Friday, January 25, 2013

Cuteness Overload

We're working through genres, and the Kinders and First graders are on portraiture. With the Kindergartners we read "Too Purpley" to help us start thinking about clothing and patterns. Since we're in the dead of winter, a bundled-up self-portrait seemed appropriate.
First we filled a whole page with patterns in crayon. Then we used a tracer for the hat and mitten shapes to cut out and glue on a background paper (I'm trying to throw in lots of cutting and gluing practice!!). Next we drew our faces, hair,eyes, nose, ears, mouth, and jackets. Finally we colored the backgrounds and added some swooshing wind and falling snowflakes. Some kids drew themselves with a tongue sticking out to catch the flakes!
We ended our Friday with a snowstorm, so I kept imagining the Kinders all going out after school with their tongues sticking out.
In first grade we looked at Mary Cassatt's family portraits to get ideas for our own portraits. We drew an oval picture frame and decorated it, then used a face tracer for each family member. I don't really like using tracers, but the first time I tried to do this project without tracers the kids all drew their family members so small that you couldn't really see anything and wasted a ton of space in their big sheet of paper. The tracers helped place the faces so that afterwards they could overlap the bodies. 
 Some kids added family pets. Some only drew themselves with mom and dad and left out all their siblings (isn't that revealing? we all want to be the center of our parents' attention!)

 I encouraged the kids to add a background showing where their family was, but only a few let their imaginations carry them off. In the portrait above, one student shows himself at his birthday party- a perfect time for a family portrait!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Still Life projects

We're working through genres in art class. The second and fourth grades just completed still life projects with water-color resist. 
Second graders drew an animal toy from observation and added a shadow, a table line, and a wall pattern. They colored their animal by blending oil pastels then painted the backgrounds in watercolor.
The 4th grader made an imaginary still-life by stacking ellipses to make a "crazy vase" shape. They shaded the sides to make the vase look rounder and colored in a shadow. Afterwards, they painted their wall and table with watercolor.
My favorite ones were when the students blended colors on the paper, blue over red... green over blue... purple over orange. The layered colors made moodier paintings.
Next up we'll expand our drawing skills with some observational drawing.
And I'd better come up with some more still-life ideas for 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

3rd grade food mosaics

The quarter is rapidly coming to a close and there is a stack of art a mile high on my desk. I've been grading and photographing like crazy. One of these days I may even get some up on the wall in the halls!  The major project for third grade this past quarter was a food-inspired paper mosaic. It was supposed to be done in time for Thanksgiving, but the project took much longer than I expected. Next year I should just do a mosaic pattern on a smaller piece of paper I think.
Everyone started with a patterned border 2 squares thick. Then they drew a fruit or vegetable inside the frame and filled up the space with the paper mosaic chips. When a box crossed a color section they could cut the chips vertically, horizontally, or diagonally to fit in. The kids did a great job and were really meticulous about finding the right color, cutting and gluing them down.
The number one most popular color was turquoise, which meant that as we neared the end of the project and resources dwindled I had some disappointed kids. The paper mosaic chips are really a great material, though- they are double-sided color, slightly shiny, card-stock weight cut into perfect little squares. It was a lucky find in my closets leftover from the previous art teacher, but I'll be sure to get them again.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy New Year!

We've been back to school for a week, and the kids are getting settled back into routine. Since we only had 2 days last week I did a quick project with the Kinder and first grade classes I saw so that I could get the entire grades back onto the same project this week. We shared some of the "exciting" things we'd seen over vacation, which in my area means MUMMER PARADE (you wouldn't believe how many of my students and their families were in the brigades). However, I was thinking about New Year's Eve fireworks which I watched from my back steps.
I showed the classes a video of a fireworks show and the kids noticed that fireworks are colorful, have straight, curved, and dotted lines that shoot out from the center, and are different sizes. With the fresh vision in their minds, students used construction paper crayons on black paper to fill their page with fireworks. At the end of class we circled up for a "Fireworks Show", and I let the kids take turns making a sound effect for their picture as they showed it off. It was a very fun lesson that helped my little ones review types of lines.
My resolution this year is to stay organized, get through grading, photographing, "Artsonia'ing", and displaying kids projects in a timely manner, and make my lesson directions easy to follow. Even though we're not technically at the halfway mark, the Winter break FEELS like halfway through the year. Hopefully the second half gets even better.