Monday, September 21, 2015

Lines, Lines, Everywhere!

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. After demonstrating how to paint a zig zag, wavy, straight, dotted, dashed, and curvy line, the students paint the same lines on their own paper using black paint.

Kindergarten add colors of their choosing.
1st and 2nd grade follow Rainbow order.
On the next day of this unit, the first and second graders were introduced to Roy G. Biv (a great way to remember the order of the rainbow) and tempera paint cakes.  Students were reminded to use lots of water to activate the tempera cakes and how to clean the brush before getting another color. My first and second graders watched "The Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow" (season 3 episode 7) and played with a prism and flashlight to break white light into colors of the rainbow. Second graders also had the opportunity to play with my Primary Science Color Mixing Glasses to view items through the colored lenses. Students in first and second grade will use this knowledge to add a rainbow color pattern to their black line painting.
Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow
Primary Science Color Mixing Glasses
After learning about line and color (2 of 6 design elements), students will focus on making line sculptures. First, we discuss the difference between flat two-dimensional artwork and three dimensional sculptures. After looking at sculptures examples, we find ones that are familiar and share how can walk around each one, such as the Statue of Liberty.  Using glue and straight lines (strips) of paper, we create a small fold at the ends of the strip creating feet. It's there that glue is applied.  Cassie Stephens suggests to animate the paper which is great for the young elementary students I have in class (to which the strip of paper always responds, "oohh, that tickles my feet! Ohhh, that glue is soo cold!"). Hold the paper in place on the base for about 10 seconds. Students add strips all around their base even folding the paper into zigzags and loops if they so choose.

Line Sculpture with strips of paper.
Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard 8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
Anchor Standard 9: Evaluate artistic work based on critical and sensitive response to various visual art experiences. (2D versus 3D)

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