Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Few More Apples

I found a few more photos of our apples to share. I love looking at these and will be sorry when I have to give them back to our students!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

From Art to Story

As 1st graders worked on their Calder-like moving birds this week, I wanted a related story that I could read to them as they finished. Nothing came to mind, so I started thinking about making my sample bird into a story patterned a bit after Cindy Ward's, Cookie's Week and Eric Carle's, The Hungry Caterpillar.

At 7:00 Petey woke up. It was raining. What should he do?

In my version, the bird (named Petey after a parakeet I had when I was 6 years old) starts his day indoors doing various things around the house, but later notices the open door and you can imagine what happens next.
At 12:00, Petey noticed that the door was open. I wonder where Petey will go now?
My childhood parakeet actually did escape through an open door. We tried to lure him back by putting the cage with his partner in it out in the back yard and, surprisingly, an entirely new parakeet flew to the cage. She definitely wanted to stay, so we welcomed her in and called her Emma. She actually was smarter, tamer and cuter than the original!! True story!!!

Anyway, back to the art. I suggested that the kids use their new art bird as the main character for their own story. They could either take pictures, upload to a computer and write text or they could draw pictures and hand write their text. Backgrounds could be the actual photo background, or they could draw a background to fit their text.

Our Spring Break starts next week, so I thought this might be a fun activity to do with parents at home. I put a few sample pages in our hallway bulletin board space in hopes that some families would like the idea and give it a try:)
I know this is too small for you to read, but it gives you the idea.
I tried making a copy of 2 of my sample pages as a Google doc to see if you can access. We'll see if it works. Click HERE>

Monday, March 26, 2012

Calder with 1st Graders

I have definitely been on a "Calder kick" this year after seeing a great exhibition last summer in Newport Beach. This week, after seeing a brief clip of a video on Discovery Education explaining how Calder (at age 8) made his first animals as a gift for his parents, first graders will be creating their own kinetic (moving) bird sculpture.
My sample:

Here's the plan:
Each child gets a pre-cut circle (about 3" diameter) folded in half for the body, which will rock. These were from old wall art calendars that I have  a LOT of. This was a good way to make use of them. They also get a piece of galvanized steel wire, 24 guage (about 7 inch length), a small piece of folded copy paper (1  1/2 inches by 2") for the head, and a 4 1/2" X 2 1/2" piece of copy paper for the tail feathers. This may sound like a lot of preparation, but it really didn't take too long.
Students insert the wire from the underneath side and twist the wire til it holds. I pre-bent the wire at the point where it needs to bend back towards the neck. I anticipated kids having trouble knowing how much wire to leave for the twisty part. Frankly, I am a bit anxious about that twisting, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that most of them will be able to do it without help:))
Once the neck is assembled, we draw the head on one side of the fold and cut it out. Then they can draw a matching head on the other side. The bottom part above is the fold line. That is where the wire will be sandwiched when we glue
The tail feathers are pretty straightforward. Students  color...

fold into narrow strips, cut a point on one side and then cut apart on the fold lines.
The head gets glued first. Notice that it faces the body. This is important when adjusting for the balance point as kids glue tail feathers.
Tail feathers are glued last, making adjustments in the neck for balance.
I'll take photos of the kids at work so you can see if this all works!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

1st Grade Apple Still Life Results

This week we broke out the liquid watercolors and finished our apple still life paintings that I wrote about a few weeks ago. Students outlined their apples and plate with black to keep the watercolors from running all over the place. One little guy said, "It's like we are building a wall of wax."
     "Exactly!!" I replied.
We painted the plate first using yellow and blue. Then I removed the blue from the tables and replaced it with red for the a different colored background. It always amazes me how kids oooh and ahh when the yellow and blue mix to form green:)

 I grabbed a few random examples for this bulletin board, but I think I would like any one of the kids' works framed and hanging in my house!!!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

1st Grade Wildflowers

This week we put the final touches on our lupine paintings by roughly outlining blossoms with marker. You can almost smell the blossoms in the Art Room:)) The lesson for this is posted earlier in the month HERE. It would be a good one for Kindergarten, too:)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Camera Practice at the LA Marathon

Santa Monica, California
I know this has little to do with art education, but I rolled out of bed this morning just in time to grab the camera and walk over to see the elite winners of the LA Marathon approach the finish line and had to share:) These shots are a few blocks before the finish. We had rain all day yesterday, so it was a surprise to see this glorious day today!!

