Tuesday, November 24, 2015

3rd Grade ArtEd Animation Lesson Plan: Making Emojis Move

Oh, y'all. I'm, like, the coolest person in 3rd grade right now.

My 3rd graders animated emojis in Digital Art. I'm gonna tell ya all about it. But first, a confession: I've officially passed the point where I'm cool enough to find digital app programs all on my own. One of my middle school digital art rockstars clued me in to this cool app: PiskelApp. Yes, it has an unfortunate name, "Don't forget to say the "k" part kiddies!"

Here's how we made these.
Time used: One 45 minute digital art session

#1: Each student received a print-out with emojis on it as they entered the classroom.

#2: We identified what these "artworks" are: emojis.

#3: We discussed where we use emojis and why we use emojis.

#4: We discussed that artists worked to design emojis.

#5: We identified the poo emoji, said "poo" and giggled about it. Then, we discussed that we were NOT animating poo (although that would be fun).

#6: We identified that emojis are made up of little bricks called pixels. We discussed how we can see the pixels when we get too close to screens (and then talked about NOT doing that anymore).

#7: I gave a brief tutorial on PiskelApp and walked students through how to make a 2 frame animation in PiskelApp
-Go to PiskelApp
-Click on "login"
-choose your Google login (we use Google for Education on my campus)
-click on "create piskel"
-draw your emoji
-click on "add new frame"
-use the onion to see a "ghost" of frame 1
-trace frame 1
-make a change to frame 2 to animate your emoji
-toggle the FPS (frames per second) until you like your animation
-click on the diskette and choose "Save to Gallery"
-(optional) click on the photo pic and export to your student drive (if you do this make sure to change your pixel size. The default is 32 pixels x 32 pixels; that's tiny. We changed ours to 320 x 320.).

#8 Students worked on their animations. Many students figured out that they could make longer animations by using more frames and opted to do this. Some students decided to make more animations. I love that PiskelApp is free, students can save to a personal, private gallery, and can go and make animations on their own. Efficacy. It's awesome.

My long-term goal regarding animation and the 3rd graders is as follows: I want the students to take a photo of themselves and turn it into a very simplistic pixelated artwork using Photoshop or Pixlr. Students will print their pixelated portrait. Students will make a collage paper version on their pixel portrait in Studio Art. Students will re-draw their pixelated portrait in PiskelApp and animate it. Final output will be a bunch of animated self-portraits. Sounds cool, right? I'll keep you posted on how we develop!

Monday, November 16, 2015

5th Grade Digital Art Project: Intro to Animation

Just when you thought Picasso's Le Coq couldn't get any scarier. . . 
It’s no secret that I love to teach animation. I’ve written about animation here, here, and here. I also authored a wiki about how to teach a fullunit on animation from building thaumatropes, to flipbooks, to writing andshooting a full Claymation.  I’m wouldn’t say I’m an expert animator (at most you could call me an enthusiast), but I do know a lot about how to introduce animation to students and how to break down animation into fundamentals.

I’m also a bit of a purist. While I know there are online programs, shareware software, for-purchase software, and (tons) of mobile device apps for animation, I prefer to teach animation without the use of animation-based applications.  Now, there is nothing wrong with using these applications in the classroom. In a lot of instances, they offer a wonderful means of adding a final twist to an already existing project, and/or they offer students a very real and relevant means of interacting with digital media. My reason for NOT using animation applications when teaching animation is that these applications do all of the actual animation work for the students. When using an animation application, users are not reliant upon pre-planning and organization when it comes to their final outputs; the application does this work. Additionally, animation applications are designed to expedite the process of animation; students cannot see and/or visually perceive how their images animate. Finally, animation applications do not give students the opportunity to make the mistakes that are so meaningful to learning.

In the past, I’ve had to teach animation in a very “guerilla” style: I’ve squeezed in as much animation as possible in a small time frame with varying degrees of reliable technology.  Obviously, this is not an ideal situation; I couldn’t teach animation in the more meaningful sequential manner and had to constantly re-teach skills due to time lapses between units and seeing students. This year, my elementary students see me for 45 minutes a week for Studio Art and 45 minutes every other week for Digital Art (the first week I see them for 45 minutes, the second week I see them for 90 minutes).  For real.  I know. I’m teaching in the Promised Land (sorrynotsorry humblebrag etc).

I’m in the very enviable situation wherein I can slowly teach animation in way that is meaningful to my students and allows them time to process all of this information. The plan is for my 5TH grade students to continuously learn about and create small animation projects. Eventually, they will work in groups of two to create an original, one minute Claymation.  I thought you might like to go along on their journey. I’ll share our projects and process as we go about this endeavor.

We began by creating a simple, 2-frame animation using Picasso’s Le Coq. I picked this artwork because we are studying Picasso and Le Coq  in Studio Art and this allows me to mirror existing knowledge.

