Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ben (And Elephants) Can Paint Too!

The first activity that we did in our science unit was read a book called Elephants Can Paint Too! by Katya Arnold. It tells of an art teacher who teaches children, but also teaches elephants, how to paint. I was amazed that elephants could paint. The format of this book is awesome for early readers. The text is easy to read and tells about these elephants who can paint, but then also has information boxes throughout for parents or adults to read to the children. Ben loved that he could read the whole story by himself, but then learn other information during that time. It is a non-fiction book, but in a story format. Since Ben prefers non-fiction, he was instantly immersed in the story.

Not having read or researched this book ever, I didn't know exactly what to expect. However, while Ben was reading me this story, I decided that it would be a perfect time to make a connection to art in our own class. At one point in the book, they show a picture of flowers painted by a human student and then flowers painted by an elephant. Ben thought that an elephant painting flowers was really cool. So, we decided to paint like an elephant. I had lots of different ideas about making him wear a sock on his hand to simulate a trunk, but in the end decided that for a kid with fine motor issues who normally hates art, I should just have him paint his version of the flowers up on an easel. He was very proud of his artwork and enjoyed the activity. He liked it so much, that he actually made two paintings. I still can't believe how much more accepting of fine motor activities that he has become over the last 6 months.

The flowers in the book.

Check out those finished products! He actually attempted to paint something! This kid usually tries his hardest to just paint lines on the paper and refuses to even try to paint something that resembles anything. These are most definitely attempts at recreating the paintings of the flowers.

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