Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Identity Silhouettes with 6th Grade

It's the project that is all over Pinterest that is just too good to resist. A silhouette of a student filled with images related to them. Here and here are just two examples via Pinterest.

Simple in explanation but a great identity project for many students.

All construction paper from one of my students!
I've mentioned before how important it is for me for my older students to feel confident in themselves and feel a sense of identity before entering junior high. It is there that their world is rocked by hormones, "mean girls", and self-discovery. That concept is what attracted me so much to this project.

HOWEVER, Here is where I messed up...
1. I let cutting from magazines be an option for the total project
2. I didn't get a chance to display these, or at least not nearly enough of them and couldn't figure out a good way to do it
3. I actually did this project at the beginning of the year and I would of rather done it at the end to be more impactful

Here is where I went right!
1. Made a connection to a contemporary artist, Kara Walker
2. Focused on not what they "like" but why it is important to who they are
3. Had them write!

Can you tell he likes technology?
Didn't have an I CAN statement for this project because I wasn't doing them at the time we did this, but if I did it would be:
 I CAN fill my silhouette 95% full with images that relate to my identity using either or a combination of magazines, construction paper, and drawing.

Day 1: Introduction to Kara Walker and brainstorming. If you don't know who Kara Walker is you are missing out. When I went to the NAEA convention in Seattle we took the train to Portland for a few days and the museum there had an exhibition of her work. Just incredible.
Here is a great website with info on her and her work.

She makes these incredible cut paper works with an insane amount of detail! Her big ideas are exploring race, gender, violence, and identity in her work with a large focus on slavery.

Some of her work is sexual in nature so I was sure to weed those out before showing her work to students. She is sneaky about it too in some works so be careful!

Our brainstorming was a worksheet where students listed different things about themselves and what materials they were going to use. With an old-school overhead projector we traced silhouettes on 1/2 a sheet of poster board. The overhead projectors have a more concentrated light then classroom digital projectors so I like it better but either would work.

Day 2: Reminded students what I was looking for (i.e. not just things they like) and that they will be writing about it so they better have something to say about it. Then they got to work! I have two sixth grade classes at one of my buildings and in one almost all the students gravitated to magazine images. RAWR. Thats when I knew next time that I was limiting magazines. I was so impressed by the construction paper work these students were doing and my drawers blew me away with detail.

Day 3: Project reminders again and showing off some of the amazing work they were doing. Work time!

Day 4: Painting the outside and typing. Luckily the computer lab is open during my sixth grade times and I had my aid stay with them while they typed. They had to write in list form about seven or more items and a statement about why they chose those items.

Most students finished in 4 classes but per usual...stragglers!

I think I struggled with displaying these because of the size...

The small display I did get up at the end of the year!

They turned out awesome for those that explored outside of magazine images or did multiple mediums!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ladybugs in Kindergarten

Some projects are just so good you have to repeat them...

One of the first projects I ever taught (like STUDENT TEACHING first taught) was this kindergarten ladybug cooperating teacher showed it to me.... It is perfect for spring time and had I done it sooner, would of made one of the cutest displays EVER.

The main objective was to learn about different perspectives and continuing talking about overlapping. 

Day 1: Started with probably one of my favorite Eric Carle books of all time. The Grouchy Ladybug. If you have not read it. You do not know what you are missing.

Most Kindergarteners have read this book so reading it to them was hilarious because they would say the "Hey you, wanna fight?" lines for me. ADORBS. So we read the book and talked about how big ladybugs are and how big the world must look to them. Then the fun began! I told them they would not be using scissors until the very end of the project for the ladybugs. We talked about how they had to tear paper to get the grass and that some paper only likes being torn horizontally and some vertically. We also reviewed overlapping and looked at how many layers of grass I had for my ladybugs. Then the tearing was underway! Watching kindergarteners tear paper with meaning and seeing their faces light up is probably my favorite thing about this project, because honestly, I am generally scared of ladybugs and they freak me out.

