Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Up and Coming Elementary Projects

Elementary project posts are going to be far and fewer in between this year.  Since I only see them once a cycle, it's just going to take that much longer for us to finish quality projects.  Here's an overview of what I am currently doing with the elementary grades.  Some projects are repeats of last year, and some are brand new projects that I am starting off with for the first time.

The kindergartners just finished up their first listening and learning strand of nursery rhymes.  I decided to forgo my usually beginning projects of the primary and secondary colors to start with shapes.  To go along with their nursery rhyme unit, we are doing "Hey Diddle Diddle" drawings.  So far we have worked one day on this. I gave students my shape practice sheet and then together, we drew a cow jumping over the moon, and the dish running away with the spoon (made sure we got two rhyming components in the drawing...).  Next class, I'll have them trace all their pencil lines with Sharpie marker, we'll talk about craftsmanship when it comes to coloring with crayons, and they will finish up coloring their projects for display.

1st Grade
In 1st grade, we are starting out with the pumpkin unit, just slightly altered to try and fit it into 2 1/2 class periods instead of 3-4.  We've so far worked one class on this.  On the first day, everyone got a piece of Manila drawing paper and I asked them to draw a pumpkin patch in 15 minutes.  We talked about how they drew their pumpkins vs. how a pumpkin really looks (most drew them perfect circles and didn't attempt to show the texture).  Then, I demonstrated on the board how to use flattened circles to draw pumpkins.  Students then turned their papers over and spent the rest of class drawing more realistic pumpkin patches.  Next class, I'll show them how to use more than one horizon line (and we'll talk about size) to create depth.  They'll draw their pumpkin patches and start blending on them with oil pastels.

2nd Grade
In second grade, the students have also just finished up their first listening and learning strand, which was fairy tales and tall tales.  I started this art project with them when they were reading Beauty and the Beast, so their project is designing Beast's castle.  We are VERY lucky to have a real Louis Tiffany stained glass window in our school.  It was bought and donated to the school by one of the original founders of the old school building (in memory of his mother).  I took this as an opportunity to talk about stained glass windows and to educate the students about how lucky they should feel to have a REAL artwork by a FAMOUS artist in their school!  So, for this project, students have to design a radial stained glass window (we are using transparency paper and Sharpies).  I created a simple castle pattern that students traced and then sponge painted brick patterns on (similar to how we did it for our 3rd grade castles last year).  So far, we have worked two periods on this project.  For the last class, students will cut a hold in the top of their castle to add their colored stained glass window, and they will get to cut out a draw bridge door and roofs for their castle towers out of construction paper.

3rd Grade
For 3rd grade, I'm sticking with an oldie.  We're doing our fall birch trees.  Only change is that this year I bought watercolor pencils, so we will be using those instead of crayons.  So far, we have worked one class on these and we have taped off our birch trees.

4th Grade
4th grade is also doing a repeat.  We're starting off with value and will be doing fall value drawings and then doing the linocut leaf prints around the border.

5th Grade
Another repeater.  I'm skipping the painted color wheels this year (because those took forever last year).  We've spent one class doing the plate color wheel so they have a color wheel to reference and take notes of the different color families on the back, and now we are going to jump right into the complementary colored checkerboards.  Next class, we'll roll out our slab boards.  This year, instead of glazing/underglazing them, I'm going to have them paint the boards with acrylic paint.  Less waste of the more expensive materials.  They'll also be making their checker pieces out of model magic instead of kiln fire clay.  Again, less waste of the more expensive materials.

6th Grade
Finally, 6th grade will be starting off with cave art.  They are currently doing geography in social studies, but afterwards they will be doing the prehistoric world.  My unit should give them base knowledge for that (great way to connect curriculum and get common core points!).  Last year we didn't do a cave art project.  This year, we've spent 1 1/2 class periods on it.  For the first 1/2 period, I gave my power point and we talked about cave art and took the virtual tour through Lascaux Cave.  For the first whole period, we rolled out a huge piece of brown butcher paper, wrinkled it to make it look like a rock, and then used chalk pastels to "age" it.  Next class, we are going to mix our own egg tempera, so they can get a feeling of what it's like to make their own paint.  I will be hanging their rock on my display strips and we'll go down and actually paint on the rock wall, just like a real cave artist.