#1 I talk to my students about the plan to eventually make a Claymation. We discuss how we would feel if –when in kindergarten- our teachers asked us to write an essay. I then compare that to being tasked with making a full animation before understanding the basics. I think it is important my students understand WHY we are starting small. I tell them, “If we just jumped straight to making a Claymation, you would get very frustrated and it would stop being fun. You would only learn to dislike animation and no one wants that!”

#2 We talk about and define “Claymation” and “frame.”  I cite TheNightmare Before Christmas and Frankenweenie  for the purposes of common ground and relevancy. We discuss –very briefly- how these movies are made and how each “picture” taken is a “frame” and that most animations rely on fifteen frames per second (lots of wide eyes there!).

#3 I show them a student Claymation movie. I’m partial to this one (also embedded below) because it’s cute and you can see how many frames the students used because of the old-school time-stamp. Usually, by this point, the students are totally on board with taking the whole animation thing slow.

#4 I reiterate the full Claymation project will be later and that we are going to start today by making a 2 frame animation. We define gif and I show them various gif animations.  It’s fun.

All three of these awesome animations are made by Belgrade designer Valentin. More of his work is here: daniellakronfle.blogspot.com

#5 I demonstrate how to make a gif animation using Pixlr and GifMaker. I use these programs together (sometimes called “app-smashing”) instead of Photoshop because I want my students to understand that they can make animations on their own and many can’t afford / don’t have Photoshop; it’s an equity thing. I’m partial to pre-recording screencasts for teaching animation because it means the students can watch and re-watch the directions. You can view my screencast (made using Screencast-O-Matic) for this project below:

#6 My students are put to work. Before I help them, I expect them to be able to show me where they are in the screencast, and where they are at in the written directions (this teaches them to rely on actually looking at the directions and encourage efficacy). You can view a copy of my written directions here - also embedded below. 

Here are some of my favorite animated Le Coq’s (made by 5th graders in about 20 minutes):

(P.S. We totally went over –and over- how to say that correctly and appropriately. Lol!)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Lesson Plan: Anansi the Spider, Folktales, and Literacy

Have I told you I love collaborating?

My 2nd graders are studying spiders in Science and folktales in English/Language Arts. The 2nd grade teachers and I have been actively collaborating all year. Here is a great little lesson that incorporates Science standards, ELA standards, and Visual Arts Standards.


2. Review who, what, when, where, and why (slides 1-6 of companion presentation)
3. Examine the textile work of the Ashanti people and discuss repetition and geometric shapes (slides 7-14 of companion presentation)
4. Read The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons
5. Examine the online resource / ppt about phases of the moon available here (focus on “full moon” slide 7)
6. Examine the purpose and shape of the moon (slides 15-18 of the companion presentation)
7. Review the shapes used for Anansi and his web (slide 19 of the companion presentation)
8. Go through the steps 1-5 to make the artwork (slides 20-26 of the companion presentation)

Here is the companion guide (reference and linked to above) that I made for this lesson):

Here are pictures of the work in process (if you scroll through the companion guide it makes more sense!):

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Eric Carle's Grouchy Ladybugs in Digital and Collage Media -Kindergarten

Now, I find myself in the very enviable situation wherein I get to teach both Digital Art and Studio Art to the same students every week. At first it was a bit daunting. Heck, who am I kidding? It is STILL daunting. But, it is the good kind of daunting. The kind wherein you are constantly challenged and made the better for it. It is completely rocking my world.

Currently, I teach K-12th grade Digital and Studio Art. This means that Kindergartners also have Digital Art. Let me say that again: I teach Digital Art to Kindergartners.  Also, I am not the first Art Teacher at this school to teach in this manner; I have very big shoes to fill. I’m sharing this because it means there are at least a few Art Teachers out there teaching Digital Art as a regular part of the elementary Art curriculum.

Y’all. It’s a brave new world.

This week my Kindergartners completed a re-vamped version of my collageladybugs project which is based on Eric Carle’s book, The Grouchy Ladybug. I mirrored what we did in Digital Art and the students made both a collage and digital ladybug. Here is how we threw this down.

#1. Last week, in Studio Art, we practiced painting with tempera paint. We learned how to hold paintbrushes, how to smooth paint, and how to rest our paintbrushes on our painting mats. We explored red painted paper and yellow painted paper. We mixed red and yellow paint to discover the color orange. I saved all of the painted papers. The reds were saved for the ladybug project, the oranges for an upcoming pumpkin project, and the yellow for whenever we next need yellow.

#2. First, in Digital Art, we read The Grouchy Ladybug. We identified the colors of ladybugs, the main shapes of ladybugs, how  many legs ladybugs have, and the antennae.