Once most of the class started gluing I played these really silly YouTube kid song videos about ladybugs and then the songs were stuck in my head for the rest of the year.



You're welcome.

Day 2: Started off with one of the ladybug songs again and some clips of ladybugs close up from this video...skipped the whole mating ladybugs part....

We had some reminders about how big the ladybugs are compared to the grass and I did a demo drawing and showed how to cut the wings to look like they were flying. I had more than enough torn green paper, so if they needed to add more grass they used the community pile. When they were ready to start ladybugs we had pre-cut red squares to use. Sharpie was used to draw them and hiding some ladybugs in the grass was encouraged. Which meant some kiddos had all of theirs hidden...and I thought they didn't do any! :)

All of them finished in 2 days with a little help from others cutting. REALLY wish I could have done a display with these! Only photographed a few but it is a great taste of the project!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Abstract Transparency Portraits with 6th Grade

Being a relatively new teacher I tend to question myself a lot. A LOT. Having a very loose curriculum that is older than I am also does not help with this. Usually, I am questioning if the project is too easy or too hard for a grade level. This was one of those projects that I ran into that question.

I originally saw a project like this on Pinterest here and at NAEA from Blick (I think!) and loved the possibility of where I could take this with older students. As we got closer to the end of the school year I was thinking about my 6th graders and the journey they were going to embark on the next few years of self-discovery and how difficult it was going to be for so many. Because of this, I wanted to do a portrait project for our school wide portrait theme that would give them a great level of success and pride.  I absolutely loved how these turned out, almost every student was successful. Eventually I realized, while making my example, this project would be too "easy" for many. However, in this circumstance, how they felt about themselves with this project outweighed the idea of easy or difficult.

All in all, so much personality went into these, from the photograph they traced, to the abstract painting they created behind their portrait.

I CAN statement for this project: I CAN create an original ABSTRACT painting to be the background of my self-portrait.

Day 1: As students walked in I had them grab a piece of scrap paper and a pencil and had a PowerPoint open with a piece of art displayed. I flipped back and forth through 10 or so pieces of abstract art and had them write three "dollar" words (Words that are worth something!) about the works they were looking at. Then I paired them up and had them share what they wrote with someone while I flipped back through the slides. Finally, whoever they shared with had to tell me what their partner said. Then I talked about Abstract Art, gave a little history, and showed them the project. For the last part of class they got a planning sheet and had to decide what materials (tempera/watercolor/sharpie details/etc.) and color schemes they were going to use. Some moved on to start pencil work for their paintings. During planning we took pictures to be traced for the portrait.

Day 2: First, a quick Abstract review then, after a quick conference with me on their choices then they got to work painting. I really wanted them to experiment with different brushes and mixing materials, some loved this opportunity to go for it and even did multiple backgrounds to choose from. I loved that some students weren't afraid to ask to do and try so many different things!

Day 3: Finishing painting and starting portraits. I started class with a quick demo. I found a face in a magazine and we talked about contour lines and what to trace and not trace as well as different techniques for hair and clothing. Something I didn't predict was the amazement over transparencies! When I was in school transparencies just started to filter out, so I shouldn't of been surprised that a lot did not know what they were... I only let them have one transparency so mistakes had to be corrected with alcohol swabs. Which also blew their minds that it removed sharpie.

Finishing up: When both the painting and transparency were finished and dry they trimmed the transparency to remove extra space and attached it to the painting with double stick tape and a finishing touch of black paper "photo corners" to ground the portrait.

Was very happy that some were finished just in time for the Spring Art Show!

These were in the Children's Museum in town for an Art Walk!

These hung in the halls with the rest of the all school portrait displays!

Some of my girls even did their own extension using the transparencies and drawing books!

So maybe it was too easy.....But I think I made the right choice for my students. And for some who may never take another art class in their life, at least they ended their art journey on a great note!