Friday, January 31, 2014

Tired of snow yet?

 Maybe never. At least my Kinders aren't yet. We tried drawing self-portraits starting with a directed drawing, then adding color and pattern, and finally printing with a q-tip on top to make a flurry or a blizzard.
After 2 years of no snow days, we're getting our fill this year. Another storm may be on the way...

 I'm not sure what's going on in the one above- happy? sad? I think it's exasperated. More snow!!!??? Yay? I don't think we're ever going to get all these projects done. We should just go hibernate and come out when the crocus pops up.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Can you feel the emotion?

 How are you feeling today? I'm feeling pretty proud of my 3rd graders. Right before Winter break we were able to finish our "Emotional Self portraits". I just got around to photographing and sharing these on Artsonia, where you can read their artist statements as well.
 Most of my students did happy faces, but there were a lot of surprised ones too (it's fun to draw surprise), and a few did bored or tired. Whatever emotion they were trying to show, they had to show through facial expression and through their choice of background color.
 We were using the Biggie Tempera cakes for the first time. I had them mix colors right on the paper or on the lids to the trays. Last year I had jars of tempera in boxes on the tables and the kids used popscicle sticks to dole out paint onto a palette and mix. But distribution was such a hassle, and many kids spent more time mixing colors than actually painting. Or they wouldn't ever mix enough. I think the Biggie Tempera was much easier to distribute and use, although the mixing issue was still a slight problem, and many kids were too impatient to let things dry before painting next to an area, and they had colors bleed. It shared issues normally seen in watercolor painting. Overall, the portraits look slightly sloppy, but perhaps I'm just putting adult aesthetics inappropriately on viewing kid paintings... The ones I'm sharing here now are the best from each class. I do have some very careful painters. I wonder how the 4th graders would compare...
 These 2, above and below, I find the most expressive and imaginative. The glasses on the one above make it look so much like the child who painted it- it's oddly the most realistic of the group despite the rough painting. And the one below was a feat of creativity, for unhappy with the way he painted his eyes, he decided to paint a scuba mask on the face and turned it into a diver afraid of an oncoming shark!!
 The half-closed eyes and purply colors make this one soooooo sleepy:
 This one had a funny story about feeling sneaky because he was spying on his sister:
 And apparently this individual has anger issues (I'm not kidding, he actually wrote that in his artist statement!):
 I'm fascinated with their honesty in 3rd grade. They share their thoughts and feeling uninhibitedly. I'm glad they feel art class is a safe place for that and that our projects give them an opportunity for self-expression.
 Last year I had third grade do conversations portraits showing themselves talking with a friend, but this year the kids seemed more invested in just painting their own large self-portrait.
 This Philly's hat and Call ofDuty shirt give me an idea for next year... clothes and accessories make a big difference in showing who you are and what you are interested in. We'll have to try emphasizing that next time.
I wish I could post all of them, but really I already did on Artsonia. Go check out the rest, and feel free to leave a comment for my students!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy New Year!

 I went back to school on Tuesday after an extra long Winter break (so great when Christmas is on a Wednesday!). Of course, we're suffering through the coldest weather I've ever known in my entire life... about 1/5 of our students were absent yesterday!
 With my remaining Kindergartners, we looked at the Firework art of Cai Guo-Qiang as well as some fireworks photographs I'd taken on New Year's Eve.We talked about the sounds, sizes, and colors of fireworks and even watched a short video of fireworks in reverse!
 We made hand motions to mimic the sound and expansion of a firework explosion, clap...and going out from the center in a radial motion.
 We used oil pastel on black paper, noting that you can't really see fireworks if they go off during the daytime. As students finished up I asked them to count how many they had drawn and to notice if they were big or small.
 At the end of class, each table group got to come up and make a fireworks show saying "POP!" for their small ones and "BOOM!" for their big ones. I really love this project... it's quick, fun, related to student experience, kinetic, auditory... the best!
I have to share this construction by one of my 4th grade boys. He had finished his stained glass project early, and had time for free choice (a 4th grade rarity). It seems appropriate for this Happy New Year post as it's an awesome Chinese-inspired dragon. I loved how he surrounded it with water diamonds.
I hope the rest of the school year continues as easily as the beginning has been. Happy New Year, everybody! Have a creative year blessed with highly engaged and well-behaved students! (We can dream, right?)