ART IN FRENCH IMMERSION

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

I have always had a thing for art. I started taking art classes when I was twelve, and will never forget the feeling of walking into Gelder's Fine Arts and having the opportunity to be taught by the late artist Wilfred Gelder (or Mr. Gelder as I used to call him). He taught me basic technique and let me work weekly within the walls of his art studio in Streetsville, and I totally fell IN LOVE with everything about the fine arts.


Art is a special part of my life, so I do my best to make sure that this passion comes to life within the classroom. I've recently made some French Elements of Art posters that you can post in your classroom! There's always so much focus on literacy and mathematics in the education system (both very valuable, don't get me wrong), and it doesn't really leave much room for any of the arts. SO, since there are so many fantastic ways to incorporate the arts within the walls of French Immersion, I thought I would with you some fun and inspiring activities for you to try with your class!


SCIENCE

Right off the bat, MY FAVOURITE subject to add art into. From my experience, northing teaches you more about the importance of the inside of a cell than a handmade model!


But since I teach grade 5 right now, I am going use our unit on the human body as an example of what you can do. Two of favourite activities I did with them during this unit was using clay to make models of the different systems, and then the second was having them make the skeletal system out of pasta. Not only did they get a chance to exercise their knowledge, but they also got to do some spelling and writing en français!


CRAZY FOR CLAY

This activity was so aesthetically pleasing when it was done that I was blown away! Have your students pick a human body system, and then have them make it out of clay! I let them decide what colours they wanted to use and so many of them wanted it to look as realistic as possible.

The BEST part about this was the gallery walk that we did at the end. I will never forget how I was TEARING up as they walked around and were genuinely complimenting each other's work. Kids left beaming and super proud of what they accomplished.


This activity will leave your heart feeling FULL.

PASTA PARTY

I've never seen so many kids so excited about pasta. I got a really good laugh when I brought out my huge bad full of pasta, because one of my students put his hand up and asked:


"Madame Parnell, does your husband know that you bought all this pasta?"







Super simple, all you need is pasta, glue and a model for them to work from. I had them create the skeletal system with whatever pasta they decided to, and then to label the bones en français. Pro-tip: this looks much cooler if you do it on black bristol board and then have them label with a white pencil crayon.





OUTDOOR EDUCATION

I've recently connected with Mariah from Kinder Jardin, a fantastic Canadian teacher and #girlboss. If you are looking for super fun and and engaging outdoor art, you really need to check out her blog!


She has this article about outdoor art, and honestly this adaptable for ANY grade. Last week, I sent home this challenge rainbow sticky board challenge with my fives, and they loved it! It was super simple - grab a board (preferably from recycled materials), some tape, and start collecting. If we are going to get really technical here, talk about how great this hands-on activity is for teaching them about colour and some of other elements of art! All of her outdoor activities are super amazing and will be even more fun next year when we're back. Make sure you take a look to be inspired!


DISTANCE LEARNING & ART AT HOME

I will be completely honest with you when I say that I panicked a little bit about how to find a way to let art live on at home while we are all doing this distance learning thing. But, thanks to a Buzzfeed article, I was inspired to create an activity that would be fun for them.


The instructions were very simple: make something cool out of food, and send a picture. And of course, they absolutely blew me away!



Art is EVERYWHERE if we choose to open our eyes to it, and it definitely lives within the walls of a French Immersion classroom!


I think we owe it to our students to make sure that message is clear, and also to provide them with an environment where they feel safe to explore the arts. By making sure that they can take an idea and run with it as far as they want to go, we are helping them understand that passion fuels creativity and sparks imagination.





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