Art Teacher Tales
My favorite lessons, tricks and professional developments.
Since I was a child I have always loved Eric Carl books. The visuals are so unique and interesting and I find that my students love them too. When I start my Eric Carl lesson I always start with an Eric Carl book. This year I started with The Very Hungry Caterpillar because we just finished making paper mache bugs and because I found a great video of Eric Carl reading this story. My students loved seeing the actual artist and it helped them connect the art they saw to the person who made it. Find that video here.
After we watched the book I quickly explained his process of creating texture paintings, cutting shapes, and collaging those papers together. In every class students asked what texture was. I love when I get them to ask the question instead of me telling them what they should know. To explore texture we rub the carpet, our clothes, and our hair and we come up with texture words or words that describe texture. Next I show a video of Eric Carl preparing paper for his large murals. I like this video because he is working large so the texture is easy to see and he is also using a broom to make texture. This leads to great discussions and helps spring board into what we will be doing during class two. Find Eric Carl at work here.
Day two is where is gets real messy! We reviewed our lesson from the class before but we really focused on why Eric Carl used a broom to paint. The answer: to create texture! Then students get to work. At their tables students get colored 12x 18 construction paper each, one tray with a few different colors of tempera paint, and everyday objects to paint with. This is a great lesson to use up old construction paper and the last of your paint. The objects I used were loofas, scrub brushes, marbles, rubber pastry brushes and toy trucks. I got all of these materials from the dollar store. My only instruction to the students was to cover their entire paper with texture. I do suggest doing this project towards the end of the year because they need to know your routine for washing at the sink.
I do not have student put their name on the painting because all the finished work get sorted into colors so students can use any colors for their finial piece. This year, I had one of my schools make any kind of animal that they wanted. The other school was asked to create an animal that could fly. I found that the flying animals were more developed then the open ended animals because the students were sharing ideas and looking at each others work for inspiration. I did not talk too much about how to cut and glue to make a collage since we have been working on those skills through out the whole year.
Since this lesson ended around mother's day I allowed my early finishers to make flowers for mom from the excess texture paper. I was so impressed with the compositions that they came up with! Next year, when I do this lesson with my new kinders I plan on having them make flowers instead of animals and here is why. The shapes of the flower are easier for students to visualize because they are shapes that they can name; circles, ovals, etc. Students were getting to complex with their animal shapes and they began to get very tiny. This made it hard to add details. Second, my kinders had just finished learning about the parts of the flower in their classroom. Because of this they were able to add more details to their flowers. Now next year I can have early finished challenges themselves by making animals.