It’s been a while since I posted work coming out of the self-directed classes with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Only one of these pieces was based on a demonstration I presented as an option (Found object face, 7th from the top). Sometimes I worry that the quality of work or themes explored might suffer in a self-directed setting, that students won’t challenge themselves or think as creatively without more teacher direction. After searching through work for this post I feel reassured that this is not the case. Cause check out this awesome stuff! More to come soon around how I assess a self directed art class.
First graders just completed one of my all time favorite projects: Eric Carle Collages. First students create patterned tissue paper with tempera paint. We use a variety of brushes and stamps. Then we use the patterned paper to create animals, plants, or bugs. This year we have a dragon in the mix, a butterfly drinking nectar, and a pregnant cat (at the bottom). AMAZING!
Kindergarteners do an aquatic study in science at our school. They have an aquarium in their classroom, they visit the local aquarium, they learn about different bodies of water, and a variety of aquatic animals. In art we practiced drawing a variety of ocean animals from reference photos while working on an ocean mural. We used watercolors for the sand and water (adding salt to create texture). Then we used tempera to paint seaweed and stamp coral. Last each Kinder group chose an ocean animal and we used printmaking foam to create stamps.
Choice art is now in full effect with 4th, 3rd, and 2nd graders. Every class I teach is even more exciting than before when I led the project. I still demo a lesson, but when I move about the room asking kids about their work it’s a unique conversation every time because they are all working on something different. Before I would walk up and ask what are working on? And of course I already knew. They were working on the project I told them to work on. Don’t get me wrong there is still a time and place for a more guided project. For example 4th graders are doing marbling this week. 2nd graders will be creating some transportation printmaking projects later in the year. But man the diverse work the kids are creating is astounding!
lay relief letters. Clay is such an engaging material to work with. I want to make sure every grade gets an experience with clay even our kindergarteners. However clay can be hard to manipulate for such tiny hands and many people opt to use alternative modeling clays like model magic. I use to do this to, but I began to feel that my kindergarteners were missing out. So I created this lesson full of small manageable steps (INCLUDING SCORING AND SLIPPING CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!).
We learn how to mold and manipulate clay through guided instruction. We learn to roll spheres and cylinders. We learn to pinch, poke, pull apart and flatten our clay. Then students have the rest of the time to experiment independently.
Day 2: Making an ABC Plaque
Every single step is a separate demonstration, so the kindergarteners are doing a lot of back and forth to the demo table. First students flatten the clay with their hands and rolling pins. Then I trace a square or rectangle onto their clay. They next use a pizza cutter to follow the line and cut out their shape. Next the kids write their letter into the clay gently but big. After they roll out a long snake. Then we score and slip the snake and the letter we wrote in the clay (they do this pretty well, but I do go around and make sure they are scratching perpendicular to the letter and not just dig into the letter). Last they take their snakes and make attach them atop their scored letters.
onochromatic landscape paintings. These beauties were created by our third graders. Man oh man was it a rigorous project! Students learned about the different parts of a landscape: horizon line, background, middle ground and foreground. They looked at Ansel Adams landscape photography for inspiration. Then they learned about tints (a color mixed with white), shades (a color mixed with black) and tones (a color mixed with grey). They practiced these during a few art classes with a mini project about geometric and organic shapes. When students were good and ready they began painting.