The Oak Meadow coursework in all grade levels (particularly in grades k-4) highly emphasizes the integration of artwork with the academics. Throughout the coursework, students are encouraged to complete artistic activities and projects in the form of drawing, painting, and/or making crafts in all the main subjects. Main lesson books are made by the students to preserve their ideas and knowledge of the content for each lesson, which includes the combination of written work and creative expression.
The students are also encouraged to express themselves artistically through freestyle form. One of the most enjoyable freestyle forms of artistic expression is doodling! Doodling runs the gamut of personal creations to adding color to created forms, such as The Original DoodleArt Flowers Coloring Poster or The Original DoodleArt Fairy Tales Coloring Poster.
If your child likes to doodle, then I highly recommend participating in the 8th annual Doodle4Google art contest (for grades k-12). The theme for this year is “What Makes Me…Me”. The contest is open for entries from now until December 7, 2015. If you are interested in seeing a gallery of past winners, you and your children might get some great ideas!
So, doodly doo your way into a winning “doodle4google” day; and if you need some added inspiration, you can always take a break and enjoy the Doodly Doo song with hand actions!
Doodly Doo Song (Wadally ah cha)
Please sing to me
That sweet melody
Called the doo, doodly doo
I like it so wherever I go
It’s the doo doodly doo
It’s the simplest thing
There isn’t much to it
All you got to do is doodly doo it
I love it so
That wherever I go
It’s doodly, doodly, doodly, doodly doo
Come on and…
Wadally ah cha, wadally ah cha
Wadally oh, wadally oh
Wadally ah cha, wadally ah cha
Wadally, wadally oh
pat knees twice
stay in clapping position and click to the right then the left
take right hand put on nose then on shoulder same with right, start the actions when you get to the line: come on and…
Fly, fly butterfly.
Whither lies your way?
I fly to the sun
On this lovely spring day.
Fly, fly butterfly.
With wings of colored hue.
From the sun please bring us
A message or two.
I have discovered that watching butterflies is a delight at any age. I am in awe as I watch the butterflies emerge from their winter sleep or return home from their long migration. Butterfly watching is fast becoming a popular hobby. Did you know there are more than 650 species of these colorful winged insects in the U.S. alone? Did you know that people who study them are called lepidopterists?
Butterfly conservatories are a great way to observe many different species of butterflies, but most of you don’t even have to leave your backyard before you’ll notice them flitting about. If you are enthusiastic about attracting even more butterflies, you can plant particular varieties of flowers, such as Butterfly Bush, Butterfly Weed, Zinnia, Bergamot, Day Lily, Black-Eyed Susan, and Purple Coneflower, as well as herbs like Tansy, Garlic, and Chives.
Oak Meadow’s science courses in grades k-4 include various studies of the butterfly. In addition to the suggested lesson activities, you might include a guidebook, such as Robert Michael Pyle’s book, National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Or perhaps you would enjoy sharing a butterfly story, such as Alan Madison’s Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly or Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Bruce Coville’s The Prince of Butterflies.
If it’s a rainy day, and no butterflies can be observed, you and your children might like to try your hand at making your own tissue paper “flutter-by”. You can make one that looks like your favorite butterfly, or you can create your own colorful design. Once you are finished, you can hang them altogether in a gentle breeze as a butterfly mobile, or you can hang them individually on a stick and fly them about.
Here are some very easy instructions:
- Cut at least two sheets of brightly colored tissue paper into 4” by 4” squares.
- Stack the squares on top of each other, fold in half and cut into the share of a butterfly’s wings.
- Fold a pipe cleaner in half and slide the tissue paper between the pipe cleaners, gathering the tissue paper a little if you like.
- Form the feelers and the tail by twisting the pipe cleaners at each end.
In order to bring our children to a point of focus, we as parents/home teachers, must recognize an important principle in the learning process. At Oak Meadow, we call it conscious process. Conscious process simply means doing an activity consciously. This is quite different from an activity which is done unconsciously, or without having full attention upon it.
