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.