Wednesday, April 9, 2014

If George Catlin Were a Fourth Grader. . .

I love this lesson.  It's an oldie-and-a-goodie for me.  

Sorry, I took this one while in the drawer and
there's some overlap in the corner.

I've done this lesson forever.  Simple and basic and awesome.  We start out learning about George Catlin and his Indian Gallery, and use this site, which is amazing, but a word of warning: if you "preview" the people talking around the campfire (or have back-to-back fourth grade classes) it only lets you view it once a day. (Maybe you could re-start your computer?)  I will be devastated the day they take "Campfire Stories with George Catlin" down.
So, we learn a bit about Catlin, and then view his Indian Gallery (also on the site) and look for three quarter portraits.  I lead them through drawing a three quarter portrait on manilla paper with pencil.  Everyone does this basic step together (where the features go, how to make the shoulders go off the paper, etc) I made a super-simple power point of Catlin's images that scroll through on a five second delay for when we work on our own drawings so students can see "typical" American Indian clothing, hairstyles, jewelry, etc.  We're not going for historical accuracy exactly, more an overall feel.  Here are some in process works:

Just need to finish the background and add a few details.

Am I the only one who loves crooked eyes?
It just shows that they totally did it on their own!

You can really see his preliminary drawing here.
I will say to make the idea of three quarter portrait more real to them, I spend time reminding them of when we get our school pictures taken, and how the photographer always has you tilt your head slightly?  And you feel a little awkward?  The kids totally understand!

Didn't really get the three quarters thing down, and the eyes,
oh, the eyes!  But I love the shirt and feathers.

Can we talk power shirt and war paint?  NICE!

Such a friendly looking American Indian friend!
We use the Crayola multi-cultural paint for the skin (terra cotta or mahogany), then add brown for the darker/shaded areas and white or yellow for the highlighted areas.  The first day painting is spent only painting skin.  The next time I do a mini-lesson on eyes, and they do eyes, hair, and leather (yellow + brown).  Then they have a day for war paint, accessories and background, and a final day of details.

I think I went to high school with this guy.

Fabulous eyes and earring on this one.

I can't wait to see this one finished!
These will be hung near our front door for the art show, our very own Indian Gallery!

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