Wednesday, January 30, 2013

3rd Grade Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees

My 3rd grade students are currently learning about Japanese art. They most recently painted cherry blossom trees. They used eye droppers to drop India ink onto their papers, and then blew through straw to make the ink move across the page. Some of the trees turned out really neat! Most of the students thought blowing the ink across the page was really fun, even though it was hard to control where the ink would go.

The second week on this project, the students painted the flowers. I taught them the double-loaded brush technique, in which they dipped half of the brush it red paint, and the other half in pink paint. The result was two-toned flowers that look 3-dimensional, as if they have a shadow on one side of each petal. I am very happy with the results!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Warm and Cool Colors with 6th Grade

My 6th grade students recently learned about an artist from South Carolina, Drew Brophy. Drew Brophy is a an avid surfer and an artist. His art career took off when he started painting designs for surfboards. It is now possible to purchase a surfboard with one of his beautiful paintings printed on it! The students noticed how he often used warm colors in the sky to contrast with cool colors in the ocean. Then, the students made their own ocean paintings, using only warm colors in the sky, and only cool colors in the ocean to create contrast. The students learned that when you mix two cool colors, the new color you make is also cool. Also, when you mix two warm colors together, you get another warm color. I encouraged the students to mix colors for their paintings.

The War is On

In Indiana (for my readers from faraway), the rivalry between Indiana University and Purdue University is going strong. One of my co-workers is a huge IU fan, and my allegiance lies with my alma mater, Purdue. Last month, he put up an "IU Christmas" bulletin board outside of his classroom, so over Christmas break, I sneaked in and put up a "Purdue New Years" board on his bulletin board.

I knew from the beginning I was dealing with someone who has put dead bats in people's desk drawers for no reason, so of course there will be vengeance. However, I didn't plan to admit to having done it. But, his students figured it out during art class a few weeks ago, and 5th graders can't keep secrets very well (at least not a whole class of them!), so they squealed. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg (he has a lot more planned, I'm sure!), but I came in to school this morning to find my 6th graders' zebras in the hallway upside down! Not all of them, but just enough to make it look like Miss Young has no clue how to put up pictures....

Monday, January 21, 2013

1st Grade Monet Waterlilies

After learning about Claude Monet's painting style, my 1st graders looked at White and Yellow Water Lilies. I explained how Monet painted very quickly because he painted outside. The students understood that if it started raining, he'd have to quit painting, and if it got dark outside, he'd have to quit painting. The students could understand the need for painting quickly, and they noticed his style seems a little messy, but as we were discussing that aspect, one of the students raised his hand and said, "Miss Young, even though he painted so quickly, I don't think he made a single mistake!" That made me so happy; the students really understood that the Impressionist style is quick, but thorough.

Then, I explained to the students that Monet even stopped working on a painting if the sun went behind a cloud. The students understood that things look brighter when it's sunny out, and his paintings would look drearier on a cloudy day. I explained that sometimes Monet would take two paintings with him when he worked, and if the sun went behind a cloud, he'd work on his cloudy day painting, and if it became sunny again, he'd work on his sunny day painting.

Lastly, we discussed why the lily pads near the top of the painting were smaller than the ones near the bottom. The students knew that the small ones were far away!

Finally, the students created their own water lily ponds. We used crayons for the lily pads and waterlilies, and watercolors for water. As the students worked, we talked about near and far. We made big lily pads at the bottom of the page; medium ones in the middle; and tiny ones at the top. Most of the students understood the concept, but the alliteration hopefully helped anyone who didn't quite get it!

Here are some student examples.