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.
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.
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:
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!
I love the message one of my 3rd grade students drew across the top of his painting–it goes so well with the history of Vincent Van Gogh.
In my 5th year of teaching art, this was actually the first time I did a Starry Night painting project. They turned out so well. I used Google Art Project to introduce my students to Van Gogh’s most famous painting. It was helpful to be able to zoom in up close and see Van Gogh’s thick, painterly brushstrokes. We also viewed this mesmerizing video of the Starry Night in motion, which once again highlighted his many pronounced brushstrokes. Apparently it’s also interactive on an ipad, something I’d love to have my students play with for a future lesson. Students practiced making small lines with their oil pastels in Van Gogh’s style. The starry background was created this first class.
The second class, we read The Starry Night, by Neil Waldman, a book about a young boy going on a painting adventure through modern day New York City with Van Gogh. All illustrations are done in his style and it fit in great for the lesson. Students then painted a watercolor resist over their backgrounds.
The last class, I read The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, a Caldecott Medal-winning book. It was the perfect intro to adding our village silhouette details, as the illustrations are simple black and white textured silhouettes with bright golden light details. There’s even a painting of the Starry Night in the girl’s bedroom, a nice surprise pointed out by one of my observant students! After adding their villages, the maserpieces were complete! They are all so great.
Inspired by this beautiful art project on Artsonia.