Friday, April 26, 2013

Totally Cannot Take Credit for This

This is an amazing art and math lesson that I got from a teacher at a conference who did teach a district over from me, but is now getting her PhD. 
She always had amazing stuff to present at conference. (You're amazing, Mary Franco!)
Anyway, this lesson involves Paul Klee and multiplication.  I made a little three page Smart Notebook lesson about Klee's work "Once Emerged From the Gray of Night" (where I used to show a poster of it) and have the students talk about what's more important--the words of the poem or the colors and composition? Then we talk about putting two things (like writing and art, or math and art together).  It's SUCH an amazing lesson, here's a sneak peek:


So, students get a little background knowledge of Klee, then we talk about tessellations and multiplication (and practice on the Smart Board). Then, students get a page of one-inch graph paper and write out a one digit by one digit multiplication problem with a two digit answer.  I tell them to choose one that's hard for them to remember, or their favorite one.  They then repeat that problem seven times, dropping down and over one square for 4 times, then down and back a square for three times, making them into interlocking tessellation shapes:


After they've drawn it all out in pencil and I've checked it, they choose ONE color of fine-tip marker to trace it with, then use colored pencil or watercolor pencil to color.  The coloring is a bit of a challenge for them, because they need to forget that they're numbers and only look at the space.  They then color it in patterns/designs to make it visually interesting and play with people's minds ('math? I dont' see any math!')
It's an awesome lesson that really challenges their thinking.

This one really shows the patterns and designs.

Oh, it's also important that their numbers COMPLETELY
fill the one inch box of the graph paper.
I always try to do this lesson at a time of the year when classroom teachers are complaining about students not remembering their math facts.  I usually do it with fifth grade, but I did it with sixth one year at the teachers' request.

31 comments:

  1. This is so intriguing. I didn't even see the numbers when I first looked at your photos. Very cool project! I'm sure it is a hit with all the math teachers.

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  2. Do you have a copy of this lesson or the smartboard resources? I would love to do this with my 5th graders.

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  3. I do, but I believe they're on my work computer. I will look around here and send them to you ASAP.

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  4. So the final product is on graph paper? Or do they draw the boxes themselves?

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    1. Yep, it's on graph paper, but they color so much that the lines should not show.

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  5. Yes, please post a lesson plan! I am DYING to do this with my middle schoolers!

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  6. Please see that I have linked my Smart Notebook file for you to use. Enjoy!

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    1. I can not download your SmartNotebook file. Once I open it my computer doesn't not support the program. Could I get a Google File or Word?

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Here is the same info from the Smart Notebook file in a Google doc:
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wrP3u7Q237sVe_aeJ7yNdv5NSC90AfC8AQjmxDrbrws/edit?usp=sharing

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  7. Could I have this plan as well? What a wonderful idea?

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  8. Where can I find this lesson, also? I realize it's been more than a year. :)

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  9. You can click the purplish-words in the second paragraph that say "Smart Notebook lesson", it will take you to my sites page and you can download it from there. I think it's called Klee Once Emerged In the Gray of Night. Let me know if you have any problems :-)

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  10. I cannot open the download...it says I do not have the right application...what do I need? Or would it just be easier if you just emailed it to me? I love your idea!! I would love to do this with my students as an end of the year project because they have no art in our school!! I think incorporating this with math is fantastic. Please let me know ASAP!!

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  11. Alyssa, do you have Smart Notebook? That's the program it's in. Let me know if you still can't get it and I'll see what I can do.

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  12. Hi I would also LOVE a copy of this but don't have Smart Notebook. Are you able to help me?

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  13. I have done this lesson for years, way before I had Smart Notebook. What I did before was print out a copy of Klee's work for each table group and had them look closely. I then led them through the tessellation part. It can be done easily without Smart Notebook. Good luck!

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  14. Smart Notebook file viewer here: http://express.smarttech.com/# for those who don't have the program. Just save the file to your computer, then open it through the webpage.

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  15. Thanks, Wcs Koa, for the file viewer address. I was having a hard time opening it.




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  16. I am putting my order in for supplies. What size/kind of graph paper is recommended? I've never had to order it before.

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  17. I actually just photocopied a sheet of graph paper rather than order it (because my school doesn't make me pay for copies). But if you're ordering, order the one inch size.

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  18. Thank you for your generosity in sharing this lesson! I would like to incorporate this lesson into my third grade unit on multiplication. Can you offer some support about 'justifying' this lesson, and how it supports multiplication aside from fluency? Does any of Klee's work relate to multiplication, why was Klee's art work picked? thank you!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Megan! I'm an art teacher, so I'm just supporting the math education students get from their regular classroom teachers. As far as I know, Klee's work didn't relate to multiplication, but his "Once Emerged in the Gray of Night" was written in almost graph paper/boxes and then colored/painted to blur the lines between writing and visual art. It was not Klee's first attempt at a poetry and art fusion. The lesson I'm sharing here is more about reinforcing rote memorization of hard-to-remember multiplication problems in a translation tessellation pattern. So, memorizing math AND introducing the concept of simple tessellations. Hope that helps!

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    2. Aimee,

      Yes! Thanks much for the perspective of where you are teaching from. Our school is just now getting around to implementing Common Core standards so their push for asking us what we are teaching and why is huge. As long as I have a purpose and can state it it's all good, and I am also huge on art integration as being necessary for students.
      thanks for your support,
      megan.

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  19. Hi Aimee, I'm writing to you from Scholastic Teacher magazine. We'd love to feature this project in an upcoming article! If you'd be interested, please email TeacherMag@scholastic.com for details.

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  20. I was wondering what you put in the corner of your bulletin board? Is it a little background information about Paul Klee? I wish I could see it up close!

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  21. Hi dvines and thanks for visiting. It's something I put on all my displays and it usually starts out "Fifth grade artists" (or whichever grade level) "are learning about" and then a bit of information about the artist and the objectives of the lesson along with an outline of the process we used. All in student/parent friendly language. I try to think of our hallway displays as a museum or gallery, so it's like those little info cards in museums. Does that help?

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  22. Hello Aimee~
    Is this lesson still available? I would love to do this with my 6th grade math seminar students.

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  23. So sorry, I just saw your comment! Yes, the lesson should still be available. Please let me know if it's not.

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