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!

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