Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1st Grade Geometric Shape Drawings

This was a good one class period project.  I got the idea from a drawing given to me by a student last year.  The student had filled her whole piece of paper with overlapping rectangles in different colors and I loved how it looked.  Since 1st grade had been covering shapes, it seemed like a good time to do the project.  We reviewed the 5 basic geometric shapes and I asked the students to choose just one to use in their artwork.  The students were encouraged to use lots of colors and also needed to have overlapping shapes.  I tried to get them to use the yellow marker first if they were going to include yellow, to try to keep the markers the original color.  A couple of students tried to use a rhombus but had a hard time drawing the shape.  Circles were the most popular shape chosen but the students could also use an ellipse, rectangle, square, or triangle.

Veterans Day Artwork

My 2nd and 3rd grade students made Veterans Day projects this year.  We displayed some at school, some at the district office, and some at the local VA.  We got a really nice thank you letter from the VA saying how much the employees, patients, and visitors enjoyed the artwork.  The lady who helped me hang it said that they get a lot of letters and pictures in February (Valentines for Vets) but not a lot at other times in the year.

With each grade, we talked about what a Veteran is, and what Veterans Day is all about.  While some students had "veteran" mixed up with "veterinarian", I have several students with parents serving in the military who were familiar with the concept.  We also talked about symbolism and brainstormed symbols for Veterans Day and America.  I showed 3rd grade students Jasper Johns' flag paintings and Georgia O'Keefe's Red Poppy.  I told the students that they could make any kind of painting that incorporated symbolism for Veterans Day.  Students drew in pencil first then most chose to trace with sharpie before painting with tempera cakes.  I bought some artificial poppies and borrowed miniature flags to put on each table for the students to observe.  The students also brainstormed a list of words and phrases that could be included in their artwork.  I wrote the words out on a large piece of paper so that students could remember and see the correct spellings.  I tried to proof read the artwork if the students wrote words before they traced in sharpie and I'm SO glad I did!  One student accidentally wrote "Thank you for severing our country" instead of serving!

After the discussion in the first class period, 2nd grade students made abstract paintings using only red, white, and blue paint.  I wasn't totally sure what we were going to do with the paintings at first.  I tried using one of my examples as the background for a collage, cutting one up to use in a collage, and using in a paper weaving.  I decided that the weaving looked the best and introduced something different since I had another collage project planned for 2nd grade.  In the second class period, I showed the students how to fold their paintings in half "hamburger style" and cut lines from the fold toward  the open end to make the warp.  Of course I still had some students cut from the open side instead of the fold so I just tried to tape it so that the students could still use their paintings to weave.  I cut red and blue strips of construction paper for the weft.  When I demonstrated weaving, I pointed out that over-under is an AB pattern and told the students that if they could remember over-under, they could weave.  Some picked it up quickly and I let them help struggling students when they finished.  The students used little dots of glue to secure the weft.

 I think this student tried to use every word we brainstormed!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

4th Grade Calacas

4th grade students learned about Dias de los Muertos and made small clay skulls.  I did my best to teach the students that Day of the Dead is not "Mexican Halloween", it's a celebration of the memories of deceased loved ones.  We talked about some of the traditions and some got to see the poster set I ordered with all sorts of cool Days of the Dead images.  (They didn't come in until the project was almost finished.)  I read that "calaca" means skull or skeleton so I hope I used the right word.

We used air dry clay since we don't have access to a kiln.  Each student got a lump of clay, shaped it like a skull, made eye sockets with a sharpened pencil, and added a nose hole(s) and teeth with a toothpick.  We used VERY sophisticated clay tools!  (I couldn't find ANY left from the last teacher so I bought plastic cutlery and toothpicks until my supply order came in.)  I showed the students how to score and slip in case they wanted to attach anything to their skulls.  Some made baseball hats or bows to attach.  The second class period was spent painting designs on the skulls with acrylic paint and tiny brushes.

Art is Fun was a good resource for this project.  They have simple skull pictures to help people draw and looking at the shapes helped my students.  I showed the website again on day 2 because I love the colorful skull artwork.  I also showed a number of websites with photos of sugar skulls for painting inspiration.

This is the first time I have done a "holiday" project.  I have two students who do not participate in holiday celebrations, say the pledge of allegiance, etc. due to their religion but I didn't think this would be a problem.  One of the siblings had my class the first week and I got an email from their mom the next day making sure I knew that they don't "do" holidays.  I responded to the email and explained that I presented the lesson as learning about another culture and folk art instead of celebrating the holiday but I never heard back from her if it was ok for them to do the project.  I BCC'ed my principal in my response to the email and he said if I didn't hear back, assume it's ok.  The other sibling came to Art the next week and told me he couldn't do the project and since I never heard back from the mom, I didn't have an alternate lesson ready and just had to have him read his AR book in the office as suggested by my principal.  If I do this project again next year, I will be prepared with a back up plan.  My back up plan is to have copies of skull images from an anatomy book so that way the students would still be learning the same hand building/sculpting skills but there is no way it could be against their religion!

This project was a huge hit with my students!  The 5th and 6th grade students asked if they could make the skulls, too, but I had different projects planned for them.

