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FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT ARCHITECTURE DESIGNS

2 Apr

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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3RD GRADE PATTERN PUMPKINS

30 Sep

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We have been busy settling into the new school year and have just begun focusing on our fall-themed projects. The next month I will be posting some spectacular and colorful art projects created in the past autumn seasons. The leaves here in Wisconsin have just started to change so what perfect timing!

This was a lesson third grade students worked diligently on last fall. We started the lesson by observing a real pumpkin and making a list of adjectives to describe it. Students noticed that the pumpkin was shaped like a sphere with curved lines that started at the stem. These lines also gave the pumpkin a bumpy texture. We practiced drawing the pumpkin from life, making sure to carefully observe each detail in order to create the most realistic pumpkin. Once confident, students drew another large pumpkin on their final papers. They then drew two diagonal lines to create a background.

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The next class, students again observed the pumpkin and came up with a list of colors they noticed. We practiced mixing new colors out of yellow, orange, white, and brown paint. This was by far the most joyful part of the project as students were amazed at all the new color combinations they were able to create. They blended colors for the pumpkin then also had to mix 4 different tints for the background.

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Lastly, students used their knowledge of line to create bold patterns for their backgrounds using black paint. The simple outlines and patterns also helped to emphasize their lovely pumpkins as well as all the great new color combinations created.

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Inspired by this lovely pumpkin project.

2ND GRADE TED HARRISON INSPIRED LANDFORMS

3 Apr

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When I found out my 2nd graders were studying landforms in their Social Studies unit, I knew I had to try these Ted Harrison landscapes again. We went about the project in a pretty similar fashion but this time, instead of using glue to trace the lines, the students traced over their lines at the beginning and end with black oil pastel to help their designs stand out. My students were so eager to share and apply their knowledge of landforms and their enthusiasm really shone through on the final artworks.

Chalk pastels are definitely one of the messier mediums but there’s something about their vibrancy and boldness that make each project stand out. I’ve found it helpful to give students a baby wipe after each chalk session–cuts down on clean up time at the sink and encourages the more mess-adverse students to continue knowing that they can spiff themselves up at the end.

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2ND GRADE 3D TOPOGRAPHIC MAPS

2 Apr

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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!

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4TH GRADE CAMOUFLAGE ANIMALS

25 Mar

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Classes have been busy this spring exploring our IB units in depth. 4th graders were learning about animals’ use of mimicry and camouflage as a means of survival in their homerooms. To begin our unit, we watched this great video about animal camo. We viewed different animal patterns up close and students had to choose an animal with a distinctive design or texture for their projects. After printing off reference photos, students got busy on their practice drawings, trying to make their animals as realistic as possible. Once confident they had their best, students transferred their drawings onto the scratch art paper. We learned different scratching techniques with the stylus tool to help represent the texture of the animal’s fur or skin. For the finishing touch, students recreated their animal’s pattern with oil pastels for a border, again trying to use blending and coloring techniques to represent that texture. Students were very focused and engaged while working the entire quarter on this project! The results are absolutely amazing.

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PreK KENTE CLOTH COLLABORATION

8 Dec

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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.

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3RD GRADE AFRICAN MUDCLOTHS

7 Dec

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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.

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5TH GRADE NDEBELE GEOMETRIC DESIGNS

5 Dec

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First of all, thank you to anyone who may be checking out this post! I have so much great artwork to share–though my posts have been slow, my students have been busy. I’m sharing the rest of the African Art lessons while I sort through artwork photos from this school year.

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Students viewed images and learned the history of the colorfully painted houses traditionally created my women of the Ndebele tribe in Africa. We learned about their painting technique and use of bold, geometric designs and bright colors. My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me by Maya Angelou looks like a great book to pair with the lesson if you can find it!

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2ND GRADE GIRAFFES WITH ADINKRA SYMBOLS

16 Sep

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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!

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The student above wanted to draw a baby giraffe too.

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1ST GRADE OIL PASTEL LION COLLAGES

11 Jul

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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.

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