Thursday, November 20, 2014

castles with kinders.

This week I got to work with a few kinders again. 3rd week in a row with these kiddos due to our parent conference schedule. We continued working with shapes- both natural and geometric, but I put away the scissors and glue for this one:)

I shared a print by Japanese artist Keiko Minami with them. Keiko lived until she was well into her 90s and during her lifetime she made some wonderfully minimal scenes of nature. Very light. Very delicate. We talked about how this one is an example of a landscape in art and we took a few minutes to identify the geometric shapes and patterns she used to create the scene.

The project was done in 3 basic steps- we drew  the basic elements in pencil, used marker to define the shapes and to add patterns, and then we used crayons to add the bushes up front and to add color variety to the castle. With this last step, we focuses on learning how to press hard and soft to make the crayon colors look light and dark.

I had time with a couple classes to create sentences together at the end. We built most of the sentence together, sounding out the words and making finger spaces between them. We then came up with a list of things that we made our drawing with, I wrote these on the board, and students picked one of the words to complete their sentence.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

boom boom.

Parent conference week at Zamo, so I have a mixed bag of classes. I take the afternoon classes that are impacted by our minimum days and meet with them in the morning. So far, I have worked with a few 3rd grade classes and we have continued working with geometric and natural shapes with this extra time together.

I'm sharing a poster that Portland based artist and designer Dan Stiles did for the band Dr. Dog for a gig they had in Colorado earlier this year. We talked about how Dan makes a living creating all sorts of really cool projects for bands and other companies. We also talked about what a boombox was and how I had one back in the day and I would walk around my suburban neighborhood jamming to the likes of KISS, john Cougar Mellencamp, and Michael Jackson... I have always had musical tastes that were ALL OVER the map;)

We started by cutting & gluing geometric shapes to make the boombox. Then students were free to design natural shapes popping out of the antenna.

I like the way these turned out and the kids had fun with them. Quite a few put their collages on their shoulder and strutted back to the recycling bin as they were returning scrap paper:)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

joshua trees and sunset skies.

My 2nd lesson of the 3rd grade shape unit is focusing on natural shapes. For this project I am sharing one of my favorite places with the kids- Joshua Tree National Park. I'm sharing sunset photos taken at the park that make the natural shapes of the trees really pop out from the background sky colors. I share a little about how Joshua trees got their name and how they are built for the desert. When looking at the photos we also notice how the trees that are closer are big and they get smaller as they get further away.

The how to for the lesson is pretty simple- draw  the ground line with crayon and fill below it, add large, bold tree as a funky capital Y, add smaller tree/s, add a few more branches, add spiky "leaves" to each of the branches, lightly draw cloud shapes in pencil, and paint the sky. Ba da bing, ba da boom.

Students finish early enough to complete an exit slip that allows them to reflect on this project and their Book of Life abstractions from the week before.

This lesson has also got me super stoked for our camping trip to Joshua Tree for Thanksgiving break! A week of amazing sunsets and rock scrambling while calling our vintage camper, Cecil, our home base:) I can not wait!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

rearranging the real.

This week, as part of my shape unit, the 3rd graders are looking at the differences between realistic and abstract style. I'm using two sources to assist me with this- the work of Thom Pastrano and the movie The Book of Life.

I start the lesson by using posters hanging in my room to illustrate the differences between the two styles. I talk about how an artist can rearrange reality and play with the shapes, colors, values, and textures of something to make it abstract.

I then share an image of one of the characters from the movie on my smartboard and we talk about how it looks real even though it is really a drawing. I then share a few of the posters Thom has sent me and we look at how he has rearranged and flattened shapes to make well known characters look abstract.

This, I tell the kids, is what we are going to do with the character of the day.

Students start with a collection of geometric shapes. We will alter some of them into more complex geometric shapes and some of them will become more natural looking shapes. I model each piece, emphasizing that if theirs looks different than mine, it's cool because we are making an abstract piece anyway:)

Students create all their shapes first and then play with them and move them around in different ways until they come up with a composition that works for them. Then we glue all those parts in place.

It's been a fun exercise in shape and style for the kids and myself. I'm doing a different character with each class, which will provide a nice amount of variety when they are displayed and it keeps me more engaged throughout the week too! When I see them next week I plan on having them do a compare/contrast activity with this project and the shape project they will complete during that session.