Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Toucan

One may begin to wonder if I'm a Donna Huge fan.  Here is yet another idea from one of Donna's Videos.    I've used many of Donna's ideas (as you'll see) and I haven't been unhappy with one (that I've used).  In this lesson, students are taught to draw a toucan and color it using colored pastels.  Since I have deemed this year to be the year of the crayon, we used crayons instead.    Not only that, but his project was to be entered in the hospital art contest and oils were not to be used. 

I think the crayons worked well.  After drawing the birds, the students used crayons and blended the colors together to create the unique coloring of the toucan.

I used a model that I found on the net (using google) and I showed the students a slide show of real toucans.  We studied the colors of various toucans and discussed the characteristics we observed.  You can find dozens of pictures via google.    Here are some examples.  I have many more and hope to get them uploaded to the website soon.  I'll post updates when I get that accomplished.  If you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear them!


Flowers in Sunshine

** I updated this entry Jan 22 2012.  I've added a video below and the web address for a slideshow of more kid's examples. **

Here's a great project that is both easy and fun.  And yes, it's an idea that comes from Donna Hughs.  The project is simple.  You paint "puddles" of color, using all colors but green, and then add a green/yellow mix in between.  

After the painting dries, I show the kids how to draw in a flower on each puddle.  I've both had the kids watch the video and do the project and simply modeled it myself.  It worked best to simply model it myself and then monitor how the kids were doing.

Since I've done this project several times, I've had experience with what can go wrong.  The area where most kids struggle is in making the flowers.  Specifically, they often don't make the pedals big enough and wide enough.  So we first practiced making them on paper (draw a circle and make a flower that is just large enough to reach the edge of the drawn circle.

Here's almost exactly what I said each time we drew the flowers.  "Put a small circle in the middle of on of your "puddles."  Now, starting from that circle, draw a line all the way to the edge of the color, go around the edge - make it wide, then go back to the circle in the middle.  Then follow the line you just made all the way to the edge of the circle again, and follow the edge of the color.  Be sure to go all the way to the edge and follow your color borders.  Use the color's edge as your guide.  You should end up with about 4 to 5 pedals."  I modeled this on an overhead projector as I gave these directions.

I really had to emphasize this process and as I drew one for them, I monitored their progress and made corrections where necessary.  Honestly, this process worked so well for me.  In the past I had so many kids making small pedals and some pedals were so small they ended up with over a dozen per flower!  I was amazed at how well the second graders did.  Here's the specific video where you can find this art project.

**Here's a video I used for instructing the kids on how to draw the flowers**

Here is a previous entry of mine.  You can see this art project among some of the other entries.  Go here.   Also, once I get the website updated, I'll add the slide show here too.     In the meantime, here are a few more examples.

Monday, November 21, 2011

First grade: Using line and shape to create a simple drawing

This is my finished model
I usually  teach several drawing lessons at the beginning of the year to each grade level.  Here is a simple project I've done with first graders that uses simple lines and shapes to create an outdoor scene.

The drawings in this lesson are likely based on ideas I've used over the years and probably have their source in Ed Emberly's drawing ideas.  In this drawing lesson, I model what's to be drawn, and then have the students copy what they see (from an overhead screen).

This particular lesson serves several purposes.  In it, I'm able to emphasize the relationships between line and shape in creating an image.  I love teaching the little ones how to use simple geometric shapes to create animal characters that they enjoy drawing.   But also, I want to get my students to use crayons more.  So in this lesson I modeled how to use crayons using both the sharp point (including teaching them how to sharpen-they love this part) and how to remove the paper and use the flat side to cover larger areas (such as the ground, sky, and tree).

Here are a few more examples:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Creating a border in kids drawings

I've already mentioned elsewhere on this blog that I'm a fan of Donna Hugh's art videos.   The idea for making a border for artwork came from one of her videos.  I demonstrate it here and include a few examples of work from my kids.

