Wednesday, November 24, 2010

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!

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