Students in Mrs. Waugh's blended second grade classroom at Council Rock Primary School participated in a unit of study that provided them with the opportunity to tap into their multiple intelligences and foster creativity in and out of the school setting.
First, a lesson about Joseph Mallord William Turner and his landscape watercolor paintings was presented. The children learned interesting facts about the painter and saw several of his paintings. They came to understand that a painting could be an impression, or a suggestion, of what they saw.
Paul DiStefano, the school psychologist and a watercolor painter himself, showed some of his work and the supplies he uses. Each of the students received a small sketchbook to use and they began sketching outdoor scenes, standing at windows in the school.
The next lesson was a field trip to Corbett's Glen in Brighton, so that the students could do what Joseph Turner did -- experience nature and try to capture their experience with sketches. Students also used the school's digital cameras to capture scenes that looked interesting to them.
On another day, Dick Kane, a nationally-known watercolor painter from Brighton, came to Wrs. Waugh's classroom and demonstrated how to create a watercolor painting. He used one of the pictures taken by a student at Corbett's Glen for inspiration. Dick invited individual students to add to his painting and then assisted and encouraged them as they created their own paintings. Students set up their sketchbooks and used photos they had taken to help them paint, just as Joseph Turner did. Dick Kane ended his lesson by commenting on each child's work, praising their use of clear colors, swirling motion in the paint, or other attributes.
Finally, poems about nature were read and each child chose a poem that best matched his or her painting. Turner did this also, often choosing stanzas from poems to express the mood or topic of his painting. The paintings, sketches, photographs, and poetry were mounted and displayed in the main lobby at Council Rock Primary School for others to enjoy.
We all are grateful for the multiple learning opportunities made available through our grant from the Brighton Education Fund.
Don't miss the photo albums that accompany this story:
Click here for an album of Joseph Mallord William Turner's paintings.
story by Betsy Waugh
photos by Betsy Waugh and her students
January 10, 2005