I need to remember to take my black sheet to school.  The combination of black construction paper with a sheen and me hurrying to photograph the skulls at the end of class so they could go home that day made it difficult to get nice photos!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kindergarten Fall Trees

This is just another take on a classic project, but I'm really happy with it.  This project was done partly step by step, but in a way that each still looks different.  I always try to get my students to fill the space when making artwork.  Why would we want to make little tiny trees on big paper?  First, we talked about trees!  The students loved sharing things they know about trees.  I pretended that I was a tree and showed the students how the trunk (my legs together) were wider than the branches (my arms) and how the branches had twigs (fingers) that were even smaller.  I passed out paper and stuck a bigger piece up on the board for me to demonstrate on.  To start the making part, I had the students paint one tall line (using tempera cakes) from the bottom of their paper to the top.  I told them it could bend or curve, just needed to be really tall.  Next, we made the bottom half of the line thicker to serve as the branch.  After that, I had the students paint a few lines that started at the center line and went clear to one of the edges.  When that was done, I showed them how they could add smaller branches or twigs that did not touch the edges of their paper.  With remaining time, students could add grass.  We talked about "planting" the trees instead of having floating trees.


The schedule around the time of this project was really strange with conferences, Halloween parades, etc. so the classes on each day had different versions of the project.  I think my Monday classes got to paint their trees and glue torn construction paper pieces for leaves.  (I tried putting out glue containers and giving the students q-tips to stick them down and felt that was a good introduction to liquid glue, no big blobs like I hate with bottle glue!)  My Tuesday class had to leave Art early so they added leaves with crayon.  Friday classes only had one class period so they painted the leaves after painting the tree.  Before any students added leaves, we talked about the colors that leaves turn in the fall and I showed them how they are all warm colors on the color wheel.  I know this project may make some Art teachers cringe but I stand by it!  It was a good confidence builder and there was still room for each student to make their own unique tree. The end. :)

1st Grade Circle Prints

 This idea was inspired by the circle printing lesson on Art is the Best Part of the Day.  This was a two class period project.  On the first day, we reviewed organic and geometric shapes (that seems to be my "thing" this year) and talked about how overlapping creates new shapes.  We used styrofoam cups like I saw on Art is the Best Part of the Day but we also added cardboard tubes for variety in size paint.  I put black tempera paint out in little trays and showed the students how to stick the cups and tubes in the paint, then print on their papers.  I asked the students to have overlapping and to fill the space.  
On day 2, I showed the students how to find the new shapes that were created by overlapping and asked them to not have two shapes of the same color that touched.  I also reminded them to trace the outline of the shape with crayon first before carefully coloring the inside.

Some students got a little carried away with printing and had LOTS of little shapes to try to color in.  I encouraged the students to take their time and think about where they were putting each circle but some just couldn't resist! :)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

3rd Grade Leaf Designs

Last year I did basically the same lesson with m 3rd grade students but had them use just two colors.  It created kind of an Op Art effect but confused the majority of my 3rd graders.  This year I wanted to keep some of the elements- overlapping to create positive and negative space and interesting shapes, and creating interesting compositions by filling the entire space.

I collected lots and lots of leaves to bring in for this project.  I also had projects using leaves planned for two other grades at the same time so the leaves were used several times.  I tried to find a variety of leaf shapes and sizes for the students to use.  I think I had one student in almost every class ask if the leaves were poisonous.... yes, my secret plan is to poison my students with leaves in Art class.  Anyway, the first class period was spent tracing leaves with pencil so that there was lots of overlapping and the space was filled.  Some students had time to start tracing their pencil lines with sharpie in the first class, the others traced in the second class.

 At the beginning of the second class, I showed the students how to trace the outline of the shape carefully before coloring in the middle.  If the students actually use that tip, they do a much nicer job getting things filled in to be nice and solid.  I showed examples from last year in our Artsonia gallery and told the students they could do the Op Art thing with two colors or use whatever colors they wanted- the only guideline with color was that no two shapes that touched could be the same color.  I found that I had to reiterate again and again that everywhere the leaves overlapped created a new shape.  Some still focused on each leaf as the shape and not the smaller sections.  Only a few students wanted to try the two color route, most used several colors.  I thought it was interesting to see the color combinations they came up with.  Some planned it out ahead of time, some would just choose one color at a time and probably used every marker color available.  Anyway, the projects were a big hit and got lots of positive comments when displayed in the hallway and I think I'll teach it again next year!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day!

This is a tempera painting by one of my 3rd grade students.  2nd and 3rd graders learned about Veterans Day and made projects to thank veterans.  I'll post more about it later, just wanted to share this picture today!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

5th Grade Reflection Projects

On Thursday afternoons the 5th grade classes rotate to different Specials teachers during the grade level collaboration.  So it takes me 5 weeks to see all of the 5th grade classes for the "bonus" class.  We are just supposed to plan a 40-minute lesson that incorporates math/reading/writing and our content areas.  I really enjoy the extra Art time with the students.  The first collaboration project I did with the students this year was a really quick tessellation project that used translation.  We have just finished up an art project that used reflection.  Now I need to come up with something for next Thursday that uses rotation so that I'll have covered the 3 transformations they learn about in Math.

Here are some of the reflection projects!


Check out this post on Notan (or just search for it to see lots of cool pictures!)  I have seen this project tons of times but I never knew it was based on "notan", a Japanese design principal about positive and negative space.