Monday, November 26, 2012

Fall Reflections

I've found this year that every once in awhile I need to throw in a one day lesson. Or at least vary it from long term (more than two classes) to short term activities with my middle school students. About two years ago I found this lesson on The Incredible Art Department and felt like it really fit in as a transition from printmaking to painting with a focus on nature, which upcoming in sixth grade.  

Before students arrive, premix a light blue. I made a big batch in a large yogurt container that has lasted for my five sections. Also, figure out how you will dispense paint. I used a method like you see below and use red, yellow, green and the premixed blue (tempera)

  1. At the beginning of the lesson, I have the word MONOPRINT on the board. I always start by asking what the prefix "mono" means. Usually one or two students knows that it means one. I then explain the difference between the prints we just did and what we will be doing.
    • This year, I am super lucky to have a document camera, so I got to do the activity along with my students. I went back to my old saying of "watch what I do, then you do it too." However, I also explained, that once I show students, if they have another idea, and its still within the materials available AND printing, then go for it!
  2. Fold paper in half like a hot dog.
  3. Add a land mass by painting above the fold. Before the paint dries, refold the paper and apply pressure.
  4. Add bare trees by using oil pastel heavy and dark. Refold the paper and use a popsicle stick to rub the paper. The pastel should "jump" to the other side.
  5. Add leaves and print as before
  6. Paint and print the sky in sections as the tempera can dry fast.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Printed Calaveras

This lesson is straight from Calvert Canvas.
However, instead of linoleum, we used foam AND mounted two (out of three) instead of four prints.

I started my lesson with this image:
I used Visual Thinking Strategies to get student's minds going. 
I asked, "Whats going on in this picture?"
Eventually students started to come up with a story, after pointing out elements of the work, and I would ask "What evidence do you have of that?" in order to have the class see the visual clues. As students were talking, I would point to what they were talking about and paraphrase. 
I think this activity, in addition to the rest of the power point presentation, helped students understand that a skull and skeleton might have different meanings in other cultures. I have done this lesson before and this has been the only time where the majority of the calaveras are not creepy and frightening.  

First we viewed the power point and practiced drawing a calavera as other students completed the previous assignment.
The next class, we revisited symmetry, finalized our calaveras and traced them onto foam.
Finally, after a printmaking demo, we created at least three prints. This took about two classes. At each table, there were written directions in case students forgot about the demo from the previous class. I was stationed with the ink, in order to monitor how much was being given out. We used a variety of colors and I pretty much used all of the random papers that were donated over the last year. 

 I love that the student above wanted to make her calavera into an animal. I love her enthusiasm too. 
I think that if I were to do this again, I would make the foam and paper smaller. The prints and foam above were 6x9. I was afraid that 3x4.5 would be too small to really get detail. However, I think the smaller size would balance out the negative space, as the majority of students had trouble drawing large.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creative Minds Wks 1 & 2

In addition to starting a new position at the high school and my two graduate courses, I have taken on an after school club called Creative Minds. For the last few years, the school's secretary along with one other person, ran the club, doing a variety of crafts and even cooking. Between her duties in the office and the club, it became too much. Recognizing the importance of such a club for middle school kids, I offered to keep it running on my own.
The kids are great! I have had some rough weeks lately, but I look forward to hanging out with my Creative Minds kids each week. Here's what we have been up to so far:

The first week we designed silhouetted windows.
  • We started by using watered down Elmer's glue to layer pieces of tissue paper onto a white page. Next, we cut a frame out of black paper to look like a window. Some were traditional like this one, while others created different outlines. 
  • Finally, students used the remaining black paper/ scraps to cut out bats, cats, pumpkins, trees and haunted houses. These pieces were then glued into the open window panes. 
The above image is an unfinished example.

The following week we used scratch board and white paper, inspired by  Art Projects for Kids Scratch Tree

Some kept with the Halloween theme while others, like to top two, were inspired by video games and cartoon characters.

For the last two weeks, Creative Minds started painting designs for an India ink batik. I love how these always turn out. This will be the third time I have used this lesson. The black of the ink makes the designs really bold and graphic. The kids are always in mourning almost that they have to paint over their designs with ink, but thrilled when they get to wash it all away. I will be sure to post after Thanksgiving break.