Since we only had two days of school the week of Thanksgiving, and I have a compulsion to keep all my classes on the same schedule, we didn't start any big new projects that week.
With my 3rd grade students, we went through Inside Art: An Art History Game where Trish the Fish guides you to answers about which painting you got sucked into at the Art Museum.
With my 2nd grade students, we went through A. Pintura Art Detective: The Case of Grandpa's Painting, a 1940's style detective game where you compare the mystery painting to other paintings from Art History to identify the correct artist. For both 2nd and 3rd grade, I had the students vote on the choices and I selected the link with the most votes. I did have to ask the students to close their eyes to vote so I could see what they really thought instead of looking around to see what the other students voted for.
In 1st grade, we had been talking about geometric and organic shapes. I made a PowerPoint game with images from Art History. The students all sit at tables/color groups so for that day the color groups became their teams. I cut out construction paper shapes for each color and labeled them "Orange Team" etc. and taped the paper to rulers to serve as paddles, the first team with their paddle up got to answer the question. I kept score and the winning team got to line up first at the end of class. The biggest problem with the game was teammates fighting over whose turn it was to hold the paddle and getting mad at other students for not raising the paddle fast enough. I didn't expect so much drama and everyone would have had more fun had they just chilled out. We had to stop playing the game early in one class because they were fighting with each other so much. For the rest of class they got to listen to me talk about being respectful and sharing and then sit quietly.
I had had some repeated listening/following directions/being respectful issues with one of the first grade classes so I told them we would be doing a listening activity instead of playing a game. I put them with a partner and numbered them 1's and 2's as they entered the classroom and had the 1's step outside the classroom with me. I told them that when we went back in, their partner was going to tell a story and they were to be the worst listeners they could. I told them some of the things they do when they are supposed to be listening to me- messing with supplies, talking to other students, looking at something/someone else- as suggestions. When the number 2's were telling their story, I had to turn around so they wouldn't see me laughing. Some of the students were getting very frustrated, one student was even yelling at her partner "LISTEN TO ME!" I gave them about 3 minutes to tell a story and then we had a discussion about how they felt when their partner was not listening to them. I told them why the number 1's were being awful listeners and that I, too, feel bad when people don't listen to me, especially when I am trying to teach them. For the rest of class, the students wrote sentences about why it is important to be a good listener and/or how they feel when people don't listen to them, then drew an illustration.
I made another PowerPoint game for the Kindergarten students that was all about color. At the beginning of it, I reminded them of learning about primary and secondary colors when we read Mouse Paint and had them list the colors for each category. Next I showed them the warm and cool side of the color wheel and said you can remember the difference by thinking of hot and cold on a sink or several pointed out that fire is hot and it is red and orange. I found a bunch of images from Art History and even showed some of my paintings asking them either if it used mostly primary or secondary colors or was mostly warm or cool. I think it was a great way to reinforce color theory and to introduce some new artists. Here are a few of the images I used:
Primary Colors- Piet Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie, Jackson Pollock's Stenographic Figure
Secondary Colors- Edgar Degas's Four Dancers, Frida Kahlo's Self Portrait with Hummingbird and Thorn Necklace
Warm Colors- Georgia O'Keefe's Red Canna, Sandy Skoglund's The Cocktail Party,
Cool Colors- VanGogh's The Starry Night, Gustav Klimt's Sunflowers
At the end of class, I gave each student a piece of paper and let them draw whatever they wanted as long as they used the secondary color crayons I had set out in cups before class. See more in our Artsonia gallery.