Since this idea is new to me, I thought I'd share it with you.  I'd love to hear comments and ideas you use for boarding artwork. 

In the next several blogs I'll share some of the art work for grades 1-5 that we just completed.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

The year of the color crayon

Well, school is well under way and here I am just starting my blogging on my classroom.  So here's my first for this school year.

At the end of last year I decided to start this year with some whole-group projects.  The local hospital here is part of the Arts Commission and they are having a "contest" of sorts (they don't call it that) where students submit artwork to both appear in the Commission's calendar and to be displayed (for a year) in the hallways of the local hospital.   So, each grade level has been working on grade-level projects and we're nearly finished.  I'll have some pictures to share as soon as I can get them scanned.

In the meantime, I've declared this year "The Year Of The Crayon."  That's because I have hundreds and perhaps thousands of crayons in my room and for the most part, they don't get used.  I am going to try to change that.  So one goal I have for this year is to find as many art ideas as I can where crayons can be used. I've already begun to teach kids to use crayons in different ways and I have several "experiments" I want to try.

If you have a project idea that uses crayons, I'd love to hear about them.  Also, share sites you have found useful.  I'll add them to my link list.  Thanks in advance and have a great year!  Thanks for reading.

Crayola Website
Crayon Techniques
Jeffrey Roberts Crayon Art

Friday, July 1, 2011

4th Grade Complementary Colors (Color Wheel)

Here's a project I did a few years ago.  Most kids really enjoyed the project but it did take far too long for some to finish.   I'm not sure I'd do it again as a whole group project but I would make it available as a center idea.  The reason I wouldn't repeat this whole group is due to the time it takes to complete the entire project.  It took several days from start to finish and in some cases, it took 4 class periods.  Maybe if I let the kids use markers instead of paint the process would speed up.  Also, it may look nicer in a 9x9 or 10x10 paper.

Steps we followed:
1.  Using a ruler and a pencil (drawing lightly), divide the paper into 6 parts (as per example)
2.  Students center their name (using pencil) in block lettering.
3.  Outline in black marker.
4.  Color each section as a color wheel.
5.  Color those parts of the letters that fall within the boundaries of a color wheel section the appropriate complementary color.
6.  Re-outline using black marker if necessary.
7,  Mount on construction paper.

I'm not sure where I got this idea.  Likely I found it on the Internet.  Here are three more examples.


Color Wheel

Here's a simple and fun way to get a color wheel into the hands of primary students.  The colored wheel can be found here and the black and white here.

Following introduction to the color wheel and discussing primary and secondary colors and how the color wheel works, I give the kiddies a little assignment.  They are each given a set of paints, water, brush, and plain paper.  I paint with them and demonstrate each step. I have them paint a picture using all six basic colors but they can only use the blue, yellow, and red from the tray.  They have to make their own secondary colors.  Colors are mixed right on the paper.

Students paint a purple butterfly, orange sun, green tree, blue sky, adding yellow and red in whatever way they want.  Here are a couple of paintings by the 1st graders.

This is just one of many ideas I use for teaching color theory.  I like this activity because I can complete the entire process in one 45 minute lesson.

One of the most popular centers in my classroom is the paint center.  Periodically, I only supply the center with the three primary colors and let the kids use painting trays for mixing.  After a few weeks I add the secondary colors and challenge the kids to create new and interesting colors.  I love the conversations that I hear at this center.

A good book to use to show color relationships is Mouse Paint.   

Next year I hope to make some primary color Playdough and give each student a Ziploc bag with two primary colors in each bag.  Then the kiddies can mix their colors and take home a secondary color.

Here's another lesson idea on the color wheel.  I would love to hear your ideas as well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tissue Paper Art

1st grader
 One of my students "stumbled" on this idea.  I had a model of a tissue collage on the white board but it had a white background and was mounted on black construction paper.  Not knowing the white background was necessary for the colors to be brighter, the student only used the black as a background.  Without the white background, the colors don't come through as brightly but the black background created a very interesting look.

