Sunday, October 5, 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!








19 comments:

  1. What an awesome lesson, Hope. I love how you explained the process for making it. Trés cool!

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  2. Fabulous lesson! I bet all your students were excited and engaged.

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    1. Rina, they were the most excited to quiz each other, they got a kick out of that.

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  3. LOVE this idea!! Thanks for sharing an artist who is new to me!!!

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    1. New to me too, I really enjoyed the fresh take!

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  4. Very cool lesson! Great for creative problem solving ( there is a whole lot of Bloom's going on in this lesson!) This would be an awesome lesson for an observation! I may be stealing this one if you don't mind! I think I would do it with my older kids though, 4th or 5th. I think they would love the whole secret message thing... :) I am also interested in how they would reflect on it... This is a great example that Visual Arts encompasses all of those "things" that are being stressed in education these days! We as art educators always knew it ,but now we have to be able to show it in ways we were not used to... That has been hard for us initially, but we are creative, we can do it! You have done that, but also found a way to keep the creativity! Once our kids get used to reflections and talking about their art with each other it gets easier! Being able to reflect and talk about their/peer artwork really helps the kids connect their art/creativity to their own world! Another great inspiration! Thanks! :)

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    1. The reflection was one of the best parts, and I think the older kids might really do a great job with this. I can see so many ways to expand on this concept :)

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  5. This lesson is soo cool. My kids are totally going to be into this. Are you willing to share your powerpoint or your resource for info about Auguste Herbin? I've turned to your site several times, as I try to get my barrings for teaching Elem. Thanks for sharing so much. Kendall

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  6. boom! love it. looking forward to trying this out with my kiddos:)

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  7. This is absolutely fantastic! I am purchasing your code handout shortly!! Best art teacher ever!!

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  8. Hi, I love your lesson idea and like you, this is the first I've heard of Herbin. Then I remembered an image on the cover of the book I SPY SHAPES IN ART by Lucy Micklethwait and lo and, behold that image is Composition on the word "vie" by Auguste Herbin!!

    I was trying to create a short PowerPoint using some of the images on the internet that I can find but I haven't been able to save them to a folder for use in my classroom. There is some kind of block with all of the images that I've found. From your photos above it looks like you had projected images of Herbin's and I was wondering if you'll share your strategy for that. If not, do you have any references of good books that I may be able to find to show more images of this artist? Thanks! And thanks for sharing this Artist and the cool idea for a lesson!

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  9. My PowerPoint worked! Would you like to use it? While I don't have any copywrite permission, I think I can share as long as it's free. I can send you my email if you like and then I can send the ppt.

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    1. Martha, do you still have your ppt? I'd love to use it! Marciadotcom@yahoo.com

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  10. I would love to see your PowerPoint presentation as well. I love this project and can't wait to do it. Hope, Martha, could I borrow it?
    Thanks
    Andrea

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  11. Hope, I love this, thank you. I've already purchased your worksheet. Now, a few questions:
    1) What size paper did you use?
    2) You mention you might try a different medium rather than collage. Marker? Tempera paint?
    3) I saw mentin that there is a powerpoint presentation. I'd love to see it (though I could make one of my own and share it with you if it doesn't exist.
    Thanks for this great blog.
    Andi Palo Alto

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  12. One last question: Was this project completed in one class session, or did it need two?

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  13. I just posted some images of my version of this project that my 2nd graders finished recently. Thanks again for sharing your ideas!

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Comments are very appreciated - thanks for stopping by!