Art Teacher Tales
My favorite lessons, tricks and professional developments.
I spent two weeks dressed up like a made scientist and not one adult questioned me. I mean, I had a lab coat and goggles! You would think that someone would have thought it was strange but I guess it's expected form me.
So why was I dressed like a mad scientist? (Thanks for asking.) Well coloring mixing is very scientific. I start my lesson with some explicit teaching of the primary colors. To help students remember these primary colors I want to connect them with something they know. I chose superheros because superheros generally wear primary colors. I let them name some of those superheros and we connect them to those primary colors. Superman is a great example because he wears all three primary colors, and the primary colors are pretty super!
Next I share that primary colors are super because they make other color when we mix them. This is when I break out my test tubes and food coloring. I put on my goggles since we are doing science and we start to mix out primaries. Like good scientist we also make predictions about what colors they will make. This is also great for an informal pre-test.
After our class experiment student go to their tables to do their own experiment. At the table they have black paper, all three primary colors in cups, and fat paint brushes in each color. Students choose only two colors to mix. One color gets put on one side of the line and the second on the opposite side. To make sure they mix and don't just cover each other I have students sing their ABC's while they rub the paper. Then the Big Reveal!
This is the day that I teach drying rack procedures so we practice putting our work away and sit in a large circle on the carpet. Depending on the class some of them have some time left at the end so we either read Mix It Up by Herve Tullet or listen to OK Go's "Three Primary Colors". This all takes place in a 40 minute session.
The following class we start by reviewing the primary and secondary colors. Then we talk about how we can turn our mushes into monsters. To make the concept relatable we look at an image of a cloud. Most of us have looked at clouds and imagined that they look like other familiar objects. Students and I add details to our cloud on the SMART Board to help others see what we see. Once that idea is cemented for them we read Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems to give us some idea's for our monster. In the past I have used construction paper crayons and they do work nicely but I did order metallic markers for next year. I'll have to update to tell you how it goes!
I generally do this lesson around Halloween so my Kinders are still new to school. A lot of them are still in the scribbling stage of drawing. This is expected and welcomed in this lesson. Most of the students are not able to draw forms yet but since they have a form to add on to there is a much higher success rate in this lesson compared to other drawing focused lessons. There are still a few students who scribble over the whole paper. Keep in mind I see 600-700 kinders a week and I maybe get four scribbled papers.
Have you guys tried metallic markers? Do you like them, love them, hate them?
My inspiration for 99% of my lessons comes from other art teachers. No matter how creative and original I think I am my idea's generally come from manipulating others ideas to fit my interests or purpose. This idea came from Nic Hahn who is an awesome blogger. Check out her blog if you have not yet! http://minimatisse.blogspot.com/
Nic did an awesome presentation for The Art of Education's Winter Conference doing collagraphs with charcoal. She was inspired by the artists Isabelle Arsenault. For my kinders I decided to use these technique with crayons and have my littles make some robots!
Working with Kinders there is always a lot of prep. Luckily, I see 26 kindergarten classes so all the prep is worth while! I spent hours cutting hundreds of shapes for their robots. I used only blue paper so students can easily follow my directions when I talk about the blue shapes. I also had to prepare the "naked crayons". Soaking doesn't really do the trick for wax crayons. Instead, I used an Exacto to slice the paper and peel it off. Before the students came into the art room I set up their "Work Station" and laid out all of their materials on the table. Their work station was simply a light purple piece of construction paper. I wanted to make sure they built their robots with in a space that was the same as their paper. This also allowed me to teach them about registration before we got into Gelli printing.
I made a video for this lesson because I knew I would be out for a day. I love being able to give the sub a video. I originally made a video with sound but I muted the video and spoke as they watched I found my students listened so much better. That video is up on my YouTube now! There are a lot of steps for this lesson but I found my student worked really well together to remember all these steps. First, I explained that printmaking is how artists, like us, make copies. When student got to their tables they built their robot with the blue pre-cut shapes on their purple work stations. I reiterated that this is not your final work, but instead what you will be coping. Next they placed their white paper over their robot and rubbed their naked crayons over top lightly. This fine motor skill is had for some students so I did make sure to circulate and model for the students who needed it. The light covering allows the student to see where everything is so they can choose colors for certain parts of their robot. Once the robot is copied students used a texture plates to fill in the background. I used the Roylco texture plates. Last students added some details with crayon to finish up their beautiful robots!
In 40 minutes most students were able to make more then one robot. I do feel that making multiples reenforced the idea that printmaking is how artists make copies but I could have added another step. I was debating having students add watercolor but I think these robots are just awesome they way they are! I (of course) had one student decide to go her own way and after her robot she made this adorable little fox.
What are your thoughts? To watercolor or not to watercolor?