First up, these super fun abstract paintings I did with my 4th graders...
I Can talk about abstract art. I Can create an abstract artwork using my name. I can make shades and tints to paint monochromatically.
Day 1: Started this lesson in a really fun way with my students, I had them partner up and find a spot in the room and I put up an abstract painting or sculpture on the SMARTboard. I had given them a list of a variety things to talk/think about with their partner during this activity... "How does this make you feel?" "Do you see anything in this artwork or does it remind you of anything?" "Do you think this is art?"...and other questions that would spark the conversation. After a minute or two they changed partners and I switched the artwork. This went on for 15 minutes or so and then we came back together to talk about what we heard others say and what we thought. Eventually getting to the conclusion that we were looking at abstract art. I was also a participant in this activity with my partnering up with my students.
Because the 4th grade curriculum is centered on the 4th graders themselves, I wanted to find a way to connect back to that...ergo to set up their paintings they started by writing their names (and I don't just mean writing their names on the back to identify their work). They could write their first, middle, last or any combination of their name and they had to write it in a way that created a variety of interesting shapes and spaces that could be filled in with paint. I encouraged capital letters and stretching and rotating them to create the most interesting composition and then repeating the name over and over. Check out my demo video below (sorry no sound, I narrate live to my students).
Day 3 & 4: A lot more paint and painting.
Day 5: When a good chunk of students were done painting we did my favorite part. CUTTING!!!!!! There wasn't really any guidelines for this part of the project other than changing the edge and using every little piece of their painting, no tossing scraps! The size of the pieces that they cut was up to them. For this project, I introduced them to glue sponges which really kept these looking incredible and not full of loads and loads of glue. My helpful hint was really really really holding the pieces down after gluing. I even encouraged sitting on their artwork just to make sure they were nice and flat ;) I had them keep the monochromatic theme for their background paper but I think complementary colors for their background would be a great extra pop to these next time around.
Mixing paint always keeps students engaged and I chalked this one up to a really successful project especially during our critique where they could barely sit still and keep from coming up and pointing out all the things they "saw" in each other's paintings. One more bonus--if they get behind they can skip the cutting up part!