Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Klimt's Tree of Life with 6th Grade

I attempted to give my older students more choice this year by doing more open-ended/prompt-like projects. This project was my first attempt with with my sixth grade students and I am pretty happy with the way it turned out!

My inspiration for this project came from this pin on pinterest via Artsonia and wanting to do an art history piece as well. Eventually my brain took me to Klimt's The Tree of Life.

I Can Statements:
I Can create a “Tree of Life” that reflects my knowledge, intuition, and experiences (WI L.4.1)
I Can: Demonstrate openness in trying new materials in making works of art. (Nat VA:Cr2.1.6a)

Day 1: We looked at Klimt's piece and did some fun fact background info about Klimt and I showed them this awesome article about the Google Doodle in honor of Klmit!

Then we started exploring "Trees of Life" from other cultures and what they meant to other cultures...

After doing some research on my own...I found this really great passage from a group that does...lets call it...spiritual classes...that really summed up my research well that I shared with students...
“The Tree of Life is a universal symbol found in many spiritual and mythological traditions around the world. In various cultures it is known as the Cosmic Tree, the World Tree and the Holy Tree. The Tree of Life symbolizes many things, including wisdom, protection, strength, bounty, beauty, and redemption”
I shared with them examples of all these different types from different cultures and then prompted them with this question... In each culture the Tree of Life or World Tree meant or did something different for it’s people. What would your tree do for you?

Here is a look at our planning sheet..
Day 2:
I did a short check in with each student before they started on their project. We talked about materials choice and how to make the purpose clear. I warned them they would be doing an artist statement so they would have to talk about any decisions they were making during the creation and why they chose the subject matter that they did.

Day 3 & 4: Solid work time!

Day 5 & 6: 
This was their first time doing artist statements so we talked about what they were and the purpose of them and I gave them this planning sheet....
I really loved this artist statement from a sixth grader whom I will really miss!

The biggest (and really only issue) came at the end of the project when some students realized they just created a tree of their hobbies and favorite things rather than a tree with a "purpose". I really loved reading their artist statements and reading how they saw the work they had done and what they were trying to communicate in their work. I could tell so many more were invested in their work than a project that gave them limited choices and strict guidelines. 

Click on this last set of pictures and take a closer look at the one on the left, you will not be disappointed. 
A great resource was recently brought to my attention... for more information on Klimt and to view more of his works visit Klimt's page at!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Be right back.

I'm into the end of the year chaotic time so it will be three weeks before I post any projects or lessons but here are three things I'm working on for the end of the year/last day of art!

Apples to Art:
This is still in the prototype phase right now and just starting to come together. My plan is to show an artwork to students either legitimate like from art history or something random from the internet that is ridiculous. Then with each image, ask them a questions like "What are these people talking about?" "Why is that cat in that box?" using this awesome online tool called Poll Everywhere. Students will be grouped with chromebooks and I will have them submit answers anonymously and I will pick my favorite and that team gets a point. Like Apples to Apples! Check out Poll Everywhere below! Not 100% free but I can do all the basics without any cost!

Art Mad Libs:
Again in prototype phase but I can't see this going wrong. I'll set up basic one or two sentence mad libs and have students give me words and then the rest of the class draws it in a certain amount of time. One school I will be doing it on a smartboard we just got in the library that I have access too and the other school we will be just using the whiteboard. TOTALLY FREE!

I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS. And, it is totally ready to go with the exception of that when I do it with the first class it will be the first time trying it. I knew I wanted to do an end of the year survey with students asking how they liked each project but knew I would need a visual for each project and dreaded adding up all the scores myself. And then I saw this on an art of ed post about assessment.
PLICKERS! I'm set up to do it with K-6 for the last class they have art....I have no doubt that 6th graders can figure it out but Kindergarten with definitely be interesting!

The video isn't from them but they have great info on how it works on their site. I'm losing my mind over how cool this is and all the ways I can implement it next year. Just you wait and see, I promise you will be the first to hear about it (besides like every staff member I have ran into this week). Best thing is 100 PERCENT FREE.

Good luck with the end of the year! Be right back when I have regained my sanity!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Britto's Lady Liberty (Freedom) with 3rd Grade

I LOVE when I find amazing resources online to show my students about contemporary artists....and the internet is full of Romero Britto ones that were perfect for this project!

I knew I wanted to do a contemporary artist project with my 3rd graders and to work on my PPG (for those of you not in Educator Effectiveness land it's my Professional Practice Goal). My PPG is collaborating with classroom teachers, so I talked with the 3rd grade team and  I found out they were doing USA Government. After a little pinteresting I stumbled upon this Pin of Britto's "Freedom" artwork in his shop on his website....and I had a project!
Britto's Freedom
I Can Statement: I can draw and color a Statue of Liberty inspired by Romero Britto.

Day 1: Britto introduction...a little background information and then some GREAT youtube videos that all were embedded and flowed with my google presentation....

This first one is a clip from the Super Bowl halftime show featuring his work...

Then the Piece De Resistance! An animated version of his artwork done by LG...

Lastly a great little clip talking about his specific artwork we were looking at...

When all was said and done they made awesome connections to their daily lives, learned more about Pop Art, and explored many Britto works of Art and we didn't even start creating yet!

With the time left they practiced coloring different "Britto patterns/designs" on coloring sheets that I had broken up into different sections.

Day 2: Quick review of Britto and then another AWESOME animation by LG of Britto's work.

Finally time for Lady Liberty! Together we did a draw along however, I took pictures while I was drawing my example in the different steps and had this for students to look at in their spots if they wanted to do it independently. I also had it projected on the screen while I did a draw along on the board....

After we finished the draw along they started coloring, about 50/50 were done on this day so on the next work day that fell near Dr Suess, they created these Britto inspired Seuss hats! And I couldn't help but show them one more great video...

If I did this again I would probably have them work on a larger scale or with materials other than marker but I am pretty happy with the way it went..

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Complementary Colored Giraffes with 1st & 2nd Grade

I love a good children's book before the start of a lesson or project but towards the end of the year, it gets pretty old reading the same story nine times! So, whenever I find a great online version of a story with animations I am pretty quick to show it to my students. Especially the words are also on the screen during it!

When I decided on giraffes for this lesson on complementary colors the book Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae, was the first thing that popped into my head! It is a fantastic book about a very unique giraffe and what a better way to start an artwork with very unique colored giraffe!

Day 1: Started off with the the digital version of Giraffes Can't Dance, the awesome version I found can be found on vimeo here.

After the story we got into how our giraffes were going to be very unique because of their colors and then I did a lesson a complementary colors. I found the best thing in teaching complementary colors is making real world connections. I give examples of where the pairs are being used like sports teams and movies. The obvious favorite was this picture that I stumbled upon...

Let me tell you that none of them forgot the purple and yellow pair of complementary colors.

After we wrapped up the lesson on complementary colors we did a draw along of the giraffe and I gave them a bunch of suggestions of how to make it their own..they drew in sharpie only and then painted the first color in their pair with watercolors for the body.

Day 2: Review of complementary colors and then onto the spots! We used tempera paints for the spots for a little more contrast. When their spots were complete they were instructed to create a border with a second pair of complementary colors in oil pastels.

My plans for next year are to give them an option of any animal with spots or stripes but they will have to do a sketch first to make sure the animal is clear. This is pretty ambitious idea for me for 1st and 2nd graders but i'm feeling hopeful for next year!