Thursday, May 31, 2012

Leonardo Da Vinci Flying Machines



Rocket Man


My fourth graders learned about Leonardo Da Vinci's many talents. I have to give mad props to my buddy Derek, an art teacher in Peshtigo WI ( for this lesson. Derek did this with his fourth graders (check out his blog) and used paper straws and other different materials. I used wood dowels, paper, string, twisty-ties, plates, hot glue, rice paper, cardboard, and plastic. I started the lesson by introducing the students to Da Vinci's many talents... science, military, and artist. We focused on his two studies on flight and their drawn models. The students examined the drawing, and then looked at drawn models from the Wright Brothers and airplane models drawn up till today.
The students started by drawing their own blueprints showing a side, top, and front or back views. After their 2-D model was approved, the students started building their own flying machines. The students used hot glue and tape to connect pieces together. I encouraged problem solving and only aided students when needed in the building process as another pair of hands. At the end of each class, I would ask if students would like me to show them a technique or process that would aid them in their building next class. This helped me to avoid questions during that next class.
As you can see the students all created unique designs that were either inspired by Da Vinci or modern instruments of flight. Loved this lesson and how much growth I saw in my students. All students (male and female) loved working with the hot glue (low temp) and building something 3-D. Will definitely repeat this project next year.

Still Life Drawing... Pop Artish Ending

Student still-life drawings
Student still-life drawings

Students still-life drawings

Colored (1 of 4)

Colored ( 1of 4 )

Finished work... The four copies put together

My third graders created their own still-life drawings from objects found in our classroom. The students spent a full class rotating from table to table drawing different objects at each table for 5 minute intervals. The second class the students spent 15 minutes on a warm-up drawing, and then 25 minutes on a final draft drawing. The students started drawing the tallest image first to make sure that objects being drawn would take up most of the paper. We talked about horizon lines and the fact that a round bottle doesn't have a straight / flat bottom. The students finished the drawing, and I took them to the copier and  made four copies of each. The students came in the next class and were introduced to pop art and Andy Warhol... after the brief powerpoint the students began to color. Each copy is colored using different colors in different sections. 

My students blew me away with how well they drew from observation!

Paper Mache Animals

 From toilet paper rolls to paper mache covered animals

 Cheetah (student wanted to make the cheetah look like it was running)




My second grade finished off the year with a 3-D project with animals. The classroom teacher came to me over a month ago with an idea to work together and create a lesson that coincided with her animal unit. With only a limited amount of time (four 45 minute classes) I stayed away from clay and decided to attack it with paper mache. We started out with a 2-D drawing of the animal (students brought in books and pictures found). The second class we all started out with a half of a Pringles can and six toilet paper tubes. The students figured out how they would use the given supplies to create their designs. With the penguin and fish I allowed the students to use a full Pringles can. Using tape the students connected each piece to the "center body" Pringles can. The third class I asked to teacher if I could keep the students for an additional 45 minutes over my lunch to cover the animals in paper mache. 
Paper Mache Directions
I got this technique from my cooperating teacher during student teaching (2010). Each student received a brown paper bag from the grocery store. The students cut the bag two inches from the bottom. The bottom remaining piece becomes a TRAY to hold the paper mache pieces. The top paper piece becomes the paper used to cover the animal structure.  The students rip the top paper piece into four smaller pieces and crumble each of them into small balls (repeat eight more times). By crumbling up the paper the students soften the paper and have a little fun. When it is time to paper mache the students come up to me one at a time with their paper tray and ONE piece of crumbles paper. I grab the paper and dunk it into a gallon bucket of paper mache paste. After I take the paper out I squeeze it (removing most of the unneeded paste) and place it on the paper tray. The students go back to their seats and unravel the paste covered paper ... tearing it into smaller pieces if need to cover the animal skeleton. When the students need more paper they grab another dry crumbled up paper and bring it to me in their paper tray. repeat till animal is covered.

