Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slithering Serpents!

My fifth grade students have been working on a drawing project for the past three weeks. We talked about what they knew about snakes and discussed the different types... venomous vs. non-venomous, different patterns, ones with rattles, ones without...etc  They are pretty good experts so our discussion was thorough.

I then asked students if I were to fill a box with snakes what would it look like? Would they all lay side by side? No! They were slithering over and around each other... thus overlapping.

Our goals for this project were to create a variety of snakes of their choosing (realistic and invented) and show their distance in space using overlapping.

Using pencil, we first began by creating 1 slithering (wavy) line across the paper. This is a spagetti line! Our snake needs more mass, so we began drawing the other side of the snake at one end and drew a corresponding line next to the first one. Then students drew a head. It could be round, pointed like a diamond, or any other shape they felt best suited the snake.

I then asked students to make sure their next snake ran under the first one. We started off once again with one slithering (wavy) line that ran into the first snake. Instead of drawing across the body with our pencil, we stopped and drew across with our finger, then on the other side of the body we completed the line with our pencil. Then students finished the snake with another wavy line and head.  Students repeated this until they had 5 or 6 snakes.

Snakes could go off the page and come back in again on another side.
Students then drew eyes, tongues, and if they wanted rattles. Then each snake needed to have its own unique pattern. Students traced everything with a black sharpie.

Love the rattler movement in this one!

Lastly students colored these with colored pencils. The colored pencil is an excellent opportunity to discuss value you as well.

I like this project because it gives each students a lot of opportunity for individuality and has a very high success rate for everyone.

Another thing I've been up to with my students is.... My studio class students have been working on Recycled African Masks. We started with discarded cardboard, did some cutting and gluing to arrange shapes for the face, then painted with acrylic paints. Some students even added hair with shredded orange paper (former packing material). All so different!

I'm taking 27 fourth and fifth graders to the art museum in Montgomery on Friday. Eeek! I think we are ready, but these kids never stop surprising me. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jazzy Gesture Drawings

My students love to dance. I see them bee bopping around the building all the time. So the first year I started teaching I came up with a one day project that would give them the opportunity to let all that dancing energy out.

We use construction paper crayons and a dark colored construction paper. Black is good, but purple can have great results too. I use 9 x 12"

I will ask 4 students who would like to be models to stand at the front of the classroom. I then turned on some upbeat music. They dance until I stop the music for them to freeze. I demonstrate how to quickly draw each person without details like faces, clothing, hair.  Students then pick their favorite position and draw one on their paper with the crayon.

We repeat this process three or four more times until there are four or five gestures across their page. This also allows for many students to have turns dancing for the class.

Then the fun details begin. I ask students to give each dancer a different hair style. Then we drew a horizontal line for the dance floor. Students could add any pattern they chose.

Lastly, we drew what the music would look like if we could see it. We discussed how a strong beat to could be a "dotted" line or fast music could create a "zig zag" line.  If music notes would be of interest they were welcome to add those too!

I'm afraid I don't have student examples because I always let the students take these drawings with them. However, these really are a hit. Its also a great way to reinvigorate a group of kids who are becoming a bit apathetic at this point of the year.

This project takes 1 forty minute class with third grade students. This also could be done with 2nd, 4th, and 5th grade students easily.

Also, I have a group of students working on a collage color wheel this week. Its a lot harder to find orange objects in magazine advertisements than we thought.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Zebras with a Twist

I few weeks ago I completed an African unit with my intermediate students. Each grade level did their own project and it just so happens 3rd graders created zebras!  This project is borrowed from the Georgetown Elementary art blog (http://josettebrouwer.edublogs.org/)

This project was introduced by looking at pictures of real zebras on google images. We discussed how zebras camoflauge themselves and what their color scheme is -- black and white. However, on this project we were going to change our color scheme.

We began by drawing a zebra using shapes onto a piece of tagboard. Our tag board happens to be the white sides of a tv dinner box. Rectangle body, two diagonal lines for the neck, oval head, triangle tail, and traced tongue depressors for the legs.

We traced everything with black sharpie and then students began to color their zebras with only 4 colors to create a "color scheme". We used the classic crayola markers in "Assorted colors" which gave us more pastel options. I encouraged students to color with patterns.

