Saturday, October 27, 2012

paint swirls, gold plated trees and sweet 6th graders???

Week Highlight:  Aside from my students doing a great job, I found some time (I'm not sure where I found it.  Probably under a stack of papers and at the end of my to-do list....oops) to make a small painting.  
 "Floating Layers", 6"x6", acrylic with copper wire.

Other highlights:  A young first grade girl, curly blonde hair, blue eyes dressed in a fantastic hot pink tulle skirt asked me, "How can you dress so nice and never get dirty?"  I respond, "Because I let you do all the work...;-)"

Also, they may not have reading done just right and still misspell 95% of their words BUT they can sing all the words to the whistle song by Flo Rida (did I spell that right?)

First Grade: first grade ghosts get a little color
Towards completing our self-portraits, we needed desperately to add some skin to our ghostly appearance. Not to mention our baldness.  Using Crayola Multicultural markers, the students had to explore and analyze what marker would best fit their own skin tone.  Through process of elimination and a little help from each other, they were pretty successful. In finishing of their portraits, they added their eye color, eyebrow and lips....and of course, their hair color.  Something great that I have noticed, is their understanding of 'ish'--kinda looking like what it is....

First/Second Bilingual:  Painting Bright, Painting Big, Painting Bold
There communities are really coming to life.  A little paint...well, a lot of paint, goes a long way!
Second Grade:  All in Swirly Gold
This week we started 'growing' our family trees with a very special Honestly, these little things (like gold paint) brings imagination and enthusiasm to life.  We talked about how Gustav Klimt used gold in his paintings and how gold can be something special.  Students connected their own art-making of this golden tree to their creation of something special for their families.
Not that swirly gold trees are a difficult concept to draw, but google has just about everything.
Learn how to draw Klimt-ish trees: HERE and watch a video HERE 

Third Grade:  swirly paint, on swirly brushes make for dynamic painting
When we looked closely at Cezanne's paintings, we noticed that there were layers and layers of colors in one area.  These wonderful French artists, re-created that effect by painting with marbled paint.  It was really great to see these painters loosen up and appreciate the process of painting in this way.  This week we painted our walls, plates and jugs. 
 Fourth Grade: Wrapping up Henri Matisse's Investigation
Bringing the lesson back full circle, students final challenge was demonstrating their investigative skills of observation, memorization, and recollection.  The students' focus was to look, very carefully, for 5 minutes at a peer's painting, assigned to them at random.  At the end of the five minutes, they were to describe in great detail the painting.  The emphasis here was for students to use their knowledge of the elements of art (line, color and shapes) to help them memorize what the painting looked like.

Fifth Grade:  Graffiti Creators
It is really wonderful to see my students really excited about what they are learning and doing.  It's also great when they ask for homework!!!  Which I gladly give them.  After a serious discussion on the rights and wrongs of graffiti, students delved right in to creating their own style.
Most graffiti-maker on-line sites will not work at school!  Which I understand but I don't.  Honestly, if you structure your lessons correctly, there never seems to be any problems with students following instruction without 'problems'. 

Sixth Grade: Sweet to be Me....similes, metaphors and just the right amount of chocolate
This week started a new lesson for my quirky sixth graders.  Following along with the concept of identity, each student will research, interpret, analyze and reflect on their choice of candy.  We started with looking at wonderful paintings of candy by artist Darren Mauer.  Not only are they wonderfully done but they miniature!  Amazing.  We compared and contrasted the various characteristics of about 20 paintings and then tried to understand how our choices in candy can tell us a little bit about our own personalities and characteristics.  We took a very brief candy personality test where at the end....the students were a bit surprised how accurate the descriptions were!  Of course, I rephrased some of the less appropriate descriptions;-)

The main objective was for the students to begin making observations of the composition of a piece of candy, using their 5 senses.  Their first experience consisted of taking a blind taste test with a sour patch kid.  Talking them through their experience, I encouraged them to focus on what happens when eating this candy.  Towards the end of the session, we discussed how words we use to describe characteristics of candy can become metaphors for some of the personality traits we have.  Their research, of course by testing, lots of candy and figure out what is your candy type.  The students are thrilled!

I have an entire powerpoint and packet to go along with the lesson:)  Contact me if you are interested.  The students will be creating contour line drawings, adding value and re-creating their candy in using their own style...and then writing a paragraph reflecting how they are like their candy.

 MILE: Spiders, Ghosts and our names
Last week we created these wonderfully crazy spiders.  We used laminating film for the 'paper' and glue to wiggle out a web.  Using model magic and some black Crayola marker, we marbled the clay, added some fun colored legs and, of course...googly eyes.  This week, we spelled out our names using the ASL alphabet and choosing our colors, and we created ghosts using the shipping popcorn stuff found in packages.  Super cool and super fun for the students.


     Check back next week for more updates!  Thanks for hanging out in the SMocKroom
xoxo, SMocK you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

history box, crime scenes and a secret cave.....

