Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Week 8: Pumpkin reflections

This week our little school of 50 kids had 18+ kids out with the flu (swine or other white meat, not sure?)  Our family of 5 had 4 of us down, but I was well enough to do art with the 3rd and 4th graders. My class of 21 had 12 in it.  I had intended to do something Halloween-y with black paper and colored pastels or pencils, but the idea lacked punch so I borrowed this great idea from the  Art Projects from Kids blog. Thanks!

Its a pretty simple but great idea. You take a half sheet of black paper and draw, then cutout, a half pumpkin. You then take the pieces you have made and flip/mirror them over. If you glue these onto a colored piece you get a great positive/negative lesson. To embellish it, I still had the kids use yellow or white or orange colored pencil to draw spider webs, cats, bats, moons etc.

For the most part, they really understood the concept, with just a bit of help. Some of the kids "altered" the idea and used more paper and made a black and white side to put on a colored sheet, and that looked cool as well. Great job and a real nice Halloween decoration. I even suggested to the kids that they might want to take this idea home and try it for a Christmas Tree or silly face.  I could see the lightbulbs in some of the kid's heads!  This started out to be a makeshift concept, but it turned out to be one of the best.

I often feel like the kids lift me up when I'm feeling a bit down or uninspired. Thanks kids!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Week 7: Hieroglyphics

This week, I only had the 3rd and 4th graders, since we had a field trip during the younger kids' art time. So I took the opportunity to do something more challenging that I might not attempt with younger kids.

I had the kids translate their name into Egyptian hieroglyphics and then make a golden cartouche. There are many websites out there that have good alphabet charts. Here is one really good one:


I spent a lot of time talking about how this alphabet is really a phonic alphabet and that each child's name is really made up of sounds, that might not be the same as the letters. For example, my name "Dennis" is drawn with only one N symbol. I gave each child a handout that showed each sound and the pictogram. Some letters, like many vowels, have several different pictures based on if it is a long or short vowel. Also, letters like J and G share similar pictures.

I was very impressed with the ability of the kids to figure out how to translate their names.

The second step was to draw, in pencil, the pictograms onto a paper cartouche handout I gave them. They then transfered this to a piece of gold foil paper and colored it with multi-colored sharpie pens. All that was left was to cut it out, paste it onto some blue paper and then maybe add some glitter glue.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 6: 3D shapes and value

For the third and fourth graders, I brought in a simple still life of a box, pumpkin and lava lamp (hey, it was the best tall vertical/conical shape I could find quickly). I wanted the kids to experiment with some elemental shapes.

It was a rainy day, so the kids had been inside all day, so were a tad bit squirrelly, but they did surprisingly well! I asked them to use one color of crayon or pencl so they could experiment with ligth and dark values and shadows.

The most intersting part was how how consistently hard it was for them to draw the cubic form correctly. I could have done a better job showing them the steps, but in the end most got it pretty good. Many used a practice sheet of paper and for some the process of trying the shapes was the best part of the lesson, even if they did not get a finished still life.


Inspired by several other art teacher bloggers, we did colored paper owls in the K-2nd classroom. The first thing the kids did was to draw the basic shapes on a large blue paper. Then they tore little "feathers" out of brown, gray and white paper. Eyes are circles and beak, ears and feet are triangles. They really got into this project.