I think speech therapy should always be fun but in the summer it should have an element of freedom, away from the classroom. I take kids outside and look for frogs, explore a creek, or create art work related to books.

Brooke and I have been reading Action Jackson, by Greenberg and Jordan, the story of the artist, Jackson Pollock. We used the story to teach inference, summarizing, abstract language, and description:

“Why do you think he likes musicians who improvise and invent their own melodies?”

What does, “He stops and a pool of paint pauses” mean?

Why does he need a break?

What does “Energy and motion made visible” mean?

What does, “Things get in the way of the flow, like roots blocking a soil line” mean?

Why is he called “Action Jackson?”

After reading the book, we decided to try to paint a picture like Pollock. It looked like it would be easy but we discovered a few things. After completing her masterpiece, Brooke used a graphic organizer to tell about her experience beginning with:

  • why we did the painting
  • the steps in the process
  • the two methods she used (squeezing tubes of paint, and flinging with a spoon)
  • what method was easier and more fun
  • summary statement
Here is what she wrote:
Today we painted a picture just like “Action Jackson,” who didn’t touch the canvas when he painted. He flung the paint, used a string, stick or a paintbrush. We painted this picture because we read about Jackson Pollock.

We wanted to paint outside but it started to rain so we went in my garage to paint. First we laid out the newspapers and put the canvas on top. Our paints were in a tube.

We tried two methods of painting like Action Jackson. The first one was squirting the whole tube all over the canvas that made big, thick, long, curvy lines. You had to keep squeezing the tube and moving along so the line would go on forever, or else it would make globs.

Our second method was flinging the paint. We squeezed part of a tube into the red cup and used a fork or spoon to dip into the cup and fling the paint. It is easier to do up close because you get thin, curvy lines but if you stood up you would get a big glob.

The most fun part about doing this project was flinging the paint because it would get messy and it flew across the garage! The easier method was the squirting because the paint would go where you wanted it to go. With flinging the paint goes all over the picture.

When you read the book, Action Jackson, you think his method of painting is easy because he just drips paint, but when you actually do the project it is hard because the paint doesn’t go where you want it to go. I could see how difficult painting like Jackson Pollock was.

See what happens when you combine speech therapy and art?