Where does time go....this post will be a bit longer than most, partly because I didn't post last week.  SORRY!  Sometimes, I just don't know how Friday evenings turn into Monday mornings so quickly.

Highlights:  After the History box was delivered and the students' excitement left the art room, the magic floated through the air of the school until the end of the day.  A young 3rd grade student came into my room at the end of the day, just to say 'hi' and "Hey, tell Julio 'Thanks for the cookies'".  (Now if you are wondering who 'Julio' is, skim through the third grade theme for the year...)  With a smirk, I said, "I will".

 First Grade: Meeting a man that has not been to the bathroom in 300 years...
little by little a face appears
rembrandt self portrait as zeuxis
It sounds like a very serious situation!  Following Anna and her art adventure, she comes across a painting of a laughing old man: Rembrandt van RijnIn a very serious conversation, inquiring about the location of a bathroom, Anna is told by "Mr. Rembrandt" that the only toilet he knows about is a disgusting urinal that Marcel Duchamp exhibited and called it art.  Now the question is.....was it or wasn't it art.  Well, regardless the more pressing issue was finding it because when you gotta go....
In this (cross your fingers) short lesson, the first grade art adventurers are discovering themselves a little bit and creating self-portraits.  We have not completed our drawings and ready to paint....or use oil pastels.....hmmmm.....

First/Second Bilingual:  Drawing our city together
drawing their city
painting by Jacob Lawrence
The repeated theme for these students is 'working together'.  Because of the various skill levels, knowledge and just being in the artroom, these students ability to work together is very important.  Using Jacob Lawrence  as inspiration, we began discussing the idea of physical communities and what makes up their community of Palatine.  What stores?  What types of buildings?  Their own house....With those ideas in mind, as teams these students needed to draw mural size buildings and house, representing Palatine.  There were some small arguments here and there but in the end their drawings turned out great!  Now, we'll just see how painting goes.....

Second Grade:  My Tree of Life 
Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt
We are embarking on a very exciting lesson, inspired by Gustav Klimt and reflecting how we (2nd graders) connect to people, places and spaces.  In our goal to start with us (self-portraits) to explore our connection to our immediate loved ones...some with four legs, too).
reading art books during free time
Each student was given a brown bag with a note stapled to it: ".......photographs of your family....."  In this project, the 2nd grade students will create their own "Tree of Life" but with thoughtful, 2nd graders, reflection of who is part of that tree.  Amongst the swirly style of "Mr. Gustav" will be the hidden portraits that express individuals who participate, influence and shape each students tree....their life. We started with painting the entire 16x20 paper midnight blue, collecting our photographs and filling in a family tree activity page.

painting midnight blue....
Third Grade: Special Delivery- the long awaited "HISTORY BOX" (suitcase really)
all the way from Paris...
creating a light shadow for visualization
After weeks and weeks of anguish, they day finally arrived...and so did a wonderful surprise straight from Paris, France.  I had secretly arranged for the suitcase to 'delivered' while my third grade class was busy doing what they were suppose to be doing.  I sent a couple of inquisitive students to pick up the package and when they entered the room, with a suitcase tagged "Special Delivery"....well, you could imagine what happened.  An eruption of joyful screams, jumps and twirls.  At that point, all 3rd grade students came into my room to open the box.  From books to a fancy sequined beret for me to the finest of cookies from a patisserie du Paris, they were over joyed and in relief.  He does exist....Helios, the young boy roaming the world sending them historical stuff...does exist ;-)  Then we had to get back to business!  We reviewed the style and characteristics of Paul Cezanne, drew our still lifes, with apples, plates, a jug and fabric all on a table.   To help them visualize the movement, bend and turns of the fabric, we used chalk pastel to fill in these areas and oil pastel to highlight the twist and turns.  
Still life with apples by Cezanne

depicting the bends and folds of fabric
Fourth Grade:  Crime Scene Renditions  of Henri Matisse

painting by Henri Matisse
using oil pastel for patterns
These Crime Scene Investigators have really mastered their skills in rendering a redesigned room by Henri Matisse!  One of the main objectives of this project is to encourage students to think independently and use their acquired knowledge in their paintings/drawings.  The other is to build their observation skills towards remember more details within art--here a painting.  One activity that really contributed to their success was creating a pattern guide and using the same sequence of completing the guide and the painting.  Just like the patterns in a painting, repetition and rhythm encourage retention of important elements in this project.  And they turned out GREAT!  They're big, they're bold and they are well done!  The flexibility within this project lends to all students' success, because the focus is not on 'great artistic' skills but, rather, on their critical thinking skills.   Now the question will be if they can use these investigative skills to fill out a report for the 'Boss'.  I hear she's a stickler for detail....
completed drawing

Fifth Grade:  Exploring the Secret Cave 
read to the students for inspiration
exploring the secret cave
I took all the 'cave paintings' that the fifth grade artists created and covered the walls to the school's AV room.  Luckily, the room is not being used all that much anymore so this was perfect.  The students had to now pretend they were from the future and discovering these drawings for the first time.  As teams of explorers, their mission was to write a narrative describing their new discoveries, painting a picture through words of the Secret Cave.  The stories are just now being written....

