Thursday, January 2, 2014

Favorite Projects of 2nd Quarter - Part 1: Abstract Trees

5th Grade Abstract Tree with Monochromatic Sky

5th Grade students and I discussed the definition monochromatic. We broke this vocabulary word apart to see if they could figure out what the word meant. I questioned what prefix was contained in the word and many students were able to identify "mono". Most of my classes had at least a student or two that knew that "mono" meant one or single. Then we looked at the second part of the word, "chroma" which students didn't know at all. We looked up the definition using Google. I took this opportunity to show students a better way to search a definition on Google. 
We typed in "definition: chroma" into the omnibox and up popped the following:
So I then asked what they thought "monochromatic" might mean. Students responded with "one color?' Yay!! Now I know, why not just have them search for "monochromatic" in Google? Because...I love to engage students in thinking as much as I love them to engage in technology. Breaking apart words makes them think! I'm betting these students will have no problem figuring out what a monoprint is later in the year. 

Ok...back to the project. 

Students chose a color (primary or secondary) and practiced making tints and shades while painting a monochromatic sky. When they got to the ground they were able to chose any color they wished to paint it. Some students created a tint or shade when painting the ground. 

The next class we talked a bit about Abstract and Contemporary Art. I showed them some Abstract tree paintings from some contemporary artists. They painted their trees using black or black mixed with brown. Some students created more realistic looking trees while others created more swirly branches. 

The last class students used oil pastels to add circles or swirls or both to their paintings. They controlled what colors they were using. We did discuss how lighter colors might look better on the shade part of the painting and darker colors would look good on the tinted areas of the painting. 

The students did a beautiful job on these! You can see more here in Roosevelt's Artsonia Gallery. 


  1. Love these! Great art lesson to teach tints and shades while allowing children to add their own special touches.