Monday, February 27, 2012

1st Grade Wild Things + Artist Statements

Way back in October, a couple of my 1st grade classes made "Wild Things" inspired by Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. We brainstormed things that he included in his illustrations to make the "things" look wild. The students used the list (horns, fur, claws, scales, feathers, beaks, etc.) to get ideas for their drawings. They drew in sharpie first then used construction paper and regular crayons to add color. The best part, for me, was reading the artist statements I asked them to write on the back. Since it was their first attempt at writing about their artwork, I just asked them to tell me something about their wild things.  I added them into our Artsonia gallery with a little note that I typed the words as they were written by the students and I was sure that their parents had already noticed an improvement in their spelling and writing skills.


Andruw4 says this about his/her art...
My mostr is nice.

Crystal1058 says this about his/her art...
My mostor is osm. It is sckere. My mostr is fune.

Gabriel1830 says this about his/her art...
My monstr is sckere. I love my mostr.
Skylar1032 says this about his/her art...
My mosr [monster] is men. He has big feet.

Annika300 says this about his/her art...
My wild thing is a scare animal. It has a spice [spikey] mowth. It has spice feet.
Tonya70 says this about his/her art...
This is my mostr. I hav put bune irs and I hav put a orch srt on him and I put to trezz.

[This is my monster. I have put bunny ears and I have put an orange shirt on him and I put two trees.)
Joelle119 says this about his/her art...
I love my wild thing. I love it.
Ethan5046 says this about his/her art...
I love my picture very much. I worked hard and did a good job.
Lillie127 says this about his/her art...
I lick my goiing [drawing] cas [because] it was funing [funny.] I lick my funing wilyd thing.
Peyton1320 says this about his/her art...
I liook Art.
Taylor10174 says this about his/her art...
I love my wiyld rck.
Brooke3418 says this about his/her art...
I love mi proijekt becozz it was dark! I made a wild thing.
Cade695 says this about his/her art...
I like my wild thing be cos it is funny.
Isaac2017 says this about his/her art...
I lick [like] it bucus it wus fun. I lick it. A fun crech [creature].
Cheyenne1867 says this about his/her art...
my monstr is funny. My monstr likes to draw.
Zoie132 says this about his/her art...
My monstr is funny and skarey and nice. It likes to drowl [draw]. It is going to be vere skary varey son [soon] wan I tech it to be skary.
Matthew10750 says this about his/her art...
It is sogoun. He is so big. He is siney. It wuzz at nite. Me and him had so mut fun. Wuw! I love him! Bi!
Samantha8066 says this about his/her art...
It's in the forist. It's cool. It's has a good singing. This is wan.
Travis1966 says this about his/her art...
The monster yelled at Travis. I like to draw and color the picture.
Sadee8 says this about his/her art...
I love my wild picture. I really love it. Boo!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

6th Grade Sumi-e

I was really looking forward to ink working on sumi-e* with my 6th grade students. I made a big deal about ordering the special brushes and real rice paper and sumi ink because I was trusting them to try really hard. This was difficult for most students but I was just as frustrated by the lack of effort from some, as they were by learning a new media. I allowed one class period to practice using the brushes with diluted black tempera paint on regular paper and one class to use the "real" supplies and paint Kansas landscapes. I wanted the students to create landscapes from their place in the style of another place to make it really multi-cultural. 
*In case you were wondering (I had to look it up,) "sumi" is the Japanese word for ink and "sumi-e" means ink painting.

"Practice" painting from the 1st class. I like these better than the landscapes!
The frustration had 2 causes. First, it was hard for the students to translate a photograph into the simpler style we saw in traditional sumi-e. I don't mean "simple" as in easy. I think it is hard to understand how a "simple" style and composition can be harder to plan. You have to get just the right balance. This part was my fault. I demonstrated using the brush and showed some videos from YouTube, but I didn't want to over-demonstrate and have all the paintings look the same. Maybe the students could have used more instruction.
The second cause was that my supply order didn't show up in time so they had to practice with tempera instead of ink. It was really hard for the students to achieve a value range with the real ink so after the first two classes, we switched back to black tempera.