Sixth Grade:  Heidi Cody would be proud
American Alphabet by Heidi Cody
American Alphabet by students
I have to say, this lesson brought out the best and the worst from my students.  Best because they did a great job, overall with attention to detail, precision and very patient painting.  I am also proud to say that each 6th grade Wimpy Art Kid has held on real tight to their composition books!  And week by week, their sketchbook drawings are getting better and better.  

what products did this student use???
MILE: Fall Trees
I am a little behind updating the projects for the MILE students.  A couple of weeks ago, we create fall-ish trees.  Super easy and not sooooo messy.  We cut out a cloud shape for the top of the tree and proceeded to use our fingertips to make little prints of green, yellow and red.  When all was dry, and with small slits in a toilet paper tube, we put it all together.  I tend to google seasonal crafts to get ideas.  

fall-ish tree

Stay tuned for........

First Grade:  Completing our portraits and possibly seeing where a mysterious red dress takes us
First/Second Bilingual:  painting our community together
Second Grade: Swirls and twirls of gold 
Third Grade: painting....with easels and all
Fourth Grade:  Re-telling the crime scene
Fifth Grade:  Connecting pre-historic communication to today--graffiti 
Sixth Grade:  Exploring identity through......TBA
MILE: webs, spiders and ghosts

Leave your comments, Follow along or just hang out in the SMocKroom!

xoxo, SMocK you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Poems, portraits and painting....among other things

 Week Highlight:  you really had to be there but my second grade students were singing along to Ray Charles and "What I'D Say".  Of course, they only repeated guttural sounds, but awesome nonetheless ;-)

Second... I was demonstrating a painting technique with a sixth grade group.  They gathered around, as they always do and the idea is for them to attention.  Well, there are the few that fall short of this goal, from time to time.  As I was painting away and looking down, I said something like, "Julian stop playing with your jacket and pay attention".  Well, I didn't think much of it, until I hear, "How do you do that???!!", with exclamation and over my shoulder.  I turn around and ask "do what?".  "That!  You are not even looking up and you know what people are doing!!!"  I smirked and said, "Magic". 

 First Grade: Ellsworth Kelly and nature
Continuing with our Art Adventure, this week we explore drawing enormous in a really small space.  Ellsworth Kelly created many wonderful drawing of flowers and plants that later became abstract simplified paintings.  The students creating small "windows" to express the idea of something looking really big. 


Second Grade: Finding our Faces and "I am" poems
We are slowly wrapping up our self-portraits.  I am still just amazed at the wonderful results these students are coming up with.  More so, they are really demonstrating a lot of growth, both in skill and in character.  As a culminating activity, each students writes an "I am" poem, in reflection of who they are, their dreams, their hopes....their pretends..... 
Seriously, who doesn't pretend they are a princess once in a while, or wonder what a dog would say if it could speak.... 
First/ Second Bilingual: Compartir, mostrar respecto, ayudarse unos a otros:
In their final stage of building a good community within their class, these students express and demonstrated what they will do towards "Working Together".  A huge paper plate necklace was hung up with their written expressions.
Third Grade:  Meeting Paul Cezanne and his astonishing apples
With berets, this week the third grade 'met' Paul Cezanne and understood how a little courage, a small gesture and a basket of apples can change who you are.  The story has it, when Cezanne was a young boy, he was very shy.  One day he found the courage to stand up for his friend and was later thank with a basket of apples.  A friendship was created and hundreds of apples appeared in his paintings.  The third grade French artists are now exploring how they will astonish the school with an apple...
Fourth Grade:  Laying down the base colors
In their effort to re-create the 'crime scene', fourth grade investigators used their pattern samples to guide how their final renditions will look.  

Fifth Grade:  Paleolithic Students
It was a wonderfully dark and gloomy day for this portion of the unit.  With the lights turned off and the blinds drawn, the art room glowed solely by blue light of the overhead projector...The students were a little surprised when I told them the paper is under their desks.  They kinda looked at me like I was crazy, dropped jaws and all.  But!  They did not hesitate to get down and dirty :)

Sixth Grade:  Letters, Letters and Letters
Slowly these very patient sixth grade students are completing their names.  Unfortunately for some such as Alejandro, he has a bit more work to do than someone like Noe....sometimes it's just not fair :o)
MILE: Scarecrows
Traced out hands for hay, ripped mulberry paper for patches and, of course buttons for the shirts, make for the most perfect guardians of Sanborn.  Now the school is safe.  Phew!
 Check back for the upcoming week's lessons.  
I am now tired.:(

xoxo, SMocK you!