Special Education Classes
I have two separate special education classes this year; a K-3 class and a 3-6 class.  The K-3 class did complete their first project all in one class period, and I must say that I was extremely impressed with the progress (and maturity) they found over summer!  In their classroom, they made leaves for a bulletin board, so I continued with that theme.  I asked them to draw a fall tree with good details (similar to what I have 4th grade do).  I was SO HAPPY to see them using the "y" and "v" technique to draw realistic trees!  Then, I pulled out my rubber leaves and I had them make a leaf print border around their drawings.

The 3-6 class is starting off with learning about the history of NYS in their classroom, so on a whim, I decided to do a Statue of Liberty project with them.  A majority of the students in the class have been there for a year or two, and they learned about the Statue of Liberty before, so this was a bit of a review.  We talked about the statue and then I taught them a little bit about Keith Haring.  We ended on Haring's Statue of Liberty artwork.  I am having these students do a Keith Haring-like rendition of the statue on Styrofoam to my Styrofoam prints.  This should only take one

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Studio Art: Unit 2 Begins...2-D Media

My first unit lasted about as long as I had hoped it would, and on Friday we began our second unit.  Our second unit is all about 2-D media...drawing, painting and printmaking.  I am also combining art criticism with this unit.  The textbook I am using has art criticism as its own unit, but there is no way I'm going to spend an entire week or two just on art criticism...that's something we can work on over the school year to perfect, a little at a time.  The students have also been antsy to get started on a "real" art project.

The cover of my unit 2 note packet...stay tuned to the SmARTteacher unit is posted there now!

On Friday, I introduced/reviewed value and the four common shading techniques with the students: hatching, cross-hatching, stippling and blending.  They had to practice in their notes and then for their second sketchbook assignment, I asked them to set up a 3-object still life at home, shine a light on it, and draw it using value.
This is the generic sketchbook assignment rubric I have created for the weekly sketch assignments.  Each student has now seen this and will have their Friday sketch assignments graded according to this rubric every Monday.  So far, I think I'm happy with it...but we'll see if I feel like I need to make any changes to it.

On Monday, we started off the unit by discussing the different drawing media that can be used (oil pastels, pencil, chalk, etc.) and we spoke briefly about art styles.  Again, this is something we will work on throughout the school year, but the projects we do for this unit are all going to fall under the realm of pop art, so I want students to have a basic knowledge of what pop art is compared to the other styles of art.
In the back of my packet, I put colored copies of these paintings.  We cut them out, and then one at a time, we talked about which style they thought these fell under.  Quite a few students new some of the more popular artworks here and knew the styles (although when I had them in 6th grade, they had to do a group research project on an artist...I found it quite wonderful that a lot of them retained the information!).

 Now, as I graded those sketch assignments on Monday, I realized that the students (a) didn't have a good idea of what I meant by set up a still life and (b) didn't know how to properly utilize value with observation skills.  Thus the reason why it's important to give sketch assignments as homework (a good way to assess prior knowledge!).  I threw out my original plans for the next few days and pulled out the mannequins I bought for the elementary room with past SmARTteacher winnings.  I set them up in the middle of the tables, let the students arrange them, turned the lights off and put a spot light on the figures.  I gave a brief demonstration of how they should quickly do a contour drawing of the figures and then demonstrated the proper way to observe value.
The students REALLY enjoyed doing this and asked if we could work on it again tomorrow...heck yes!

I found that they did okay observing the shadows and high lights, but they had a tendency to just give a dark and light value.  I went around to each student and asked if I could show them on their drawing how I wanted them to exaggerate what they saw and make more of a range of values, from black to white and everything in between.  Once they saw how much their drawings started to pop, they were really excited!

