Thursday, May 26, 2011

we ain't gonna paint no more! (splatter painting)

This book, called "Ain't Gonna Paint No More" by Karen Beaumont (illustrated by David Catrow) is an Art Teacher's delight. It's a sing-songey book about a mischevious little boy who sneaks into his paint stash and gleefully paints himself silly. I am in love with the illustrations in the book, and my kindergartners like to "guess" what body part he's painting next using rhymes.

It's a fitting book to read at the end of the year, too. Guess what? We Ain't Gonna Paint for another 2 months! We might as well enjoy our last couple of days here. *Really you can do this lesson anytime, I just like having projects that really hook the kids in at the end of the school year for my own sanity!

After reading the book, we talk about illustration and self-portraiture. Do we think the boy in the book was a portrait of the illustrator, David Catrow, as a child? Students then draw (in crayon) a self-portrait on 12x18" paper. This is the "clean"version of themselves, the angelic child their parents think they are! On day 2 we put our papers in our splatter box (a big paper towel box---which looks SO lovely on day 7 of this project!) I thin down some red, yellow and blue paints (in case they mix on the paper we still have nice colors and not muddy colors) and show the kids how to shake and splatter.

Needless to say they LOVE it!

The end results make me laugh after a long day of "sit, stop, come here, go there, tie your shoes, put your shoes on, yes you may go to the bathroom, time to clean up, push that chair in".

Happy splatters!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

name aliens

I love doing this project with my second and third graders. It's a great way to teach organic shape and symmetry...creativity and imagination are of upmost importance as well! This is also a great project to do at the end of the year when you feel like you're "losing" the kids--they always perk up when I tell them we're making monsters or aliens.

Start with a folded sheet of paper. To make sure the pieces come out symmetrical and not in two pieces, I tell them to point the FOLD toward their BODY. They then write their names on the paper (if they have a shorter name with extra space, have them use their last initial too).

I then have them draw a contour line around the top of their name. They cut on that contour line.

When they open up their "name", they have a unique organic shape that resembles an alien or monster body. I have them draw details in pencil, trace in black sharpie, then color in marker.

I have students say they make entire "families" of aliens at home (using Mom's name, Dad's name, their dog's name, their brother's name, etc.) This is also great for a "rainy day" project at home or at school.

I know this isn't a new concept or anything, but sometimes it's nice to be reminded of simple lessons that can be pulled out of the "vault" in a pinch for a lesson. It's also a great way to teach symmetry, organic shape, contour line, geometric shape, etc. A win/win if you ask me!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

graphite animal drawings

It's the end of the year. My fifth graders are fried and so am I. We've run the gammit of projects this year and I needed something for them to do to reinforce drawing skills.

It is very possible that if you asked my students right now what they thought about this project, they'd say they hated it, that it was "boring", and that it was too hard for them.

Obviously their results prove otherwise! I think they're just used to doing "exciting", colorful projects and the grays and whites of a graphite drawing doesn't appeal to them. Fair 'nuff.

I love their drawings, and they are a beautiful visual reminder of just how far they've come this year. Had they done this on day one, they'd be a visual mess of thick contour lines and scribbly fur.

You've come a long way, my dear fifth graders...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

end of the year "art test"

Traditional "pencil and paper" tests are agonizing in Art Class. "Why, Mrs. Davis, why?"..."When are we going to draw?"...."Isn't this ART class?"....

Agonizing I tell ya!

I've developed a great 12-question DRAWING TEST which I use at the beginning of the year as a skills-readiness test, and at the end of the year to compare, contrast, and show growth.

I had these grid papers (11"x14"--legal size paper/vellum) printed, though I've used plain folded papers, too. In each of the spaces, the students will draw one of the following:

Box 1: Draw me something BLUE

Box 2: Draw me an OLD shoe

Box3: Draw a picture of your Mom or Dad

Box 4: Draw me someone who is really MAD

Box 5: Draw me a picture of a road with no end

Box 6: Draw me a picture of your best friend

Box 7: Draw me a frog on a log

Box 8: Draw me a FUZZY dog

Box 9: Draw me something you can't reach

Box 10: Draw me a day at the beach

Box 11: Draw me a window with a VIEW

Box 12: Draw me a picture of YOU!

Because we have 55-minutes, I allow 3-4 minutes per drawing, adding as MUCH detail as possible in that time frame. They may go back and add to a previous "answer" if they have extra time.

What does this teach the kids? Well, for one, they don't realize they are being tested. Secondly, it shows me how students can use pencil to visualize or conceptualize concepts like texture, perspective, emotion, proportion, form, etc. For example, in box 8 I ask them to draw a FUZZY dog. They need to manipulate their pencil to show the fuzz. If they simply draw a dog, their answer is wrong.

I should also add that I only allow pencil on this "test" with question #1 (draw me something blue) their answer could be anything from a sad person to a blue crayon. This test emphasizes the importance of imagination, too.

This is a great wrap-up lesson for the year, especially in second and third grade (where I typically see the most artistic growth in my students) or a great filler-lesson if you're like me and some of your classes are on different schedules here at the end of the year.

Do you use drawing tests to assess your students? Do they love them or hate them? Do you use them to determine grades or growth? I'm curious to know since I feel this is an area I am lacking in my classroom---I tend to focus on DBAE art minus the "assessment" because I feel all students should feel accomplished and proud of their work. Testing usually makes them resent coming to art...except when I do sneaky tests like this!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

terrr-iffic tigers!

I teach my kindergartners about Henri Rousseau and love doing this simple perspective lesson with them. They're 100% fool-proof (which is uuber important for a Kindergartner) and even though it's a step-by-step drawing lesson, each of them turn out with their own "personality".

I love the innocence of a 5-yr-old's painting!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

painted peacocks

This is a terrible picture of this project and doesn't do the poor guy any justice! I cut down a white paper to 10x16" (so it would be the perfect size to mount). We drew a resist on the white paper in white crayon and used blue glitter watercolor paint to paint over the resist. We then used some blue and purple tempera to paint the body and feathers.

The "eyes" on the feathers are layered paper circles and we also used black crayon to trace inside each of the feathers since the fringe kind of got lost in the painting process.

Lastly, we mounted on black paper and used silver Sharpies to make a framed border. These were so fun to make and are very striking in "real life"!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

i scream, you scream...

We all scream for these tint and shade ice cream cones! I won't lie, I borrowed this lesson from and my kids LOVED it! We started out with a 6x24 sheet of paper, folded it twice to make 4 equal squares, then made a value scale with paint. I gave the students four colors to choose from: green (mint), brown (chocolate), pink (strawberry), orange (sherbet). They kept adding white to their blocks of color to change the VALUE of the color.

I then gave each of them a 6x9" paper to create a shade of their original color (adding black) to make the "cone". This took an entire day.

On day two, we talked again about VALUE and MONOCHROMATIC COLORS. I taught them how to assemble their stacked ice cream cones on sheets of 6x24" black paper. Their "value" scale had to go from darkest (cone) to lightest (top scoop). They were welcome to add a cherry to the top, as well as hole-punched "sprinkles".
This was a great way to teach the students about tint and shade as well as value scales! (And you can imagine the moaning and groaning afterward about hunger pangs!)