Ironia Kindergarten Integrates Math and Art to Promote Social Emotional Learning
Ironia kindergarten teacher Jaclyn Jimenez and art teacher Heather Turner joined forces to create an innovative art integration project designed to teach math and social emotional skills. In kindergarten, the first unit in math is number sense which refers to a group of key abilities such as understanding quantities and concepts like more and less. Ms. Jimenez and Ms. Turner wanted to help their students get used to numbers 1 through 10 by having each child explore them in our world. They thought, “what better way to see numbers in our world than to integrate them into art?”
The students created number books using lines, shapes, and dots. Each child then preplanned their art work using dots to help construct images. One of the most important parts of art curriculum is learning how to space things out to create a whole composition instead of making many pictures of little things. Once each child's vision was fully realized, the students used their artwork to count from 1 to 10.
“It’s amazing to see what they started with and to see what their projects ultimately looked like. We realized when we started how difficult it was going to be. For us both, it was about letting go so they could experiment, said Ms. Turner.” Ms. Jimenez added: “Some of our students would say, I don’t know what to do and I would say to them look around the room. I wanted them to see the world around them and explore so they could see shapes and numbers in the world. They knew that once they started at 1, the next page would be 2 and that helped them to understand what would come after. By the time they got to number 4 they figured it out.”
While this was an incredible exercise for students to learn about math and elements of art, the students also studied art history. Ms. Turner taught the students about Georges Seurat a post-impressionist French artist most widely known for inventing pointillism. This painting technique involves using distinct dots of color and applying them to patterns to form an image. Each child got to see examples of Seurat’s work and apply it to what they were doing in the classroom.
As if the project couldn’t get any better, Ms. Jimenez and Ms. Turner wanted to incorporate social emotional learning into the lesson by having a classroom Dots and Doodles Gallery Walk to showcase the students' work. The students walked around the room discussing their art projects and how they used numbers to make their designs. This was an important aspect of the project as fostering positive relationships in the classroom is critical for developmental growth, academic success, and overall student wellness. “We do a lot of sharing in kindergarten. Giving students the opportunity to celebrate and take ownership of their work is so important for establishing positive relationships. It was really great to see them collaborating with one another and being excited about using art and math together, said Ms. Jimenez!" Ms. Turner added that “it’s so important for social emotional learning because kids don’t often talk to each other and this was a great exercise for them to be able to communicate their projects to one another.”
Awesome work Ms. Jimenez and Ms. Turner!