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.
2nd grade students created these colorful 3D topographic maps to correlate with their classroom unit on landforms. We studied some of the ways in which these types of maps are used by scientists and environmentalists and viewed real-life examples. We also were impressed by these awesome works of art created by paper artist Jen Stark. Students got to work creating their first large shape and had to follow a formula to continue making smaller, concentric shapes. We used small recycled cardboard pieces between each layer to make our maps pop. The technique was tricky at first but the second graders rose to the challenge and were able to create these masterpieces!
Closing out our African Art Unit, PreK students helped to make these giant collaborative Kente Cloths over four 30 minute class periods. First, students used their fine motor skills to practice cutting strips of paper in some of the traditional Kente cloth colors. The next class, students took turns gluing the strips to large butcher block sheets of black paper. The third class, they tried out some color mixing on oversized paper. For the grand finale, we watched this great video showing examples of the Kente cloth and artisans weaving them skillfully on large looms. We learned when you weave you have to go over and under like a pattern. Ahead of time I folded and cut the black collaged paper into a huge warp and the painted paper into strips for the weft. Students took turns weaving carefully until each Kente cloth was complete. What a statement they made!
Inspired by this project found on Artsonia.
3rd Grade students enjoyed making their own versions of African Mud Cloths. They viewed a powerpoint with many examples and learned the history and traditional methods of their creation. Of course they were surprised to find that actual mud was used to create the colors! This is an excellent website that gives a history of the mud cloth and lets you create one virtually. The students loved working together to create a virtual version before getting started on their own. They viewed examples of the mud cloth as inspiration when creating theirs, using geometric shapes, repeating patterns + symmetry, and earthy colors.
Inspired by this project found on Artsonia.
It sure has been awhile since I have updated but here I am! I transferred to a new elementary art position this summer and have been busy these first few weeks of school settling in. I will share more about that adventure soon! For now, I want to continue with my posts from last school year. There are so many wonderful creations to show.
My second grade students created giraffes for their African Art project. We studied some interesting facts about the giraffe through a NatGeo video. Did you know giraffes can crush a lion’s skull with their long legs? Or that their feet are the size of dinner plates? How about that they only sleep for about 20 minutes a day and eat 75 pounds of food daily?? Fascinating stuff. After studying the patterns and details of giraffe faces up close, students began their sketches.
After tracing pencil lines with a Sharpie, students used crayons and earth toned watercolors to give their giraffes a resist texture. For the background, we studied the traditional Adrinka symbols and viewed this video. Students had handouts to reference and created a pattern using their favorite symbols. They look great together!
The student above wanted to draw a baby giraffe too.
For our 1st Grade African Unit lesson, students studied the lion and created these magnificent mixed-media collages. To begin, we read What the Animals Were Waiting For by Johnathan London, which tells the story of the dramatic cycles of life on the Masai Mara range in Africa. Many different African animals are depicted in rich, oil painted illustrations. On our document camera, we zoomed in on the lion illustration so we could see how the artist carefully blended monochromatic earth tones to give texture and depth to the fur. We also studied real lion photographs to become familiar with their features. Students then were ready to draw their lion faces, blending and mixing earth tones using oil pastels for the fur.
The next class, we reviewed photos of crazy lion manes and students folded strips of earth toned paper to create a wild mane around their drawings. Lastly, students used texture rubbing plates to create interest in the background. They sure brightened up the halls!
Inspired by these awesome lions on Artsonia.
My 4th Grade students focused on the zebra for their African Unit lesson. To start off the project, we viewed many photographs and read some facts about the zebra from the San Diego Zoo website. They were fascinated to find out that their stripes help to confuse predators while in a large group. We also had to go on a fact-finding mission to answer the age-old question: “White with black stripes or black with white stripes??”. Turns out both are true!
Armed with this background information, students jumped right into their practice drawings, using a guide to give them confidence. It’s kind of funny that they all ended up facing the same direction, but each one does have their own personality! Students were so connected throughout the project and took great pride in their final drawings.
Lastly, we studied the characteristics of the zebra habitat, the savannah. We studied many photos of the landscape, noticing how there are many layers and textures found in a savannah. In order to give the illusion of depth, students cut different colors of paper to create grass, hills, and mountains. Beforehand, students used rubbing plates to create textures on their papers to create more interest. The final projects are so striking.
Inspired by these colorful zebra projects found on MaryMaking.