Wednesday, November 20, 2013

fishing with abdulmari.

This week is parent conference week at Zamo. The art rotation is a little different because of that, so I have been working with a bigger variety of grade levels. I got the opportunity to work with a few 1st grade classes this week and I introduced them to the work of Filipino artist Abdulmari Imao.

We have a large Filipino population at school, so it was great to tie the lesson into their home culture and family roots. Abdulmari has been making sculptures and brightly colored paintings for many years. One of his main subjects is fish because he was a fisherman before becoming a professional artist. His work ties in well with my current focus on shape with the first graders and it also built on their knowledge of primary colors.

I shared some of his work with the students and then focused on the painting below.

We looked at it and then students shared what they saw and I wrote their responses out on the board next to the image. (ELA 1RL3) While doing this, I asked them to identify the characters and setting too. In their last project, they focused on plants as natural shapes, this time I introduced them to animals as natural shapes. Our last lesson focused on primary colors and we used those colors this time to create 3 new secondary colors. (Art 1.3)

The drawing process was direct. We drew the seaweed as stretched out "S" shape. We added the fish as modified greater than/less than symbols. Line patterns were added. Everything was traced in black.

The color mixing was done one color at a time. We started with green for our seaweed, orange for one fish, purple for 2 fish- using a light blue and a dark blue to mix. I emphasized pressing hard with the yellow and softer with the colors they added to it. Once they mixed all 3 colors, they could then continue to color the rest of their drawing using color mixes or the primary colors straight up.

When students were finished with the project I had them reflect on the project in a sentence. I modeled different sentence frames to get them started and reminded them where the key words about the project were in the room. I modeled a complete sentence for each class, but I liked how there was a lot of variety in the students responses. (ELA 1W8)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

down below.

Last week the kindergarten students continued working with shape and describing the location of things.

I started the lesson with a quick review of the shapes and location word we used in our bee collage the lesson before.

I used the work of Japanese children's book illustrator Yusuke Yonezu. He has done many drawings of animals. When I shared these images from his we talked about how animals are natural shapes. Yusuke's drawings are easily recognizable for the students and they have a childlike charm about them, too. I pointed out that some of the animals are small, some are medium, some are big, and one is the biggest of all.

When we looked at his blue whale I traced the whale shape with my finger and the kids saw that it was an oval shape and when I traced the spray they identified the triangle. The students were able to tell me that the spray was above the whale. I then introduced them to "below". The whale is below the spray in this drawing, just like the floor is below our feet, or like we are below the ceiling. (KG1)

We then drew our own blue whales in 3 steps- the whale body in pencil, filling in the whale body with oil pastels, and counting and making water drops with oil pastels. When we did the spray, I showed them how in each row of drops I added one more. Simple addition and counting. (KCC5) This created a triangle shape of spray above the whale.

At the end of the lesson, students completed a sentence frame, practicing their letter forms and filling in the word of the day- below.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

san diego patterns.

The 3rd graders are continuing their study of shape this week. They are focusing on natural shapes. We took a look at the work of Mitjili Napurulla to help us with our understanding of these types of shapes. Mitjili lives and works in the Haasts Bluff community in Northern Australia. Her artwork is rich in natural imagery and patterning.

I begin the lesson with a quick review of the mudcloth project they did last week that was inspired by the work of Nakunte Diarra. As students recall vocab and concepts I write them on the white board, so they can refer to them later when completing their exit slips.

When I introduce Mitjili and her work, I write key vocab under the mudcloth concepts for easy compare and contrast. Students notice there are not nearly as many geometric shapes in her work, she uses a wide range of colors, and she repeats shapes to make patterns. These patterns often symbolize things from Mitjili's home and history. I remind the classes that Nakunte's patterns also represented things from her history and culture.

The students are to make a natural shape pattern design inspired by Mitjili's work. However, they will use natural forms from San Diego to create their designs and patterns. I share with them photos of torrey pines, jade plants, agaves, cacti, and beach side cliffs. These images, as well as completed examples are on the smartboard while students are creating their designs. Students may also base their patterns on other San Diego related natural shapes.

Before they start patterning, I have the students fold their paper into equal quarters and label them as fractions like they did last week. When they draw their patterns, one of the 3 should take up 1/2 the paper, while the other 2 take up 1/4 each.

Once the drawing is done, students add color with oil pastels. The color choices are entirely up to them.

When their coloring is done, students complete an exit slip that asks them to identify similarities between the 2 focus artists' work and it asks them to identify how their design is different than Mitjili's.

building, building, building...

This year I decided to create a few centers for students to go to if they finish a project early and they have been respectful in class. I have a drawing center with prompts, a pattern center, a block center, and a lego center.

It's great to reward students with a choice of different activities when we meet. The lego center has been a HUGE hit. I need more space and more pieces:) It has been really interesting to see what kids come up with. I have students coming in at recess and lunch recess to work. I love that it fosters spatial reasoning and creativity at the same time.

Here are a few of the creations that have been built. Students may put a completed form on a shelf for a day, but after that, they get taken apart and the pieces go back into circulation.

 I don't have any mini figs, so a couple kids created their own.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

bees up above.

This week the kinders are working with shape and learning about location in art and nature. I'm using an illustration by Brooklyn, NYbased artist Melinda Beck for the lesson.

I quickly review our project from last time and talk about how when you cut & glue paper shapes in art, it is called a collage. I tell them our new project will be a collage too.

I show them the image below and ask them to look quietly at it and think about what shapes, colors, patterns, and characters they see. As students share out, I write their responses on the board next to the picture.
Then I ask students to count certain parts with me, I point to the shapes as we count and I write the number of things next to the word on the board (KCC5). The last thing we look at before starting our project is where things are in the picture. Is the grass at the bottom or the top? Are the big bees below the grass? Are they beside the grass? Are they above the grass? (KG1)

Students glue the grass at the bottom of the blue sheet. They make a hive with a U shape cut from a square. They cut their semi-circle bees from a rectangle. They add details and patterns to the characters and the setting.

When they are done, I have the students complete an exit slip for me:) They trace the letters of the words for practice and fill in the 2 blanks dealing with counting and location. I model this for them and leave my example on the screen so they can see it while they are working.