Riding the wave of the classroom discussions of Martin Luther King's Dream Speech, this month I introduced two dream inspired projects. My first graders began a painting unit. For three weeks students created sheets of paper using marbling, wet on wet, gradations, squeegees, stippling, blotto, diffuser paper and more.
During the last class, I read the book "Dreams" by Ezra Jack Keats. The students were excited to search for "their" techniques in the book. I like this reversed format of ending with the book instead of starting. We focused on an illustration of the apartment building where everyone is dreaming. We used their paint explorations to fill each window where someone is dreaming.
The second lesson is a collaborative one I started with our music teacher. During their lesson last week, I read the book The Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle. We talked about discrimination and determination. The illustrations in this book are so vivid and layered. The students loved searching for patterns as I read. I find that if I give them a job while reading, whether it be a word to listen for, or a specific thing to spot, it increases their engagement. In this case, they were on the hunt for patterns, and were to give me a quiet "thumbs up" whenever they spotted one. The music teacher reinforced the use of repetition and patterns in music. We will be following this up next week with scratch art illustrations of a drum of their choice.