Thursday, January 31, 2013

Monochromatic Ice Cream Cones: Part 1

As part of my VanGogh unit, I am having my 5th graders paint tints and shades ice cream cones so they can see the range of colors you get just by adding white or black to a color.   

During yesterdays class, I let each table choose one color to use.  I should have realized this before I did it, but it was a slight mistake on my part, as I ended up with three tables who chose green, two blues, and an orange. As they started mixing their shades, the table that chose orange started commenting on how brown the orange started to get.  It was at that point that I realized I should have gone about the color choices a little bit differently, so I changed it up for today's class.

Today, I made sure each of the primary and secondary colors were handed out.  Each table received an egg flat with one hole filled with red, for example, for each table member.  There was enough white for each person, and then a hole filled with black.  I had the students draw out 10 ice cream scoops real quick and then they painted one scoop the regular color.

Then, we moved onto tints.  I had students take a small amount of their color and add it to the white, paint a scoop, and repeat until they had painted 5 tints.  Before we moved onto shades, we discussed how it's always easier to make something darker but difficult to make something lighter without wasting paint.  So, I had the students take a small amount of black on their brush, and mix it in with the remaining regular color they had left.  We repeated the process for the last four scoops of ice cream.  

I demonstrated mine on the board using the sky blue tempera paint, whereas the blue table used regular blue paint.  This way, they will be able to see the difference between the two blues. 

Next class, we will cut out and put our ice creams together on top of a drawn cone.  I'll have the students put their ice cream scoops in order from darkest to lightest.  Then, in the class that follows, we will look at the six colors side by side and have a critique of the colors.  We'll discuss what happens to colors like yellow and orange when you add black.  We will continue our Common Core connection in this unit by reading the short article in the September issue of Scholastic Arts about Picasso's blue period guitarist.  We'll talk a little about emotions in color, and then have students choose which monochromatic color scheme they want to use for their painting.  And FINALLY, we will get to painting like Van Gogh!

Flag Silhouettes

My second graders have started finishing up their final project in my Jasper Johns unit.  I only have three more students in class A who need to finish up, and then hopefully, class B will finish tomorrow!

For the second part of this unit, we reviewed what the American flag looked like and we talked about the symbolism behind the flag.  I showed students what the flag used to look like and we discussed the changes it went through.

Initially for this project, I was going to have the students trace their silhouettes with a partner, but they weren't being very successful.  I think that was in part due to the lack of flat wall space that I have available in my room for everyone to work at once.  I ended up calling students up, one at a time, to my smart board and I used the light from my projector to trace their shadows on their paper.  

I had the students paint the flag inside their silhouette, and then we painted the outside all black.  I took this as an opportunity to review how to paint with tempera paint.  We talked a little bit about craftsmanship and how to paint without making the solid black background streaky.  Some students grasped this concept very well, others not so much, but they all still look great!

For the final part of this project, I asked students to write a 5-sentence paragraph about the flag.  As a group, we brainstormed words about the flag and I wrote them on the smart board so that students wouldn't spell words wrong.  Unfortunately, I don't feel like I can devote a lot of classes towards the writing portion...we spent one full class period, and then most of today's class writing our paragraphs.  Some students did great on their own while others needed one-on-one help.  Eventually, I stopped worrying so much about spelling and punctuation and focused more on the content of their sentences.  I feel like this is a great way to incorporate the Common Core.  The shifts for the Common Core are all about getting kids to do more reading and writing, especially from factual information.  This helped the students reflect upon what they learned about the flag, recall some facts, and discuss symbolism.

Here are some of the finished products!  You can check out the rest of their silhouettes and paragraphs on Artsonia.  They'll be up in the next few days!

In Progress: 4th Grade Pop-Art Portraits

I just had to share these because they are turning out awesome!  I decided to go with a Ben-Day dot sheet to put underneath the drawings to assist in the dot patterns.  Some of the students were STILL having a hard time seeing the dots through the paper, but I just think they weren't trying hard enough, or they had too many erasers smudges to see through the paper.  Either way, some decided to use the windows and a small light box that I have in my room.  Since they were actually working, I let them be!

I also decided to stay with the Sharpie markers instead of paint and for the most part, I'm liking this class's results!  I gave them such high remarks on their projects.  I told them flat out that portrait drawing is not one of my favorites, but they have me so excited for this project because they are doing so well!  I showed their drawings to the other class of 4th graders, and the kids knew who each drawing was of without me telling them!  Woohoo!  I'm thinking one, maybe two more classes and we'll be done with these and ready to start our portraits of teachers.

What's your view on sketchbooks in elementary school?

Now that art class counts towards report card grades, I feel like I can hopefully start sending home some "homework" assignments with students and give them the opportunity to have their own sketchbook, something I know a lot of the students in my district wouldn't get at home because of their parent's income.  I don't, however, want to bog the students down with MORE homework on top of what they already do, so this is what I think I want to do.

I want to give weekly sketchbook assignments as a way to enhance a grade, not take away from it.  My thought is that they will be purely optional and those who do them will get a boost to their grade but it won't harm those who don't want to do them.  I know what you're thinking...if they have a sketchbook with optional assignments, they're not going to do them.  I found these book binding kits on-line and ordered a kit to do with my extended day kids.  Yesterday I had my art club kids make a book for themselves so I could give them a sketch assignment to work on while we finish up the mural.  I'm hoping that if the kids actually make their own sketchbook and design the front cover, they'll actually want to keep up with it more.

Eventually, we will do a mixed media collage to design the front of our sketchbook covers...and that's what I would plan to do for their first project next a cover that represents themselves.

