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Painting: Exploring Shape

Step in Progression
Interaction Ideas (Painting)
Objects the same
As children are painting observe the shapes in their pictures. Focus their attention on the features of these shapes by encouraging them to paint others that are similar. For example:
  • I like that line. Can you paint another one like that? How are they the same?
  • That’s a great shape. Can you make another one like that? What’s the same about those two shapes?
  • I like that part of your painting. Can you make another one? What makes them the same?
  • That’s a fantastic shape. Can you make one more like that? What makes them alike?
As appropriate, encourage the children to look at the shapes others have used in their paintings and focus on the features of these.
  • Look at Aroha’s shape. Can you do one like that? Which parts are the same?
  • Look at this red shape I’ve painted. Can you paint one like that? What makes these two shapes the same?
  • Sam’s painted an interesting line. Can you make one the same? How is it the same?
  • Here’s a big shape. Can you do one like this? What is the same about our shapes?
Objects the same and different
Make some paintings with the children.  Ask them whether they are happy for these paintings to be cut up and used.  Assist them to cut up the paintings so there is one key painted feature or shape on each piece. Encourage children to sort the painting parts, focusing on the features shared by the painted shapes.
  • Can you make a pile of pieces that are alike? How are they the same?
  • Can you sort these parts into groups?   How shall we sort them?
  • Which pile/group should I put this shape in? 
  • Where does this object belong? How do you know?
Follow the sorting with questions that encourage children to describe their thinking with a focus on the attributes of the shapes in the painted pieces:
  • How is this piece the same as the ones in this pile?
  • How is this part different to those ones? 
  • What is the same about the shapes in this pile?
  • Why did you put these shapes together?
  • Why don’t these pieces belong with these ones?
Once children have finished painting and their work is dry, invite them to look at each other's paintings and talk about these. Encourage them to focus on the shapes in the paintings and the features these share.
  • Look at the line Shade has painted. Who else has a line in their painting? It is the same as Shade’s? How? Does anybody have a line that is different? What makes it different?
  • That’s a great shape Sophie. Does anybody else have a shape like that in their painting? How is it the same as Sophie’s? Does anybody have a shape that is different to Sophie’s? What makes it different?
  • I can see a swirly shape on Andrew’s painting. Does anybody else have a swirly shape on their painting? How is it the same as Andrew’s?
  • Can you see the big shape in Jade’s painting? Who else has one like that? What makes it the same as Jade’s? Who has one that’s different? What makes it different?
Classifying objects
Provide a wide variety of objects and shapes at the painting table for children to use as stamps to make prints. As the children use the shapes focus their attention on the features of the stamps they are making and encourage them to group these. For example:
  • What is that shape like? Yes, it has 3 sides and is flat, isn't it. Can you find some more like this? What kind of stamps will they make? Let’s try. How are these stamps the same?  
  • That's a long object, let’s find all the long objects. What else is the same about these objects? Let’s make stamps with these. What is alike about these shapes?
  • Sami’s shape has a curved side. Who else can find a shape with a curved side? Let’s see what kind of stamps these make. What’s the same about our stamps? What’s different?
Have a variety of objects and shapes available to children as they paint. Encourage them to use the shapes in their paintings, and draw their attention to some of the features shared by groups of shapes. For example:
  • This shape has 3 sides and is flat. Can you paint one like it? Which other shapes are like this?
  • How many corners does that shape have? Can you paint a shape that has 4 corners? Are there any more like that we could paint? How are all our shapes the same?
  • Tu has a round shape. Who else can paint a round shape? Are all our round shapes the same? How are they different?
  • What’s that shape like? Let’s all paint a long straight one. How are our shapes alike? How are they different?

Click for a version with the questions in both English and Māori.

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