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!
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.
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!
My 5th grade students studied the vibrant, stylized landscape paintings of Canadian artist Ted Harrison. They discovered he fell in love with the sweeping, layered vistas in the Canadian Yukon and made it his life’s work to capture their majesty in his bold paintings. After viewing a Powerpoint showing examples of his work, learning about his life, and studying real photographs of the Yukon landscape, students were ready to get to work.
We imagined how it would feel looking out across the mountains, noticing how the layers in each painting help to give each work depth and show perspective. They also saw how Harrison used stylized wavy lines to give the illusion of space.
Students used pencils to sketch out their wavy landscape designs, which were then traced over with white glue and left to dry. The next class, chalk pastels were dipped into starch to give a brighter look and cut down on the dust. The students were very proud of their bright, bold landscapes and their success at using varied lines to create depth. Check out some more colorful examples!
Inspired by this lesson from the Crayola website.
Last year my 3rd graders created winter landscapes inspired by Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon. This quiet, simple story filled with descriptive language and metaphors, as well as the muted watercolor illustrations, alludes to the stillness of a winter’s night and the magical feeling a child gets when going on a special adventure for the first time. The story always gives me goosebumps. We watched the video version of the book as an introduction for the lesson.
Afterwards, students created a watercolor wash for the background, using the cool winter colors found in the story. After painting, salt was sprinkled over the paper to create additional texture. The next class, students viewed photos of winter tree silhouettes and used recycled cardboard to print a winter tree and snow. Q-tips were used to create falling snow and the owls sitting on the branches. We used white tempera paint but I would recommend acrylic if available as it would be more opaque. Each student’s winter landscape looked as quiet and peaceful as the story.
Inspired by this project found on Kids Artists.