The Annual Art Show

Every April my preschool class has an Art Show on display for the community at the post office.  Every year I say, “This is the best!”  And it always is, year after year.  Why?  Because children naturally love art.  When they are introduced to real art and artists… I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first thing I do is show children art masterpieces and recite the title.  Nothing else.  I let the art sink in, slowly.  They immediately recognize Starry Night, as it is one of three art posters hanging in the classroom.  The other two are a Grandma Moses, and an Eric Carle.

We then talk about styles of art- impressionism, cubism, and more.  Before we begin to paint, when children are comfortable and familiar with art, I show pictures.  I stop at each one and say to children, “John, you could do this!” (John nods his head) or “Carla, you can paint this!” (Carla smiles).

This year we are learning about Italy, so we began with the Mona Lisa.  Children really looked at her portrait, in earnest.  They saw things in the painting you have probably never seen.  We wrote a story about her.

We then began to paint her.  After all, how can you paint the Mona Lisa until you have studied her and written a story?  A child was focused and quiet,  He really worked hard.

We introduced real artist paints in tubes and squeezed them onto pallets.  Children were painting like artists!  After studying major works of art, this was the perfect medium.  A child was taken by one particular work of art, Large Blue Horses by Franz Marc.

He worked so hard on his rendition.  Look at his big smile!

We painted sunflowers and Venice.  We dipped spaghetti into paint and dropped it from high above onto paper to create modern art.  We used a plethora of shapes with different designs and colors to create cubism.

How did we keep this art work flowing, day after day?  Music!  Music inspires art.  I brought in my record player and albums.  I introduced the record player slowly, as if I was figuring out what it does and how it works.  Rubbing my finger under the needle and hearing the sound was like finding the end of the rainbow.  Then, I pulled out a record album, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9.  Putting the record onto the player and turning it on was electric for children.  You could have heard a pin drop.  The music begins softly and quickly becomes loud and bold.  What a thrill for children.

I said, “When you hear the music, it goes into your brain, then into your heart, and it shoots through your fingers like fireworks, so you can create art.”  I made my fingers shoot out.

We played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Handel’s Water Music…and the Beatles.

The final piece was giving each child an opportunity to name their work of art.  Every masterpiece has a title.  This instilled pride and reinforced how important and special all their work was.  Here are a few titles:

The Future
Eighteen Beautiful Shapes
Sun in a Cup the Whole Rainbow
Starry Night in Italy
My Mommy and Daddy’s House
The Sky
Wild Animals
Beautiful Sunflowers

I am so proud of my preschoolers.  More importantly, they are proud of themselves.  Yes, in the words of Pablo Picasso, “Every child is an artist.”


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in art, Expressing words and feelings, Imagination, Inspiration, music, The Arts, young children and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

102 Responses to The Annual Art Show

  1. Ritu says:

    This is so beautiful 🤗

  2. Darlene says:

    Amazing!! Look at their version of the Mona Lisa and those sunflowers! I am blown away. This is what happens when children are encouraged and inspired. What prompted the statement, “Harrison is in her heart”?

    • Jennie says:

      You would think after all these years I would not be amazed each year, yet I always am. Blown away is a good description. No one notices the winding red road and the blue lake in Mona Lisa’s background- but children see it. It’s really incredible what children can do when they’re inspired. Harrison was the last child to comment, and after all he heard from other children, it was his way of saying he loves the Mona Lisa. Thank you, Darlene!

  3. beth says:

    this is so wonderful for so many reasons! here’s to the artists! next week, we’ll be hosting an art show in our room and inviting parents and faculty to see the children’s work and meet the artists, they are so excited. as you and I both know, these are very meaningful and important experiences for them.

  4. Fraggle says:

    OMG, my heart! I want to be in your class!

  5. sandrah says:

    I want to be in you classroom, too!

  6. “Sun in a Cup”

  7. This is wonderful. I like that the Mona Lisa’s description included happy and sad. Kids are like adults in that they also view are differently. Some like abstracts, others don’t. Cheers to the kids.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Frank. Yes, she is both happy and sad, and their views are very different. It was interesting to see how the left brained children made Cubism inspired art compared to the right brained children. Very telling.

  8. Their artwork is wonderful!

  9. Don Ostertag says:

    So exciting, Jennie. And what a great place to exhibit the work of these prodigies, the post office.

  10. beetleypete says:

    Great work from the Aqua Roomers, and some proud youngsters indeed. You continue to inspire me with your dedication, Jennie.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  11. each child is a master piece

  12. Ally Bean says:

    Delightful! All the masterpieces are priceless. Good idea with the classical music, it inspires us all.

  13. srbottch says:

    Wonderful, again, Jennie. Beethoven, Beetles, a record player? Spaghetti painting? What an exciting time to be a preschooler! Great work, all around.

