Sunday, December 11, 2016

Observational Leaf Drawings and Play in the Art Room

I'll admit it, the title of this post sounds a little contradicting but I've been inspired to try a new way of teaching with my kindergarteners and first graders and hopefully I'll inspire you to try the same!
I Can draw leaves that look realistic.

Day 1: Drawing the leaves.
We started with the beautiful video below of a timelapse of fall.
 After the video both Kindergarten and First grade did a "I Know, I Wonder, I Noticed" activity looking at real leaves that I brought in from my back yard. The activity went like this: They turned and told the people around them what they knew about leaves, I paraphrased conversations I heard; they turned and told the people around them what they wondered about leaves, I paraphrased conversations I head; I sent them to their tables to look at variety of leaves with a magnifying glass, and I paraphrased the things I was hearing them notice. After this activity we came back to the carpet to watch my demo video of drawing the leaves with black oil pastel. Because observational drawing is a more difficult concept for K and 1, I found it helpful to use my document camera and "think out-loud" what I was seeing as I was drawing. We had a conversation about not drawing what our brain told us a leaf looked like but what our eyes told us. Then I sent them on their way to draw. Check out the Boomerang of drawing in action.
FYI, Boomerang is my new favorite thing to do for videos so expect to see a lot of those in the future.
Now I have to warn you, this was a CHALLENGE (for the kinders especially). There was a few tears here and there but it was SO worth it, and to see the end result be successful nonetheless!
Day 2: Wind, Color "scavenger hunt", and Painting.
I LOVE surprises and when my students get excited, so when they came to art next, I read them a story about a windy day and had them draw wind lines on their leaf artwork with white crayons. They looked at me like I was nuts but I told them to trust me and that it would be a surprise. After this, I had students come back to the carpet. I wanted to give them a little time to forget about the wind they just drew.
 This next part is where some of the new way of teaching for me starts to come into the lesson. This summer I attended a PLC conference that had a lot of sessions on engagement. I went to one session with a huge take-away--make sure my students don't have a choice but to be engaged 100% of the time. That seemed like an incredibly hard task to accomplish, however, slowly but surely I am figuring out how to make that happen.
I showed a variety of artworks where each notable artist was inspired by fall. I had crayon buckets scattered on the carpet and gave them the direction to pull out the three most important colors that they saw in each artwork. We did this at least 10 times until they noticed a trend in the colors we were pulling out. Tada! Our fall color scheme and the colors we were going to use to paint the leaves. And guess what, EVERY kiddo was pulling out crayons and in on the lesson. Not one kid was crawling around on the floor, making animal noises, or distracting their peers. IT. WAS. AWESOME. And all I did was use crayons and not even for their actual purpose.
 After this engaging activity, I showed them my demo video and gave each table a set of liquid watercolors with red, orange, yellow, brown, and a little green. They could paint any way they wanted--a messy wash across the entire painting, filling in some leaves, filling in all the leaves, it was up to them. When they started painting the "oooos" and "ahhhhs" 'MY WINDs"and "OH MY GOSHes" started to happen when they noticed their wind was there after all and I wasn't crazy. Again, an awesome Boomerang of painting in action.

Day 3: Raking time.
In October I attended a different conference, the Wisconsin Art Ed conference and attended a session on play in the Art Room. Below are two slides directly from the presentation that summarize why play is so stinkin' important and why I did what I did next.
Meri Lau (K-2 Midvale Elementary)
Mary Hoefferle (UW-Madison)

Meri Lau (K-2 Midvale Elementary)
Mary Hoefferle (UW-Madison)

THIS was the absolute best part of the lesson. THIS is what I was waiting for since the day I went to that session. THIS very awesome third day of the project they made rakes, cut up their leaf paintings, threw the leaves, raked them, collected them and took them home. It was awesome to watch them play with their art and be engaged in their art making and not ONE kid was stressed or complained about cutting up their artwork. Below is my rake, I had a demo video like usual for creating the rake and cutting the leaves in a very stress free, on-lines-don't-matter kind of way.
 I asked local hardware stores to donate paint sticks for the handles and used white tag board for the rake part. I did draw tick marks of where to cut the diagonal for both grades and squares to cut for kinders to make the teeth. I tried not having the squares for the first class of kinders and it was about 100000000 times harder for them, but 1st had no issues. We did do the diagonal cutting together on the carpet in both grades to ensure the highest number of success. They decorated their leaves while I went around and masking taped the paintstick handles on. Enjoy the short little Boomerang of them raking.
MAN OH MAN am I excited to keep teaching this way for the rest of the year with this bunch. They're not the only ones who will be having fun. And just in case it needs to be said, and I don't think it does. THIS is why professional development opportunities are so important for Art Teachers.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2nd Grade Artist Books, Updated!

