Thursday, May 29, 2014

texture magic.

The kinders are working on texture with the help of an illustration by Melanie Mikecz.

We talk about the main characters in Melanie's image, what type of animal they were, and what they can do that other animals can't. 

I then showed them an example of the project and talked about texture.

We drew our chameleons together. We talked about pupil placement and mouth expression. Then I broke out the texture plates and did a demo of the texture rubbing that would fill their lizards and leaves. That's when I got numerous "ooooh, that's magic!" and I  replied, "no kids, that's texture!"

ba da bing;)

Once the kids finished coloring and cutting their chameleons, leaves, and branches, I asked them to place their parts but not to glue them yet. I emphasized that they should place their parts on the paper (PPP) and then glue them on.

I love the variety in these, even though the drawing portion was directed. Easy tie-in to Eric Carle's Mixed Up Chameleon, too:)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

cacti, cacti, cacti.

I'm in the middle of my texture unit at Zamo and I'm swimming in cacti!

It wasn't originally planned that way, but I recently came across some super cool images by a variety of artists and illustrators, and to be honest, I just love those darn plants anyway, so I'm making it happen:) It's a great way to talk about our SoCal climate and to see how others interpret the cacti in different visual ways.

I'm sharing some illustrations by Mexican born illustrator Elena Boils with my 3rd graders this week. We are looking at how she implies the textures of the plants in her illustrations through line type and mark making. By doing a relief print project we can also identify how actual texture can be used to create an artwork and by doing the print on white paper, we can mimic the way Elena uses white lines to define shapes in some of her illustrations, too.

I model and break down some of the cacti shapes we see in her ills on the whiteboard attached to my smart board, so students can see my versions and Elena's at the same time. I also show them how she makes her flower pots look like cylinders. Students then practice these shapes and make a compositional sketch that is the same size as their relief plate will be. That way, they don't have to worry about scaling things up when they are ready to start on their plate. I share that cacti come in all shapes and sizes. I have one in my front yard that is over 15' tall! So, when they are sketching I repeatedly state to make at least one cactus almost as big as  their paper. I also talk about/model moving things up and down in the drawing to create more variety in their composition.

Once their sketches are done, they redraw it on styrofoam, and then add marker color. Color choices are up to them, although I do suggest not using the same color in shapes that touch each other. If students finish their print early, they may color the plate a second time and contribute it to a print triptych with a couple other students' works.

 early finisher triptychs

When I see these classes again next week, their projects will be waiting on the tables for them, so they can complete their project exit slips at the beginning of class.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

bright birdies bathing.

Almost there...

I've been up to my ears in clay and chalk for the past couple weeks and I have one more day of clay construction with my 1sts and 4ths to go. (Glazing is another story...)

The 1st graders have been working with texture and 3d solids as they make clay birds and birdbaths. We have been reviewing rectangular prisms, spheres, and cylinders. 
We have been getting a lil' funky with the "turn and squeeze" as we make our spheres;)

The kids have been very excited to work with clay and then to paint their pieces. I returned the first batch to classrooms today and it's always so cool to see and hear the kids' reactions to the brightly colored magical shininess that they get to hold and marvel at as it gets placed in their hands for the first time:)

We have taken trips to the art patio to see our "clay ovens" where things get so hot they have to be kept in a cage on our art patio.

Almost half the 1st grade projects are glazed and fired:)

We split up the clay projects between 4 of our art teachers due to storage issues and we save a lot of it for the tail end of the year for said issues as well. Our kilns have been humming along each and every day for the past few weeks. Between the 1st and 4th graders I've got right now, over 500 kids have been working with clay the past couple weeks with just me. Our 5th graders have been glazing their wheel thrown pots with Ms. Pothier and our 2nd graders have been making a variety of pinch pot birds with Miss Danielle. We have quite the production going on right now!

I had pinned this project from Theresa Gillespie over at Splats, Scraps, and Glue Blobs a while back. I'm so glad I finally got to give it a go. We didn't use the glass beads to create the water a the bottom though. I was planning on it, but didn't want to spend more out of my pocket to do it, so we rolled with translucent aquamarine glaze instead.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

more cool cacti!

More of the 4th graders have finished their Joshua Wiley inspired cacti drawings and I had to share some because, um, they are rocking it! So many rad variations on the theme in terms of color and composition. So much success across the board in terms of creating 3d volumes with light and dark color values:)


 This one and the one above were made by twins. They both got mad skills.

Red hot!

Cliffside cacti.

Cool cacti and background patterning.

 I just LOVE this one. The shapes, the glowing blue field...

The cactus stands alone.

Reminds me of Super Mario.