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)