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Friday, January 31, 2014

Pinch Pot Hollow Forms

"CLAY! CLAY! CLAY! IT'S CLAAAAAYYYYY!!!"
--said all art students everywhere

7th Grade Pinch Pot Hollow Clay Forms

As 7th graders, my students have pretty much told me "we've done that before" to every lesson I ever introduce...and this lesson was no exception  They are pretty experienced in their opinion and are always shocked when I have the same response of, "That's great!  Then you have practice and will be able to take it a step further and make it even better than before when you do it this time around!"  And just as I had anticipated, they all try something new with these old skills and create beautiful artwork!

I started with a PowerPoint (typical) with an overwhelming number of examples (I want to overload them so that they are full of ideas but not trying to copy just one image they saw and liked) of characters and/or things made from pinch pots...many of which, they couldn't believe ever started as pinch pots.  Then I had them brainstorm.  I had each of them sketch out what they wanted to make, showing me a front, side and rear view of the item.  I informed them that not only does this help them plan, but it allows me to help them when they get stuck, because I know what they are trying to do.  



In 7th grade, it starts getting difficult to gather around a table to watch demonstrations so I created a video (found above and here ) which reminded them of how to make a pinch pot (start with a ball of clay, thumb in the middle, pinch outward) and how to replicate that pinch pot so that they have two that can fit together.  I reminded them of scoring their clay and using slip as a clay "glue" to keep their pieces together (I remind them that as kids they often call this "scratch and attach"). I show them how they can make coils, slabs, and clay models to add any and every feature they would like to incorporate to get their end product...and of course, the inevitable reminder: everything must be slip and scored together!  And last but definitely not least, I reminded them that all hollow forms must have a place for the air to escape while it is in the kiln, so we used pencils and kabob sticks to poke holes through the hollow forms to avoid clay explosions.  While it is all in fast motion in the video, I keep reminding them of the steps while they work.  Luckily, I only had one casualty with this assignment.  And when I tried to reassemble the piece, I was able to see that he had put a hold in his work but the hole did not go all the way through his thick clay walls; ahh, to catch the culprit!

The creativity and variety of ideas never ceases to amaze me.  The kids did a great job (I know I say that a lot) and I am so proud of their work!  I wish I had taken more photos, but as they worked, I helped, therefore, I was covered in clay and didn't want to cover my iPad in clay as well.  And then, of course, I forgot to photograph the majority of them before they went home.  But I will still post the few pictures I took because they are definitely brag worthy!

In the photo below, you can see a student in the background painting her character with ceramic glaze (she was absent the day we first glazed) among finished pieces.  I offered the students the option to glaze their work or to paint it with acrylics.  The students who painted their work, then put a coat of clear varnish over the top to give it a glazed look aka make it glossy.
7th Grade Pinch Pot Hollow Clay Forms

7th Grade Pinch Pot Hollow Clay Forms

7th Grade Pinch Pot Hollow Clay Forms

7th Grade Pinch Pot Hollow Clay Forms

And to think, they all started like this:



Pop Art Portraits

6th Grade Pop Art Portraits Inspired by Warhol and Lichtenstein

A lot of times, I find myself teaching and/or creating new lessons every year.  But I also have a few favorites that I can't stand skipping; this is one of those lessons.  Last year I posted about my lesson on Andy Warhol Pop Art , which is always one of my favorite lessons to teach...mainly because of all of the "ooh"s and "ahh"s I get from the students as they learn about how you can transfer a printed photograph onto a painting.  This year, I switched it up, just a bit.  I not only introduced my students to the work/stylings of Andy Warhol, but I also introduced them to Roy Lichtenstein.  We compared and contrasted their work which led us into our lesson.  I followed a similar procedure as I had in my lesson (step by step instructions here) from last year but I also gave them the option of adding some comic book flare with Ben-Day dots (we used printmaking with bubble wrap for ours) and/or text boxes/word bubbles.  It was fun to see the kids play around with their colors and layers while letting them choose their own style and inject their personalities into the paintings...and of course all of the "ooh"s and "ahh"s with photo transfer (this year I just used Modge Podge instead of heavy gel medium--it is MUCH cheaper and works just as well).  And I am just as impressed (if not more) with the results!  Enjoy!
6th Grade Pop Art Portrait Inspired by Warhol

