Ever since my trek to the NAEA conference, I have been thinking a lot about how we have students create art. In a couple of the workshops I went to, there was a lot of discussion about how most students create teacher directed art lessons. When every child makes the exact same thing as their peers, many people considered that a successful art project. I have always enjoyed allowing my students freedom to create while having their projects be cohesive enough that they can be hung together in a grouping.
When one of the third grade teachers came to me and asked me for art that she could take over to our local Trader Joe’s for display., I again was thinking about my time at NAEA.
For this lesson, I gave my students the direction that we needed to create pieces that looked like they were part of a collection. We talked about what types of things Trader Joe’s sells and what would look nice on display and landed on plants and flowers.
They all drew a plant in sharpie, put it in a container, painted it with watercolor, leaving white space around it. They were free to draw any type of plant that they wanted to and put it in a container of their choosing. I pulled up reference pictures and projected them onto our screen for them to look at.
Because March is Women’s History month my classes all were introduced to a different woman artist.
Grade three learned about Beatrix Potter and her water color illustrations of animals. They learned that she was also a sheep farmer, preservationist and business woman.
They could use watercolor, colored pencils, sharpie or any combination of those and could choose to do any of her animas or one of their own anthropomorphic animals.
They all chose Peter Rabbit. Probably because it is spring time.
Second grade usually does an insect unit. They learn about insects and their body parts. Every year, I do something a little different, it seems.
This year, the students drew about five boxes. They then put different bugs in each box.
The bugs could be real or imaginary.
I have a bunch of plastic insects from my children that I bring in for them to look at if they want to.
They could color the bugs with marker, pencil, or oil pastel.
When finished, they painted the space in between the boxes with brown paint to look a bit like wood.
Rob Dunlavy is a children’s book artist. Have you seen his Crystal Cities Rob Dunlavy just makes lines look magical! Some of his images remind me of the exterior of It’s a Small World at Disneyland.
Here is what he says about them: “Crystal Cities are whimsical explorations of the act of drawing and painting, line and color, atmosphere and narrative possibilities. At the moment, these are my “fine art”.
I had my second graders look at these amazing architecture images for our Archtober celebrations.
We just used marker. Some students really understood that we were “coloring in” with just lines.
Others wanted to color.
I subbed in a friend’s second grade class today and on the lesson plans, she wrote (for one of the afternoon options): “Math games or one of your amazing art lessons”.
I thought about what art lesson I could do with them. I figured apples were pretty typical for a fall art project and created this lesson. It took the kids about 45 minutes.
We did a directed drawing of a whole apple then an apple that had been eaten.
They went over the pencil in sharpie. Then they painted.
They had the option of using white crayon to make designs before painting. We then glued both images to black paper.