Chances are you've seen the painter's tape chalk art/painting project that's been all the rage for families in quarantine. When I saw that go viral, my heart smiled. I've been doing that as a STEAM lesson for littles (PreK-Grade 4) for years! Here's a picture of me doing it with my son in 2015. (Look how small he was!).
As a matter of fact, my son needed artwork for his bedroom when we moved into our new house but our budget was stretched tight, so guess what we did? That's right... more painter's tape and art. Here's a pic of Joe having a little snack in bed as a treat and you can see his artwork behind him. It's the only pic I've got of it right now. :)
And as cute (and satisfying) as this painter's tape art project is do you know what I really love it? Because I ALWAYS do it as an inclusive art project. This is one lesson that I regret not putting in inspiring innovation. Here's how I leveled up this simple art project to be a discussion in inclusion and twice exceptional innovators and geometric concepts.
LEVEL UP YOUR PAINTER's TAPE ART: How To
Read Children the book The Noisy Paint Box. I taught this lesson for a few years before this book came out, but once I found it... it became my go to introduction for this activity. This book shares the story of Wassily Kandensky. He was a talented abstract artist who also happened to hear colors. (Interested in this topic? As many as 20% of people with Autism experience Synesthesia. Here's a great article.) Much of his artwork was even called compositions because he painted what he could hear.
Take a look at Kandensky's artwork together. Share with one another what you notice. They will probably notice all of the bold colorful shapes as a common thread in a lot of his work.
Introduce or review age appropriate geometry vocabulary. I've done this lesson with Preschool - Grade 6. For younger children it's a great way for them to practice painting or coloring shapes and noticing and discussing attributes. For older children it's a perfect way for them to apply what they know about geometric concepts. Give them rulers and let them make regular and irregular shapes. Give them a compass and let them learn to make circles. Give them a protractor to measure angels. It's so easy to customize this for the readiness level of the kids you are working with. (This is a great UDL activity.)
PAINT TOGETHER! Laugh, smile, make mistakes, learn from it, and have fun TOGETHER!
Share your artwork together. What geometric elements do you notice? How it is like Kandinsky's artwork? How is it different? What would you do differently next time? There are a million questions you could discuss here. The most important thing is just that you are talking about the artwork together.
Talk about it. Every person on Earth is unique. We all have our own strengths and differences. Sometimes people see different as bad, but it's not! Kandensky was seen as different, but look at the beauty he created. Why is it important that we appreciate the things that make us unique?
Here's a little bonus pic. After years and years of doing this lesson with kids, I finally got to see Wassily Kandensky in person at The Art Institute of Chicago in July of 2015.
I teared up. <3