2nd grader
The process I followed for this project is simple.  Students get a piece of construction paper (black) but I traced a black square (8x8) onto the larger black paper.

  I tell the kids to put their tissue paper within the traced boarder AND just beyond.  Using a paint brush to apply the glue (in decoupage fashion) once all the black within the square is covered, let it dry. 

3rd grade
Next, using the paper cutter, I cut the artwork into the 8x8 square leaving a very nice smooth edge to it.  That gets mounted on purple (leaving just a small edge) and that in turn gets mounted on black (again leaving a small edge).
4th grade
I press these using small individual white board and place a heavy object on top.  The way I pressed them was to just pile them one on top of the other with a white board separating each piece of artwork.  The pressing is necessary to flatten out the projects as the initial gluing warps the paper a bit.  But after pressing, the art projects lay perfectly flat.

5th grade
I hope this makes sense.
If not, please let me know and I'll clarify. 

Here is a small gallery of other examples of this project.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Seasons Collage

Each day, during a 30 minute open slot, I meet with two 2nd graders and help them with their reading.  Their teacher explained to me that in their current story, the girls were struggling understanding the different aspects of seasonal changes (the order, names, and conditions etc).  This idea immediately popped into my head and I believe it's a great example how the arts can be used in a classroom to promote learning of difficult concepts.  Oddly enough, during the process of this project, I learned that the girls did indeed understand the concepts of seasons - the changes, order, colors, conditions, etc.  But working together on this project afforded us a lot of time to have a conversation about seasons.  We talked a lot about the colors of the seasons (which colors would best represent fall for example).  We found pictures from magazines and then used the "stuff" from the collage drawer.  Here is their work.  

5th grade theme collage

My example.  Note that in this initial
 example I did not include the
required background mounting.
This is another idea gleaned from the Donna Hugh Video Collection collection. I decided on this project for the 5th graders because I felt it would benefit them in some of their future classroom work (science posters for examples).  

My fifth-graders are an interesting group. They tend to do the least amount of work required unless their feet are held to the fire. Even some of my most skilled art students needed an extra push in this project. I had to get very specific with my expectations on their work.

The first group just slapped things together and I made them all begin again. Their initial work was sloppy and uncreative. It was very frustrating. I like to keep out of the way in the creative process but it was clear that I needed to be a bit more demanding in this case. And so in this case, I dictated certain elements that must be present in their work.  
They had to select a single theme and represent that theme with two pictures from a magazine. Those had to be mounted on construction paper and trimmed in an attractive way. One picture had to be placed on the left of the larger work, the other on the right.
We talked about balance, unity, material choice and placement, and using the space in their work to make it look attractive and inviting. I also talked about the effective use of line variety in their work and that the power of lines can invite the viewer to observe all aspects of an artwork. It was very much a hand's on approach and the results were very satisfying. After things were heading in the right direction, I was able to slip back into my facilitating role.  With very few exceptions, the students got serious about this project and did a great job. I was very impressed in the end.  Here are a few more examples.

Here's one I think is exemplary.  :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

4th grade collage

This is yet another idea from the Donna Hugh's Art Video collection. I mention her only to give proper credit for the idea. But as I have stated before in this blog, I really do like her art videos. They have helped me with new ideas and have inspired me toward new ideas of my own. From the website is this description:

"In In Lesson 3, “Tissue Paper Collage,” Donna creates a desert scene by tearing colored tissue paper and affixing the pieces with very thin liquid glue. By layering and overlapping some of the paper, she shows how deeper hues and different colors can be achieved."

The best thing about his particular project was that it led to other ideas (which I'll share later.) I'll end with this last part. I had displayed my example on the board and a 1st grader decided that she'd like to make that same project. She's a great little artist and her is her interpretation. (on the right)