Here is a look at the "Artist Book" I created for my second graders to use each time they are introduced to a new artist. Second grade curriculum is all focused on artists so this is a great way to track what they learned.
The two updates on this are when they fill out the 1st side of the page, and what is written on the second page for them to fill out when they finish their work. 

When we start the year with our first artist they get the cover page and their first empty page. They fill out just the front of the page the 2nd day that we talk about the artist as a review. It seems to be just the right amount of writing for second grade. We fill out most of it together on the SMART Board and they are responsible for doing only the last question entirely their own. 

When they finish their project they fill out the 2nd page and fill out the rubric for the project independently .
The pages are pre-3-hole punched and the books are held together with brad fasteners. Each page gets added as we go. As a side note, if students are behind on projects I do the writing for them, they dictate to me to save time.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"Ain't Gonna Paint No More" Self-Portraits (2016)

I've done this project quite a few times now and it's still my favorite way to start the year with Kindergarten. Check out lots of posts on this project via this post.

The portraits are inspired by one of my favorite books "I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!" written by Karen Beaumont, Illustrated by David Catrow, an Art Teacher book must have!

There are a lot of different versions of projects based on this book out there, I love doing it this way because they really get to play with the watercolors, and it is a great intake of drawing and writing skills.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Matisse Paper Cutouts (2016)

This is a favorite project for me that will probably be a repeat every year---it's a good way to get my 2nd graders to just relax! Check out my previous posts for this project here and here.

Made a few big changes to the project including a pretty big emphasis on geometric and organic shapes and using glue sponges.

I Can tell you something about the artist Henri Matisse.
I Can cut organic and geometric shapes.
I Can identify and sort organic and geometric shapes.

Day 1:
Introduced Matisse with this great video!

Then we looked at his artwork and discovered that he used a lot of shapes and dived into organic vs geometric. After we talked about organic and geometric shapes, they paired up with dry erase boards and I put different shapes up on the SMART board and they had to identify them as organic or geometric. After a few rounds of that,  I showed them my example and told them to start cutting (without much instruction) and gave them a large envelope to keep pieces in.

Day 2:
Reviewed organic and geometric shapes using Plickers (USE IT, you only need 1 device!). As a review of Matisse they filled out their artist book pages,which have gotten a little revamp from last year. I'll update on those soon. After their page was filled out I showed them my demo of cutting a variety of shapes and sizes in different ways to get their wheels turning. They spent the rest of the time cutting away and adding to what they already had cut last time with reminders to be cutting both organic and geometric.

Day 3:
Reviewed the shapes with a little shape sorting as a whole class using laminated shapes. Then they heard a Matisse book that I highly reccommend. Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter, found here on Amazon.

After the story we watched my demo video of arranging and gluing and talked about composition. "Bad" examples are always important during this step for my kiddos to really understand what makes a composition work (and not work). 

The second big change for the project was using glue sponges to assemble their artworks. It made a HUGE difference in craftsmanship and glue amounts...i'll NEVER go back for this project.  Not everyone finished gluing so I had them toss out or take with their extra paper that they weren't using on their projects and only had them put the pieces they were using on their projects back into their envelopes. 
Love this little section--started off as a gun (a no go!) and transformed into a spigot! 

Day 4:
Students who didn't finish last time had time to finish and we wrapped up by filling out part 2 of our artist book page and filling out a rubric for the project that included a shape assessment. Check it out, let me know what you think. My elementary art team has been working super hard on developing rubrics this year...

Love love love love LOVE this project. The color! The shapes! The movement! They just can't go wrong...

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Holidays are my favorite way to play catch up with classes that are behind on projects for one reason or another....and I also LOVE excuses to dress thematically. 

That would be me making the tongue sticking out--winky face. Does anyone else work with awesome people!?
Enjoy these awesome pumpkins created by Kindergarten through 4th grade students! 

This one was inspired by the awesome old school Disney animation I showed 1st-4th at the start of class! Check out the Disney animation "Silly Symphonies: Skeleton Dance" below!

Back to School Collaborative Self-Portraits!

Sorry I've been missing since mid-August but it's been a very busy start of the year and I have a lot of exciting things to start sharing again!

