Thursday, October 31, 2013

New American Gothic Project LOVE IT!!!

Fourth grade is finishing up their regional artist unit with the life and work of Grant Wood.  They've all seen versions of "American Gothic", so it's always fun for them to learn the real history behind the work.  I've covered Grant Wood before, and for years I had students draw their own versions and color/paint them with oil pastel, but one night when I couldn't sleep (which happens more often than not lately), I came up with this new lesson. 

Day one, background info about Grant Wood (I do this along with George Caleb Bingham and Thomas Hart Benton, then just refer back to those notes we took when we get to Grant Wood).  First working day: we draw our houses REALLY BIG on 18 x 24 inch paper, and use crayons to color them.  Next working day, we start making ourselves and a family member out of paper.  

Pop-out nose.

Heads with necks.

Another pop out nose.

Student drawing the hand that they'll add to their sleeve.

See how they could choose different shades for their different people?
 I encouraged them to really think about the color/shade of themselves and their other person.
The paper people took several days--we added the rest of the faces, hair, shirts and things to make them look the most like the people.

In process of adding features and clothes.

I showed them the easy way of adding shirts:
a simple snip and fold to make collars.

This is a student and his dad, who IS bald with bigger eyebrows!

I love this one so much (it really looks like him!)
that I took a photo and emailed it to his parents.
I had to really push them to finish their people and glue them to their house/backgrounds so they could add their item made out of Model Magic.  Oh my goodness, I don't know who was more excited, them or me.  It was wonderful and happy and downright giddy in my art room on the make-your-item-you're-holding-day. They had to think of what would be interesting and tell something about them when they thought of what item to make.

Ipod or phone?  Not sure, but electronic gadgets were the
CLEAR FAVORITE with this group.

Holding her kitty.
Close up of kitty with Sharpie details (turned and I can't get it to fix).

Pretty sure this one is an ipod.

Close up of her ipod.

Holding his DS.
Close up of his DS (turned again, of course!)

Love her flower--she's a really sweet girl, too!

Close up of her flower.
She decided it needed the leaf after she'd made it,
and came back for more model magic.

Love this one, because IT'S SO HER, I love how she combined
paper to make light and dark brown hair.
Another kitty close up. I didn't have any grey or black Model Magic--
students had to make it using marker.

Oh, and I used a combination of Model Magic and Cloud Clay (because I had both) but we liked the Cloud Clay better, it was a little softer and easier to work with.
You guys, these are totally adorable and I love them. I can't wait until the other two classes are done and I can hang them up in the hall!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Color Review Birds

Color review. Color review. Co-co-co-color review.  I don't know why I want to white-girl-rap that, but I totally do.  This is a total REVIEW lesson.  As in: second graders, we all already KNOW THIS.  I know you know this.  Please, Dear Jesus, let them show me that they know this.  Now don't look too closely at the above picture, or you'll see there are a few that need further review.  
I made this lesson up for several reasons: we need some review of our primary, secondary and neutral color schemes AND I got these new Playcolor paint sticks that I wanted to try out.  To see them, click here. If you'd like to purchase some, you could click here, here or here (I get nothing for recommending them, I just like them a lot).
We started out by using the Smartboard and doing a lesson called 'Let's Explore Color!' that I got from the Smart Notebook Exchange and tweaked to suit my classroom.  You can download it here, just look for the 'Let's Explore Color' one.  I found I use this file often, as it lends itself to many types of color review.  After we reviewed color schemes, we wrote them down in our sketchbooks.  We wrote primary colors and then listed them, writing the color name IN the color (wrote red with red crayon, blue with blue, etc), secondary colors and listed them, neutral colors and listed them (writing "white" in black, otherwise we couldn't see it).  Then I gave them a 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" piece of cardstock-y sort of paper that I had, and had them draw a bird, making sure to touch most of the sides (no teeny-tiny super-skinny birds).  After I checked them, they cut them out and traced them onto 6" x 18" paper that they'd folded into thirds:

The folding took a bit of work, "thirds" is a hard concept for many second graders.
I had a couple who thought they knew where this was headed
and they ended up with four spots instead of three.
 After our tracing, I let the students color their cut out birds with marker and take them home.

The Smartboard review, drawing-a-bird-tracing-the-bird-coloring-the-bird took one 40 minute class time.  The next time they came to art I had them tell me what we did and what the color schemes were (in case I forgot, you know).  We then got out our folders and our traced birds and our sketchbook notes.  I had them work with their open sketchbooks right next to their drawings so they could double-check.  Each table of four students got one of every color from the class pack except pink.  The coloring took all of two 40 minute class periods, and it really took some thinking when you only have four colors to use and you want to make it interesting.  Here are a few:

Love the primary bird on the top--he took some time on that one!

I love how the secondary one on the bottom almost glows or vibrates.

