Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shapes to Forms - A 3rd Grade project

The Element of Form -

Years ago the art teachers in my school district developed a scope and sequence and curriculum map for our elementary art program. We spent a great deal of time and effort on this task. We review these and make adjustments every few years. They are based on the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, art media and techniques, and introduction to target artists. Getting through the entire scope and sequence in a school year is very difficult with the time constraints we face. I feel it also slightly hinders the time allowed for students to express individual creativity - yet students need the foundation that these concepts provide.  An interesting discussion was started by Theresa McGee on balancing teaching skills while providing open-ended art experiences over on Art Ed 2.0.

This past month I've been working with the Element of Form with my 3rd through 5th graders. Many art teachers incorporate a clay project when teaching form. I do sometimes and certainly review form when I do a clay project with students. But with three schools - 650+ students a week - I have to spread my clay projects out throughout the year to keep my sanity.

So this year I tried something different with the 3rd grade. After discussing shapes and then introducing forms to the students I had them pick a form template (cube, rectangular prism, or pyramid) and color each face of it with different designs and colors. I didn't give them specific directions on what they could or couldn't do on these. I wanted to give them some freedom to express themselves. The only direction I gave was to make sure their name was on one of the faces and make sure all the designs were "school appropriate".  Students used colored pencils and/or crayons for this.

After the form templates were colored and put together, I had students work in their cooperative groups to create a sculpture using everyone's form. They had to work together and discuss what would create the best sculpture. I snapped a photo of each groups work. Then we had everyone put their forms together in one large class sculpture.  Students sometimes had a bit of frustration when the lightweight paper forms would topple over when bumped.

The form templates I used can be found on my Art with Mrs. G! Website.

Here are some of the results!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Congrats to the Top 10 Art Ed Blogs!

Thank you Jessica from for putting together the Art Ed Blog of Year contest. I was honored to be among the finalists! You can see the top 10 winners by visiting Jessica's site. Congrats to all these winners! I have visited each and every one of these blogs and they offer wonderful ideas and insights into our world of Art Education.

I am always looking for other art educators to share ideas with and was very happy to see some new-to-me blogs on the finalist list. Together we can create a learning network to improve the art instruction that means so much to us. We want our students to receive the best Art education they possibly can!

If you haven't checked out the list of finalists and the top 10 blogs be sure and check them out!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pattern with Kindergarten

There are so many ways to teach pattern to our youngest students. This one is a simple (usually one class period) lesson. I usually don't do this lesson until December or January. By this time of the year the Kindergarten teacher has already introduced the concept of pattern to the students. We discuss what patterns are and give some examples of AB patterns using color and shapes and then go on to discuss ABC patterns. Depending on the level of the students, we may go further discussing different patterns - I let the students guide this.

After our pattern discussion, students practiced making a three color pattern. If I do this lesson before Christmas I use a tree design and the students "decorate" the tree with primary colored pieces of paper. Students are given a green paper with a tree shape copied on it. They also get a strip of each primary color. I show them how to cut the strips into squares all at once to make the cutting go faster. I encourage students to place the strips into a pattern before they glue them down.

This is a great project to practice cutting and gluing skills along with reinforcing pattern.
 If time allows I let the students glue on some sequins to their tree. Of course they love that!

I've also done this project after the holidays. Instead of the tree design, a heart on red paper is used. The pattern is put along the inside of the heart.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'm Honored To Be Nominated for Art Ed Blog of Year!

Great news! I just found out from Jessica over at The Art of Education that my blog has been selected as one of the finalists to win "Art Ed Blog of the Year!" Very exciting. This is such a great idea, and I've already discovered a lot of great new Art Ed Blogs through the nomination page. I'm very honored to be among such great blogs. I believe that I have visited each and everyone of the blogs nominated - they are all very great places to find Art Ed resources!

Here's the thing though... I need your help to win! Voting is open this whole week from today through Saturday the 21st. Could I ask you to take 30 seconds, follow this link: vote for our blog win?! All you have to do is click on Spats, Scraps, and Glue Blobs in the poll, and click vote! It's that easy. I found that readers of my blog are great people, so I'm confident that if you all take just a second to vote, we’ll be promoted to one of the Top 10 Art Ed Blogs of 2011!

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

O'Keeffe Inspired Close Ups

Fourth grade students were my target for these interesting oil pastel drawings 
(Though 2 of the classes were 4th/5th and 3rd/4th splits - the majority were 4th graders)

A class period was spent giving students some background information on Georgia O'Keeffe. She is one of my favorites and I was pleasantly surprised at the student's attentiveness and interest in learning about her. I have a wonderful book that is great for these upper-elementary students - My Name Is Georgia by Jeanette Winter.  I also have put together clips onto a dvd from an old video I have with pictures of her works. The students love seeing her on the video and listening to her talk about her life and art. I allow students to comment and discuss and ideas about her works as we look at them. I concentrated on putting many of her close-up views in the dvd because that is what we were going to focus on.

The last 10 minutes or so of class I explain the project to the students. I showed them magazine pictures that I had collected of animals and plants. I also show students viewfinders that were cut from index cards.  We discussed how we were going to take an image and blow it up to a larger size. They would only be drawing what was inside of their viewfinder.  If time remained I plopped a pile of magazine pics on each table and allowed students to choose their image and play around with the viewfinders to find interesting areas of the picture.
The next class students decided exactly where they were going to place their viewfinder and taped it down to the magazine paper. I gave students a quick demo on how to start to enlarge the image onto their papers (which were about 12x15). I showed them how to mark their viewfinder and paper off into quarters (not quite a whole grid method - just a simplified start of one) and use these guide marks to see where lines and shapes should be placed on the paper.

See More of these on the Roosevelt Artsonia Site.

It took most students 2-3 classes to draw out and use the oil pastels to complete the works. I'm very pleased at how these turned out. I do have one more added part to this project that will involve writing and an iPad app -but I'll save that for another blog post!