Thursday, March 24, 2016

making movement!

This week we are on a minimum day schedule all week as our classroom teachers do parent conferences. Because of this, I am not meeting with the classes I normally would. I've taken this time to experiment with stop motion projects with a variety of grade levels.

It's something I have wanted to try with my kids for a while, but I just haven't worked it in for numerous reasons. This week, however, I just went for it:)

With my kinder classes, I set up a couple elevated ipads and kids could rotate through the stop motion station during choice center time. I model it with each group and off they go, moving duplo characters around for a few minutes each. They don't quite get the "small movement" part, but that is okay, they have loved being able to play and then see how the photos get strung together to create a loop. Then, we add sound. I recorded one class at lunch to get a soundtrack and I have had kids have conversations while watching the footage in a couple others.

I've had a couple 2nd and 3rd grade classes and with these I have set it up as a choice center, using legos and magnet tiles to create abstract scenes and sound.

I did try out stop motion with a whole 4th grade class. Kids worked in teams of 4 or 5, attempted to come up with a loose narrative, split up the work into character and set designers, and then the plan was to film their work. The energy in the room was quite high and the kids were stoked to create a film. About half the groups got to shoot their movies. Later on, I plan on scheduling more time with them in smaller groups, to finish shooting and adding sound. It was a bit chaotic, but as they get more practice with the process and I get more practice guiding them through it, some pretty rad things are going to happen!

This one was made by one 4th grade student after school- background, character build, filming, and sound were all done in about an hour:)

Done by a 1st grader after school. This took her about an hour and 30 minutes from start to finish.

My goal is to have a monitor set up in our gallery at the end of the year Celebration of Art and showcase videos made in class on a loop for people to view. I'm really excited to explore the possibilities of stop action with students in all grade levels. I think it will add a whole new layer to our program that is so relevant to kids today.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

bloxel building in the classroom.

So, I would like to take a post to share a gofundme project I opened yesterday.

I would love to have my students play and create with these in my classroom. If you read this blog regularly (or stop by once in awhile), then perhaps you might consider contributing to the project.

With bloxel sets, kids can develop skills in visual arts, storytelling, and game design... and have a lot of fun in the process. My plan is to purchase a set of 5 of them for my classroom, so that students can work in small groups and develop settings, characters, and stories. The sets can be used for collaborative projects and they can be set up as another choice center in my classroom.

At the end of the year, I will feature students creations as an interactive exhibit at our annual Celebration of Art.

If you are so inclined, here is the link for the project.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I'll be taking a break from sharing the magic of printmaking with my kinders and 3rd graders for a few days...

Today I am heading out to Chicago for NAEA's annual national convention! I am SO excited for 3 days of learning, making, and meeting with art ed peeps from around the country.

I am not presenting a session, but I will be at the Art of Ed's blogger meet up. If you see me, don't be a stranger:) If you want to keep up with me at the conference, you can follow along on twitter @shinebrite71. There may be some #freeartfriday pieces that drop at the conference, so be on the look out and stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

printing pixels

The 4th graders are working with texture this week. I recently discovered the work of Los Angeles based artist Jason Williams (REVOK) and I know his work would hook the kids in... big time!

After a quick review of our Kadir Nelson inspired action scenes, I introduced the day's lesson by saying that even though the 2 projects would look a lot different, both would be very colorful.

I share an online article about REVOK's work and journey from well known and respected graffiti artist to well known and respected abstract painter. In an any school his work and story are engaging, but in an urban school the "draw" is even stronger. The kids are familiar with neighborhood tagging and wall works, so there has been some interesting dialogue about wall works on public and private property.

We look at several of his pieces from the recent past and discuss his use of geometric forms that give some of his work a pixelated look.... another HUGE draw for many of the kids. We see how symmetry is present in many of his works as well. There is also a strong textural component to his work, wither by reusing found items or by altering the surfaces of new materials.


Our goal, after talking about the elements present in REVOK's work, is to create a small abstract piece that shows an understanding of symmetry and that is made by altering the texture of a styrofoam plate.

In order to assist students with the pixelation of their image, they each have a 6x6 sheet of graph paper to work out their shapes and compositions. Editing and revisions happen here too. We use a piece of scotch tape to fasten the paper to a piece of styro. We trace the image completely on to the plate. The tape allows us to check our hand pressure and to make sure we have everything traced. No tape equals a pain to realign the two.

We are using both wide and thin water soluble markers to add color to the plates. Color choices are wide open. We review how to hold the markers and plate to keep the color on the plate and not our hands and fingers.

The image transfer, the printing, is done by spraying a piece of watercolor paper with water and sponging it even. Paper is placed on top, rubbed firmly, and boom- the magic of the print has occurred!

The kids have been very enthusiastic about this process and project. WE are wrapping up the activity by reflecting on how our work compares and contrasts with REVOK's.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

positive portraits.

This past week the 1st and 4th graders were working with people- from a distance and up close. Both grades were also practicing their painting techniques- application and care of their tools.

The 4th graders looked at a few paintings by San Diego's own, Kadir Nelson. We looked at how he captured movement through the positioning of the bodies in his scenes and we talked about proportion too. I broke out a couple of my small mannequins and modeled the movement of a couple of the athletes in Kadir's work. Some classes did playground basketball images, while others did wall ball scenes.
My kids and I did some early morning motion studies to serve as inspiration for the wall ball paintings.

We started the project by drawing out the hoop or wall ball wall. Then we drew the characters in the work. We broke them down into simpler geometric shapes- ovals, circles, trapezoids, and pentagons. We talked about the lengths of parts against each other an the whole figure as we drew. I asked students to draw at least 3 figures. 3d space was created through size changes in the figures.

We filled the figures in with a black crayon to emphasize their positive shape and position against the soon to be painted setting. 

When we painted, we tried to make colors lighter or darker with more or less water. I also stressed cleaning their brushes well between colors and not tapping their wet brushes on the cups of water they were sharing with others.

The 1st graders looked at the work of Oakland based artist, Favianna Rodriguez, as inspiration for their painting. We talked about portraits as pictures of people and found numerous examples around my classroom. We noticed that not all portraits look the same and that people look different if you see them from the front as compared to the side. 

We talked about how Favianna often uses Monarch butterflies in her work as a positive symbol for migration of people. As a school in San Diego, we have many students with families in Mexico and as a school with a very diverse population, we have students with families in many other countries as well. I briefly talked about how Favianna's work celebrates the contributions of immigrants to our country.

I started the week doing a oil pastel resist painting, based on the first butterfly image. Many students struggled mightily with the symmetrical nature of the drawing. Because of that, I changed focus images to the second one above. This was much more manageable for the kids. Once we drew the portrait and traced the pencil lines with crayons, we painted. Again, trying to create light and darks by adjusting the amount of water used with the paint.