Thursday, September 22, 2016

Lines, Lines, and more Lines!

I must admit that this lesson idea is not my own, but an idea I borrowed from the great Cassie Stephens at  "What the Art Teacher Wore" blog.  Line is one of six basic design elements in art and students learn about new line vocabulary at the kindergarten level through this lesson and my first and second graders can review their basic line vocabulary as we paint, draw, and sculpt various different lines.  First, kindergarten students are introduced to basic line vocabulary through a poem called "Larry the Line" written by Cassie Stephens.

Larry the Line
Is a friend of mine 
(creating a snake by opening the fingers of your hand, puppet style and there's your snake!)
He can make three
(hold up a three with your fingers)
Straight lines for me!
(create a vertical line with your forearm)
Diagonal and horizontal!
(pantomime each)
Any curve, he can learn
With a twist and a turn.
When he's out of his tangle
he makes a great...angle.
(created by placing your hand on your hip and pointing to your elbow)
Any line, he can make
After all, he's a snake! 

After learning the Larry the Line poem, students receive a demonstration on painting. Cassie Stephens likens the bristles of the paint brush to a ballerina: It always dances on it's toes and never scoots around on it's bottom. We also discuss how we dip only the tip of our brush in the paint and never smash Mr. Brush's hairs for that will give him one bad hair day and an awful headache! After demonstrating how to paint a zig zag, wavy, straight, dotted, and dashed line, the students paint the same lines on their own paper using black tempera paint.

Kindergarten add colors of their choosing.
On the next day of this unit, kindergarteners were introduced to our tempera paint cakes.  Students were reminded to use lots of water to activate the tempera cakes and how to clean the brush before choosing another color. 

My first and second graders are also reviewing lines, painting, and brush procedures with a Kandinsky inspired art lesson. On the first day, we examined one of Kandinsky's Compositions using Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). We also discussed key life facts like where he was born, what inspired him, what was going on during his life, etc. with a keynote presentation. Over the course of 3-4 art classes, students painted chinet plates (perfect plates for painting because of its stiff texture) with Kandinsky inspired concentric circles. We also discussed how radial designs can also appear circular like Kandinsky's concentric circles. Once the plates are painted and patterned, my first and second graders will turn these paper plates into looms and weave. I will be honest, I am a little nervous about teaching first and second graders how to weave. Can you imagine the chaos, but we are going to give it a try!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Baseline Portfolio Drawing, Rules and Procedures

The first two to three weeks of school for all grades allows for much practice of the art room rules and procedures. Each day students come to the art room, we quickly review the art room rules, procedures, and expectations, how to receive punches in individual Art "buck" punch cards and gain points for Rainbow Club as a class. A new activity I created to make the explanation of procedures and rules more exciting was an art room scavenger hunt. Second grade students, working with their table groups, were given a list of items to seek and find in the art room ranging from Art Jobs and Staplers to scrap paper drawers and sign language signs. First and kindergarten students were shown pictures from the art room in a keynote presentation and together as a class pointed to the found items in the room.

The first two weeks also allow me to gain valuable information about students' current skill levels in drawing and name writing. I call these drawings baseline portfolio drawings. Each year kindergarten through second grade, students will draw a self portrait and "My House" drawing without guidance on 9”x12” drawing paper and with a #2 pencil. These drawings usually take 2-3 days and students will add color with crayons (kindergarten) or colored pencils (first and second grades). For those students who finish early, we talk about adding "details" to give the viewer more information. For example, within the background of their self portraits, I tell them to draw items that tell me more about their hobbies and interests.
Second grade students this week will also list items to add to this year's Rainbow Club Chart and as a group VOTE FOR the ACTIVITIES they like best TO ADD to the RAINBOW CLUB chart.

Anchor Standard 1 (K-2): Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard 2 (K-2): Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard 10 (K-2): Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to create art.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Sculpture Challenge continues...

Many 2nd graders have already started gluing their paper mache` projects after completing strong armatures made from cardboard scraps, newspaper, boxes, and masking tape. I am amazed at the innovation and designs many of these students developed with their own abilities! Check out some of the amazing examples below! See the original lesson explanations here and here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Armatures and Paper Mache`

Students in 2nd grade are currently building armatures for their paper mache` animals. After looking at images of some of our favorite animals, each student chose one to study and draw using three dimensional geometric shapes. This is our plan for building our armature. We discussed various ways to build using paper towel and toilet paper tubes, as well as cardboard and newspaper. After completing their preliminary drawing, students may begin building with tape, tubes, newspaper and cardboard from supply boxes in the art room.
Once completed with the armature (the "bones" of our animal sculpture), students can begin the paper mache part. This can be incredibly messy, but most students thoroughly enjoy this step. Another discussion we have during construction of the armature is stability. We really want our animal to be able to stand on its own, so we need to work through any problems, such as the example below where the head is too heavy and the animal falls forward. Most everyone is ready for the glue step now.