Monday, February 22, 2016

Kings and Queens of Art

So, the art show is coming up. March 10, 2016!  And I just love showing off my students' work.  Here is the wonderful work of my adaptive students right now:

Black bar added for student privacy
We started out painting (I was too busy with paint/brush management to photograph this step). I did, however, remember to take a picture of them smiling (individual photos). The same day we painted, after cleaning up the paint, students looked through magazines and cut out things that appealed to them.  

Those magazine images were stored in little paper folders for them for the next day.  When they came back to art, they added their magazine pictures and other collage elements.  The final step was to add their own faces (which I cut out for them), a crown, and a "Queen of Art" or "King of Art" strip.

Adorable! And PERFECT for the art show!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Just a Little Henry Ossawa Tanner Over Here

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll recognize the lesson I stole gratefully received from my friend, Keeli, where fifth graders make necklaces based on quilt patterns that some believe were used along the Underground Railroad. That lesson always turns out well, but there's almost always some difficulty along the way.  This year, I decided to lead the students on a what-happened-after-all-those-people-were-freed lesson in art history, which brought us to (among others) Henry Ossawa Tanner.  I'll be honest with you adults, [at least I assume you're adults if you're reading an art teacher blog] I knew of Henry Ossawa Tanner before this, but I didn't really know much.  And his art is beautiful in that romantic/realism sort of way that makes me yawn a bit. I have a copy of "The Banjo Lesson" that I've put up in my classroom in the past, but I wasn't a fan of his work.  Big mistake on my part, because Mr. Ossawa Tanner was pretty awesome. Among other things, his parents gave him the middle name of Ossawa in homage to John Brown, a white abolitionist who killed pro-slavery people in Osawatamie, Kansas.  John Brown's [failed] attempt to arm all the slaves in Virginia is basically the beginning of the Civil War.  John Brown was hanged in 1859, Henry Ossawa Tanner was born in 1859, and goes on from there.  It's an amazing story, and if you follow the strands it's really fascinating.  My students ate it up.  We took notes on Mr. Tanner, Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold and Barbara Chase-Riboud and then began drawing for a painting in the style of Henry.  Students had to draw (and later paint) a picture that tells a story without words:

Although I (rather unfairly) added a writing bit after they thought they were all done.  I use "When I did this project, I learned:" sentence starter sheets often with second grade on up, but I added "Something I want you to know about my artwork:" for fifth grade.  The student who did the above artwork wrote this:

I was very pleased with the variety of work and explanations:

I forgot to photograph his writing, but if I remember correctly he wrote
NOTHING about Henry Ossawa Tanner and lots about military ships.  

There was lots of interest in painting sunsets in one class:

And a real religious theme in another:

I was very interested in learning about the life and work of Henry Ossawa Tanner, as were my students, and I can't wait to see what sort of things they make in response to Romare Bearden.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Creepy Eye Necklaces with Lessons Learned

I was at my local art museum last year (on April 11, during our state conference--and I remember it was April 11 because that's my husband's birthday AND the day my mom fell and broke her arm.  Pretty much seared into my memory) and saw this little case of these eye miniature necklaces, broaches and rings.  I ended up rushing out when my mom's husband called, but made myself a quick little note.  I ordered these bottle cap like things to use this year in making them:

I didn't really have an idea of where I'd work it in.  The back story of these "Lover's Eyes" is that in 1790 the prince of Whales was in love with a divorced Catholic woman.  The crown wouldn't recognize the marriage, and he had an artist do a watercolor painting on ivory of just her eye, and then wore it around his neck, under his clothes, as she was his secret lover (maybe they got married? I'm a little fuzzy on the details, as I wasn't going to get into secret lovers with sixth graders).  In their classrooms, students started a unit on refugees, reading books on the Holocaust and discussing them.  In art, we read this article and talked about what role art plays in the world.  Some very interesting ideas and discussions ensued.  Aaaannnnndddd, I didn't/still don't really know where we're going, but decided to work eye miniatures in as a witness to all we see.
Then I spent way too long trying to make strips of circles on the computer to photocopy for students (they kept printing out as ovals).  Finally I decided good enough, photocopied and cut the paper into strips of six circles.  We watched a few short YouTube clips on drawing eyes (there's TONS out there) and got to work:

At home I was busily hot gluing hemp cord to the bottle caps:

Stacking them like this and then putting 30 in ziplock bags seemed
to be the best way to transport them without them tangling into a giant mess.
The expectation was for students to draw six eyes, choose their favorites and color those (at least two, preferably three) with watercolor pencil:

Next we paainted them with water and tiny brushes, [here's the lesson learned part] and I should've had them dry completely before busting out the Modge Podge:

Students chose their favorite/best one, cut it out and added it to the bottle-cap-glued-to-hemp:

We used popsicle sticks 'cause ain't no one got time to try to
clean a paint brush full of Modge Podge.  Tiny bit of Modge Podge to glue them
to the bottle cap and a thick layer on top to give them a glossy look.

A couple of them have a brown edge to them now that they're drying:

They're turning out so cool/creepy that they're really a big hit with the 11 & 12 year old crowd.  
Now to decide on our next refugee project.  For now, I'm leaning towards a more choice based idea.  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Analogous Fish

This is one of those totally forgot all about this lesson lessons.  I used to do it pretty regularly (at my old school/old district) and I know I haven't done it while at my new/current school.  Which I've been teaching at for NINE years, so it's been a while.  

Second grade, with the objectives being: a good, solid line drawing of a fish (I give them some black line copies to look at), tracing the fish drawing with glue, and learning (and demonstrating knowledge of) analogous colors.  We use oil pastel (or could you already tell by the smears?).
We drew the first day of this project and traced everything with glue.  It's imperative that the glue get done that first day to have time to dry.  The second day we drew a color wheel in our sketchbooks and learned all about analogous colors, reviewing primary/secondary and warm/cool along the way.  With our sketchbooks close at hand, I passed out oil pastels and had students start coloring their sea life.  The problem was I didn't LIMIT their color choices, so what happens if you just keep going around the color wheel?

You end up with a rainbow.  Yikes.  That was not the objective!  But pretty, non the less.  After several rainbow fish I remembered that I limited them to FIVE colors all those years ago.
Some in process work:

Fabulous red orange color mixing!

By the time I was teaching the third class I remembered to limit their colors:

I really like all of them, and talked with my class yesterday about how they weren't showing me second grade work.  It's like HIGH SCHOOL, man! (that may be stretching it a bit, but I'm all about the build up/showing love this week!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Leader In Me Door Decor

It's coming, whether we're ready (or not): the Leader in Me Symposium.  Because it's our first year as a Leader in Me school, we're not very far in the journey.  To be somewhat pretty/decorated for the symposium, we've been asked to decorate our doors.  Here's mine: 

Hard to see, but the top says "Artists everywhere practice and LIVE the seven habits"

I wrote the habit on a piece of paper and had the students write how is related to art.  I love how Kenja wrote "Get your things done on time when she sasy" [says].

Some of the habits were harder for students to relate to art.  Hey, it's our first year, and the habits are not really ingrained into our culture yet.

Here's the rest:

It has brightened up my door and several people have commented on it.  Symposium is next week!
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