A big thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate student work and support our Empty Bowls project at our annual art show. Participants enjoyed a humble bowl of soup and took away a piece of the ceramic bowl installation made by students to raise awareness and funds for the UN World Food Programme. If you missed the opening, the show will continue to be exhibited to the public until June 2nd and bowls are still available with donation.
The weather is warming! What better way to kick off our unit on Places and Spaces than to take our sketchbooks outside and practice some observational drawing. We used our viewfinders to help create and interesting composition and check our proportions carefully.
Check out all the exciting projects we'll get up to in our final quarter for this year!
The final results of our "Material Self Portrait" are brightening the hallways around the school. Students worked hard to express their identity and think metaphorically through non-traditional materials and enjoyed learning different collage and painting techniques. Students are now challenged to write a great artist statement to help their viewers understand some of their processes and ideas.
One of the art standards we achieve in Grade 1art is about applying meaning to and discussing works of art created in the classroom while focusing on selected elements of art (e.g., shape/form, texture, line, color). Introducing students to the art critique is a great way to get them thinking about what they do, how to give constructive feedback, and how we can "read" an artwork. This can sometimes be a frustrating experience for little learners though, especially those who are new to English and struggling to pick up essential vocabulary. This simple activity was the most successful version I've tried.
Students were given "stickers"of the elements of art we focused on in their giraffe paintings : line, color. and pattern. We laid out the paintings around the room and walked around looking for the work of art we thought was the best example of line while a song played. When the music stopped, students put their sticker on the chosen art work and returned to their seats. We repeated the process for color and pattern. When everyone had finished we looked at the work of the students who had the most stickers in each category and discussed why we thought they were successful. Everyone seemed thrilled to have achieved a sticker from their classmates (everyone got at least one from one of the categories) and ELL students enjoyed sharing their work. I was thrilled to see how students were noticing many ways to use those elements of art successfully.
We had a little help from their favorite song to get excited about moving around.
Middle school artists were challenged to think about contemporary artists who use non-traditional materials today. We started our lesson with a visual thinking routine prompted by Harvard's Project Zero that encourages active thinking and helps to guide their thought processes. Students used the sentence stems, "I think, I See, I Wonder" to prompt their thinking about this sculpture by Marc Quinn, an artist who uses very non-traditional materials to create powerful personal meaning. Students were more prepared to consider the context and meaning of the work when they had already shared ideas about what they were looking at and the questions they had about it.
After we discussed what we thought traditional sculpture materials might be, we viewed some artworks by artists who use unusual materials and thought about how the medium of an artwork affects meaning. Students were surprised to find impressive artworks made of cassette tapes, computer parts, pills, Lego pieces , blood and chewing gum. Students got busy brainstorming different materials with lists: things you find on the moon, things you find in the fridge, things you find in your pants pocket, etc. to start generating ideas for their own portraits. Tomorrow they will research the materials they will use by sketching and culling images from the library. I'm excited to see their ideas!
In our inquiry "Sharing the Planet," grade 1 students looked at some important and endangered animals that we share our planet's resources with. We looked at some photos of sea turtles and how artists use careful looking to break down objects in to basic shapes and can add color and details from source images. We used glue to outline the lines of our drawing to create a raised texture which made a nice barrier to fill in our shapes with the wonderfully messy chalk pastels. We tried using analagous colour "neighbours" to blend together and tried to show the difference in texture in the shell and the body.
Grade 1 students explored the work of Van Gogh so that they could describe and replicate repeated patterns in nature, in the environment, and in works of art. We identified and described the characteristics of a landscape and noticed how Van Gogh created texture and mood. Using short strokes with oil pastels and a watercolor resist students had a lot of success creating the texture and mood they observed.
I just love these "big head" portraits middle school artists created of each other; they all show so much character on the part of the artist and of the sitter. We were inspired by the gorgeous sketchbook portraits of French illustrator Lapin who infuses ordinary people and everyday things with great character by drawing with direct observation and an exquisite line quality.These portraits were done in 20 minute sessions while students posed for each other, after we had practiced some blind contour drawing exercises and studied facial proportions. Students were challenged to draw directly on to the paper with a permanent marker pen while closely observing the contour lines of their model. The figure was permitted to be included after the portraits were complete allowing for some quirky proportion in the figure and the "big heads."
Grade 1 has finished their vibrant studies of the colorful world of Henri Matisse. Students focused on creating organic shapes in the style of the modern art master to create an interior scene with an active composition and intense colors. Emphasis was placed on applying colors with good technique and striving for good craftsmanship.