Friday, January 30, 2015

3rd Grade Art Bulletin Board

I cannot believe it's 100th day and I'm just finally putting up a bulletin board....where does time go? Honestly, I know where my time has been consumed; in previous years, I've spent several long afternoons a week in my classroom hours past dismissal, but this year I finally had to get a 3rd job, which takes nearly every afternoon I have left. When the cost of living keeps going up, and teacher salaries stay the same, it's hard to make ends meet! So, I got another waitress job at a new restaurant in town. This Saturday, I'm working at both my restaurant jobs....breakfast and lunch at Cracker Barrel, and dinner at my new job!

This bulletin board displays one of my favorite 3rd grade projects; negative space face vases! I explained the lesson in a post a few years ago. I absolutely love watercolor resist, so there are a few close-up photos to highlight some especially nice results from the technique.

Friday, January 16, 2015

6th Grade Acrylic Landscapes on Canvas

I've really been enjoying teaching my current group of 6th grade students! They have been working on a landscape in acrylics on canvas for the past few weeks, and I've been really pleased with the results so far. Usually, I wait until all four classes in a grade are finished before posting pictures, but I only have one 6th grade class done so far (the other classes have had too many snow days!), and I was so excited about the finished paintings, I'm going to post them now anyway!

We began the lesson by looking at three famous landscapes; one by Van Gogh, one by Julian Dupré, and one by Claude Monet. The students learned how to paint in layers; all three paintings were completed with the sky first, then the land, and then all the details. Before beginning painting, the students spent some time on their iPads, looking up landscape paintings that they found inspiring. Then, they sketched out ideas.

The day that the students began paintings, they completed only the sky. They painted about halfway down the page. The second day, they began working on the land; the next several weeks were spent in adding details.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

4th Grade Sunsets with Palm Trees

Mixing colors is one of my favorite things to teach. This lesson on mixing various shades of orange from red and yellow has been a favorite of mine and the students for a few years! The lesson is originally from an art teacher in Indianapolis Public Schools, who shared it during a workshop at an AEAI convention a few years ago.

Here are a few examples of student work:

The sunset background is a simple exercise in painting a yellow circle, gradually adding red to the paint, and painting a ring around the circle with each new shade.

Without enough guidance, some students paint palm trees that are just a few inches tall on this 12"x18" paper. I have developed a few rules to help the students paint the best palm trees they can.

First, they pencil in the tree trunks; they need to be at least as tall as the yellow circle in the middle of the page.

Next, coconuts are added, which are simple circles. The students can choose how many they want.

Next, about 5 lines are added coming out of the coconuts. The students often make these lines too short, so they have to get checked by me. Once I ok their lines, they may get a paint brush and begin painting.

First, the students paint in all of the shapes and lines they drew with pencil.

Then, they add small lines to the five branches. These lines can be any length and width, as there are many varieties of palm trees.

The same steps are followed for other palm trees.

Lastly, some sand is painted along the bottom of the painting. The land can be bumpy and lumpy; I like the students to just paint it, without sketching it ahead of time, but I always have a few students who are afraid to paint anything without drawing first!

This is the only step-by-step lessons I teach to 4th grade; generally, I leave a lot of room for creativity. But, this lesson is a huge confidence booster, as nearly every student leaves with a masterpiece; also, the students gain a lot from the color mixing portion of the lesson. After this project, most of the students are very comfortable mixing tertiary colors like red-orange and yellow-orange. And, despite the rigidity of the instructions, each student's palm trees end up looking so unique!