  14. johnrieber says:

    I love this! There is nothing more important than inspiring the imagination: writing, reading, art, music – these are what stimulate a young mind…far too much of the learning process involves memorization – just storing away information without letting the mind contribute

    • Jennie says:

      You hit the nail on the head, John. Yes, there’s nothing more important than inspiring the imagination. Memorization and worksheets do nothing for real learning. State testing is worse, because teachers have to teach to the test, and they don’t have time for what really matters. Sad is an understatement. No wonder Finland ranks #1 and America is #20-something. Thank you, John. If you ever get East, you will be a welcome guest in my classroom. We have a kitchen, children love to cook…just sayin’.

  15. Opher says:

    Wow!! They certainly are artists and they’ve got you to bring it out of them Jennie!

  16. quiall says:

    Wonderful! Art allows us to convey feelings our words cannot express.

  17. Super art and post, Jennie. You and the children ought to be congratulated.

  18. Jennie, this is so full of warm-fuzzies. I loved seeing all the artwork. Getting the kids to make a story for the painting was brilliant. Hugs.

  19. Dan Antion says:

    This is always the best, Jennie. I love the show and the process.

  20. petespringerauthor says:

    Of course, you made the best display of their artwork—an important component of putting value to it and making them feel great. The last line of the description of the Mona Lisa has me wondering. “Harrison is in her heart.” I’m going to surmise that he is the proud, cheerful young artist.

    • Jennie says:

      You are right on both counts. How you display a child’s work is a huge part of building their self esteem. Yes, Harrison is the cheerful one. His Cubism is quite good. Best to you, Pete.

  21. Carla says:

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Letting these little artists create and unleash that creative part is amazing. I love your yearly post about this art show, Jennie.

  22. willowdot21 says:

    Jennie you absolutely inspire me , how you got so much wonderful art out of these children. You showed then through words music, the audio, how to find the manual and optical magic of art … wonderful 💜💜
    Music/ brain/ heart/ fingers=fireworks love it!
    Who is Harrison and why is he in Mona Lisa’s heart?
    Here is an inspirational song , you probably know it it but the words and meaning are key.

    • Jennie says:

      That’s so nice, Willow. Thank you! It really is like fireworks when children have, as you say, that manual and optical magic of art. Harrison is one of the younger children in the class. He listened and watched as his classmates talked about Mona Lisa. I think it was his way of saying how much he likes her, too. I love, LOVE Katy Perry singing Firework. We sometimes play the song and dance around the classroom.

  23. Allobility says:

    Creative teachers are always everyone’s favourite 🤩

  24. Beautiful artwork! Your kids are so talented and enthusiastic, Jennie. The display is so exciting. I love that the class looked deeper into the Mona Lisa. Taking time to really study a piece of artwork is something people don’t often do, and it’s so rewarding. Fabulous!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you so much, Diana. You’re right, really studying art is something most people don’t do. Honestly, the children often see more than I do- like the lake and road in Mona Lisa’s background, and the tiny red house at the bottom of Starry Night.

  25. Jennie, some of my best childhood memories are from art class, where we often had a “clean slate” to create with all sorts of materials. I am sure your students will feel much the same way as adults. Wonderful stuff here.

    • Jennie says:

      I have some good childhood memories, too. One is third grade, drawing a sky of geese, and I colored the sky purple. The teacher asked me why, and I told her the sky is purple at sunset. She cheered me on. Thank you, Bruce. I hope some of my students feel the same way. One student did, and I will share that post.

  26. Prior... says:

    This post made my day!
    Oh wow – the music coming out of our fingers and the titles and the variety all captured me
    The titles of some of the pieces were so clever
    Like “sun in a cup and the whole rainbow”
    I smile to think of all of those pieces hanging there

  27. Niki Flow says:

    So uplifting and beautiful, Jennie. Totally awesome! Sending this to my daughter. My granddaughters will enjoy seeing your students’ marvelous art too. ♥.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Niki! I feel uplifted every year, too. Children are natural artists. I hope your daughter and her girls will enjoy seeing the art.

  28. Mireya says:

    You just made my day! I am an artists and wow I mean wow what a way to teach!!!!

  29. Storyteller says:

    Love the story about Mona Lisa

  30. dgkaye says:

    Omg so precious! I love the art and the whole teaching process to begin art. I love the his Mona Lisa description and masterpiece! ❤

  31. Such wonderful artists and their wonderful teacher:) I have that Beatles album that I still cherish!

  32. Pingback: The Annual Art Show – menthor of mind

  33. Pingback: Age and creativity | insearchofitall

  34. Hi Jennie, what fun to sit and paint to music. A fabulous idea.

  35. Pingback: 186 – Art – Beach Walk Reflections: Thoughts from thinking while walking

  36. Sheri Dye says:

    What a wonderful post! So glad you shared it with us, Jennie!

  37. That’s really amazing, Jennie! I am just ranting loudless about my own ealier times at kindergarten, and what i had missed there. xx Michael

    • Jennie says:

      I think many children miss a lot in kindergarten. Picasso said, “Every child is an artist”, and he was right. They just need encouragement and praise.

  38. Wow!! Would have loved to do this at primary school age! Love the displays and the freedom in students choosing written work or painting or drawing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s