have students complete, as well as useful tools for myself to organize student assessments.

Throughout the last few weeks I have been collecting some inspiration for this inquiry from the classroom I’ve been visiting, as well as from examples shown in our classes. Here is a little preview of a few of my soon-to-be projects:

Stay tuned for Ms. Paysen’s Arts & Crafts Extravaganza!!!