Tomorrow, I am going to give each student a large piece of drawing paper and an ebony pencil.  I envision having them do multiple drawings of the figures on one sheet of paper...a super huge close up of a figure that goes from top of the page to bottom...smaller figures that go off the page, etc.  Just a montage of mannequins!

Once we move on from practicing the value (probably by Thursday or Friday this week), students will have to bring in a wrapped food item, such as a candy bar, and do a large, up-close black and white drawing of it.
As we move onto the painting aspect, students will learn about how paint is made and we will then use our candy bars and acrylic paint to do a pop art painting...I'm thinking more in the style of Claes Oldenburg.  I want them to incorporate some acrylic mediums that I bought to give their paintings texture.  This project will be a way for students to utilize the elements and principles to create an interesting composition.

For the final 2-D project, printmaking, students will do some reduction printing ala Andy Warhol.   I did this with my printmaking class when I did my student teaching, and I have my example hanging on a bulletin board in the high school art room that students were admiring and mentioned they wanted to do (I hung up some of my artwork from the past, both high school and college, so that students could see what I am capable of).  So, I'll have students bring in a popular object to turn into a multi-colored print.

This unit will also introduce art criticism to the students.  That was originally what I was going to start with, but I was tired of doing the note thing, and so were the students.  I prefer getting the boring stuff out of the way in the beginning, but I need to remember that the students don't think that way!

Art Elective: Completed Zentangle Alphabets

For the most part (I'd say 6 out of the 7), the students are happy with this project, and so am I!  Their zentangled letters turned out awesome!  We are going to be doing one more zentangle class they need to bring in 2-3 possible items to zentangle...I am going to bring in some bowling pins!  I heard a few mention a lamp shade and shoes (I would LOVE to own a pair of zentangled shoes...too bad I'm not willing to give up any of my shoes!), which would be pretty cool.  I can't wait to see what they have for ideas!  (On a side note, I think it'd be pretty cool to do a lampshade on a bowling of the shop teachers down the hall and I had a conversation a few days ago about how he once drilled holes down the center of a bowling pin to make a lamp out of it...I think I know what I'm making for this project!!!)

You can check out the rubric for this project on my previous zentangle post here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Studio Art: Unit 1 Complete!

Today we had the unit quiz (I'm calling them quizzes because I want the projects to be more important to the kids then the tests) for the first unit in Studio Art.  Look back at this previous post to see my unit overview and the unit infographic project here...

When the previous art teacher ordered sketchbooks from our Boces bids, they sent us these little 5"x7" sketchbooks...and not of the best quality either.  It's always hit or miss on those Boces bids as to whether or not you actually get what you ordered!  The students have already complained that they're too small, and pages are already falling out, even though we've only technically had one sketch assignment!  
Anyways, I had the students put a Table of Contents into their sketchbooks so that it's easier for me to do "sketchbook checks" to make sure they are keeping up with bell ringers and sketch homework.  (And, ironically, the one student sketchbook I took a picture of has their page numbers wrong already!)

For the Studio Art's first sketchbook assignment, I gave them a non-objective line drawing (the above drawing is mine).  Since we were talking about the elements, and line is one of the most important elements, I figured this was fitting.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time on my mind to get a generic rubric created for their sketchbooks (since tonight is open house, I'll probably have plenty of time to get that done today!).  Like my zentangle students, I was extremely happy when a few students came in and said they did more than one because they had fun with them!  These are some of the really strong ones that were turned in.  Our critique turned into me giving students my guidelines that a sketch assignment should have at least an hour spent on it (which shouldn't be a big deal since they get them on the weekends).

The last thing we learned about in this unit was the credit line that is always under an artwork that is published in a textbook, in a museum, etc.  For their last exit slip, I had students create a credit line for their non-objective line sketch and stick the Post-It note in their sketchbook.