Even though it was hard, and I admitted that I was learning too, most of the students did make an honest effort. Some, did not. I was tempted to bust out a "no-no" board when I saw giant suns and loopy flowers showing up because it translated as a lack of sincere effort. We stopped and talked about effort, craftsmanship, attitude, etc. The paintings I've included here were all by students who were really trying. 

This painting was a major accomplishment! This was the only student to reference the little waterfall photo who actually used directional lines to differentiate between the rocks and the water while still showing texture.

So now I have lots of supplies leftover but I'm hesitant to try sumi-e again anytime soon. I think we'll paint with the ink on top of water and pull prints. I know there is a term for this besides marbling, I just can't remember what it is!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Old Black Fly with Paint Splatters

I love the book Old Black Fly (cick to see a preview on Amazon's website) by Jim Aylesworth with illustrations by Stephen Gammel. This year my 3rd graders drew Old Black Fly with crayons and we decided to add paint splatters to mimic the illustrations in the book. Most colors look super cool splattered on the artwork.
Red, however, looks like blood. Still cool, but could be a little gruesome. Next time we'll substitute another color choice! :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Art of Conservation

Even though there are 4 elementary Art teachers in my district (splitting 7 schools), we hardly ever teach the same lessons to our students. One project that the elementary students do across the district is the Jr. Duck Stamp program. This year I'm giving the students the choice of the Jr. Duck Stamp program or the State Fish Art contest. Both programs have similar aims of connecting kids to nature and teaching conservation through the Arts. They are both integrate science- observational skills, anatomy, and learning about animals' natural habitats. Duck stamps are about conserving the wetlands and the State Fish Art contest educates kids about fish and aquatic habitats. 

If you've been reading for a while, you know I love my bulletin boards. The visual of the Art hanging in the halls is usually how I share what we are doing but  I don't hang ducks in the hallway- most are sent in to the contest (while some go home to be finished and disappear.) So, I compiled some information to remind students what the project is all about, and share it with parents and teachers.
 (Click to view a larger version and read the signs.)
Design of the bulletin board:
I have the background painted bright orange so I don't have to cover it with paper. I wanted to make it look a little swampy so I cut blue paper to go at the bottom for water and tore brown and green pieces to look like plants. I made my title with the die cut machine but decided to use different sizes and the negative space of the letters to add interest. I rarely plan out the arrangement ahead of time. I just get a feel for it and start stapling. 
I also added some "Did You Know" facts at the bottom next to ducks. Did you know that more than 1/3 of the animals on the Endangered Species list rely on the wetlands for their survival? (Either for habitat or food source.)

When I moved into my new 4th-6th grade classroom, I put up a word wall, convinced that it would just be a great idea. My best intentions failed since I rarely had time to make and put up new words. (I've seen some word walls with post-its for quick additions but they don't stick well to the paint.) I decided I was wasting space and should put up something else. I whipped up some displays to illustrate the habitats we were talking about AND display the vocabulary. One display represents the wetlands- I painted it on butcher paper with some collage elements and labels and plastered the back with small loops of packing tape. I also sealed the edges with even more tape. My aquatic habitat was made in a similar way only taped over a closet door instead of to the wall. I'm not committing to making such a big display for each new lesson, but I do plan to use the space to display materials relating to what is currently being studied. Maybe in coming years I'll be able to get a big bulletin board for that wall so I don't waste rolls upon rolls of tape.

Most states have an official state fish, but Kansas doesn't for some reason. I'm not sure why since we have a bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian, and insect. Our unofficial state fish is the Channel Catfish. I've grown up fishing and feel like I know a fair amount about Kansas fish. I did learn quite a bit about channel cat while doing some research for this lesson. For example, their "whiskers" are really called barbels, and they have 8 of them! I also learned more about zebra mussels, an invasive species. I had heard people talk about them and seen educational flyers, but I didn't realize how much of an impact they are having. Next year, with more experience with this program, I'll be able to do a better job.

The 4th-6th grade students still have another week to work on their artwork during recess (lots have been taking me up on that offer) before it's due back to me. The 1st-3rd grade students are still working on them in class. I can't wait to share the finished artwork!

