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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Group Grid Drawing

Break it down...

I teach each middle school grade level for one trimester and as my time with 7th grade was winding down, I realized I hadn't taught "value" yet and I hadn't done any realistic drawing.  But as I mentioned, my time with them was coming to a close so I had to act fast.  I had originally planned on having each student complete a grid drawing assignment so I decided to adapt that lesson to fit my last two days of class with this group of kids.
Student-made Value Scale

I started by teaching the meaning of "value" in art and clarified that it had nothing to do with the price of artwork.  After a short discussion each student made a small value scale showing 9 variations of grey in their sketchbook.  I then introduced them to the concept of using a grid to replicate an image (whether it is on the same scale or larger...or even smaller).  We focused on figuring out and matching spacial relationships, placement and value.  We went from images gridded into 1" squares to drawing them onto 4" squares.  Earlier in the week, I took a photo of our school principle and vice principle and did the 1" grid for the kids, I also cut up the photos and numbered the backs of each square.  Each student completed at least 2 squares and found  where their drawing was to go on my large grid.  They didn't know who or what they were drawing but they loved trying to guess the entire time (and I refused to tell them if they were right or wrong).  As the pieces were getting glued onto the larger grid, they had it figured out!  But a lot of them were being hard on themselves since the results weren't realistic.  I reminded them that 75 different people were trying their best to replicate small squares onto large ones, and they weren't going to come out perfect.  And the fact that they knew who the images were, showed how well they actually did.  Even though, they aren't the most realistic portraits, I am very pleased with how hard they worked on matching spaces with simple shapes, line and value!
A few of the squares "went missing" at the end of the last day, so Mrs. Raes is left slightly unfinished

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The False Mirror

Rene Magritte is Very Neat

Rene Magritte's The False Mirror
image found on

Our Day of the Dead skull printmaking took us two class periods to get through in order for everyone to make their two prints, so similarly to the Mona Lisa activity, I introduced my students to Rene Magritte's The False Mirror.  I then proposed that each student work on drawing an eye and draw an imaginary scene or something that they often think about, in place of the iris.  I left each table with a few guides to help them with drawing the eyes and remind them of their task. I think this helped the students maintain their independence from me while waiting to print.

Simplified Directions for Fourth Grade Rene Magritte Art Lesson

Each student made an Rene Magritte inspired drawing while waiting to print; if they had already printed, then they had the whole class period to work!  I gave them oil pastels for this lesson and encouraged them to color boldly and/or to layer colors for different effects.  I love seeing their imaginations at work!

Fourth Grade Art Inspired by Rene Magritte

Modern Day Mona Lisa

Multitasking and Mona

Mona Lisa image found and used from Wikipedia

While I did printmaking with my fourth graders, I also had them working on a drawing with the Mona Lisa.  I had set up one table for printmaking which I manned the entire time, so I wanted the other students to have an activity that was 1)worthwhile 2)something they could do independently and 3)something they would enjoy.  This Mona Lisa lesson was perfect!  

Examples for 4th Grade Day with Mona Lisa Drawings
The original paper, my pencil example and my colored in example
I started the class off by telling them that only four people could be printing their Day of the Dead skulls at a time with me and that everyone else would need to be at their tables working until it was their turn to print and after printing, you would return to this activity.  I then presented them with a little art history (via PowerPoint) about the Mona Lisa and her maker, Leonardo Da Vinci.  I focused on fun facts about her theft, Picasso's wrongful arrest, and the many attempts at her destruction (acid, rocks and tea cups?!).  We also talked about Leonardo Da Vinci as an artist and an inventor with many great ideas (the kids loved seeing his flying machine sketches).  Then I asked the students, "Since Mona Lisa has lead such an adventurous life, what kind of day would you treat her to if she was alive?"  The kids had all kinds of ideas as to what they would do with the Mona Lisa!  I showed them my examples and gave them a photo copy that had a coloring page version of the Mona Lisa printed on it and set them to work to draw their day with the Mona Lisa.  They had such great ideas!  And it was the perfect independent activity to keep them busy while I helped kids with printmaking!

4th Grade Day with Mona Lisa Drawings
A few AMAZING results
top row: making art, playing soccer, doing gymnastics
bottom row: karate, offering of tea joke, playing piano