This project has been floating all over the internet and I was finally inspired to do it myself after this post and this post from Cassie Stephens! Love LOVE LOOOOOVVVVEEE the way it turned out!

This was the perfect way to kick off the year and get almost all 400ish students busy making art on the first day. 

I Can draw a self-portrait and color it using one color to make a collaborative artwork.

Day 1:
1st grade through 4th grade started their first day of art with the art room scavenger hunt you see below... I got the idea from an instagram post but I just can't seem to find it again to give the credit this idea deserves! I had students work in teams and I helped read when needed. They went to the location in the room that matched the circle and found a color there. They filled in the circle on their sheet with the color they found. It was a great refresher for everyone and perfect for new students. 

After they finished the scavenger hunt I talked about the art piece they were going to create collaboratively showing them an example of another completed one so they understood why they were just using one color. I showed them my demo video of me drawing and then they got busy. I gave them white 4x4 squares, cartooning sheets to look at for inspiration, and a black felt tip pen to draw with.

Kindergarten spent Day 1 hearing the book Art Today! (HIGHLY recommend for the first day for Kinders), going on a tour of the art room, and drawing me anything they wanted so I could get a skills intake.

The book is a bit hard to find but Crystal Productions does sell it. 

Day 2:
Each table got a box of art supplies in their color only. This was SO worth taking the time to do. In the box there was colored pencils, regular crayons as well as glitter, metallic, and construction paper crayons, skinny markers, fat markers, fluorescent markers, and sharpies. They could use any material anywhere with the exception of marker on their face so it wouldn't cover their features. They also had to color the entire square.

 It didn't take the entire time for them to finish but I anticipated that so they could have time to explore new items in the art room.

After seeing Cassie's final product, if I do this again I will think of a different way to assemble or go BIGGER for a bigger impact on the walls. It was so fun watching students search for theirs!
Cassie's finished Product

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Shooting Line Rocket Ships (15'-16')

This project (inspired by Art with Mr. E's) is officially one of my new favorites for K&1. It was a great review for lines and a super fun exploration of materials!

I Can identify different types of lines.
I Can explore many different materials.

Day 1: Reviewing lines. Line paintings.
Lines are one of the first things we visit in the year so I love doing a refresher project on them at the end of the year. To kick this project off I drew a picture on the SMART Board that contained all the lines they learned previously and they took turns coming up and finding them. Then we did some whole body fun by having groups of students make the different types of lines with their bodies! Just an observation: my classes that were most behaviorally challenging ended up doing the best with this activity.
Dashed and Zig-Zag
Castle and Thick Line
After these activities they went to their seats and drew each type of line with a sharpie. Then they got to explore their first new material--metallic watercolors. Not really a "new" material as far as watercolors go but still VERY exciting for them to see sparkles and shine! I really encouraged them to have their colors touch but it was a little hard of a concept because many just tried to follow the line and not make the bands of color. I also had a glitter tempera paint station set up for them to add MORE sparkles if they wanted. Obviously they wanted it.

Day 2: Building Rocket Ships. Assessment.
Tracers. I always go back and forth on using them or not. But, an old principle (and art department head) once told me that as long as the learning goal isn't creating that specific shape they are ok. So, that's what I did. Each part of the rocket ship had a tracer: the main body, the wings, and the booster. After they watched my demo video on using the tracers and gluing the pieces together I let them run wild with a huge variety of papers with different textures and patterns. This was our second material that they explored.

Because the process of building the rockets was very independent, I used this time to pull students over to me for a verbal assessment to identify the different types of line. I had the lines drawn on a piece of paper and they went through and named as many as possible. Each student took about 30 seconds or less which made a very quick and easy assessment. The one little bump was a student would come over to ask me something while I was assessing another and they would spit out the answer before the kiddo getting assessed could answer.

Day 3: Adding the rocket streams and backgrounds.
 We started the day talking about creating the rocket stream out of their line paintings. Again they watched my demo video and brainstormed the different shapes the stream could be and how it was okay if we cut some of our lines off. Then they added their rocketship to black paper and added some amazing details with our last material exploration -- metallic markers. I pre-punched stars on metallic paper that they could add as well and more tempera glitter paint. One last option for them was adding an astronaut. Again, I provided a tracer. The success rate overall on this project was so high and each was its own beautiful individual work of art with so much personality showing through.

Below are detail pictures...I was so blown away by some of these kiddos!!!!