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.
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.
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:
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.
Last year my 4th graders created these texture collage polar bears inspired by this artwork by artist Ryan Fowler. I liked the variation in texture on his polar bear print and wanted to give my students a chance to explore different collage and painting techniques. After viewing Fowler’s artwork and a Powerpoint with interesting polar bear facts and photos of both the bears and their habitat, students got to work creating their textured papers. On a light blue piece of construction paper, students brushed a glue mixture over ripped and crumpled pieces of white tissue paper to create a rough texture.
The second class, students used a brayer to roll white paint over their textured paper. On a second sheet of turquoise paper, they rolled blue, purple, and light blue paint for the background, to represent the cool colors found in the polar bear habitat. I encouraged them to go with the process of rolling paint, allowing some of the paper to show through to create variation. This especially helped bring out the texture on the prepared light blue paper. Lastly, we reviewed Fowler’s print and discussed how to create a simplified, stylized polar bear. Each one seemed to have a personality as the students added the details. They turned out great!