I also want to treat the sketchbook more like a sketch journal.  It could be a place for students to write poetry or short stories and illustrate their words if they want to.  I plan on giving sketch assignments that will somehow incorporate words, like a regular journal, and a sketch of some sort.  If they don't do it, they won't lose points, but if they do the assignment, they can earn extra credit points on assignments.  Some assignments may link with things we do in class, some may not.  I'm thinking of doing this for 5th and 6th grade next year to see how it goes...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Preparing for YAM!

Today I had a meeting with my principal to get some of my ideas approved for Youth Art Month in March.  I hate to admit it, but I haven't done anything for YAM in the last two years I taught, nor did I really realize it existed until I started following blogs!  In particular, it was Adventures of an Art Teacher's blog that first introduced me to YAM.  That particular post is also where I'm going to steal my first idea for YAM from!  I'm going to turn one of my bulletin boards into the YAM logo and invite students and teachers alike to reflect upon what they're favorite thing about art is/was and write it in the logo.

After attending a workshop at the NYSATA conference back in November, I was really inspired to do some YAM activities.  While I won't be able to live my dream of having our first annual parent-student art night at school due to time restraints (that will be next year's goal), I have some great ideas that my principal gladly accepted and expanded on that we are going to attempt this year.

In March, we have three full weeks of school (the last week, we have Friday off for Good Friday), so I plan on doing 3 1/2 weeks of "stuff".

The first week will be an art spirit week to kick things off.
     Monday:  Wear primary colors.
     Tuesday:  Wear secondary colors.
     Wednesday:  Wear complementary colors.
     Thursday:  Wear a warm or cool colored outfit.
     Friday: Crazy patterns day.

Then, on week two, Friday will be a big dress up day...dress like a piece of pop art!  In other words, wear popular logos, popular style clothing, polka-dots/stripes, etc.

Week three on Friday will be dress like your favorite artist or artwork day, and that's the day we're both really excited for!  Sometimes, teachers at our school don't like to go above and beyond what they are supposed to be doing, so we decided this might be a good way to practice linking Common Core between the specials.  I plan on working with our librarian to set aside all the books about artists that we have in the library.  We're going to ask that each teacher choose an artist to read about in class, and then I'll follow up with an art project in each class based on that artist.  I'll also send home a packet with students with some photos of popular artists/artworks and suggestions as to how they can dress up like that artist/artwork.

Next Monday, at our staff meeting, I'm going to introduce all of this to the teachers, so they know it is coming up, and then at our staff meeting in March, I'm going to set up stations for teachers to participate in art themselves based on a few artists, just to pull them in, get them in the mood, and hopefully make them more willing to participate through their classrooms.  I'm thinking some Jackson Pollock action painting, some Andy Warhol hand prints, some quick Monet waterlilies paintings, and maybe some monochromatic Van Goghs might be some quick and easy stations to set up.  Brainstorming is still in the works for this, but those are my beginning ideas.  This will be the first time teachers will be participating in something like this at our district, EVER so it's quite exciting!

I'm also dabbling with the idea of making random Facebook page bulletin boards for around the school for some of those famous artists...

It's a beautiful day for puppies!

Finally, a great day outside.  It's not too cold, not too warm; fresh snowfall and puppies!  Today happens to be a day 6 for me, so I was actually able to go outside and enjoy the fresh snow with my pups!  Until 1:30, that is, when I do need to go into school to do the extended day program (we'll be glazing our slump/hump pots that we did a few weeks ago...more pictures to come later tonight!  I'm going to try out the Mayco cobblestone glazes after school.).  I also took my camera outside to try and get some good shots...though I didn't venture off the auto option...too much wet snow on my gloves and too much thinking on my part to try and change shutter speeds and such.

Love the in-motion Daphne in the background!

This is 1 1/2 year old shepherd mix.

"I'm smilings mom, honest!"

Beautiful Molly!  We call her Frosty Head during the winter...she's always coming inside COVERED in snow!

I LOVE THIS SHOT!  It's like...Where's Daphne???

Monday, January 28, 2013

Jasper Johns & Random Acts of Kindness

This post is a two-part"er"...First, I want to share this short little article that will be going out to the local newspapers!

During the month of December, elementary students at Edwards-Knox School participated in a “Random Acts of Kindness” challenge.  They were asked to do a random act of kindness for someone without expecting anything in return.  As part of the challenge, the elementary counselor, Mrs. Deleel and art teacher, Mrs. Impey, challenged the students to a penny war to benefit the Potsdam Humane Society.  Over the course of four weeks, students raised $704 for PHS!  Students also brought in donations of pet treats and cleaning supplies for the shelter and a class of 3rd grade students created wire sculptures of cats and dogs to hang in the shelter.  The 1st grade class, pictured here, brought in the most change during the challenge, $171!  Congratulations students at EK!  You should be proud of what you did together!


Secondly, I would like to share our finished Kindergarten Jasper Johns projects.  We created two artworks in this unit.  First, after the introduction to Jasper Johns, we created a simple 0-9 number artwork.  I taught students how to turn their numbers into bubble numbers.  We drew the numbers with markers and then colored the background with crayons.  This project most definitely covers COMMON CORE MATH standards with the younger students.  Recognizing numbers, writing their numbers, and putting the numbers in order.  This project could be changed in an infinite number of ways...count by two's...count by 5's, count by 10's...even numbers, odd numbers, etc. etc. 

For the final project, I had students fold their own paper to make 16 squares and we numbered 0-9 again.  When we ran out of numbers, we started back at 0.  For this project, I introduced oil pastels. 

I did this project with the special needs class.  These two students have very poor motor skills, so instead of drawing their numbers, they had to trace a number pattern.