Thursday, February 25, 2016

Creative Collaborative Collages

This was a great exercise for my students. We had been looking at positive and negative shape as well as rhythm for several weeks. Students had created stencils of a figure in action, based off of gesture drawings we did from some amazing student models (these kids can hold a pose for ever, aka 1 minute). We had used our stencils to make repeated shapes for some rhythm drawings. But before getting rid off the people that we had cut out to make our stencils, we had this little 50 minute collaborative lesson. 

Students worked together in collaborative teams of 4 or 5 students. They had to pick a setting, and show overlapping. Each team was given an 18x24 piece of construction paper in black or light blue, their choice. Students were allowed to use paper from my scrap boxes, scissors, glue, and construction paper crayons. The people in their collages had to be in action, and they had to present their collage to the class at the end, telling us what was happening in their artwork.

I was slightly surprised how much the students were engaged in this assignment. The one above is of jumping on the trampoline, all the way to the sun.

This one was from my special education kids. They told a long story of one of them fixing the roof of the teacher's house, while tow of them went for a car ride.

The project above is awesome. These students asked if they could make it a sculpture. I said sure. It is a camping trip. They even folded the sleeping bag around the character looking up at the stars.

A little game of street basketball.

This has been the most engaged I have seen my 3rd graders get this year in a collaborative project. At my school it seems rare that I see my 3rd graders in imaginative play. This assignment was a real joy.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Paper cubes.

As part of our explorations of form and architecture in 2nd grade, students created construction paper cubes. I got this idea from the Davis Digital textbooks that our district adopted this year. I have been springing off of their unit on architecture, putting my own spin on the lessons.

Students selected 12 six inch long construction paper rectangles, then folded each in half lengthwise. After all 12 rectangles were folded, students created the bottom, then top of their cubes. The sides were added to the bottom, then the top was added.

 I did find that 2 inch by 6 inch rectangles were easier for the students to manipulate than the 4 inch by 6 inch rectangles that I started with. I only gave the students one day (50 minutes) to complete their cubes, as I have no space in my art room to store three dimensional works. Most students did not finish these in my room, but were so excited about them, that many of their teachers allowed them to finish them back in their home rooms.

To end the class, if cubes were finished, students stacked their cubes either for height, or to create a modular building. After the first day of creating these, the word spread throughout the school and each day classes were asking if this is what they were going to get to do. To me, that is a great sign of success. That, and them all remembering the term "form," and are able to tell me about height, width, and depth.

Materials used:
2 inch by 6 inch construction paper rectangles

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Wooden Block Architects

I have had a lot of great lessons in the past few weeks, and no time to post about them. This was from two weeks ago, and may be one of the best days in the art room my 2nd graders have ever had. This lesson has a ton packed into one day; collaboration, play, reflection, and much more.

Students started off using wooden blocks to collaboratively build a house. They had 5 minutes and everyone in their table group had to be part of the build. 5 minutes is a lot of time. Some groups built, tore down, and rebuilt multiple houses until the time was up.

Next, students photographed their houses. I only have one camera, so a few selected students were chosen to help. This went quickly, and with a bit of direction.

After photographing, students created observational drawings of their houses in their art journals. This was the most successful observational drawing exercise we have had this year. I think it was because these were built from shapes that we had already practiced drawing, and they had the hands on experience of manipulating those shapes to create what they were now drawing. 2nd grade students actually drew their buildings in 3d from their own view points, not something that they created in their heads. I was blown away.

After drawing from observation, students had to label the parts of their house; door, window, garage, porch, etc. Lastly, right before clean up, table groups had a contest to see who could build the tallest tower. Unfortunately, this went by so fast I did not get pictures of the towers. Students had one chance, and kept building until they fell over. 

All of these activities happened in one 50 minute class. It was a great day.

Materials use: wood blocks, pencils, erasers, digital camera, student-made art journals.