Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Horses and Elephants

The Book

My second graders learned about Eric Carle.  We looked at the book "The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse." The book was a easy read, but does a great job of using warm and cool colors in contrasting fashion with each page. Most of the pictures have a warm colored animal and a cool colored ground or vis-versa. For the lesson we looked at two pages, the cover page with the horse and another page with an orange elephant.
The students started out by coloring a 12x18 piece of paper with either warm colors or cool colors. Warm colors if they were doing the elephant, and cool colors if they were making the horse. The next class the students that used cool colored crayons used cool colored paint. The students painted over the entire paper and then used various scraping tools to at scratch and texture marks. The students love Eric Carle because of this scratching technique. The next class, I made multiple tracers for each animal... TRACERS (I know what your thinking, but the students drew things too small when I had them draw animals with basic shapes). The tracers were put on the back of the paper and then traced and cut out. The students were really forced to think for this step because they had to lay out all the pieces before they traced to make sure they could fit all the parts/ pieces. On a large white sheet a of paper the students made the ground line and scratched / scraped the paint just like they did with the animal. On the final class the students put together their animals using a picture from the book to reference (GREAT PROBLEM SOLVING). After they put the animal together, the students glued and added details with oil pastels. The students eyes were great when they put that last piece together and it looked like they animal on the picture... a sense of accomplishment! Thanks Eric Carle for the idea!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hand-Made Santa's ... LOVE Them!

A little break from my classroom... My girlfriend's grandfather makes these hand-made santa's every year for all the grandchildren. They look great, but as an artist and one that grew up with a carpenter father, I appreciate the time and tedious detail added to each one of these. The Santa with the lantern has over 20 different pieces. Each piece has to be cut, sanded, glued, and painted or stained. I love my girlfriend very much, but I must admit now that we have a house I love her even more because I am able to put these amazing works of art in my house over the holidays. Bill, your work is amazing and much appreciated!

WEAVING + Pouches + Electronic Devices = Excited 5th Graders

My fifth graders just finished weaving... yay!!!! It surprised me last year and still this year how much kids love to weave. We start out with the making of our cardboard looms with 1/2 inch spacing for the warp strings. The students string the warp strings and then start weaving UNDER OVER UNDER OVER. They all calm down and really concentrate on what they are doing. I have heard of teachers putting in educational movies or biographies of an artist to entertain students (Might try that next year). Either way, my fifth graders loved weaving and loved making the weaving into a pouch to hold their electronic divides. I let the students choose how wide they wanted their pouch to be before starting. The  narrow 9 warp strings wide (4-5 inches) would hold things like an ipod or cell phone. The 12-14 warp string wide (6-7 inches) could hold a reading tablet or ipad mini. Once I told then that they were making something they could use I had then hooked. The lesson took 10 class periods (35 min. periods)   from start to finish. It is a lot of time if you only see your kids once a week. I have the great fortune of seeing my fifth graders every day for one semester... this has given me the time to do more in depth lessons like this. 


Students finished the weaving and tied warp strings at the top and bottom of the weaving. We folded the bottom up towards the top of the weaving (all the way to the top matching the corners, or 3/4 of the way giving a flap to possibly fold over and cover the opening with a button). Starting on the bottom corner of one of the sides we loop stitched with yarn or thread till we got to the top. At the top the students tied the remaining string to a near by warm string knotting it and forming a nice tight seal. Repeat on the other side. After the students finish both sides, turn the pouch inside-out. Finished...buttons and straps would then follow (I didn't teach the button or strap step... had students who finished early, push their creativity and problem solving.

Other students made purses, wallets (pictures coming, had to attach two weavings together. He is problem solving :) ), pouches with buttons and flaps. Very pleased with my students ability to take what I have put out there and push that idea to a new level and challenge themselves! Proud teacher!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Abstract + Indian Corn + Window Drawings

This is my attempt to introduce my third grade students to "window drawing" and "still-lifes." I gave each student their own indian chunk of corn to draw, as well as a 2x2 inch window opening cardboard square. The students started out by taping the window to an interesting part of the corn and started drawing what they saw ( hard, but great practice) on a 12x12 inch piece of paper.
With little direction, I had the students start drawing right after they taped the window on the corn. I figured the students would draw the image at lease four times smaller than they should... didn't expect them to draw it smaller than real life size on the corn haha. After a while I stopped the students and had them walk around and look at one another's drawings. I followed this up with a demonstration showing them how to break the corn into sections / rows and fill those rows with irregular oval shapes (not everyone is the same size or shape). With a little MATH we counted the number of rows and columns inside the window opening. Lightly with our pencils we drew in a checker board pattern with columns and rows. The students drew in kernels overlapping each row and columns with different sizes.
The students finished the lesson with crayons, coloring each kernel with at least three different colors looking at their corn for color inspiration. The lesson came a long way since the first drawings with little direction. Happy with the abstract final look!