With my first graders we learned about seasonal colors. We spent two class periods going over the four different seasons, the kinds of weather we see with each of the seasons (relative to living in Virginia, which we also talked about: how the seasons may look and feel different in different parts of the world), and the colors we see in each of the seasons. Because it is fall, we did our main art project based on the colors of fall. We learned about the word “collage” and how to make collage art. Students then made their own collages using fall colors. They were instructed to make pictures of fall trees by ripping and gluing paper.
Archive for the ‘Student Teacher Blog’ Category
Third grade studied ceramic artist Priscilla Mouritzen and her tribal pinch-pot series. We discussed how she was inspired by the native tribal symbols from her childhood home in South Africa which she used to decorate her clayworks. The students created three pinch-pots each that had to decrease in size and have a hole punctured in the bottoms.
The students studied different nature-based inspirations such as plants or animals that could be broken down into simple bowl shapes. Once the pinch-pots were constructed and had reached a leather-hard stage, the students used handbuilding techniques to add elements to each pot to depict their chosen subjects.
After the pinch-pots were fired, they used acrylic paint to add various surface decorations and used beads and rope to string their wind chimes. The stringing portion of the project took a full class session and was aided greatly by allowing completed students to assist others in the class.
I am thrilled with the results and how creative the students were with their surface decoration and subject content.
Fourth grade explored the use of landscape principles and multimedia to create a work of art inspired by an imaginary land to tell a visual story. The class studied the ways that artists Christian Schloe and Jee Young Lee incorporate dream-like imagery and subject manipulation into their works of art.
The students were required to incorporate foreground, middleground, background, and areas of overlap to create a sense of depth in their landscapes. They began by sketching using pencil to plan paint and subject placement.
Once they had their landscapes fully sketched, they outlined all areas and fine details using crayon to experiment with a wax resist technique. The students then colored all large areas using watercolor paint.
Through group discussion and individual planning the students directed, posed, and incorporated a digital photograph of themselves interacting in the environment they had created. The concepts and stories behind each work of art was beyond inspiring.
Day 1: Discover a Creature
Fourth grade learned about Zoologists and how they help study animals as well as help scientists discover new animal species. The students were challenged to create their own animal using what they already knew about animals such as what kinds of animals they already knew about and what different habitats there are. The students were challenged to think about what feature their creatures need to have to survive, what their creature eats, and what their creature looks like. The students then drew their creatures thinking about all the elements needed for a creature to live. The students also had to come up with a name for their creature since they were the ones to discover them.
Day 2: Clay
After the students created their sketches of their creatures, they could actual make them. Each student received some clay and had a quick demonstration on clay techniques they already should have learned such as how to make a pinch pot and a coil. Thy learned the new technique called “Scratch and Attach” that uses slip as glue for clay. The students had their creature sketches handed back to help guide them in the clay making process. The students were challenged to figure out how to make sure they had enough clay for all the body parts, as well as what body parts were needed the most verse what details could be added on later with paint, or other materials.
Day 3: Habitats
While the student’s clay creatures were in the kiln being fired, the students learned about the habitat artist Jada Fitch. They learned about how Jada Fitch creates habitats for birds by using cardboard and dollhouse furniture. The students thought about the homes they would like to make for their clay creatures and what habitat they had placed their creature in in their sketches on Day 1. The students learned basic paper techniques such as folding, tabbing, making fringe, and flaring to help inspire them in making habitats for their creatures using only paper.
Day 4: Painting
After the creatures came out of the kiln it was time for the students to paint their creatures. The students used acrylic paint and learned how acrylic dries very fast. The students learned how to use their paintbrush to get in the tiny crevasses of the clay creatures to make sure no clay could be seen. If the clay creatures had parts that had fallen off, the students just used Elmer’s glue to glue the pieces back on.
Day 5: Workday
The last day was a workday for the students. The students finished painting their clay creatures and finished creating their paper habitats for their clay creatures. When the students were finished with everything they put their creatures into their habitats.
Day 1: Fish Self-Portraits
The fifth grade class learned about the Great Barrier Reefs and about all the life that live as well as depend on the Great Barrier Reef for survival. The students learned that over 100 different species of fish live in the Great Barrier Reef and that it is the size of Japan, or Italy. The students then started sketching themselves as the sea life that lives in the Great Barrier Reef. We called them our Fish Self-Portraits. The students were challenged to create themselves and represent themselves in their sea creatures somehow.
Day 2: Coral Bleaching
The following day the students looked at the artist Guy Harvey who paints fish. The students looked at the details and color of some of his paints and compared his work to their own. The students then learned about how coral bleaching is destroying the coral reefs were sea life live. The students learned about the causes and effects of coral bleaching. The students realized that if the coral dies the fish and sea life will have no where to live, which in turns kills of them, which causes us the humans to run low on food. The students then took their fish self-portraits and cut them out. They then each got a 3×4 inch piece of cardboard to paint. The students painted either very vivid colors to represent the coral on the reefs, or the sea.
