Monday, July 27, 2015

4th Grade Reduction Prints

This project is like magic. The first year I did it, I was absolutely astonished at how well it turned out. It is still my favorite printmaking project that I teach. I usually post 4-8 examples of each project and every year I find myself posting WAY more than that for this lesson. It's just that good. 

I have visual instructions for this project on my original post of this project. The concept here is that students start with a large piece of foam and press in details to print one step at a time. The inks are layered and students eventually wind up with a three color print. 

Andy Warhol is the major inspiration for the lesson. We take a look at various example and talk about how screen printing was Warhol's primary method of art making. It gives the students a good jumping-off point for the lesson. 

Also, before you ask, we use photo reference for the animal drawings. I get a huge stack of animal books from the library and students choose a specific photo or two to draw from. I get way more detailed and realistic work from students this way. 

Enjoy the examples from this year!

Click here to download my lesson plan. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

3rd Grade 3D Paper Landscapes

I love it when a plan comes together. Sometimes it doesn't. That's fine, too. 

This lesson originated as an amalgamation of two projects I've taught to 3rd grade in the past. One of my goals was to create more 3D lessons this year. This was my attempt for 3rd grade. 

Essentially what I wanted to do was have a paper landscape with individual pieces created for the foreground, middle ground, and background. The landscape would depict the habitat of an animal that would also be included in the work. The landscape elements would be combined with two accordion-like edges, and a little paper frame would finish the front. It would look something like this quick demo piece I did. 

The project went great. Then I demonstrated how to put the whole thing together. That's when I got the dreaded look of confusion from most of the class. I knew the way I had it planned was going to be kind of difficult, so I had my demonstration broken down pretty well. I was using a document camera and my projector to project my demo on the big screen so everyone could see. We worked step by step. A few kids got it, but it was mass confusion for the rest. Needless to say, I changed things the next day. 

I ended up making little springs out of 1x3 strips of card stock and having students attach attach several in between layers of their landscape. I still really like how the project turned out and it was MUCH simpler to teach to my other four classes.


Monday, July 13, 2015

3rd Grade Collagraph Quote Prints

This is another one of my absolute favorite projects. I'm finding that I really enjoy lessons that are different from the usual painting/drawing norm. I work really hard to make sure I have a ceramic lesson as well as a printmaking lesson for each grade level every single year. 

This lesson was one of the last printmaking lessons I added into my curriculum. I was inspired by a middle school project over at The Calvert Canvas Blog and I adapted that idea to my 3rd grade students with a few minor changes. 

The boards are ready to go!
Each student chooses a favorite quote- either from a list I have or they may use one they already know. They then do several sketches and a peer review while they work out different ways of designing their text. After the final design is decided, students draw their quote on a piece of thin foam. They cut out their letters, then glue them backwards (with the help of a mirror) to a piece of chip board. They then use ink and brayers in order to print on a piece of construction paper. I always have my students make several prints in order to make sure they get at least one really nice finished print. 

Click here to download my lesson plan!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dancing Giraffes by 1st Grade

One of my very favorite parts of teaching elementary art is demonstrating techniques and the work of the day. There are a few that really wow students and this project is definitely in that category.

This project is based on the book Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae. The book has a nice message about how everyone has their own talents. It also provides a platform for a really fun mixed media project. 

Each student gets to draw their own dancing giraffe. I alway get a few really inventive poses each year. The giraffes are drawn and colored pretty simply. The background is where the fun comes in. A wet on wet tempera technique is used to make the moon "glow." I then demonstrate how to make the grass. I always say that of course grass is usually green as I dip a brush in yellow paint and start painting on the bottom of the paper. The kids immediately tell me that I messed up. I shrug and just keep going. I then paint green over the yellow, flip the brush over, and use the handle to scratch off the wet green paint to reveal the "grass" below. Kids (who are easily impressed to begin with) gasp with excitement. It's hilarious. 

Click here to download my full lesson plan.