Friday, August 2, 2013

Gryphon House - Global Art (Review)

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Educator?  Parent? Caregiver?  Do any of these titles fit?  If so and you aren't already, you should become familiar with Gryphon House.  This company publishes and distributes high quality, award winning books and resources children.  Ready to check them out?  There are hundreds of free activities on their website that you can view and use today with your children.  Believe it or not, these freebies are just a sampling of the gems this company has to offer.
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190 pages, paperback
PreK-5th grade

Our family had the opportunity to review Global Art by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Jean Potter.  We found this book unique in comparison to other art books we have used in the past.  Mainly because of the global perspective being at the forefront.  The Table of Contents has the projects organized by continent and therein by either country or people group.  Thus, it makes it easy to find an art project that would make a great pairing for your current history or geography studies.  On each project page, there is a globe with a star on it notating the location of the project and a "Kid you know?" paragraph providing small blurbs and cultural factoids. 

The Global Art projects include collage, painting, drawing, printing, sculpting, and constructing.  With over 135 projects to choose from, you could find yourself lost as to where to begin.  Not so thanks to the fabulous organization of this book.  I greatly appreciated the "Using the Icons" page at the beginning of the book.  Yes, there are self-explanatory paintrbrush, scissors, construction, etc. icons to illustrate the techniques being used, but of most interest to me were the experience level and planning and preparation icons.  Using a star system, I was able at a glance to see if a project was for a beginner, a child with limited experience, or someone who was more experienced.  The numerals 1-3 denoted whether the materials used were common household items, familiar items that may need to be purchased, or unfamiliar items that could still easily be found.

Knowing the hustle and bustle of summer and the amount of traveling we would be doing, I specifically sought out projects for beginners that required little planning and utilized items already in our home.  These projects became filler and great boredom busters and rainy day activities.  As we move in to our formal school year, we'll try some of the more challenging, time consuming projects.  Even better, we can match our art studies with our upcoming geography and history studies.

Some of our favorite projects included... a Tangram Design Game from China.  The boys each cut out their tangrams and then did one of the book's recommended variations.  They laid the pieces out in a design, traced an outline, then had their brother attempt to fit the pieces back into the pattern outline.  Rachel didn't participate in this project because she was more interested in making a decorative necklace (out of a paper plate) from Central Africa. 

All of the kids created their own Hands Across America Paper Dolls.  I can remember making these as a child.  AND... just as I had trouble cutting the paper to keep the dolls hands linked, my children did as well.  A little trial and error was a part of this project, but the end project was cute.

Another fun project was the Soft Coral Watercolor from Fiji.  My kids LOVE to paint, and I'm the Mommy who usually encourages them to use it sparingly.  They loved this project because they were supposed to paint very wet so the colors could blend. 
(I'm having issues uploading pics of these masterpieces... grumble, grumble, grumble.  UGHHH!  I'll have to edit this post in the near future when I can get the camera & computer to play nice!)

Be sure to read the reviews of other Schoolhouse Review Crew members to see how they used Global Art in their homes.  Likewise, some crew members reviewed The Homegrown Preschooler.  If you have a wee one, you will want to pay attention to their insightful posts.


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