Abstract Art Lesson, 4 Square Planning & Math Workbooks!

Well folks, there is a little bragging that is going to take place right now. Beware.

First off, I feel like I am in some sort of dream land right now. After teaching my grade 7 group for 2 weeks, I feel more at peace than ever! My students are lovely. I can get through an entire lesson without putting out 2-3 fires. Secondly, My kids say "please" and "thank you" and "sorry Miss". Everyone has their homework complete. Pinch me. I do believe in honeymoon phases.....but man-o-man. Two weeks? Really?

It's very ODD.

I feel like I am in another dimension.

So with that begin said, I have been able to do A LOT with this group so far. My creative juices are in overdrive! SCARYYYYYY!

Here's a few of my favourite lessons from the week.

VISUAL ARTS-- As mentioned on Instagram, I said I would post a very simple, yet very effective art lesson that I did with my kiddos this week. We have been learning about abstract art and how art is available to everyone (each person can interpret pieces in their own unique way). For the past two weeks, we have been doing mini-lessons on creating small works on art that focus around feelings, emotions, words, thoughts, memories and experiences. We have looked, and will continue to look at various pieces created by Kandinsky, Pollock, Matisse and others.

Here's our abstract print making lesson:

First, start with acrylic paints. I purchased these at Dollar Tree.
Each student will need a plastic sandwich baggie.
A roller would work best, but I am not a millionaire, so I purchased foam balls at the Dollar Tree to act as rollers.
White paper.
Paint brushes
Q-tips (optional)

I gave each student 2 paper towels-- one to put paint on, the other to wipe their brush, or fingers etc.
Next, have the students decide if they would like music on to create their piece or silence.
My students chose no music, so it was a very peaceful activity. Their focus needed to be on one or more of the following:
 Using their finger and/or paint brush, they let their creativity take over. They painted their print on the baggie and pressed and rolled over it with their "foam ball (roller)". The print will lighten, and that's ok. Pressing it down again on another location on the paper will allow the students to create another print on the same baggie.

Here are some finished pieces.

Each student has named their work of art.
Tomorrow, each piece will be displayed and the students will partake in a gallery walk (walking around and using sticky notes to analyze each others works of art). Our goal is to see how art can interpreted, and how important the elements of designs are if you want your viewer to see the piece as it is intended.

WRITING-- I have been displaying our learning goals very clearly in the classroom this year and have trying to continue to refer to them. I had some old frames in my basement from our last move, so I use those to display each goal.

This week we worked on generating writing ideas, focusing on "Hot Topics". I knew the kids would be able to write more with a topic they were passionate about and that we could debate about at a later time.
From there, we planned out our writing using the 4 Square Planning Method:
This is a great visual for students when writing just about anything. I read about this idea HERE for opinion writing, but it is very easy to use with any type. For my stronger students, I increased this to 6 squares, as they were busting at the seams wit more ideas.

In the first square I had students write things they wanted to include in their intro--
-Why they chose the topic etc.
-What the purpose was for the rest of the paper.
-The Main Idea they wanted their reader to get to by the time they read the entire piece.

In the next 2 (or more) squares, the students wrote details that supported their main ideas.

For instance, as a class we chose the topic--> Wearing Uniforms in Elementary School. Our 2nd and 3rd boxes included reasons why we thought it would be a good idea and backed those reasons up with support.

The fourth square would included a summary of their points (in different words), and a conclusion (final thoughts).
Once we were done with the planner, we created a shared writing piece. I colour coded the paragraphs for the students to follow. Click HERE to see our shared piece of writing.
This was a basic writing assignment, that allows them to get back into "school writing mode" quickly and easily.
We did a lot of shared brainstorming and writing, so the students knew what I expected of them and so they didn't freak out once I said begin.

 This week is 'writing-go-time'!!

MATHEMATICS- Lots to talk about here, but I will share just one idea this week! I have been trying out a lot of new math lesson ideas. My goal this year is to give the kids as many hands-on and concrete examples and lessons as possible. Interactive notebooks are for sure the fad right now, and I am jumping on the bandwagon!

What a great way for kids to keep organized and clear note to refer back to before tests etc. I have made a few of my own but have also loved using Runde's Room's ideas, too!!! 

Ok, it's sunny out and I am heading outdoors with The Hubster!
Have a terrific week, everyone! :)


  1. Great work as always Kaitlin! I will be using 4 Square with my Grade 8's this week!

    1. Thanks, Kris.
      I added the steps to the 4 square if the pic is unclear. Hope you are having a good start to the year.
      Kaitlin :)


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