As home teachers, we might find that leading our children through a process is a new experience. It is sometimes difficult to understand and perhaps somewhat frightening. Because some of us are uncomfortable with the art processes, I have chosen to share with you step-by-step instructions on how to consciously direct a watercolor or wet-on-wet painting activity.
If you facilitate an activity in a conscious manner, your inner and outer intentions for the activity must be clear and consistent. Let us look at a specific example. It is that time of year when we are encouraging our children to share their gifts and talents with loved ones, and there is nothing better than painting a lovely picture for a grandparent or favorite aunt and uncle. So you tell them to get out the paints and make a picture while you do the laundry. In this case, your intentions would be neither clear nor consistent, and your children would most likely not be very pleased with their end result.
However, if you prepare a special place with the paints, brushes and paper, you are consciously creating a space that provides optimum opportunity for your children to express something beautiful through their watercoloring experiences. You might even find that preparing the space together would add a special touch!
Now suppose your children sit down alone at the table, takes the paintbrush in hand, mixes the paints together on the page until it turns into a muddy brown, and then announces they are bored and do not want to paint anymore. Or perhaps they hurriedly paint several pictures without putting conscious effort into any of them. In this case, they would probably not be pleased with the process or with the final product.
To avoid situations like these, the best approach would be to consciously enter into the activity with them and bring more of your intention and awareness to bear upon the activity. For example, after you have prepared a space for all of you, then you might begin by wetting the papers with your sponge. This process will help draw their attention to a greater focus, thus preparing them for the next step. Now introduce one of the colors, such as yellow. Talk about the brilliance and warmth and cheerfulness of the sun. Or you might tell a special story about the sun that would set the mood for the watercoloring activity. Perhaps even playing, singing or humming some complementary music during the exercise would also enhance the experience.
Now you can begin to paint. Show your children how to carefully dip the brush into the paint, how to stroke the paint on the paper, and how to wash the brush and gently remove the excess water. Doing these extra steps brings about an even greater focus on the process. Then introduce the next color – perhaps a bright, vibrant red. When the project is over, your children will have completed a beautiful painting and experienced a full happy feeling that comes from a satisfying activity.
Please remember that one of the most essential factors for a successful experience in conscious process is sharing your guidance and direction with love. Sitting and working with your children, acknowledging and giving positive feedback, and engaging in friendly communication are also important keys in allowing a focused process to harmonize with free creative expression.
A conscious activity also does not mean controlling every aspect of the process. Leading children into and through any activity, whether it be artistic or academic, is a delicate balance of simply showing the unlimited possibilities and trusting them to explore these possibilities further. So when you do guide your children in a process, help them to focus on that process and show them the possibilities present, but then trust in their initiative and creativity to complete the process. Trusting their abilities encourages them to complete projects on their own without your input and aids in the development of their creative faculties and inner strength. Therefore, conscious directing of the process does not hinder free creative expression. It actually enhances it by providing a safe, loving space within which children can express more clearly who they truly are.
Bright sun, shining down
Shining on the ground.
What a lovely face you have
Yellow big and round.
By Amanda Vasquez
For those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, many of us are currently experiencing cold temperatures, cloudy skies, and an abundance of snow. Although I love the season of winter, I can’t help but sometimes reflect on the coming of spring and the summer days that vibrantly provide us with bright sunshine and warmer temperatures.
On particularly cloudy days, it can be fun to create your own sunny space through creative endeavors. Yes! You can bring sunshine into your homes! You can start the day by waking your child and pleasantly greeting them with “Good morning, Sunshine”.
It’s also a fantastic way to document your children’s development through the use of their fast growing bodies, and hands are a great way to measure the growth. Here’s a fun site that offers suggestions for creating suns with handprints.
Throughout the K-4 Oak Meadow science studies, animal tracking exercises involve exploring outdoors in search of tracks, along with identifying and drawing them. Tracing the student’s foot is a suggested activity. If you would like to add some artistic ideas to foot tracing, here’s another site that provides clever ideas. The robin theme is my favorite! If your children would like to share their hand-and-foot art, please send a photo. It would be a delight to view all the artistic endeavors created by our awesome Oak Meadow students!