Motorcycles with lights flashing precede the lead runners.

Here comes the elite women's frontrunner. She is the first to head for the line.
This is the car that precedes the elite men's leader.
And there he goes -- I was a bit late on the snap for this one because I was trying to remember how to set the continous setting. By the time I remembered he was flying past me!! Lesson learned -- next time adjust settings in advance:))
Now that I've had my adrenaline rush for the day, I'm going to get a cup of coffee and the paper and start my Sunday the way I usually do -- a little news, the crossword puzzle and ..... maybe even a little art:)) 
Happy Sunday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Springtime Lupines

This week our first graders began their impressions of lupines. I saw a similar lesson for kindergarteners posted awhile ago on Artsonia here. We tweaked the original lesson here and there and I will post the finished results next week. Meanwhile, here is what we have done so far...

These are on the drying rack until next week when we add details.

I started with a smartboard presentation with lots of pictures of lupines. I had the kids tell me what they noticed about the flowers ( colors, shapes, leaves, stems, etc.). I also mentioned that if we finished early enough I would tell them the story of "the lupine lady," Miss Rumphius (which I did have time to read).

We started with donated illustration board cut to 4 1/2" X 12" (but paper would work fine), pastels and oil pastels in warm colors.
After explaining the difference between pastels and oil pastels, I had the kids apply a layer of chalk first. Then they sort of scribble-scrabbled (is that a real word??) oil pastel for some texture.

Next, we painted stems and leaves. They had images on the smartboard to refer to. We then removed the green paint and the pastels from the table and it was on to the blossoms.
I demonstrated how to dip a thumb into the paint cup and then make large thumbprints, first with purple or rose and then with white on top. Students pretty much interpreted these stalks in their own way as you can see from the examples drying below.
Next week we will do some outlining of the blob shapes with a black marker and we will be done. I'll post the results:)
The main message of this book is the goal of "doing something to make the world a more beautiful place." Miss Rumphius does this by sowing lupine seeds wherever she walks and then seeing the flowers spread over the countryside as time goes on. Kids could really make the connection that they had added something of beauty today with their own artwork. Everybody left the art room smiling today:)))

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Apple Still Life

I rarely use a lesson I find on-line without tweaking it a bit, but I recently found two still life lessons that I absolutely LOVE just the way they are. One is a bird's eye view of apples modeled after Matisse, which we are doing this week. It was done at Prospect School on Artsonia (here). I think the only thing we did differently was to "paint" the apples with a spoon instead of a brush.

Today I began my lesson playing a game with the class. I hid an apple in my "mystery box" and kids tried to guess what was in the box by asking "yes" or "no" questions. Then we moved the Smartboard to take a look at apple still life paintings by Matisse, Cezanne and Renoir. The final slide showed this bird's eye still life of a plate of apples that the student's used as the visual for their own work.

First, they traced around a foam plate to make their plate. We used the plastic lids to our paint portion cups to trace apples on the plate and to the side of the plate.

Instead of using paintbrushes, I showed the students how we can use other tools to apply tempera paint -- in this case, the back of a plastic spoon. I asked that they swirl the spoon in a circular motion, trying to leave part of each apple white. We let these dry. As you can see above, we had an overflow of drying art and I hung some out in the patio (in the strong wind!!!) to dry. We had a little time at the end of class for me to read the kids an "apple" story. What a great day!!

Next week, students will outline the plate with black crayon and then complete the plate and background with watercolors painting in a shadow for the plate and apples.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kinetic Art Results

I FINALLY got some of our 2nd graders' kinetic art posted in the hallway. Two teachers walking by saw a resemblance between the hanging pieces and jewelry. I hadn't noticed it, but they were absolutely right!!! I have to say, it was a bit of a challenge to mount these pieces behind glass that doesn't allow for much depth as the blowing wind threatened to unhook the wires and send the pieces flying down the hall!! The lesson for this was last week's post:) Have a good week!