For more information...
Jr. Duck Stamp Program
State Fish Art Contest

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Another Jim Dine post

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

I wanted to do a Jim Dine-inspired lesson with Kindergarten to help them get [even more] excited for Hoops for Heart and at first, I planned to do something similar to the lesson I tried out last year. The students noticed the texture in the background of some of Dine's heart paintings, "scribbled" with cool colors on cool colored paper, learned to make a symmetrical heart by cutting folded paper, then used the cut out as a stencil to brush a red heart over the background.
Last year's Dine project
Then I saw a post from Rust and Sunshine about making heart stamps out of cardboard tubes, and since I knew the students would have so much fun with it, I tweaked my plan.

This was completed in one, 40-minute class period. First we looked at and discussed Dine's painting shown at the top of this post. I asked the students to just look and think for a minute, without saying anything before talking. Then I asked "What do you see?" and the students raised their hands to name things. The first thing mentioned was, of course, "hearts". I was trying to get them to say the word "shape" when I asked "what are hearts?" and "what do hearts have in common with circles, squares, ellipses, triangles, and rectangles?" I finally gave up after I got answers of "square!" and "circle!" and told them that they are all shapes! We took a minute to discuss if the hearts on the projector screen look like the real hearts in our bodies (the students were split on this but I convinced them they are a little different) and what we can do to have healthy hearts.

Then the students pointed out the different colors and we talked about how some of the sections looks like they have texture. After demonstrating some crayon techniques to achieve different textures, the students used crayons to fill in their 8x10 inch paper with colors and textures. When they were done with the background, I showed them how to use the cardboard tubes turned heart stamps by gently pressing them into the paint and then stamping on their paper. I made about 30 stamps and that was enough to get through my 6 Kindergarten classes. Some stamps were in pretty bad shape by the end from students banging them onto their papers, but the other end of the stamp was usually usable.

*If you make cardboard heart stamps, definitely use a good piece of tape to make the folded tubes hold their shape, like is suggested at Rust and Sunshine where the idea came from.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

1930's Art Education Picture Study

The class I'm taking right now is History, Theory, and Philosophies of Art Education. The module we just finished was about Art Education from 1900-1945. I read about how "picture study" was used to teach Art Appreciation and sometimes use Art to integrate other subjects.  It reminded me of something my grandma gave me recently, so I pulled it out to re-examine it. It was a teacher's edition of a picture study published in 1933 from the Instructor Picture Study Series, Selected and Arranged by Mary E. Owen, depicting Flower Girl in Holland painted by George Hitchcock.

The inside of the folder is printed with a description of the painting and sample questions to ask the students. Here is the description and questions, written by Gertrude Herdle:
This picture gives us a feeling of peace and tranquility. A road follows the bank of a winding canal. Sunny fields border the road, and, far away, red-roofed houses cluster around white windmills. A flower girl has stopped before a neat brick house, to sell her wares. There is a mirror fastened to one of the window blinds, so that the housewife can see who is waiting outside. This useful little device is found on many Dutch houses.
The gently curving lines of the road and the canal carry the eye through the background of sunny landscape to the point where the banks of the canal seem to meet. The upright lines of the tree trunks divide the composition into a number of parts. They help to keep the many horizontal lines of the picture from becoming monotonous.
The artist was interested in showing light and shadow. See the dappled pattern on the road. The shadow of the house falls across the picture, and the girl's dress is dull in tone. The foreground would seem dark, if it were not for the gay flowers. Their hues of red, blue, yellow, and white are in delightful contrast to the softer shades which make up the remainder of the picture.

Describe the kind of country which you see here. How do you know that this is a picture of Holland? What is the importance of canals to Holland? Can you name the trees bordering the canal?
What is this quaintly dressed girl doing? How does she carry her burden? Describe the house. What do you suppose is the purpose of the mirror on the window blind?
Is there sunlight in this picture? Where is it most beautifully shown? Name all of the details which you see in the background. What color on the horizon furnishes a note of contrast to the colors of the fields? How is a sense of distance given us?

The other side of the folder has "Helpful Material for the Teacher" but I don't think I'll take the time to type that. The picture study was given to my Great Uncle Harlan for 3 years perfect attendance in 1933. When Harlan passed away a few months ago, my grandma thought I might like to have the picture study. Also inside the folder was an Easter drawing, typical of holiday Art at the time. I was excited to find that I had something tangible to connect me to the history I was reading about.