Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Leveling the Art Playing Field with Cubism

I always adore projects that stretch my "high performers" while provided opportunity for my struggling artists to feel some real achievement.  This is one of those lessons.  We've been talking about Pablo Picasso and Cubism, and warmed up with our fun Picasso Dogz lesson, so everyone really had a handle on the cubist style.  (We'd also watched this clip several times).  I started by giving each student a 6" x 9" piece of paper and had them draw a Cubist face with pencil.  Students had to show it to me and get approval before the next step (because we all know that sometimes they draw so very small).  After their drawings were approved, they flipped them over and covered the back with a layer of oil pastel:

Once the oil pastel was on nice and thick, I gave each student an 18" x 24" piece of white drawing paper with their name already written on a corner in Sharpie (because at one stage later many of them of them look alike) and had them place their Picasso face on the paper: pencil side up, oil pastel side down.  Now the magic happens! Students traced their drawing, leaving an exact copy on their paper in oil pastel.  Fifth graders LOVE THIS.

When they've traced their own, they look around the classroom at other faces they like and borrow from them (or me, but they can only use one of mine).  They end up with three faces total (like Picasso's "Three Musicians").

In process, but this one shows that sometimes, if a face
has been used multiple times another layer of oil pastel
must be added for the transfer to be successful.
When all three faces have been transferred, students use simple shapes to make bodies for their people and put them in a fun situation (the movies, shopping, sports . . . )

Finally, color is added with marker, crayon and/or colored pencil:

We've still got a tiny bit of touch up to do after Winter Break, but here's where we are now:

Eating tacos!

I think they're at the mall?
But I love the faces on this one.

Dabbing with a Santa hat.

This belongs to a student that I'd like to
slow down a bit, and work on coloring completely,
but she did break up her background in an
interesting way.

Love the soccer players!
She was gone the last art class,
or she would be done.

Can't wait to see this one finished!
It's been a great lesson for me for several years, and it really does level our art playing field!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dear Good or Even Just Decent Sub

Dear Art Room Substitute,
Thank you for following the plans I left.  Thank you for not allowing children to be in charge and say things like "she always lets us get in the painting cabinet by ourselves" or "exploding markers are great! Watch what I can do with this marker--this part comes out and this part comes off. . . "
Even though art may not be your "thing," I see that you've done your best to keep decorum and follow basic classroom rules.  Thank you for keeping students on track and focused on the task at hand.
Thank you for making students be responsible for the messes they make and clean up after themselves.  As you understand, custodians are not personal maids, they have bigger jobs to do than clean up after each child individually.
Thank you for treating students respectfully and using a normal tone voice.
Thank you for understanding that the month of December is rough on teachers throughout the building as the excitement of Santa is too much for some children to bear.  Thank you for keeping the rules and procedures in place to keep things running smoothly.
You are worth your weight in gold, and art teachers everywhere thank you! I am so sorry I didn't express my gratitude earlier, I didn't truly understand your value until now.
An art teacher who saw too much mayhem this morning

Friday, December 9, 2016

Eight More School Days Until Winter Break

And OH BOY, I hope I make it.  Kids are WILD this year.  Like, beyond anything I can remember.  If you've seen the video on facebook with teachers acting out a class during December, that's pretty much every class I have right now.  
We're trying to stay focused and busy (HA!) with work.  Sixth graders are finishing up their version of Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party (blog post and photos coming soon), and let me tell you, sixth grade as the last class of the day is not my idea of a good time, fifth graders are working on some super-awesome Picasso-style large "posters" (I'll post specifics when we're done), fourth graders are starting their Mexican crafts unit, third graders are doing some symmetrical name designs, second graders are making calendars with cut paper, first graders are insane with Santa fever right now, so we're being art factories making texture rubbings, and my kindergarteners are all over the place, so I decided to paint with them because insanity is catching.  I did look through my blog archives to link more lessons, and I didn't blog about many of them--maybe because I'm always so ready for a break this time of year that it's never a priority?! And I'm so over-caffeinated that I'm going a mile a minute just to keep up with Christmas-crazed kids!
Whew, I hope you're all hanging in there, and winter break can hurry on up! (and then slow way down while we're all home in our jammies).
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