Thursday, October 31, 2013

Positive and Negative Space Dots

Many parts form a whole.  First grade students are learning about estimation and number illustrations in math.  How many ways can you show 100? 

We read The Dot by Peter Reynolds. "Vashti even made a dot by not painting a dot."
"How can she do that?" Some students exclaimed, as the book was being read.
"How can you make a dot by not painting a dot?"
We looked up-close at Georges Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte and saw that his painting was made of all dots. The students estimated the amount of dots in that painting (approximately 3,456,000!)
We talked about positive and negative space. Can you make a dot by painting many little dots ? How much space would 100 dots fill?
First, the students chose whether they would like to make a dot (painting in the positive space) or a "not dot" (painting in the negative space). They traced circle templates (a larger one for the dot, a smaller for the not dot). The students then painted frisket around their circles (on the outside of the line for Dots, on the inside of the line for Not Dots).  The students were enamored by the "rubber paint". 
The students worked to stipple and drip dots of color into positive or negative space. Some students (above) were very careful and concise.
Some students were more painterly with their drips. 
I encouraged them to mix color, experiment..."Make your mark!"
This little artist was included in the picture- she had dots on her apron and on her glasses!
***Come back on Monday for an update. The students will be taking off the frisket--something they've been eager to do for two class periods.  I will be displaying these beauties in the school. Check back for more!

Twisted Circles

Saucon Valley's first grade inclusion class celebrated “International Dot Day” by reading Peter Reynold’s The DotThe theme of the book implies that every child has the capability of creativity, but one does not know his or her potential until they try. 

This lesson is wonderful for strengthening fine motor skills. Each student colored a plastic bottle cap with washable marker, using two colors- one on each half. They wet the paper using a brush with clean water, then pressed and twisted the cap...and viola! A new color was mixed. 
 This easy printmaking project was a great way to begin the year, practice using art materials with care, and doing something completely new and unique with materials they are used to (bottle caps and markers). 
After the initial printing with the caps, the second step is to draw concentric rings. In a demonstration, I showed the students how to draw a ring around the dots, leaving a white space between the colors, and stopping when the lines "bump" into another ring. 
I have two wonderful paraeducators with me working one-on-one with two of my students. This artwork is done by one of those students. She loved watching the colors blend when she painted with water in the white spaces!
This student added "SV" for Saucon Valley pride! He finished early, so he printed extra dots--which were cut and added to his original piece. 
"Every child is an artist. The problem is remaining one once we grow up."  ---Pablo Picasso 

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Colorful Collaboration

Saucon Valley Elementary's first project: A Colorful Collaboration.  As a new teacher, having every grade work together to create a self portrait helped instill classroom routine and expectation, as well as ease us all into the new and exciting year to come.
The mural, in progress
Some of the first students hanging. 

Pinterest is the art teacher's best friend.  Well, a lot of people's best friend..that Martha Stewart kind of friend where simple and ingenious ideas are shared within a community of people all interested in a similar thing. . . the hand-made, what is current, life "hacks", and general creative ideas.  I had come across the lesson of a monochromatic self portrait mural during my curriculum planning in the summer, and it was destined to be.
 My display board is large: 180" wide by 70" tall. I computer the size needed for the project: 3 x 4 5/8" (4.625). I am so thankful for my time working in a frame shop so that I fully understand my fractions on a ruler.

I found a great video about hand measuring our facial proportion, which I used as a guide for my instruction. The students each had a mirror in front of them during the measurement and drawing phase.
You can see that the students are engaged in their drawings. The chalkboard in the background features the demonstration I did about proportion.

What a beautiful first project. Every student's portrait is unique, and they were prompted to illustrate his or her personalities: some students chose to depict themselves far from what they actually look like, and instead illustrate a character of interest. Why not?  This mural is about them. And when it is all put together...well--it is about us--as a student body. It literally represents our colorful school spirit, our school community, and the community of the art room.
This project took much longer than I'd anticipated--probably because I took the time to discuss facial proportion and value in color (the lightness and darkness of a color). Pattern was also emphasized.
What is really beautiful about this mural is that once the portraits are hung...they blend so nicely together, and really strengthen each other's work.

There are a few holes still in the mural. As the students finish them, I am planing to deconstruct and laminate the mural in sections, so that it can be displayed for many years to come.  I will post photos of the completed mural ! 

Display Board Duty

A blank piece of paper can be intimidating. Or an empty canvas. An untouched display board in a school environment calls out for a message. "LET ME SPEAD THE NEWS!" It would say.

All too often, a poster or space-filler will be used, to occupy that empty space like an advertisement at a bus stop-- a transient, futile message that remains unnoticed to passersby.
The idea of this simple messenger flier was circulating Pinterest. I post this outside my door. You can only take one if you commit to trying something new! (And I want to hear about it).
Oh, and the dog above? That is my mascot--a schnauzer dog... I am Mrs. Schnalzer after all. 

Don't get me wrong--teachers are the busiest, most multi-tasking people I have ever known. Display boards are time consuming and often feel frivolous compared to all else being juggled in a day's work.

 This is where the art teacher comes in. We have the responsibility of being the central point of the school, like a visual heartbeat of the student body. The work that we make with our students should occupy those empty display boards year round--to advocate for the arts programs within the school and to reflect the personalities of the student body. It is my responsibility to help out as much as I can within the visual aspects of the school.
This display board was created for Back To School Night.  It reads, "Art ties learning to life"
QR Codes of this blog and my contact information are to the right.
850 students and 5 different grade levels per day is PLENTY to juggle, and extra responsibilities can be a bit much sometimes. But here is the thing: what we make today, we can use for tomorrow.  And sometimes good design means stripping things down to its simplest elements. Art is not always embellishment, sometimes it is a sturdy, clean the board above that was made as an advocate for the art education, made for back to school night.

Or reuse old displays! This one I found when cleaning out the art room. A beautiful collage representing our town, Hellertown, PA. I added "We are a community" underneath and vvvvualah! Since it hadn't been seen for a few years, it felt like new to the school environment.
The kiddos all crowded around the morning it was hung.