Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Charcoal Trees

I love introducing new materials to students. Classroom teachers in my district do a lot of projects with students in their classrooms (which I LOVE), but this means that paper, glue, and scissors are not as exciting in the Art Room. And while they are my favorite supplies, they just get old for students. To mix things up for them and make Art even more exciting I try to give them many opportunities as possible to use new materials. Who knows...maybe I can introduce charcoal to the next Da Vinci!?

Day 1, 4th graders started this project experimenting with charcoal when they had their last workday on the previous project. They are allowed to draw whatever they want with the charcoal and when we clean up I ask them about the characteristics they discovered about the material. This was the first time I did this "experimenting" step. It not only gives them something to do in that open time but also settles any fears about the material when we actually start the project. I ended up doing this "experimenting" thing with other grades and different materials I loved it so much!

Day 2, The real project started with the next class introducing the different points of view in art. I show them a quick powerpoint of images exploring Worm's Eye, Bird's Eye, and "Looking Up" (as I call it) point of view. Before showing them each one I ask them to describe how they think a bug, a bird, and a critter (like a squirrel) would see the world. This usually peeks their interest! Then, I have them imagine they are in a forest and look up at the sky and what that would look like. I show them an image like this after they open their eyes. Lastly, before they get started on practice drawings we talk about how they can check if their view is right by lifting their papers above their heads and turing it any direction as if they were spinning in circles under the trees. I mention that if I hang these up, there shouldn't be a wrong way for me to hang them because of the view we are doing. Rest of the time they do a few practice drawings to get the hang of drawing this way.

Day 3, I demo the process of using a lid from a container to draw/trace my moon and drawing my tree in pencil. I talk about my tree crossing the moon and starting from different sides of the paper to make sure I am getting the correct view. Then I demo tracing in sharpie, just my tree, because my pencil will disappear under the charcoal. Last part of the demo is how to create a smooth layer of charcoal and keep the moon as white as possible. I explain that after all of this the tree is painted in with black tempera and they get to work.

Day 4, Most students start painting the tree in and begin work on the second tree image. I show them an image like this to inspire them. This one goes fairly quick because it is the exact same process as the last. I do not make them do any practice drawings for this drawing either. I also didn't make the second tree required because many students needed the full class to work and finish the first.

Some students needed time in the next class to finish after I introduced the next project. My assistant sprayed them all the trees with hairspray to seal them and mounted however many were done to black paper. And yes, I'm still using the tree from this project to display things with!

Once again, this project was pinterest inspired from this post on pinterest (it was just an image pin, BOO!).

Kennedy Elementary...

McDill Elementary...

Jefferson Elementary...

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