Saturday, February 3, 2018

3rd Grade Snowmen at Night

I almost forgot to add these fanstastic 3rd grade snowpeople to all the recent snowy posts! The 3rd graders actually created these before the winter break.

In addition to being a cute little poem about the antics of snowmen after dark, the book Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner contains some beautiful illustrations by the author's husband, Mark Buehner.  His work offers the students some great examples of using shadows and highlights to give form to what would otherwise be the traditional "flat" snowman they've drawn, painted, or built as collages before.  Students build on what they learned about turning shapes into forms earlier this year with our "Exoplanets" lesson, this time making use of the native color of the light blue construction paper for the "in between" color of their snowmen, and adding dark blue oil pastel for their shadows and white for their highlights.  (Compare these highly realistic snowmen with the collages they created as kindergartners and first graders in the posts below to get a sense of how far these Dolphins have come in art!)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

3rd Grade Digital Mondrians

Beyond the digital art clubs I offer to the students who choose them for their enrichment time on Wednesdays, I'm introducing all third graders this year to at least one digital art lesson.  This one, borrowed from Pathways Elementary Art Teacher extraordinaire, Dave O'Neal, introduces 3rd graders to the abstract work of Piet Mondrian.  Mondrian's work, using the most basic straight lines, squares and rectangles, and simple, primary colors lends itself well to students using digital drawing and design tools for the first time.  Many of the tools and tricks they are exposed to on a project like this (in this case with Google Drawings) are similar to those found on the more complex digital art programs they're likely to encounter in 4th and 5th grade here, as well as in middle and high school.

Kindergarten Cuteness

I've got a new class of kinders this nine weeks for our extra enrichment class, so I'm repeating some of my earlier drawing lessons to give them more experience putting together more complex subjects, like this alligator, with basic shapes.  I asked this student if she was drawing her alligator in a colorful pond, and she corrected me by letting me know her alligator is in a "rainbow sleeping bag."

3rd Grade Art Critiquing

One of my professional goals this year is to spend more time teaching my students how to look at (and by extension, think about) art.  To this end, I'm introducing a simple art critique format and occasionally asking students to write-up a critique.  So far, we've just looked at famous artworks, but I expect to eventually have the students use the same format to critique each others work, too.  (The above example was a critique of Frederic Remington's A Dash for the Timber, seen below.)

2nd Grade Bugseye Perspective Snowpeople

This lesson builds on what the students learned about perspective in 1st grade, using a bit more complex perspective this time  -- a wormseye or bugseye view of a snowperson.  The "frosty" speckles in these skies come salt sprinkled onto their papers when they are wet with the liquid watercolors we make from out dried out markers.

1st Grade Birdseye Perspective Snowpeople

I use this lesson to introduce 1st graders to the art (and broader) concept of perspective.  Before getting into what perspective means in art, I read aloud the book, They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel, which illustrates how different species might view the same cat very differently.  We also talk about how I have to think about perspective when I write from the point of view of different characters.

After the students cut out their three snowperson body parts, I challenge them to arrange them how a bird flying straight above might see the snowperson.  Eventually we figure out the parts would be stacked as in the above example.  In part of another session, students added arms, hats, and scarves, continuing to think about perspective in their placement of these accessories on their snowpeople and how it's easier to cut out these pieces if we think about them as collections of simple shapes.

Kindergarten Snowperson Collage

I like this simple seasonal collage lesson, as it requires a variety of shape types and some very small pieces to really work on the kinders' fine motor skills.  It also forces them to consider proportion when sizing their snowperson parts.  We also talk about balance, focusing on filling up our left over spaces with snowflakes.  It's always fun to see how different these come out even with each student creating the same subject.