Monday, April 30, 2012

3rd Grade Cherry Blossom Trees

My 3rd grade classes are studying Japanese art right now. We just finished making cherry blossom trees after looking at some artwork by Hokusai. The students used watercolors to paint their tree, and then cut the flowers out of red and pink tissue paper. We folded the paper in quarters, and then cut a teardrop shape to make flowers. Once the students mastered making flowers, I let them fold and cut 3 or 4 papers at once to make multiple flowers quickly. 

Now, the students are learning about origami. I love doing origami with students because it's really fun, and completely mess-free. I think 3rd grade is a really good grade for origami, though it takes two class periods to make a crane. I started with some simpler pieces the first day, but the origami crane is such a symbol of Japanese culture, that I decided to try it. So far, none of my students want to attempt to make 1,000 origami cranes to make a wish! I don't blame them....some of the steps are really complicated for 3rd grade.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Student Portfolio

One of my 5th grade students has an opportunity to take a summer art class at Purdue. In order to get into the class, she has to meet several requirements, including good grades, an art portfolio, and a letter of recommendation from an art instructor. I was more than happy to write a letter for her, because she is a great student who is very talented and always works hard. Here are the pieces she included in her portfolio. Several of these are from class; you may recognize them from previous posts. She also came into my classroom during her recess (my prep period) to work on extra projects. I don't mind giving up my prep period to spend time with a promising student who works hard and behaves well. I just found out today that she got into the class, so our hard work paid off!

Monday, April 16, 2012

1st Grade Rainy Day Art

My 1st grade students recently looked at Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte, and discussed everything they could find out about the painting from sight. Without knowing the title of the painting, the name or nationality of the artist, or when it was painted, my students were able to assess that the painting was from "a long time ago" because of the horse-drawn carriages and by the clothing people are wearing. The lamp post shows us that it's not too old; we dated the picture to the late 1800's. Several students noticed that the picture is of a city; but of course they couldn't tell which city. They could tell it was a rainy day because of the umbrellas people are carrying in the painting.

After the students had talked about the painting for a while, I told them some facts about it. The students learned that the picture is of a rainy day in Paris. We talked about what people wore in big cities back then, and what would be out in the rain and what would not be in the rain. Then, we talked about what people wear in the rain today, and how someone in the year 2012 in Carroll County would depict a rainy day. We talked about what kinds of umbrellas the students had; if they wore rain coats or rain boots; and which of their pets might be playing in the rain with them. Many students had a dog who liked to play in the rain, but all of the students agreed that their cat hates rain.

The students used colored pencils to draw whatever would be in their rainy day picture. Many students included themselves or another person, usually wearing a raincoat and carrying an umbrella, and some students put flowers in their picture because flowers like rain. Some students had a dog playing in the rain. 

The following week, my students used watercolor pencils to fill the sky with rain drops. Then, they painted water over the rain to color the sky. Here are a few of my favorites:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

6th Grade Weaving

This winter, I saw a wonderful lesson on weaving on There's a Dragon in my Art Room. I really liked the idea, especially since students are often more willing to try hard on something they can use, as opposed to a picture they can put on their fridge. I contacted Phyl with a few questions about the project, and she said her students had been doing weaving every single year, so they were already quite adept at weaving by the time she introduced this challenging project. Phyl suggested that I do a more simple weaving project with my students, who have never done weaving before. So, I started with the simplest form of weaving: paper weaving. After my students mastered that, we jumped right into weaving with yarn. It was quite a struggle for a while, but looking at these finished pouches makes it all worth it!