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.