Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The End Of My First Semester Blogging

Warning! This post is going to have quite a few pictures. 

Friday was the last day of the first semester. I have had a long list of lessons that I have wanted to catch up on posting, but after a weekend of thinking it over, I don't want to spend my whole break blogging. Instead I want to spend it with my kids. So, here is one post to tie up all loose ends. Of course I have a goal for the new year of not getting so far behind on stuff I want to post. Until then, here goes a whole bunch of stuff that I did not get around to posting.

At the beginning of the school year, 5th graders had the choice between two contests to create an artwork for and to enter. This is the piece that we sent off to  a bicycle contest.

 The other contest that 5th graders could choose from was the Fort Worth Stock Show art contest. These horse and farm works are a few of the ones we submitted.

Third graders created Mine Craft inspired self portraits. I got this idea from a post on the blog Shine Bright Zamorano. Here is the link, http://www.shinebritezamorano.com/search/label/minecraft
My third graders loved this. It was a lot of fun. However, I never thought I would spend so much time prepping materials for anything as I did cutting paper squares for this.

Notice the shoes in the picture. My students find it hilarious that I stand on the table to take pictures.

We have a special ed class at our school that meets with the third graders. They excelled at this project and loved it so much that they went back to their classroom and did their own version so that they could keep working on it.

Here is a Kandinsky assignment that kindergarten did as an intro to oil pastels.

They look pretty good hung together in the hallway.

Here are second grades paper weavings from this year. We usually have more time to work on these than we did this year, so they are lacking the pattern that I usually have the students add to their strips before weaving. 2nd grade paper weaving in my room is inspired by Kente clothe. We read The Spider Weaver at the start of the lesson. I had to cut the lesson short after many lost days at our school due to construction.

My fourth graders had a choice of four different ways to show value after creating value scales with pencil, oil pastels, and watercolor. These are from a class that lost the privilege to use oil pastels and water colors, but these three examples were some gems from that group. I hate taking materials away from students, but we have one group at our school that has been quite the challenge this year, and sometimes you have to protect the materials when students are damaging them so that other classes still have them to use.

This is another assignment that I got from Shine Bright Zamarano. It was a very quick assignment allowing students to work together a bit to create a very large work. I will have the whole thing assembled after break and post a picture of it then.

These are a couple of examples from a warm and cool colors assignment that Kindergarten did. We started by creating images with cool colors of things we like to pretend when playing outside. Later we created warm colored windows on top of our drawings with construction paper. This gave some more time for Kindergartners to improve their scissor and glue skills.

My last catch up assignment to post is from the last week of school. Some classes were moved around, and some students were held in their rooms by their home room teachers, so we talked about team work and students created large drawings as a team to portray a subject of their choice. Tips were given about sharing ideas and picking a bottom for their artwork. Also, after the first group, I realized the need to talk about ways to work to make the piece look like one, and not several different artworks on one large paper. These drawings were started by 1st graders, and worked on throughout the day by all other grade levels.

Overall, blogging this year has been an awesome way to reflect on teaching and the goings on of my classroom. Plus, it is nice to have a place to go back and look over what has happened. I haven't quite reached 1000 page views yet, but expect to before semester 2 starts. Thanks to all who have been following this blog and hey, Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Pigs, Cows, And Friendship Portraits

When I originally created this lesson last year, I was looking for an idea of a way to help my students learn not to say mean things about each other's artwork. I was tired of 1st graders coming up to me crying about how so and so said their artwork was ugly. In my search, I came across the perfect book; When Pigasso Met Mootisse, by Nina Laden

I love any chance to teach my students about the difference between an author and an illustrator, so we read quite a few books. This one is great because it works as an art history intro to Picasso and Matisse, which we study more about later in the year. It opens up the dialogue about what is nice to say about others artwork, and what isn't, and what happens when we aren't nice.

After reading the book to the class, we talk about self portraits and I teach them about proportion. During my first year of teaching, I thought proportion was best left to be taught to older grade levels, not kindergartners and first graders. Boy was I wrong. They eat it up, and catch on pretty well. After self-portraits, we work on portraits of our best friend. All of this is done on 12x18 paper folded in half with a self-portrait on one side and a portrait on the other. I do encourage the kids to add shapes or lines to the background for pattern.

Next comes color. We outline with marker, and color in with crayon. Most students want to use regular old realistic coloring for their portraits, but a lot of them due follow me down the road of arbitrary color. I never use flesh tones for skin in my examples. After all, we are looking at Matisse and Picasso portraits and self-portraits everyday at the beginning of each class that we work on this assignment. WWMD or What Would Matisse Do? I tell them, "Have fun with the colors" and "It is your job to find ways to make your drawings fun". Anyways, here are a few finished examples. Unfortunately, I did not take as many pictures as I wanted too. There are many more that I really wish I had taken pictures of to share.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

3 Valuable Weeks

With the way my schedule is at my school, students come to art once a week for 50 minutes. With that said, this simple lesson took 3 weeks. In the district that I teach in, our curriculum is based on the elements and principles. Part of our fall curriculum for 4th grade is value. I have not seen evidence over the past few years that my students have held on to an understanding of value, so this year I decided to try a new approach. Prior to doing any works of art with value, my 4th graders made value scales using pencil, oil pastels, and water colors.
These media worked great for this lesson since the process for creating values with each one is so different. This also gave me a chance to teach some watercolor and pastel techniques that I have not covered in the past. Students experimented with varying pressure to create values with pencil, adding white and black to a color with the pastels, and diluting their paint with varied amounts of water for water colors. Also, this gave one more opportunity to practice our skills measuring and drawing straight lines with a ruler, something that drives me nuts that most students seem to not know how to do.
Obviously, we used pencil, oil pastels, and water colors, but we also used multimedia paper. This gave an opportunity for me to say "media" a million times and to explain it. Our value scales are just the first stage to a lesson that we are working on currently that is focused on rhythm. Students are using values created with one color in and all three of these media for their first mixed media project of the year. Some good scaffolding going on here. I will post about the rhythm assignment in a couple of weeks when we are finished, so far this has all been very engaging to them, though it doesn't look as exciting. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

2nd Grade Lichtenstein Self Portraits

This is one of my favorite lessons. I saw examples somewhere on the Internet last year and thought, "hey that looks like fun". I have learned somethings teaching this for the second year and this year's projects turned out even better than the previous year.

So here's the rundown. We started off by looking at an image of one of Lichtenstein's paintings that is at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Students identified the painting only had primary colors, looked like it came from a comic book, and told a story. These observations were the basis for our works.

We worked together to create self-portraits that were big on our paper, had good proportions, and had either a thought cloud or a word bubble (we had a fun time discussing the difference). Students were to either write something they would say in a bubble, or something they think about in a cloud. Surprisingly, many students actually followed directions to make the words big enough to read from far away. After making any corrections, students traced their drawings with black sharpie.
The next step was to use multicultural washable markers to color our skin color. I had students test the markers on the back of their papers and hold their hand next to the test spot to find the closest match to their own skin. This always leads to a great discussion on how all people are different dark or light versions of brown and no one is really white or black.

Our final step was adding our primary colors with crayon. In all steps, students were expected to show their best craftsmanship, filling in white and keeping our colors at a unified darkness, as well as trying to make them smooth looking and not rushed.
I love this assignment because it helps me to know a little more about the students personal interests and character.

The student that created this self-portrait always impresses me. She has not spoke a word to one person at our school in two years, but has the most phenomenal artwork.
This may be my favorite from this year. The student really showed his personality.