#3. In Digital Art, I reviewed how to open KidPix. We also reviewed how to open my “special present” in KidPix. This is a pre-made file that has the student’s name at the top. This saves you a TON of time in lower grades wherein students will spend 90% of the class finding the letters in their on the keyboard. That’s a valuable skill, but the class is Digital Art, not Technology or Typing.

#4. In Digital Art, I demonstrated how to use the shape tools, the splat-color selector, the pencil tools, the “no-no” tool (undo), and how to print. I had the students repeat the directions chorally after each demonstration.

#5. In Digital Art, students login on their own (some with a little assistance) and they make their digital ladybugs. I circulated and helped as needed. Also, their classroom teacher stays with me during Digital Art and helps as s/he understands the directions.

#6. In Digital Art, the students print their artwork to the color printer (I know, I’m a lucky lady). I keep their artwork for the next class.

#7. Students come to Studio Art and we re-read The Grouchy Ladybug.  I show them their digital ladybug print-outs and we re-identify ladybug colors, shapes, legs, and other parts.

#8. Students are given a blue sheet of paper and we practice making different types of lines with a marker. This makes for an interesting background.

#9. Students draw a leaf on green paper and use a marker to create lines to make it more “leaf-like.”

#10. Students trace a circle template on their red painted paper and cut it out.

#11. Students glue down their leaf and find a place for their ladybug to sit on the leaf. They glue down their red circle (now referred to as ladybug).

#12. Students draw a circle on black paper and cut it out. They glue this down for the head.

#13. Students glue down white soda caps for eyes.

#14. Students use the remaining black paper to cut out six legs and add spots.

#15. As we began to ran out of time, students were allowed to draw dots with their markers.

Voila! That is it for the Digital and Collage Ladybugs. I love this project!! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Warm/Cool Stained Glass Portraits in Elementary Art

"My dream is to be a shark expert."
Some projects are solid, work every time, and are a major part of the cornerstone of what you do as an Art teacher. This project is like that for me. Every year I’ve taught elementary, I have taught this project. It encompasses several different techniques and objectives, students love it, and the results are beautiful. I was inspired to create the project after doing one too many cutesy warm/cool projects with my younger students.  I realized that my students were retaining the “cute” and not the content; this was my solution to that issue.

Here’s how we throw this down. I do this with 4th grade.

"My dream is to be a rocket engineer"
1.       We review primary and secondary colors. I review/introduce (depending on my audience) warm and cool colors.

2.       I conduct a guided drawing (our sloppy copy) to provide students with a framework bust portrait. We discuss how our portrait can look “weird” because we are going to do something “weirder” with it. This promotes success and confidence. We discuss how we see and draw hair as shapes instead of lots of little lines. I usually draw about 10-15 smiley faces and draw the generalized hairstyles present in the classroom. Be prepared to draw braids and cornrows; you will have them!

3.       Students re-draw their portrait in pencil on 11 inch x 18 inch white drawing paper.

4.       Students trace their portrait with black sharpie. You want something that will not bleed when you color later. If sharpies are out of the budget for your school black crayons and black colored pencils work great (and I’ve used them for this project in that manner!).

5.       I give students rulers. Students are told to make 5-6 horizontal lines evenly across their paper. We do not measure; we guesstimate. We use pencils.

6.       Each student is given a sticky note and asked to finish the sentence, “My dream is to be a. . .” We all share our answers with the class.

7.       I demonstrate how to write the sentence in “all caps” across the horizontal lines on our papers. I demonstrate this multiple times and hold up good student examples. This is a hard concept for some students to grasp. I tell them to be prepared to use erasers and that it is okay to make mistakes. Some students will have lots of extra room left over (depending on how short their sentence is) and I tell them to add “when I grow up” and/or their name.

8.       Students trace all of the pencil with sharpie

9.       Students erase all of the pencil lines. This will be necessary as most of their pieces will look a little messy at this point.

10.   We review warm/cool colors. Students are instructed to treat the black lines on their paper like the black lines of coloring books. The shapes that make up the face, body, and hair should be warm colors and the shapes that make up the eyes and the background should be cool colors. I used to let students pick whether they put warm colors in the foreground or background, but it got too confusing for everyone. So, this helps friends keeps friends on task. I remind students that they will probably make a mistake somewhere, and that this is okay. J

Some tips:
                -do not use brown or grey to color; it dilutes the final product
                -provide a visual reminder to students of what warm/cool colors are
                -remind students that blue is ALWAYS a cool color (even if it is light blue)
                -remind students that pink is a version of red and is therefore a warm color
                -encourage students to make piles of warm and cool colored markers for organization
                -this project took my classes 4 45 minute sessions

When finished, these make for show-stopper pieces that incorporate elements of Art and Literacy.