Something about these birds looks a little haughty, don't you think?
I took this lesson to my Art Teacher Camp (Fall Conference) drag-n-brag this past weekend and someone said "oh, I just love birds, don't you? I do a lot of birds" and I guess I do too!  I never realized it before, but they lend themselves so nicely to all things color, and shadows, and silhouettes . . .I'm actually going to work on a new Smart Notebook file for yet another bird project right now!
Happy art teacher-ing!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Collaborative [Kind of] Murals

Fourth grade is continuing their regional artists unit with a Thomas Hart Benton project: collaborative murals. I like mural projects except for that little who-gets-to-keep-it at the end piece.  Always a sticking point if you have multiple kids working on one piece of artwork. And Thomas Hart Benton is known for his murals, so what's an art teacher to do? This is what I came up with:

Students learn all about Thomas Hart Benton, a Missouri artist who's father was a US Congressman.  They take notes in their sketchbooks about him, George Caleb Bingham and Grant Wood:

They then make a plan with other people at their table.  They have to talk it over and AGREE about what sort of mural they're going to make (not always an easy task for fourth graders).  They can really do any school-appropriate thing, but I encourage them to make one where people are doing something (playing a game, at an amusement park, on the playground, etc).  Each person has to draw a person on their paper, and their backgrounds have to match up.  Here's are some examples of plans:

This table only has two students, so the two end parts are just extra background
'that they wanted to do if they had time.
Pillow fight at a slumber party.

The papers they used this year are 9"x 24", but I've done larger (which I liked better, but took sooooo much longer).  Students drew with pencil, colored with crayon and/or colored pencil.

View of the princess mural separated.

Princess mural pushed together (how it will be displayed).

Slumber party mural separated (how they drew it).

Slumber party mural pushed together.
I like this project because it is group work with an individual component, but they're still dependent on everyone doing their part.  And they look fabulous in the hall!

Halloween girls--the background doesn't really match up as much as it should.

Not really sure WHAT this is, but I love how the middle
"hump day" guy laps into either side.

Flying mustache girls (it means something really cool to them).

Friday, October 4, 2013

Say it with an Italian Accent: ARCIMBOLDO!

Adorable, isn't it?  This is another drag-n-brag lesson from my fall state conference.  Drag-n-brag is a huge crush of art teachers running around a room where other art teachers have little mini-displays and lessons set up (think of a science fair).  I usually bring something, so I have very little time to actually talk to anyone about their lesson.  All of us who brought something run around before Rebecca opens the door to the crowd grabbing every lesson plan we can, and hoping the lesson plan is SUPER DESCRIPTIVE.  This was one of those lessons.
I made a Smart Notebook lesson that you can download here. It's only a few pages (3? 4?) about the Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo.  The students go through the Smart Notebook lesson with me, then I pick a quiet, attentive person to make their bizarre invention on the Smartboard first.  While that person is playing working hard, everyone else gets 16 2 x 4 inch green papers (light and dark green) and draws leaves on them with crayon, trying to touch each side so their leaves won't be teeny-tiny.  The person at the Smartboard gets a few minutes to create their face, then they choose a quiet, hard working person to go next. The fruits and vegetables on the Smartboard are set to "infinite clone" so they just have to move them out of the way, and by the end of class there's fruit and vegetables everywhere (of all sizes, because they make some bigger or smaller, turn them, etc).  The first day is just the Smartboard and drawing leaves.  I also give each student a piece of 9 x 12 newsprint to fold and write their name on to store their leaves in.  
The next time they come to art, the last person to use the Smartboard picks someone to use the Smartboard to make a "bizarre invention" while everyone else cuts out, crumples and then smooths and folds their leaves (thus making them look more real).  They then get a small paper plate from me (desert size--I bought a pack of 100 really cheap) with their name already on the back and glue their leaves down.  I really spent time talking with them about how salad looks: sort of random, not all lined up or alternating light-dark, and they did a really good job.

The next time they came to art I gave each table 1" x 1" and 2" x 2" size papers in a variety of colors (white, manilla, yellow, orange, black, more green . . . ) and had them make vegetables that they'd find on a salad bar.  I will tell you I did a better job by my third class telling them to ONLY MAKE VEGETABLES and NOT THINK ABOUT MAKING A FACE.  Because the first class just glued some squares on in a face fashion, and when I said "what vegetable is that?" they'd look at me and shrug "I don't know, it's a face" which is totally NOT the point.

They are small, so when I hung them in the hallway I used 2" x 18" strips to hang them between our cork strips, like this:

I do love me some cheese eyelashes!  And look at all those bacon bits!
It was a great lesson, and I love how they look in the hallway, but next time, I'll emphasize the making-the-vegetables part a little more.  It was a FABULOUS follow up for the portraits we just made (see the lesson I posted last year here).
One last hallway shot.

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