Book – The Little Painter of Sabana Grande. (afflink)
Fernando’s teacher has told him how to make paint with natural materials–charcoal,
berries, clay–so that he can continue with his art during the vacation; the one thing
lacking is paper. Still, the white side of his own house looks inviting; and after his parents’
initial resistance is overcome, Fernando decorates it with festoons of vines, flowers, and animals
–a rooster, a monkey–familiar in his village in Panama. Based on an actual happening,
Markun’s first book is a straightforward, believable account, smoothly incorporating
details of Panamanian life.
The kids were instructed to gather plants and nature in their baskets for making paint. We began our
walk into the woods and it didn’t take long for our little learners to start filling their baskets. Poke berries
were an immediate pick since we have painted with those before. A few students debated back and forth
on whether colorful leaves would produce colorful paint. Our 10 year old nature explorer chimed in saying
he thinks the green ones will because of the chlorophyll, but he didn’t think the red and yellow ones would
produce color. They were encouraged to gather the leaves to later test their theory. A few pieces of charcoal
were gathered from the fire pit and one child picked up some black walnuts. He remembered recently picking
up a busted one and it painting his hands brown. Once back to the table the kids eagerly got
to work making their paints. I let them take the lead on this. Some students were simply rubbing their
findings onto paper, while others were mixing with water. One kid wanted to thicken up his
paints and requested flour, as he thought this would do the job nicely. This activity was very hands
on and we were able to satisfy so many sensory needs while learning and exploring.
Extended learning ideas-
Learn earth science as they forage for, and study natural art materials.
Learn about the history and geography of Panama.
Learn new Spanish words.
Learn how to safely start a fire and make their own charcoal sticks for drawing.
Practice various art techniques.