I can't believe (but really I can) that I haven't posted for almost 2 months! That is, by far, the longest break I have taken since I started blogging 5 years ago. I'm recharged and ready to see what fab things my kiddos will explore and create this year.
We are off and running at Zamo and this week I have meet with all of our 3rd-5th classes (23 in all). The first week of school is different for me because my art rotation partner starts a week later than I do, so I modify my schedule. I meet with classes for only 30 minutes and during this time I review my classroom rules and expectations and have the students participate in a collaborative art project that gets installed in our auditorium at the end of the first week of school. This is the 5th year that I have structured my first week like this... and I love it! These projects are low stress for the kids and have a big visual impact on our physical environment on our school site.
With these projects I emphasize unity and variety in art and the school community. I recently wrote about last year's project for Arts and Activities and presented it at the winter AOE conference with Nic Hahn of Mini Matisse. My curriculum centers on living artists, so I introduce students to a new artist with these lessons who has a strong sense of visual pattern in their work.
This year, I used the quilts of Libs Elliott as the inspiration for the project. Her work is amazing! I came across her work on instagram early last year and I knew her work would lend itself so well to my opening week theme. All of the artists I've used previously have repeated a circular element and this year I wanted to break out of that and share an artist who plays with different shapes. In Lib's case, it's all about the triangle. Her design approach is quite interesting.
"All the quilts are randomly designed using a programming language called Processing. The project began in 2012 as a collaboration with designer and technologist, Joshua Davis (joshuadavis.com), who provided the original code framework. Using Processing allows me to quickly edit the code and generate random compositions from simple geometric and traditional quilt block shapes."
I don't have those programming capabilities, but my kids ARE the random generators! They have parameters to follow, but each student does things differently and will place their shapes in different spots on their quilt square and then they will put their quilt squares on the larger sheet in a random way too:)
30 minutes. That's all each class has. 10 minutes for my classroom rundown, 5 minutes to introduce
unity, variety, and Lib's work- how it's a great example of both of those concepts, and 15 to fold, cut, and glue. Boom. It's a hectic week, but it's so cool to see the kids variations on the theme and to see the collaborative piece grow and grow.
in a nutshell...
1. At each seat I have a 6x6 square, pre-cut large triangle, and 2 3x3 squares. The colors at their tables change every other class, so that the transitions that are present in the install can happen. (this has taken a bit of organization on my part, but it's stuff I geek out over anyway, so it's no biggie:)
2. students may keep the large triangle intact, or fold it in half and cut on the fold
3. students fold each of the small squares corner to corner to make triangles and cut on the fold- 4 triangles total
4. students take at least one of their small triangles and fold in half and cut (some do this to 2 or 3 and I emphasize not to do it to ALL because they will lose some variety in size
5. students MAY cut one of those smaller triangles even smaller if they choose (only my 5ths really explored that option)
6. then they play with the arrangement of shapes. they can layer and overlap or not. The only requirement I give them is that their composition can not go outside the larger square base shape
7. when they are satisfied with their design, they glue it in place. I show them how to leave things where they are and do the gluing on the paper square. Glue the small onto the medium, medium onto big. This way my tables don't get quite as funky with glue.
8. they put glue on the back of their quilt square and bring it over to the 24x36" white sheet in the middle of the room. Students are responsible for looking at their design and what has been laid down before them and to decide which direction their piece will face and where it will be located in response to those factors.
9. clean up and scram! It's tight. I have 10 minutes in between each of the classes, which allows kids not done to have a few extra minutes and for me to get paper out for the next class.
my random generators;)
the amount of detail varied depending on grade level.
installed in our auditorium. it's 6' x 26'