6th Grade Pop Art Portrait Inspired by Roy Lichtenstein

6th Grade Pop Art Portrait Inspired by Andy Warhol

6th Grade Pop Art Portraits Inspired by Warhol and Lichtenstein

6th Grade Pop Art Portrait Inspired by Andy Warhol

6th Grade Pop Art Portraits Inspired by Warhol and Lichtenstein

6th Grade Pop Art Portrait Inspired by Warhol and Lichtenstein




Portrait with Proportion

5th Grade Portrait Drawing with Proportion


It's Face Time!

No, you don't need an iPhone for this kind of face time, you just need a pencil...and an eraser.  I wanted to teach my fifth graders how to draw faces more realistically and about proportion, so portraiture was a natural option.  Now here's the kicker...I didn't teach this lesson.  Well, not really.  I just reminded kids of the main points while I let a 9 year old do all of the work.  Yep, a 9 year old.  Her name is Olivia (Oli) in case you haven't seen this prodigy of a girl.  I was introduced to her online videos/blog last summer while I was teaching high school art (summer school) with another art teacher.  There was a self portrait assignment and she--the other teacher--showed these videos to the kids (shout out to Brenda Kane for introducing me to Oli).  I couldn't believe I hadn't seen these videos before and I knew I was going to share them with my kids as soon as I taught portraiture.  Enough build up already...here are the videos I showed to teach my lesson
            Episode 1
            Episode 2
In the video, Olivia is only 9, according to my calculations, she'd be 14 today...maybe 15, depending on when her birthday is.  But I digress, Oli is amazing and she breaks down the steps and proportions of a face perfectly!  And the kids really enjoyed watching her and seeing what someone their age (or even younger) is capable of...I like to think that she encouraged them to try extra hard, to match her abilities.  All I had to do, was recap the key steps and things to note while my students drew their own portraits.
5th Grade Portrait Drawing with Proportion

I did not have students make self portraits, though some of them still attempted this, while others added facial hair and vampire teeth.  I don't know if it was the power of Oli or not, but I'll definitely give her credit for these amazing fifth grade drawings!
5th Grade Portrait Drawing with Proportion

5th Grade Portrait Drawing with Proportion



Illuminated Letters

5th Grade Illuminated Letter Drawing

I introduced my students to Illuminated Letters and the concept of sticking to a theme.  We talked about the art history aspect of Illumination with a PowerPoint (my go-to means of presentation)  and discussed how we would be picking a font, a theme and drawing our own versions.

I started by giving the kids a piece of paper for them to fill out.  I asked that they start with choosing their theme and then had to list at least fifteen things that they could draw that would make sense with that theme.  Once they had their list, they got a large sheet of drawing paper and started out by drawing a bubble/block version of their chosen letter (most chose one of their initials).  They were able to choose if they wanted to decorate the inside of the letter and create a border or decorate around the letter.  Some students mixed the options and decorated their entire paper, which I was also fine with.  Generally, if they are demonstrating understanding of my lesson and hitting all of the objectives, I'm not concerned if they stray from my directions a bit.  The kids drew in pencil first and colored them in using colored pencil.  With the colored pencil, I encouraged and requested, that they use some color blending/layering.  We talked about which colors would blend best (analogous colors tend to work best) and I set them to their work again!  They turned out beautifully!  Next year, I might invest in some gold paint and let their letter illuminate in a more literal sense!
5th Grade Illuminated Letter Drawing

5th Grade Illuminated Letter Drawing


5th Grade Illuminated Letter Drawing

5th Grade Illuminated Letter Drawing

5th Grade Illuminated Letter Drawing

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jean Miro Scultpures

Joan Miro- Carnival of Harlequin

I'm a sucker for all things crazy and Joan Miro's characters are no exception.  I wanted to do something a little different with my fourth graders while still introducing them to Miro's work.  I ended up stumbling upon a wonderful three-dimensional, Miro inspired, art lesson via a quick google search and knew I had to try this lesson (original idea is from this site).

