Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5th grade gem stones


Color schemes, color values, and modeling form are part of our 5th grade curriculum and I am always looking for a fresh and fun way to teach these concepts. When I saw these crafty gems on Pinterest, I knew we had to give them a try - the kids get so excited when things look 3-D.

http://truebluemeandyou.tumblr.com/post/44808005531/diy-optical-illusion-wooden-gem-jewelry-tutorial



We began with some observational contour drawing, then the kids selected a color scheme for their gem stones. Using tempera, we mixed tints and shades and watched our jewels pop off the page as they became forms.



What to do with these in a composition? They were kind of floaty and fantasy-like on the white backgrounds, so we went with a simple landscape background for a surreal look. Surrealism shows realistic objects in an impossible setting, as in this Magritte painting, The Castle in the Pyrenees.


Students learned several skills and techniques with this lesson, and also had room for personal choices in colors, settings, and composition. They were encouraged to make personal connections through their creative choices.
We wrote artist statements to wrap up the lesson - get your copy of my artist statement format for free at Teachers pay Teachers: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mrs-Knights-Smartest-Artists

 

 

 
 















Friday, September 26, 2014

Secret Code Collage: Auguste Herbin (2nd grade)


I was excited to find a new inspiration piece for my second grade lesson on geometric shape when I came across the captivating work of French artist Auguste Herbin online. I was really surprised that I wasn't familiar with this artist, since I'm a big fan of nonobjective, colorful art. Many artists call this type of work "Art for art's sake," because it doesn't have to represent anything other than the interaction of elements like color, shape, and space. Adding to the excitement, as I read, I discovered that this artist used a SECRET CODE in his work - how cool is that? He called it the "Alphabet Plastique," meaning that the alphabet could "change" into shapes and colors, like a code. Here are two works using the Alphabet Plastique method, Rouge (red) and Oui (yes).

After learning a little about this artist, and comparing him to our last artist of inspiration, Joan Miro (also from Europe, used mostly organic shapes), we set to work on our codes. Usually we title our work last, but this time we came up with the title first - I love Krish's title "Little Sunday." Many of them were inspired by Herbin's simple titles including days of the week and colors.


Here we are, starting the collages - so exciting!


We noticed that Herbin stacked many of his shapes to show them off better and to help fill the space.





When our collages were complete, we quizzed a friend to see if they could figure out each other's code.


At the end, we critiqued ourselves and our classmates using the Art Stack - I just added this to my TpT store if you want to try it, and I am also putting the code handout on there. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mrs-Knights-Smartest-Artists


We had so much fun with all aspects of this lesson. Here are some things I may do differently next time:
1. Drawing/coloring the geometric shapes instead of collage. Sometimes it was hard to stay focused on the geometrics when cutting. Especially when there are so many interesting papers in the scrap box :).
2. Placing the code shapes on a separate strip or different color, and then the extra shapes around it. This way the title, in code, stands out from the background.
Definitely a keeper, and I can imagine many ways of experimenting with this!








Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bird Texture Collage



Artists often find inspiration in the natural world around us, and one of nature's most beautiful creatures is the bird, in all colors, shapes, and sizes. First graders looked at a variety of birds like toucans, roosters, and parrots - we compared and contrasted their features, and we made some sketches of birds from our memories. Sketches are an important planning step for artists! We selected our favorite sketch for the final piece and planned the shapes and textures we would use for our collage. Collage requires different skills and craftsmanship than drawing or painting, since its focus is on the cutting and gluing of shapes. After the assembly of shapes, we used real textures for the background rubbing and the feathers, and visual textures for the leaves.
At the end of the lesson, we shared compliments with our classmates during the Art Walk.


 










Friday, September 19, 2014

"The Art Stack" Critique and TpT weekend sale!

I have been using several different reflection and critique sheets over the last few years with my 2-5'ers and this year I put one together featuring my favorite parts of each. I'm calling it The Art Stack. Self-reflection, peer reflection, and review of concepts, complete with cutesy illustration.





If you go to my Teachers Pay Teachers store this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, you can get this page plus lots of other classroom-tested resources for 20% off what is already free-to-just-a-few-bucks prices. I'd love for you to check it out. My kids love reflection day when they can pull these pages out of their portfolios and pair up! http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mrs-Knights-Smartest-Artists

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fancy Pants, indeed!

Get ready to fall in love, with pants! (Grown-ups, does that remind you of Letterman?) This lesson was so much fun, and I have Don at Shine Brite Zamorano and especially contemporary graphic artist Danny Ivan to thank for the idea. Don always has unique and inventive lessons based on living, breathing, current artists, illustrators, and designers. His lesson involves a stencil technique, which I will also be trying. ;)

One of our concepts in third grade art is drawing with expressive line, or making line varieties which express different kinds of "energy." Some of the descriptions I heard were "this line makes me feel like I'm on vacation" and "this one makes my blood pressure go up!"  When I saw the fancy pants activity, I knew it would be a hit. We started out with some thumbnail sketches to get warmed up, as artists do, and then we reviewed positive and negative shape from Dot lesson and found the appropriate spaces in our drawings. 
Our goal was to make a unique collection of lines that did not look like your neighbor's. We kept the color simple in the background to emphasize the expressive line. I think they are extra fancy!





The art walk at the end of the lesson, where we share compliments.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Showing off in K-2

My youngest artists, grades K, 1, and 2, have been starting out with the basics - elements and craftsmanship - and some classic lessons. They've been doing a great job! We also found reading and Language Arts connections in each of these - soon they will know that art is connected to their life and learning in many ways!
Kindergarteners get so excited about learning to draw with line and shape after seeing that the Pigeon in Mo Willems funny books is made from them too. We also learned about using and caring for different art materials.


                                         

First graders learned about the nouns of art: people ( portraits), places (landscapes), and things (still lifes). We drew family portraits with a focus on filling the space, and talked about the importance of details in a story told with pictures or words.

                                              
                                        

Second graders learned about drawing from their imaginations and were inspired by Joan Miro's abstract work "People and Dog in Front of the Sun." We also learned that reading titles (and writing them too) can be helpful when trying to understand a work of art. Combining a variety of materials can add interest and texture.

 

                                     
                   









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