Students brought their pictures and books along with them to the last class to aid them in painting their animals. We painted the animals with one color at first, covering the whole animal with paint. Once the paint was dry, the students added details with multiple colors of paint. The classroom teacher added the eyes and yarn for the horse main and tail. With only four classes, I think the students did a fantastic job!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Monday, May 28, 2012

Relaxing Before The Last Day of School

My girlfriend Maggie and I sitting in front of our teepee campsite...

Inside the teepee

With one day left of school, I spent the Memorial Day weekend relaxing in front of a fire listening to some good tunes. We stayed in a National Forest campground only ten miles from my apartment. It was so close, that the idea of getting away seemed like cheating. The campsite we settled on was a Teepee site in a nice secluded area. We had a great time, and the site was so awesome that the fact that it was only ten minutes from our apartment didn't matter. Three days of relaxation and I am ready for the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL tomorrow!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fish Prints



End of the year fun... The kindergarten made the background with tissue paper and watered down glue the first class, ... second class we painted a plastic fish with paint. The students pressed the tissue covered paper over the top of the fish and pressed down / rubbed the fish. The student went crazy when they lifted the paper and saw the imprint of the fish. I am teaching an "Under the Ocean" summer school class this summer and wanted to test this fish idea out with the students. Pretty happy with the results. Had some difficulties with students pushing the paper as they rubbed the fish down. Helped when I put the paper down and held it in place as they rubbed. I will show the summer school pictures when I finish.

Back of The Head.... Wow

I worked with the fifth grade teachers for this lesson. My fifth grade classes were making all about me books in their classroom. We created  a FRONT and BACK cover for their books. On the front is a self portrait from the front, and the back cover is surprisingly the BACK of their head. The front is your standard self-portrait, but the students learned a ton about the back of their. I had girls drawing themselves with their hair down and their neck showing, and boys with hair higher than their ears on their back... didn't foresee this ahead of the project. The students learned a lot, and so did their teacher. 
We drew the pictures with pencil and then finished them with colored pencil. 

Castles... Way Better Than Drawing A Shed Mr. L

CASTLES!!!! I covered my architecture standard with a lesson on castles. I did not re-invent the wheel on this one, but I brought in over 15 books on castles from all over the world. The students were exposed to castles and palaces from England, India, France, China to Afghanistan... the students combined multiple styles to make their own castle design. My rules were: horizon line, hills in background, color scheme, and NO SUNS! The students had fun and learned a lot about brick and rock drawing. Enjoy the pics!

Best quote from a second grader this year: "Mr L. castles are way cooler to draw than barns and sheds like we did last year!"

Fauvism ... Self- Portraits

I introduced the students to the artist Henry Matisse and the Fauvist movement. We talked about the colors Matisse used in the painting and portrait "Woman With A Hat." I had collected a number of apple and orange cartons since I student taught in 2010 with the help of my Cooperating teacher Deb (Thank you!). The students painted the cartons all one color. The next class we talked about drawing the face, and ended the class by awkwardly drawing it onto the carton. The students drew lines on the face breaking it into multiple sections that would allow them to paint multiple colors. They spent the next two classes painting. My only requirement for color was to put green somewhere on the face near the nose.
The students really enjoyed the looseness of the lesson, and how it wasn't all about making the portrait realistic. I would have ended the lesson by outlining the face with black sharpie marker, but we ran out of classes because of the end of the year and multiple class cancellations due to field trips. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Slab People


My fifth grade art club just finished their final project of the year with a lesson on clay, self-portraits, and clay slabs. They created these slab people in four classes (we meet once a week). We made stencils out of paper and used them to cut out basic body / clothing shapes out of clay. The students carved in the detail on the face and clothing and then used water color to paint the clay in its bisque form. We covered the pieces in a shiny clear varnish and connected the pieces with pipe cleaners and wooden and plastic beads. The students had a blast and the slab people were fun to make and are fun to look at. 

I want to give a shout out to my cooperating teacher Deb for the idea when I was student teaching two years ago... Thanks!