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.
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.
School is finally out, so that means I will have more time to share some spectacular art projects here. I plan on updating at least weekly so keep checking back for more!
My Kindergarteners worked on these fantastic leopards during our African Art unit. Every year, we have a schoolwide Black History program to celebrate the contributions and heritage of African Americans in our world and community. In art class, I choose a relevant theme for each grade level to study and draw inspiration from for an art project. This year, I focused on the rich traditional art forms found in Africa as well as some of the most well-known animals native to the continent. My students absolutely loved learning about the animals.
For Kindergarten, we continued our exploration of simple shapes to create a triangle leopard. We read Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema to start off the lesson. We viewed photos of real leopards and learned some interesting facts. Students then were given a step-by-step drawing sheet to help guide them along. They added all the details with crayons then painted blue watercolor over to create a resist effect. Lastly, green leaves were added to help their leopards appear to be hiding in the trees. They all turned out so great!
Inspired by these tigers found on We Heart Art.
Continuing with the literature-based art theme, here are some spectacular chameleons created by my 2nd grade students last spring during our lizard unit. During this unit, we read two great chameleon books:
Chameleon’s Colors by Chisato Tashiro
A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
We also viewed some National Geographic Kids videos of real chameleons changing colors. The kids thought they were pretty much the coolest lizards in all creation.
They prepared their chameleon paper by brushing water over multi-colored bleeding tissue paper squares. They used texture rubbing plates to create a texture for their leaf and branch papers using crayons. These papers were then painted over with watercolor, creating a textured wax resist.
The next class, students practiced their chameleon drawing skills using a step-by-step drawing sheet, a lifesaver for my easily-frustrated students! Yet notice how each chameleon still has its own personality. Once comfortable, students created their final drawing on the prepared colorful paper. After cutting a large branch, leaves, and adding their chameleons to their composition, the masterpieces were complete.
Check back later for the 3D lizards from this unit!
These chameleons were inspired by this drawing lesson found on Art Projects for Kids.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I really do make an effort to incorporate literature whenever possible into my art curriculum. As a kid of a teacher mom, some of my fondest summer memories are visiting the public library to check out stacks of books every couple of weeks. I loved getting lost in the stories, studying the illustrations that sometimes accompanied the book, or creating the settings and details in my imagination.
As an art teacher in a high poverty school, it’s an important job to promote and encourage a love of reading for our students. I have to admit I am still drawn to children’s books and have a passion for sharing their words and illustrations in my classroom. Introducing a lesson with a book helps to calm my students down and get them excited to start their own inspired projects. In my five years of teaching art, I have built my entire curriculum around quality works of literature. I can connect other subject areas like science, social studies, and art history. It’s the perfect starting point for many lessons and I am on a continuous hunt for more amazing books. Here is my Pinterest board where I keep track of my favorites. I am going to share some more of my favorite literature based lessons this week.
First up, Eric Carle-inspired Seahorses!
My 2nd grade students read Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle (one of my favorite illustrators to use in the art room!) to start out the lesson. They were fascinated to discover how many sea creature Dads take care of their babies. We also viewed some videos of seahorses swimming as well as many photographs to see how they were shaped. We used bleeding tissue paper the first day to prepare our papers in the style of Carle. Students also painted a wavy background using cool ocean colors. The next class, students cut out their prepared papers into a seahorse shape. You can see some added babies as well. They added floating seaweed to the background then glued their seahorses on top. I think they all turned out so fantastically!
Stay tuned for more beautiful literature-based art.
My 1st grade students began this lesson by reading Good-Night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins. We zoomed in on my document camera to take a closer look at the patterns Hutchins uses to illustrate her owl. Students were eager to share some of their own pattern ideas as they had been learning about patterns in their classroom. They practiced drawing their owls using a step-by-step drawing sheet I had created.
Sidenote: The use of these drawing sheets have worked wonders in helping my kiddos find success in art. Previously during drawing lessons, my students would become frustrated when it came time for them to draw on their own. I would clearly demonstrate beforehand, but many students would forgot by the time they started drawing. Since most of my students have not had any art experience outside of school, they need extra encouragement and guidance. I was amazed the first time I used these how confident my students became while drawing. The best part is that each student’s drawing always has its own unique look even though they had the same directions.
Back to the project–after drawing their owls with a black crayon, they filled them in with different patterns and painted over them with brown, earthy owl colors. The next class, students drew stars on their blue papers for nighttime and made a bright, collage full moon for the sky. They also created a texture rubbing on brown paper and cut it into a branch shape. Lastly, their owls were cut out and glued onto the branch. They sure loved making their owls!