Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wyland Undersea "Murals" with 4th Grade

4th grade recently studied the artist Wyland, who is known for his huge murals of undersea life. He is especially noted for creating his "100 Whaling Walls", murals depicting whales. My 4th graders used large paper (12" x 18") to create their own large undersea artwork. They used crayons to draw their fish, plants, rocks, sand, etc., and watercolors to paint the water. I let them do the sky any way they wanted. Some chose to paint it, others chose to color it with crayons, and some chose to use colored pencils. To create realistic-looking fish, plants, and other sea creatures, the students worked from photographs. I spent some time collecting different photographs of sharks, dolphins, sea horses, sea turtles, and many other creatures found in the ocean. Here are some finished "murals" by my 4th graders:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Aboriginal Dot Art

Both my kindergartners and 1st graders recently studied Aboriginal dot art. They looked at some artwork by the Aborigines, and then emulated the style using tempera paint on black paper. I had them paint with cotton swabs instead of paint brushes in order to get dots. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Art Portfolio

It's not unusual for a student (usually in 5th or 6th grade) to want to show me some art they have done outside of the classroom. I have had many students, usually in the upper grades, ask for advice on an art project they're working on at home, or sometimes they will just bring something in to see whether or not I think it's "good".

Today, I was surprised when one of my kindergartners stopped me in the hallway to ask what time I would be in my classroom without any students. Kindergartners rarely understand how teachers' schedules work ("What? You teach the other students too? I thought  you just came in once a week to teach us!")!

I told him I'd be free any time after 2:05, and promptly at 2:07, he came to my room with a folder to show me some art he'd been working on on his own. I was really impressed. Furthermore, I noticed elements of design that we'd talked about when making patterned owls, and possibly some references to the Dr. Seuss fish we had made several weeks ago. Whether or not my class directly influenced his free-time art, I am one proud art teacher! This student has already exhibited artwork (I submitted his patterned owl to the Youth Art Exhibit at the Tippecanoe Arts Federation in Lafayette. It will be on display until Thursday!), and I cannot wait to see how his artistic talent develops over the next 6 years that I will have him as a student.

2nd Grade Pinch Pot Turtles

2nd grade made ceramic turtles. The previous art teacher at Carroll left 5 different shades of green glazes, so the students had many colors to choose from. The turtles' shells are inverted pinch pots, and their head, legs, and tail were all formed from coils. The students did a wonderful job, although there are a few where you can't tell the different between the head, tail, and the legs (6-pointed shiny green star?). I stressed the importance of making the tail really tiny, and the head a little bigger, and most of the students followed the directions. They used their pencils to poke eyes into their turtle's head, and to carve a design on the shell. Over all, I'm pretty proud of how well they did!

Friday, March 16, 2012

1st Grade Pinch Pots are Done!

1st grade finished their pinch pots! Nearly all of them turned out very well. The 1st graders didn't understand why they had to put three layers of glaze on (or why it didn't dry the right color!) at first, but the ones who followed instructions ended up with very nice, bright shiny colors. They are very proud of their work, and can't wait to take them home!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ceramics with Kindergarten

I initially considered only doing ceramic projects with my older students. However, my kindergartners have been really excited about the prospect of using clay since the arrival of my large new kiln, so I decided to let them do a small project. I gave each kindergartner a very small lump of clay, and let them make it into a shape and carve designs into it with their pencil. It ended up being a great introduction to the science of ceramics (bisque firing, glaze firing, and the color changes associated with firing). The students did a wonderful job working in clay and then glazing their finished pieces. We glued magnets to the back so that they could be used as refrigerator magnets. The students were incredibly excited about making something they could take home and use! Here are a few finished pieces:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mondrian Tree Bulletin Board

I finally put my 5th graders' abstract trees (based on art by Piet Mondrian) on my bulletin board! I think they look pretty nice as a group. 5th grade has a play tonight, so their parents will get to see their artwork!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Native American Pottery with 1st Grade

My 1st graders are getting their introduction to ceramics by making pinch pots. I showed them some pictures of Native American pottery (the geometric designs are really interesting!), and then we talked about different things the Native American Indians might have used their pots for.

The students were really excited about the topic, and thoroughly enjoyed making their own pinch pots. I let them use their pencils (no sharp clay tools until at least second grade!)  to carve designs on the outside, and many of the students did an excellent job emulating the Native American style.

Below are a few pinch pots waiting to get fired so we can glaze them. I was just loading my kiln, and noticed the beautiful designs on these, so I stopped to take a picture.