Hello again! Life has gotten busy with a full school schedule and my now one year-old son. I am excited to share some of the great creations my students have been working on. Thanks for reading!
The Central Idea for my 4th grader’s Where We Are in Place and Time IB unit is “Civilizations are dependent upon the geography of a region”. The unit explores how individuals contribute to the culture and growth of a region and explores the physical features of that region. We focused on the architect Frank Lloyd Wright as our inspiration.
Students first studied the varied landscapes of Wisconsin, from the densely forested Northwoods to the sandstone bluffs found near the Dells, to the sand dunes and waterfalls found in our State Parks. We talked about how Frank Lloyd Wright designed his buildings to fit within a landscape, allowing nature to play a star role in his designs.
Students then illustrated their backgrounds as inspired by their knowledge of Wisconsin landscapes. They made sure to add many details to make their scenes interesting as well as to use previous techniques learned to create the illusion of space.
After their backgrounds were complete, we studied some of the local buildings designed by Wright. We are lucky to have Wingspread and the S.C. Johnson building in our very own backyard! We also looked at other Wright architecture found in our state, from the Monona Terrace to his Taliesin studio in Spring Green. We discussed how his style of architecture uses many geometric shapes and angles. They loved his unique style and were eager to design their own inspired houses or buildings that fit into their landscapes.
After their buildings were complete, we made pop-ups to attach to the back of them so that they would pop out from the backgrounds. The added dimension really made their buildings stand out. I can’t wait to see what my 4th graders this year come up with!
We found quite a bit of interesting info in the book Frank Lloyd Wright for Kids: His Life and Ideas. This computer animated video of Fallingwater and its construction also fascinated the kids.
4th grade students studied the Cubist paintings created my Swiss artist Paul Klee, focusing in on his Rose Garden masterpiece in particular. We discovered that in the Cubist style of painting, the artist uses lines to break up the picture plane into many different angles. Students took this inspiration to make a design using heart stencils they created and then drew over using horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines. Each newly created space was then colored in with crayon and painted over with liquid watercolor in a wax resist style.
Inspired by this lesson from A Faithful Attempt.
Students last year created these Jim Dine inspired heart prints exploring texture and printmaking techniques. We viewed examples of Dine’s well-known heart paintings, studying the many colors and paint techniques he used. We colored a background for our prints using construction paper crayons, though if I taught this lesson again a solid color would help the prints to stand out more. We read A Zeal of Zebras by Woop Studios to get some ideas for the texture to add to our foam hearts. Students then printed their designed hearts onto their backgrounds. For a finishing touch, students used a recycled toilet paper tube bent into a heart shape to print a frame for their heart designs. Printmaking is such a magical process for young students!
We recently held our all school Spring Art Show for students and their families. I displayed our latest projects plus a sampling of the wonderful artwork created throughout the year. Every child had at least one piece of artwork on display. The PTA and many of my awesome colleagues helped with an Ice Cream Social that night as well, which really seemed to bring in tons of families. My principal has been really trying to get our families more involved in the school and it was great to see such a huge turnout for our art night. Enjoy some more photos from the big night!
I have done this Georgia O’Keeffe flower lesson the last two years with my 4th grade students. We start out the lesson by viewing a Powerpoint showcasing some of O’Keeffe’s flower paintings as well as interesting facts about her life, including that she was born right here in Wisconsin. We discover how she wanted to paint flowers big so that even busy people would stop to notice their beauty and intricate detail. Some of my favorite books to share about O’Keeffe during this unit are:
My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait by Jeanette Winter
Through Georgia’s Eyes by Rachel Victoria Rodriguez
Georgia Rises: A Day in the Life of Georgia O’Keeffe by Kathryn Lasky
I also laminated a huge stack of flower photographs (recycled junk mail from a seed catalog!) for reference as they began their first sketches. This was a great way to bring in some science. The main goal of the lesson was to zoom in on the flower, making sure to capture each tiny detail as inspired by O’Keeffe’s style. Students drew their final flowers with pencil on black 12 x 12 paper, outlining their drawings with glue. Once the glue dried, we reviewed O’Keeffe’s paintings, noticing how smoothly her colors blended, often using monochromatic tints and shades. Students tried creating this effect by coloring thickly with similar shades of their chosen color using oil pastels. Check out all their details–what a success!
This was one of my favorite projects created by my Kindergarten students last Spring. To start out the lesson, we watched this short Sesame Street counting video featuring Andy Warhol’s flower prints. Students also viewed more of his flower prints, noticing how the prints were very similar except for the colors. This led us into a discussion on printmaking, a process that allows the artist to create many pictures out of just one, using a stamp, screen, or printing plate.
Students first stamped the grass using recycled cardboard. Next, they drew and cut out a flower shape from craft foam, gluing it onto a cardboard backing. The next class, after the stamps were dry, students printed their flowers onto pink and yellow construction paper. They really loved discovering how many flowers they could make from their one stamp! Each artwork turned out bold and vibrant, just like Warhol’s originals.