Friday, March 25, 2011

Recycling, Rousseau, & Technology

A project that started with these -

And ended with this -

As part of my Reuse*Recycle*ReCreate unit with students at one of my schools, first grade students used egg cartons, paint, and lots of odds & ends to create Henri Rousseau inspired collage pictures.
Students were introduced to artist Henri Rousseau through watching Dropping in on Henri Rousseau and exploring his paintings using a PowerPoint I made up for them. This took one whole class period. I also explained what artwork they would be creating inspired by Rousseau.

Next class we started by painting some tagboard to give a jungle-like colored background for our collage. I had students use white tagboard instead of regular paper so it would hold up to all the stuff that would be glued to it. I gave students green tempera along side a little dab of yellow, brown, and blue. This allowed students the chance to experiment with color mixing to create some different greens in their background painting.
When they finished the background painting they picked up two or three egg carton sections and some yellow, orange, and brown paint. They were told these would be lions for their jungle collage and encouraged to mix and paint them with colors that would work for lions.

The third class we started the big fun of beginning to glue down things into our collages. The lion egg cartons were glued on first and then students gave them faces with fine markers and googly eyes. They added manes using yarn scraps or Christmas tinsel. They also added yarn tails.
Once their lions were complete the real creativity began. I had scraps of odds & ends in boxes and students used these and paper scraps to create a jungle environment for the lions. The favorite supply was some green twisted paper ribbon that I had gathering dust on a shelf for years. This, I'm sure, was donated years ago.

Here are some of the wonderful finished works!

To bring this lesson to a close and reflect on our work students used the smartboard to create a jungle scene inspired by artist Henri Rousseau. The program these students are worked with, along with more information on the artist, can be found at the National Gallery of Art kids website
This interactive program allows students to create a jungle scene similar to the paintings of Henri Rousseau. Students can change the sky and ground and then add trees, bushes, flowers, and animals. This program allows students to practice placing objects into a landscape and resizing them or placing them as to create distance and depth in a picture (what we refer to as perspective in art). Animals and plants placed lower on the screen and made larger give the appearance that they are close up, while placing animals and objects higher up and smaller give the appearance of being farther back in the distance. Students can also explore overlapping to show depth and distance. This is a great tool. Student also really get excited when certain animals or objects flutter or move when they touch them on the screen.
While students in pairs got a chance to work on the smartboard - which I rather like to refer to as the smARTboard in my room - other students finished any details on their collage or worked on Rousseau coloring sheets.

It was a very successful project that incorporated a great deal of elements!

A special thanks to Jodi at Onecrayolashort.blogspot for the wonderful idea!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Did You Hear the Oven Beep? Our Cupcakes are Ready!!

The Completion of the Cupcake Unit! Oh...That was FUN!!

Fourth grade students and I had a fun time with this unit. After learning a little about the art of Wayne Thiebaud the students drew cupcakes. I have two fourth grade classes this year - one in each building. The make up of the two classes are quite different, as are the two schools. So I approached this unit knowing I would do some experimenting with the methods and how I planned the progress of the project. For the drawing part, one of my classes used oil pastels on white paper and one class used chalk pastels on black paper. I did this to see which drawing medium would work the best. I think the most successful was the chalk pastels on the black paper. Students were able to blend the colors faster and achieve success easier.

Another difference came with the timeline of the clay cupcakes. The one class has more students who need more one-on-one attention and more students in general. They were the first class I started the clay work with. I realized about 15 minutes into the 45 minute class that the cupcakes would not be completed all in one class, so I told the students to just work on the bottom part and then we placed them into plastic bags so we could finish them the next week. That same week when I began the clay cupcakes with the students in the other school, I was prepared with plastic bags in the event that this class would be the same in their progress. That was not the case with this class. They completed the entire clay cupcake with great success within the 45 minute period.

Here's a look at their cupcakes after they were bisque fired -

Here are some finished glazed clay cupcakes -