Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Book of Kells

The Book of Kells is still on display at Trinity College in Dublin!
Abby's Cover for the Classroom Book

The first grade classes have been learning about the art of Ireland.  I was inspired to find a project that didn't include leprechauns and pots of gold, and I decided to show the kids images from The Book of Kells.  This national treasure of Ireland was created by monks who built it from scratch.  From making the parchment paper to finding exotic jewels and pigments for the ink, they were dedicated artists and scribes in the creation of this book.  I started the lesson by having the kids watch a series of videos created by students in Ireland.  These students studied the book from the very beginning, highlighting the monk who founded the monastery where these scribes studied and practiced.  The videos went through the construction of the book and the destruction of parts of it as vikings invaded Ireland.  The videos are on youtube at this link.  I showed one each day for about 7 minutes while I passed out supplies.  Students used stencils to trace the first letter of their name, and they were challenged to illuminate this letter and to write their name like a scribe.  They used colors patterns and images from the Book of Kells, but also put their own twist on it.  I let them use metallic markers for some final details.  Abby used some of our gold paper left from the Egypt unit to create the cover design,  and we bound leather with golden fabric for the cover itself.  I loved how this project went, and I think they learned a lot about Irish art.  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Turtles, Patterns, and a Lesson in Leadership

It took some time to transfer the turtle drawings to canvases, but I think the project will be worth it!  It helped to cushion the canvases with a towel beneath them as I ironed.  
 I read Dr. Seuss's Yertle the Turtle to the kindergarteners this week.  I love Dr. Seuss projects in March, when kids can celebrate his birthday.  The turtles make a creative spring theme, and the story has a strong moral, teaching how to treat others with respect.  The students loved the part of the story when Mack burps and topples the turtle tower.  Several of them named their turtles after him.  They described Yertle as "greedy, angry and mean."  They decided a good leader is "kind, generous and wants to make people happy."  I asked them if they had leaders, and they named the classroom line leader, Mr. Roche, and Barrack Obama.

For the art project, I led the students through drawing a turtle.  They studied lines and shapes, comparing them to letters of the alphabet or common images.  For example, the turtle shell was a letter "D", a rainbow, and a mountain.  I think this helps develop observational drawing skills because they are practicing finding lined and shapes when looking at something.  I encouraged them to use bright colors and patterns to decorate the turtles.  We used fabric crayons, and made sure to color with more pressure than usual to make an iron-on.  I ironed the drawings onto 6x6 inch canvases, and now they are using acrylic paint to paint on the canvases.  Most of them have never painted on a canvas before, so they are very excited.  I hope to display this project in a public show!

Jonny was so focused on his turtle.  I had just shown him how holding his brush straight up  and down would help him keep the point small for the details on his painting.

Eli and Kyle wanted to add a pond rather than grass beneath their turtles to be more true to the story.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Van Gogh's Bedrooms

Van Gogh's Bedroom
Some Finished Masterpieces by Grade 3
Ms. Stefan's third graders are learning about the art of Chicago.  I began their 10 week session in art class by highlighting some of the Art Institute of Chicago's permanent collection.  They did "mash-up" sketches that were compositions combining imagery from artists including Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Pablo Picasso, Grant Wood, Georges Seurat, and Gustav Caillebotte. 

Once we finished learning a little bit about the permanent collection, I was excited to have them do this project, based on a visiting exhibition.  The Van Gogh Bedrooms exhibit will be on display until May, and I am encouraging them to go see it.  We learned about the paintings, we talked about Van Gogh's life, and we watched the videos from the Art Institute website about the science of the paintings.  

They got to work constructing their own versions of the painting using paper, scissors, glue, and oil pastels.  I made a template for them to help with the furniture, but they did all of the drawing and coloring to create these amazing and tiny rooms.  They were so eager to get more creative, so we extended the project and created a second bedroom.  I told them they could make their own room or their "dream room".  I was amazed by their creativity.  I did not make templates for the second room, so all furniture was student-designed.  Some of them drew their own detailed templates, and others dove in with some trial and error practice.  

Here are some photos of the process.  They have been such an enthusiastic group and so much fun to work with so far!  Mallory even went with her family to the exhibit, made her OWN book about it, and shared it with the class!

Shamaya is folding and gluing her bed.

Ruth chose a green bedspread.

Elizabeth added the bottles on the side table!

Myla decided he needed some sunflowers in his room.
Landra is gluing her furniture in place.

Jasmine and Monty working in class.

Nate, Grade 3

Charlie, Grade 3

Sandra's Second Room

Daisy made her own furniture template.

Leslie's room has a loft, a computer, and a shelf with toys.

Draw Like an Egyptian

Egyptian Papyrus Painting
First grade is learning all about the art of ancient Egypt.  They were so excited to share what they already knew when we started this lengthy project.  Lila E told us about her grandparents who gave her a cartouche necklace, Magdalena told us about the ancient Egyptians she learned about in the Torah, and Ceasar brought in a book about Egyptian Gods for us to read.  I was amazed by how much they already knew!  In this project, they began by learning about papyrus paper, and I brought some in for them to feel and to study.  They created texture on their paper to make it look like papyrus by using a light brown pencil and cross-hatching.  We then studied some borders on papyrus paintings and talked about patterns.  They made borders on their pictures.  Then, we learned about shen rings and cartouches.  They each made a cartouch from gold paper (wrapping paper bought at The Container Store) using sharpies.  They cut these out and added them to their work.  I created traceables for them to create the figures.  We practiced standing like Egyptians, with our feet and faces to the side and our bodies forward.  They learned that this stance (frontalism) was used because the Egyptians believed in drawing the various parts of the body in their most flattering angle.  We read about clothing and looked at pictures, and then we learned several symbols common to Egyptian art.  They added these where they wanted:  shen rings, ankhs, sun disks, scarabs, pyramids, The Nile River, canopic jars, staffs... Here are some of their masterpieces!  We spent quite a while on this project because I think it was worth the time.  They learned so much!
Augie added the eye of Horus.

Alejandro is coloring his canopic jars gold.

Alejandro, Grade 1

Sophia, Grade 1

Jade, Grade 1

Augie, Grade 1

Magdalena, Grade 1

Mia, Grade 1

American Sculpture: Martin Puryear

Martin Puryear is a 79 year old sculptor who lives in New York.  He has traveled the world to study art and craft traditions, and he has rec...