It was great!  The kids each started with 3 small rectangles of scrap poster board (something that every art teacher has laying around and isn't ever sure when/why they'll use it, but still refuses to toss it out).  After learning a little about Miro and his style, focusing mainly on his unique looking characters and their structure, the kids drew one character on each piece of poster board with a sharpie marker.

They then painted their characters with bold colors and trimmed up the edges to match the characters better. When the paint was dry, they flipped their characters over and painted the backs a solid color.  When that dried, I showed them how to cut small slits in their characters to create a freestanding sculpture.  Positioning the characters so that they would stand was probably the hardest part for the kids, but they did great!  I love how they turned out!  It was almost as though the individual 2D characters combined forces to create one ultimate Miro character.  The kids had a great time and I think they were most excited that they had created a three-dimensional piece of artwork!
Joan Miro 3D Art Lesson

Joan Miro 3D Art Lesson

Joan Miro 3D Art Lesson

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Mummy Games

With Your Host, Mrs. Heath-opatra



My students just finished their Egyptian mummy unit.  We followed similar steps to my lesson posted here and here last year.  And had equally awesome results.  But this year, since we ended our lesson right before winter break, I invented The Mummy Games for a bit of Egyptian inspired fun on our last day before we could sleep in for two weeks.  Unfortunately we had a late start due to poor weather and were already dismissing early, so I only had time with one of my sixth grade classes.  But they had a blast!  They were even reminiscing about it today (we just got back from break).

A run down of the Mummy Games:
  • I let the kids split themselves into 5 teams of 5 (if a team only had 4, it wasn't a big deal, they just had to make sure everyone participated)
  • I gave a brief rundown of how the games would go and what challenges they would face and what to expect (I gave each team a copy of the following and explained it a bit)
Mummy Games Rules/Task Handout-Guide
  • I had a line drawn on the floor with painters tape that each team started behind
  • The first task was to wrap up one team member in toilet paper so that they were mostly covered/wrapped up like a mummy
  • The mummy had to then walk without bending their legs and arms out in front of them (mummy-style) from the tape line down to my whiteboard which had enveloped labeled 1,3 and 4 taped to it
    • Each team had their own set of envelopes
  • The mummy grabbed envelope 1 for their team and raced back (still walking mummy-style) with its contents
  • The team found inside of their envelope instructions which lead them to building an Egyptian/Pharaoh's headdress (template found and printed from this site) which you can see me wearing in the photo at the beginning of this blog entry
  • Another team member had to wear the headdress and run to "The Nile River" and were warned to beware the crocodiles


    • Each team had their own Nile River which was a tub of water (tinted blue with tempera paint) and floating marker caps.  Inside one marker cap was the Pharaoh's treasure aka yellow beads glued inside; the Pharaoh (kid wearing headdress) had to find their treasure and bring it back to their team
      The Nile River
      The Pharaoh's Treasure (yellow beads glued inside of a marker cap)
      Crocodiles (googley eyes and sharpie on marker caps)
  • The mummy had to race back to the whiteboard to grab envelope 3.  Inside they found a message/instruction written in hieroglyphics which they had to decode with a legend, also found inside of the envelope

  • Instructions in hieroglyphics
    I highlighted the letters "E" and "I" since they used the same hieroglyphic.  The students had to use their better judgement when decoding
    • The deciphered message told them to mummify their pet dinosaur (a toy dinosaur and bandages were available and labeled as "3" on a separate table for them to grab and then mummify
  • The mummy raced and grabbed envelope "4" which included another hieroglyphics message
    • When deciphered, they were told to use the materials provided (cups) to build a pyramid around their mummified dinosaur and the Pharaoh's treasure
  • The first team to correctly decipher the messages and complete the tasks won!
All of the supplies (minus the envelopes /contents and Nile Rivers) on one table, and labeled per task given
It was such a great time!  The kids had a blast and were really good sports about the whole thing!  We had a little extra time at the end of the period and it was their idea to play hot potato with the remaining toilet paper and watch all of those who ended up in the middle get mummified by default...it was hysterical and I loved that it was their idea!
The Day of the Dead Skeleton Even Participated!