Monday, March 30, 2015

Lines in a Ring

 Taking our cue from Kandinsky's "Circles in a Circle", first graders created "Lines in a Ring" last week. I started and ended the lesson with Jeanette Winter's, Henri's Scissors, a great little book about Matisse's collages.

I started by showing kids how to work with their desk partner to fold a piece of paper so that the corners remain together and the fold is even. One person holds the 2 matched corners and the other does a "finger walk" from the open end down to the fold and then creases right and left. (Sorry I didn't get a photo of this process -- it's easier than it sounds!!) Even with my warning and demonstrating AND emphasizing to start and end ON THE FOLD, we had a few who had to re-do!!!

 Then we used painted papers from the previous week to cut and position creative lines. Students worked on the back side, so the hardest thing to remember here was to put the dot of glue on the ends of the PAINTED side of the paper strips. They also put a dot of glue between the intersecting lines.

 The last step was to choose a color on which to mount their creation:))

 Looks like this batch chose yellow or blue backings -- I actually had lots of color choices available. 

It was fun to see how students attacked the arrangement of their lines. Some were symetrical all the way and others embraced asymetrical or totally random.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

First Grade Fish Collage

I'm pretty sure I could be happy doing "fish" art projects as a total unit for a whole year!! There are just so many options for kids!! The fact that I had A TON of painted papers and yarn on hand was the deciding factor for making these fish:)) 

Oops -- I forgot to rotate this!!

I first saw this cool art at the Lone Tree Community Schools site on Artsonia and knew we had to give it a try. (See their artwork here.) Our first graders began by viewing Fish Eyes by Lois Ehlert and discussing what a fish skeleton looks like.

We also took a look at Ehlert's book, The Scraps Book, that tells a lot about her life and her methods of approaching writing a book. GREAT RESOURCE!!!

Students started with 2 pre-cut rectangles of painted paper (2" X 3"). I demonstrated how to cut a large triangle from the rectangle by marking halfway down one long side and cutting diagonally from there to each opposing corner. That way we ended up with triangles that were proportionally large enough for the size of our over-all art (9" X 12" black board).

They glued their yarn to connect the head to the tail and then added fish bones above and below the yarn. I demonstrated starting with 3 "bone" rectangles, laying them out (spacing from head to tail) and then cutting them in the middle to put on either side of the yarn (this was a chance to practice math, ie. "With your fingers, show how many bones we have now.") I then cut each of the six pieces lengthwise to make the bones skinnier, "Show how many bones we have now." Asking kids to start with a limited number of papers prevents the mad grab for far more than they will ever have time to use!!!

Some trimmed their bones to be shorter near the tail fin and some followed my lead and cut their "bone" papers thinner to make skinny bones. This was a GREAT opportunity to practice cutting skills and gave me the chance to circulate and help with how to hold the scissors correctly. Also, it's a good project for perfecting "a dot is a lot" with the glue.

We talked about the placement of the fish on the paper, too. Some fish appear to be swimming to the water's surface, others appear to be diving down and some are just "swimming" straight ahead. This was a time to reinforce vocabulary (vertical, horizontal and diagonal).

I like the variety of the bone placement. Those who had curved their yarn to make leaping fish had the extra challenge of figuring out how to place the bones and make them fit!! This project took us one period (50 -60 min.) to do.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Camouflage Collages

Back in January I wrote about this lesson (that I had originally planned to do with 5th graders focusing on color matching and composition). You can see it here. Well, I didn't get to try it with the older kids, so I plunged in with 2nd graders this past week, changing the focus a bit,  and I loved what happened!! They all created little abstract gems!!!

We started with a brief lesson on the Smartboard where students found the lines created where two colors meet and practiced extending those lines. We did a lesson last week where students extended lines out to the edges of their board, so this was easy.  I was using cut up pieces of food boxes (cause you know how I like to recycle!:)) Phyl, over at There's a Dragon in My Art Room, recently posted about artist Michael Albert, who makes his art from cereal boxes, too. So we looked at some of his work before starting our ideas. 

After extending their lines using Sharpie markers, students used watercolors to try to match the colors on the edges of their collaged box piece, and paint that color out to the edges also. They were trying to camouflage the collaged piece, much as animals use camouflage in nature to protect themselves. I taught children how to make tints with watercolors by adding more water to the pigment and mixing in their lids. They were working on a painting mat (just a piece of white cardstock) that they could use to test their mixed colors. I was absolutely delighted to hear kids talking about what colors they might use to mix the exact hue they were trying for.

Sometimes kids ended up with areas that weren't adjacent to the cereal box. I said they could either leave those areas white or choose any color that they thought looked good to paint them. That is why there is blue in part of this painting.
One little practical consideration -- once they were done painting, students had the final job of using a DRY paper towel (I actually cut them up into smaller rectangles so as not to waste paper) to vigorously and completely clean their paint lid so it is ready for the next artist to use.

Here are a few paintings drying on the patio:

It was so hard for me to choose just a few examples to share with you, so I'm posting more than I normally would. Hope you enjoy!!

 Once these were done and displayed, they provided great opportunities for discussion regarding SO MANY elements and principles of art!!!!!!