Day 3: Artificial Reefs
The students learned about the artist Jason deCaires Taylor. The students learned that Taylor creates sculptures out of clay and then without decorating them, he drops them into the ocean. This confused the students until they saw the results of Taylor’s actions. In pictures the students saw that coral started to grow on his sculptures and fish started to live with the sculptures. The students learned that what Taylor did was create an artificial reef. The student then took their painted 3×4 inch pieces of cardboard and learned basic paper techniques like tabbing and making fringe to add coral to their artificial reef. The students also attached their fish self-portraits to their artificial reef.
Day 4: Collaborate
The students learned about collaboration and were given the challenge of taking each table’s artificial reef and combining them together at each table to create another group artificial reef. The students were given tape and pieces of cardboard. They learned basic cardboard techniques such as making slots and how to easily roll cardboard. They were to use their colorful artificial reefs as decoration to mimic Jason Taylor’s sculptures.
Day 5: Critique
The last day was a critique day. The students learned about what a critique was as well as how a critique functions. The students practiced and then did a critique in a music chairs fashion, but with tables instead. Each table had a piece of paper and a title written on the top with two sentences about their artwork for an artist statement. The students found this to be very enjoyable.
Third grade went outside with drawing boards to practice drawing either cityscapes or landscapes from observation. We talked about the windshield wiper method of looking back and forth between the paper and the subject you are observing. It was so nice to get the kids outside and I think they really did better when they had a limited number of materials. Giving them only pencils definitely worked better than having markers and pencils.
The next class, we turned our observational drawings into printing plates and got ready for printmaking!
First graders were given the unique challenge of creating an invention that could save the world. We looked at solar panels, green roofs, electric cars, Wall-e, and the work of Boyan Slat.
Students were very interested in the idea of something that could suck up trash. Some students did come up with new ideas like creations that would provide food and shelter to animals in need or would suck up smoke in the air. We brainstormed some ideas as a group and then watched a short video about Caine’s Arcade to show them how they can make things from unlikely, recycled materials.
Each table in the classroom had a large bin with materials broken into categories: recycled bottles and food containers, ribbons and fabric, paper and collage materials, and miscellaneous fun stuff. It was definitely hectic, but the kids had a blast and with extra clean up time the room looked good when they left.
When students finished their creations after 2 classes, they drew a picture of it and I went around and helped them write what their invention did to help the earth.
With second grade, we did a cyanotype lesson by designing patterns and shapes using clear plastic sheets and beans. It was good practice for motor control and the kids who took their time had some really great results.
When we went outside, all of the students watched a demonstration of how to expose their cyanotypes and be careful not to move them. All of the students held down their paper and when it looked like their paper was properly exposed, I demonstrated how to quickly press the paper against their bellies to prevent it from being exposed on the way to the water buckets. We had 6 buckets of water ready outside and as students grouped around I was sure to emphasize how to be gentle with their paper.
Once all of the yellow had been washed off of their papers, each student wrote their name on the back with pencil and sat on the steps to be introduced to some information about cyanotypes. We talked about Sir John Hershel, Lucy Capehart, and Anna Atkins.
The next class we embellished and embroidered on top of our cyanotypes.
With Kindergarten I decided to focus on texture. Our entire time together we were learning about textures. I started the lesson by reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and talking about the word texture, what it means, and how the illustrator used texture in this book. I knew that texture would be a hard word for K to remember, but the following week when I asked “does anyone remember what texture it?” they were able to say “what it feels like!” with great excitement. We went outside one week and collected leaves. That was sort of chaotic but ultimately a lot of fun. We talked about how all of the leaves are different, even if they are from the same tree! Our art project was using the leaves to create “texture prints.” I was really surprised by how few of the kindergartners could use a crayon on its side. It was sort of a motor skill workshop for them. So many of them would turn the crayon on its side like I instructed, but then wouldn’t understand that rolling it wouldn’t do anything. They had to rub. It was hard for them to do at first, but their leaf prints turned out really beautiful.
My second graders learned about patterns. We spent two class periods before we got to the actual art project learning about and talking about patterns. I first read them a fun pattern book to get them introduced in an easy and digestible way. Then I showed them a powerpoint of pictures of patterns in nature, such as snake skin and spider webs. They had a lot of fun guessing at what each picture was and being so suprised when they found it. Then we did a worksheet activity to assess their skills mid-way through the unit. The class worksheet had some basic “fill in the blank” and “what comes next” pattern problems, as well as a few pages of blank boxes where the students were asked to locate patterns that they could see from wherever they were sitting. They seemed to really enjoy looking around the art room at wallpapers and borders and colors, or at their friends striped shirt, or outside at the swings. They did a great job learning patterns. Finally we got to the art-making part. Students cut their own simple shapes out of foam trays (recycled lunch trays!) and were given a few squirts of paint to share at each table. They used their shapes as stamps to make patterns and also learned about color mixing, which wasn’t planned, but they liked to talk about how the colors mixed together and eventually just made brown. It was a great and messy time!