Friday, November 20, 2015

take a seat with valentina.

Due to our minimum day parent conference schedule  this week, I met with a few 3rd grade classes for a bonus lesson as my rotation partner Kathi and I covered the prep team's afternoon classes

For this lesson, we played with a chair design created by Mexican designer Valentina Gonzalez Wohlers. I came across it recently and I love the combination of Mexican and European artforms present in the chair.

 We continued to address fore, middle, and background with this lesson. To emphasize front & back, we did this as a "pop up" drawing. That part, the cutting and folding of the pop out section, proved to be the most challenging for the kids. They did, however, get a big kick out of that step!

After students drew and colored the chair, they could add background of their choosing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The 3rd graders paid a visit to Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends last week, so they could see how shape and value could be used to make 3d space in an image.

I love both the humor and style of that cartoon. The style aspect was shaped by animation and background designer Carol Wyatt. I love her color palette and use of implied lines throughout these images.

To start the lesson, I introduced foreground, middleground, and background and the kids and I defined them together- front, middle, and back. We then look closely at the setting below and determine what is in the front... and why. What is in the back... and why. The kids notice that the foreground in big and bold while things in the middle and back get lighter and smaller. One other element kids pick up on is that the front is more detailed then the other 2 layers.

We then look at another image from Foster's and we use this as the inspiration for the hands on portion of the lesson.
It's always fun to use contemporary art as a focus and it's even more fun and engaging for the kids when you can use pop culture elements. They look at cartoons all the time, but they don't look at them closely and analyze how the scenes are put together to get them to focus on certain aspects. As educators, we can turn them on to this and they can start to see and appreciate how the skills and concepts they learn about in class are applied by artists that entertain them on a regular basis.


The students created landscapes inspired by Carol's work on Foster's. They used 3 different value papers and different sizes to create 3 layers of space. They started with the background first, then middle, and then foreground.

Students measured 4 fingers down from the top of their paper to start their background layer. The rule was keep it small and simple. They cut that layer out and moved on to the middle. On that sheet, they measured 4 fingers up from the bottom and drew things a little bigger and with more detail. On the foreground layer, they measured 2 fingers up and drew even bigger and with more detail. Once all 3 layers were cut, they assembled them. Before gluing things down, I asked students to look and see if they needed to adjust anything, so that they could create the most interesting composition. If they needed to edit, they could cut parts off along the ground lines and slide them to the left or right.

When I see the classes again after Thanksgiving break, we will reflect on this project in a writing and presentation activity.

 making adjustments.
 adding details to the foreground.

Monday, November 16, 2015

it's all natural.

The 1st graders continued their shape unit by looking an an image by Polish illustrator and printmaker Barbara Dziadosz. We started the lesson by reviewing the elements in their Marcus Oakley inspired still life drawings from the week before- geometric shapes, natural shapes, and primary colors. After that we took a close look at Barbara's piece.
We identified the natural shapes. Then we talked about how the leaves were different- shape, size, direction, and pattern. We also noticed that Barbara did NOT use contour lines in this piece. 

The dog was done with direct drawing instruction while the leaves were more independent. We put dots near the top and bottom of the paper and I modeled different types of leaf shapes and vein patterns. When cutting out the leaves, we practiced turning the paper instead of turning our scissors. 

We arranged our leaves how each of us wanted and glued them in place. We did our best to do the gluing on top of the white paper and NOT the bare table tops, so we wouldn't leave them sticky for the classes that would come in later.

We wrote at least one sentence about our project together and another one that was created more independently, using vocabulary on the board.

Friday, November 6, 2015

shaping up with p-nut.

The 4th graders have been focusing on positive and negative shapes the past couple of weeks. I've been using the super rad work of painter and designer Greg Pnut Galinsky as the inspiration for this shape exploration. (A couple years ago I did a similar project inspired by Greg's work.)

In particular, we have been looking at a series of skateboard decks he did a few years ago. The 4th graders are all involved in band and orchestra this year, so I thought this would be a great connection to tap into. I introduce the concepts of positive and negative to the kids. We also discuss the importance of balance between the positive and negative in terms of filling the page and making an interesting composition. We look at the work they already made for their line study and identify them in those. I then share Greg's skate decks and students can identify the contrast between the subject and background pretty quickly due to his contrast in white and color.

For this project, I provide the students handouts of the instruments that they are playing this year. I model sketching 3 different designs that have at least parts of 2 instruments in them. Students do their thing in sketch form and when they are done I ask them to break up the negative shape with at least 3 lines. Once they complete their sketches, they think about which one they want to do as their final and write down their reasoning in the form of a "because" statement. Students then share their reasoning with a neighbor. With this step I also model being an active listener- the listener should then replay in support of the designer's choise or offer reasoning of their own why another design might be more interesting.

Students shape their paper decks by cutting curves at the ends of a long sheet and draw their chosen image softly out on the larger paper. They trace their contour lines with black markers, and like their line lesson, make some lines thin and others thick for added variety and contrast.

When it comes to coloring their decks, they must only use one color. They can alter it's value by pressing soft, medium, or hard. They may also add black to the color. Once they are done, they complete an exit slip reinforcing their understanding of positive and negative shapes.

Boom. Pretty engaging for the kids. Greg's style is totally approachable and workable for the kids, and anytime they get to design something pop culture related, the kids more readily get into it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

arts, crafts, and performances from around the world!

This evening, Zamorano hosted our annual cultural art night. It was a wonderful night full of students, families, and staff working together and celebrating the diversity of our school community. For the first time, we were also able to offer our community cultural performances to watch and participate in throughout the night. I have to say, it was fantastic to offer our community this performance aspect. It took the evening to a whole other level! 

I want to thank everyone involved in making the night the success it was and I want to especially thank our attendance clerk and volunteer coordinator, Chris Bess, for putting so much work into supporting and prepping for the event. I also want to thank our PTF board and all the parent volunteers that lent a hand preparing, running, and wrapping up the event.

Go Zamo!

 Samahan, a Filipino performance group, opened the evening.

 Area Superintendent Jackson came out to support our school community.

 Mr. Bernardo is super proud of his square for our community quilt.

 Sol e Mar wrapped up our evening in a big way!