Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkeys

1st Grader's Turkey Picture

Well, even though Thanksgiving is over, here's a cute little project we did last year. I have a couple of examples included here. As you see, it's pretty simple. The student traces his or her hands, draws a background, and waterpaints the whole picture. I stress background details in my students' artwork. I like the neat little touch of the background fence.

2nd Grader's Turkey Picture

Thursday, December 3, 2009

4th and 5th Grade Snowpersons

From the names on these pictures I can tell we did these projects in 2007 and 2008. I thought that maybe the kids would see the activity as "too young." Some did. But many really enjoyed it did a great job. Others just didn't seem to get into it. I thought of it as a break from the more difficult things I had them do prior to this lesson. It's another one of those optional workshop activities to keep in the file box. I'll probably keep a version of it with that purpose in mind.

The Three Snowpersons project: Some kids took a lot of time and it seemed to take forever to finish. As I recall, they were a very talkative groups. My experience is that kids that chat during art don't complete a lot during the 45 minutes. That's why I now use the Seven Minuet Rule. (from a previous blog entry)

[I start day one with my "seven minute rule." I've written on this elsewhere on this blog but I'll briefly repeat it here. I use a timer, projected on the overhead screen, and expect the students to work for a full seven minutes with no talking. When the seven minutes is up, I set the timer to three minutes and allow students to use one of those minutes to stretch and rest their hand (and head) and then to continue to work but quiet talking and sharing is allowed. After the three minutes is up, I repeat the process. First, seven minutes of quiet work, followed by three minutes of a more relaxed time. Also, toward the end of the class time, I allow for quiet talking and encourage the sharing of work.]

The Single Snowperson project: Again, many kids did a great job while others didn't put much quality effort into designing their snowpersons. I was a bit surprised. I thought they'd really have a ball playing with this activity. Many did. But maybe not enough to call it a keeper at this grade level. I've posted a gallery of work where I put both the 4th grade work and the 5th grade work.

The procedure I followed for this lesson differs only slightly from the procedure I used with the primary grades. I still modeled the white painting process. We used wide brushes and I showed the kids how to use them to make their round circles by using the brush in a spiral motion. In one twist they could form each section. They did think that was pretty cool. I show some examples and then set them loose.

See the gallery pictures here. ;)

First, Second, and Third Grade Snowpersons :)

Most have likely have done some variation of this lesson. I share it because the pictures turned out so cute and it's one of the activities that the kids really enjoy during our brief snowy season. I tried this with all grades because I wanted to see how the older kids would handle such an activity. I'll post the 4th and 5th grade snowpersons next so you can see how they handled it. Here I offer 1st-3rd.

I like activities that give me opportunity to talk about planning, positioning, size, shapes, and the importance of adding details. Most art projects give the teacher opportunities to either introduce new concepts or reinforce old ones. Ultimately any art project is about the experience for the student and the level of self-expression they are able to bring into their work. I'll do this project again but as a choice at one of the workshops I'm dong in January.

This art project is rather simple. For the primary grades, I model the steps of the process (I do it, you do it). First we make a base using the white paint. Then we add the three "circles" for the body. Finally I have them make whatever type of snow flakes they choose. I encourage everyone to add snowflakes because it add character to the picture and appears more animated. A snowperson all alone can look rather dull. BTW, I'm not trying to be politically correct here. Someone always asks if they can make a girl snowman and so I try to say "snowperson" to let them know ahead of time that it's O.K. After the snowperson is finished and the snowflakes added, we put the pictures on the paint rack to dry.

During the next lesson we discuss adding details. I ask what a snow man or woman might wear out in the cold. I show many examples, (Google is a good resource) demonstrate a couple of things if necessary (how to add the vest or scarf) and then set them off to work. At first I just had the kids use paints but later added the fabric.

Here's a few more. And the web gallery can be found here.