Monday, September 29, 2014

monster blocks are in the house!

I added another element to my choice sculpture center this week! Stack & Scare blocks from the design team of Invisible Creature. I first saw these things on an instagram feed I follow called "daily monster". I did a tiny bit of digging to get the lowdown on these blocks, and immediately ordered a couple sets for my classroom.

The blocks have different features and designs on each side, so you can keep reconfiguring them to create a wide variety of creatures. They are now available to work with when students have completed their project, reflection, and have cleaned up their area. My sculpture choice center now has slotted cards to build with, these monster blocks, and a balance mobile game called "Suspend".

I still have the ever popular Lego center, but it's great to have more activities available for kids once they have finished their class projects. I do plan on using these monster blocks as the inspiration for a couple projects dealing with geometric shape, so stay tuned for a future post or too:)

My kiddos were more than happy to take the blocks for a test drive before the blocks went in to school:)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

looking back on summer.

I got to work with my 3rd graders for the first time this week, so I thought it would be cool to introduce line AND find out a little bit about their summer.

I shared an image by English illustrator and designer Kat Loveday with them. Students identified as many things as they could about the image and I wrote those items my whiteboard. We identified the pupil in the eye and I introduced the pupil to them. Kids noticed the white reflection on the eye, shadows from the eyelashes, and details in the winter landscape in the iris.

After this I told the kids that we were going to do an eye drawing, but instead of a winter scene, I wanted them to "reflect" on their summer and draw about something or somewhere they had a good memory of. The eye drawing would be pretty direct, but the reflection in the eye would be independent.

We used contour line to draw all the parts of the eye, kids added their scene, and then they used color sticks, markers, and crayons to flesh out their image. If students finished early, they completed an exit slip where they needed to identify what they used line to create in their drawing and why they chose the memory they did.

Friday, September 19, 2014

not the same, but similar

The 2nd graders continued to work with line this week and they looked at a couple prints by textile designer and illustrator Gill Eggleston for inspiration.

We started our lesson by reviewing how they used line in their Luke Bott inspired animal drawings from the previous week. Kids identified, with prompting, that they made shapes, added details, and made patterns with line. I told them that even though our newproject was going to look different than last week's, our new focus artist used line in similar ways. At this point we reviewed what similar means- that things are like one another, but not exactly the same.

I shared a couple of Gill's illustrations and we talked about how she, too, used lines to make shapes and patterns. These were the things that were similar with Luke's illustrations from last week. A number of kids pointed out other similarities- the things are both from nature, the things are both living.

When I walked them through the steps of the project and got to my examples, I put 2 side by side and again asked if they were the same or if they were similar. Similar, indeed!

The step by step-

1- we made dots on gray paper to help build the oval or gem shape's dimensions
2- connected the dots with line. Emphasizing my mantra for the year... "Draw it light until you've got it right!"
3- drew 3 circles for flower shapes anywhere in the larger shape
4- drew 2 half circle flower shapes
5- added stems and leaves to each flower
6- traced all pencil lines with a black sharpie
7- went back in and made some lines thicker than others
8- added color to all the shapes, except the background
9- cut out oval and glued on to white shape
10- completed exit slip addressing the concept of "similar" and using "because" statement to support their answer

bada bing. bada boom.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

collective poems.

So, a lot  5th graders  have needed part of a second period to work on their skateboards. The first few classes I tried doing a mini art lesson after they finished, but today I tried another writing exercise that was inspired by New City Arts.

My 5th graders complete exit slips with every project and they did with this one too, but I also added a descriptive/creative writing exercise for the remaining time we had today (about 40 minutes).

Everyone had a lined sheet of paper next to their finished project and all the kids at their table rotated through and wrote 3 words about everyone else's skateboards. When they were done with their 3 words on a board, they covered the words so the next person could not see.

When they returned to their own board they could then look at what kids had written and shred some of the comments with kids at their table. After that, they circled one word per line that they thought would sound good together and in a freeform poem.

They then wrote out their poem below. It was a lot of fun and I thought it was an interesting way for students to use art vocabulary as well as other adjectives, adverbs, and identifiers.

Students that wanted to share their poem with the whole class could do so at the end of class. I modeled pausing between lines and snapping instead of clapping;)

I'll definitely do it again with different types of projects and a couple different grade levels.