Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hats off!

Hats off to my adorable first graders on completing their 3-D hats! When I saw this lesson, I knew it wasn't a choice- I HAD to do it! Last year, I did a paper roller coaster lesson along the same idea, but this is so much more fun!

I wore my example hat as the kids walked in(their classroom teachers probably thought I was a mega-weirdo, but it was so worth it- the kids loved it!) It was hilarious seeing their faces trying to figure out what's going on... why is this crazy lady wearing a wacky paper hat!

As always, their pieces out-shined my example, hands down!

To show off their amazing creations, we had a fashion show around the classroom, set to David Bowie's 'Fashion'. The kids were twirling and posing and clapping and one student even did some amazing robo-moves!

First grade always amazes me with their boundless imaginations!

Check out all of their beautiful hats on Artsonia!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fingerprint Stories

Speaking of happy accidents...
With this lesson, I had the kids use markers to draw on their fingers to make fingerprints covering their entire paper. Any project where the kids get to draw on themselves is a winner!

We talked about how we didn't need to focus on making 'perfect' fingerprints because different sizes and shapes allow us to be more inventive with our designs(this encourages happy accidents and less perfectionism!) Students came up with a story and then used each fingerprint as a character in the story. I encouraged them to try to include as many different designs as they could think of. For example, if it were a story of a soccer game, a fingerprint could turn into... a player, a soccer ball, a fan in the crowd, a worm popping up in the field, etc!

The stories and drawings the kiddos came up with are so inventive and interesting!

Goo Goo beeb indeed! Two thumbs up(or on the paper) for these creations!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Accidents

I don't paint things. I only paint the difference between things.
-Henri Matisse

I'd say that one of the most important things that the kids take away from my class would have to be critical/creative thinking skills. Over painting, drawing, sculpture, or any artist or art history, I feel that creative problem solving is the most meaningful in students' lives. Try as I might, not every student will become an artist or even continue to have a place in their lives for art, so I feel that giving students the ability to see possibilities instead of obstacles is something that every student can take with them the rest of their lives in whatever they do.

This year I'm really focusing on the idea of happy accidents; taking something that you didn't expect and turning it into something even better. Aside from this being a great way to increase problem solving skills, this philosophy also decreases the amount of paper thrown out from so called 'mistakes'!

This lesson starts with talking about geometric and organic shapes. This little animation is a neat way to introduce the concept. We then practice by drawing examples of geometric and organic shapes on the board and in our sketch books.

The kids start by drawing geometric shapes and then coloring them in with water-based markers. I tell students that the colors will blend and run together, so to think about what colors they could put next to each other for interesting effects. I really like telling the kids that artists are sort of like scientists; we try lots of things in order to discover different possibilities!

The students then drip water onto their drawings. The bleeding of the markers creates beautiful and interesting organic shapes as it dries. Using ultra-fine sharpies, the final step is to outline the geometric and unexpected organic shapes to create the finished composition.

'It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer'
-Albert Einstein

These 'happy accidents' make me very happy indeed! They are even more beautiful than I even expected!

Check out all of my kiddo's work on Artsonia!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Andy Goldsworthy

“What lies below the surface effects the surface” -Andy Goldsworthy

Last week, my 5th graders started to learn about the artist, Andy Goldsworthy(one of my favorites!) A sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist; Andy Goldsworthy creates site-specific land art from natural and found objects. His works are some of the most beautiful, poetic, quiet, moving...(insert about 50 more glowing adjectives...) that I've seen. The kids really love Goldsworthy as well because he makes art that they do all the time. I even had one student tell me he's his new favorite artist!

Using a powerpoint of Goldsworthy's work, we talked about themes and questions that are present in his natural installations.

Why would he make art that would be destroyed?

Why would he choose to only use natural materials?

Why would he make art where such few people would see?

The kids had some really insightful interpretations of his work. I always love hearing what they think of different artworks; they often get to the heart of the meaning so succinctly! When asked about this work, one student said that because the lines look knotted and random, that maybe it represents his thoughts, and the tide that washes away the drawing, untangles his thoughts. Beautiful idea, right!?

We also talked about how Andy Goldsworthy values the process of making art, not just the product.

We spent one day viewing the powerpoint and talking about Goldsworthy, and we also watched some of a documentary of his work called 'Rivers and Tides', a beautiful film of his process. Then I had the kids choose if they wanted to work in pairs or by themselves. They spent the rest of the hour sketching their ideas and deciding how they wanted their artwork to be photographed. They had to decide at what angle to shoot their photograph and if they were including shadows.

The next week we were out the doors!
The kids were fascinated with Goldsworthy's work and had a blast making art outside! I had one student ask if Andy Goldsworthy was 'worthy of gold'...hehe! For the amount of learning, fun, and inspiration that took place- I think so!