Students then cut out their zebras. Some did not complete this the first day, so they began the second session by cutting the zebra out.  The second week of this project students began by selecting a small piece of neon scrap paper. We cut a "fringe" to make it appear more like hair. This hair is glued to the back of the neck. Also a small piece is glued to the tail

We glued our zebra onto a black construction paper background to make the colors appear even more bright. (4 1/2 x 6" black paper)

Lastly, we glued our construction paper with the zebra onto a large piece of manila paper. (My school was throwing old manila chart paper out and I snagged it!) We created a zebra stripe on the manila frame using a piece of corrogated cardboard and purple paint. The original plan used black paint, but we were out. So... obviously any color will do with some imagination :) 
I love how different each zebra is!

This project took 2 forty minute classes.
tagboard/tv dinner cardboard
pencils and erasers
sharpies/permanent marker
crayola markers in bright colors
4 1/2 x 6" black construction
any size paper for the frame... any color
Paint - any color
Corrogated cardboard cut into squares - one per child

Friday, February 3, 2012

Always good to fall back to a classic

I'm throwing in one more post today about my latest endevour with my 3rd graders. They are a very challenging group to work with and sometimes I feel myself really struggling with what I feel most comfortable doing with them next.

I thought I would keep things very simple for a painting project. I fell back on a project that has a very high success rate and allows them a lot of freedom of choice. We created our own abstract pieces based on Wassily Kandinsky's Concentric Squares and Circles. I've seen this plan in multiple versions from many sources. I prefer a simple crayon drawn design (first week), then painted with tempera cake the second week to complete it.

I tend to have students draw with me. We switch up colors and draw various sizes and numbers of circles. This is an excellent opportunity to do some math while we draw.  I also had students choose 1 square to color in for variety.

Our second week involves painting. I prefer to use my all time favorite tempera cakes! I love Richeson brand. They are just splendid!

We begin with the lightest color (yellow) then work our way to the darkest (dark blue). This keeps my paints cleaner... no dirty water in my bright yellow. I allow students to choose where they want to place each color, although this is an opportunity to do some color theory.

Three cheers for simple shapes, simple lines, and simple concepts in times when we are all feeling a little burned out.

This project took two forty minute classes.
We used 12 x 18" white paper, crayons, and mutiple colors of cake tempera.

I love these. The bright colors and fun circles make me happy :)

Symbol Masks with Symmetry!

My fifth graders just wrapped up a fun project utilizing symmetry. This project came to me through another intermediate art teacher in my school system.  We intitially discussed symmetry (which they truly are experts on) and the purposes behind a mask.

We started off by folding a 4 1/2 x 6 inch piece of light brown construction paper in half length-wise. We then drew a simple "half face" for a mask on one side of the folded paper. I emphasized exaggerating features.  Add details like jewelry, hair, and designs to the face.

Students then traced over the design with black crayon (pressing hard). We then opened the paper and folded it closed so that the image was within the fold.

Students then rubbed with tools (such as tongue depressors, etc) to transfer the black crayon to the other side of the brown paper.

When opened they could see a light black line of the other side of their design. This transferring to the other side made their picture more symmetrical.  Students then colored the other side of the face so it would be outlined as darkly as the first. This intro took the entire first week class.

The second week students colored their designs with construction paper crayons (Oh how I love those crayons!). The one rule was that they needed to maintain symmetry from left to right. I also emphasized using "wild" and exciting colors.

On the third week of this project, students completed the coloring of the mask faces using construction crayons. Then they glued their brown paper to a piece of 9 x 12" black construction paper for a frame. I gave each table of students a hand-out of West African symbols that I found. Students could use one symbol or multiple depending on  how they wanted their mask to be represented. Students drew their symbols on scrap squares of colored construction paper with our awesome crayons! Symbols were glued around the black frame.  Some students needed to carry on to a third week.

This last mask is one done by a student a couple of years ago. These symbols were drawn with brown marker instead of crayon which can be just as effective.

This project took three forty minute classes. Love the results! Hardest part is transferring the image from one side of the brown construction to the other side. Other than that the rest is a breeze!