Thursday, July 31, 2014

Drawing Landscapes with Depth

Do you want to have your students create a landscape? Do you want to teach your class how to add depth into their landscape? It can be simple to do. The kids need to understand some simple vocabulary words.


I start off by displaying this poster (below) on the front board. It shows how to divide the paper into thirds. Students should know the front thirds is the foreground, the second third is the middle ground and the top third is the back ground. If the kids want to later on add additional layers to the middle ground they can. They can add 4 or 5 layers.


The poster also points out that we will be working with size. The plants in the foreground are going to be larger and they get smaller as you place them in the middle and background. The background should have the smallest plants of all.


Lastly, let the kids know that we are working with repetition. Any trees, bushes,  flowers, rocks and clouds etc. are repeated throughout the artwork. As long as they pay attention to getting size right.

Here is another variation of the same lesson. These projects below were created with colored pencil instead of watercolors. We used the same art vocabulary though- fore, middle and background, size and repetition. But the kids came up with these variations of the same lesson.



What do you think of these landscape lesson. Would this project work in your art room? How do you teach landscape or depth in your art room?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Do You Need an Architecture Unit?

Architecture Around the World

Do you want to introduce your students to architecture?  Um, yea- what a great idea! 

Its a wonderful way to integrate art with other subjects in your school. With architecture your students can learn about history, English, culture, math and they get to draw and paint all at the same time!

I created a year long architecture unit for my year 6th grade advanced art class. Here are some of the architectural icons from around the world we got to learn about.

On our journey around the world we started by learning about the Taj Mahal in India. We explored symmetry, onion domes, minarets and what an axis is. All the while they were reading The Secret Garden in English class. Guess where the first scene takes place in that book? The Taj Mahal! 
We used ultra fine Sharpies for all the patterns and mixed watercolors for the background.

Our next stop was in Paris to learn about Notre Dame Cathedral. We learned about the Rose Window and the history of Gothic cathedrals. Rulers and compasses were used to create these. They were required to be symmetrical and were colored with ultra fine and fine point Sharpies.



By the 2nd semester we had moved on to Russia and St. Basil's Cathedral. Here we learned about a building that had onion bold colors, patterns, onion domes but does not have symmetry. We worked with ultra fine sharpies and watercolors.

The next stop on our round the world tour- Greece. We learn about the history of the Parthenon and Greek mythology. Guess what? They were learning about Greek mythology in Social Studies class.

After working with rulers and drawing in the building, the kids could illustrate one of the Greek myths in the pediment of their Parthenon. We used ultra fine Sharpies and colored pencil for these.

Our last stop was New York City. We learned about the American Pop artist James Rizzi. We finished up the year creating collages of NYC in the Rizzi style. We used colored paper scraps, old magazines and  old wall paper for these collages.

What do you think of our around the world adventure in architecture? Do you think there is another architectural gem we could have learned about? Let me know.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pop Art Painting

I love teaching about Pop Art in art  class.   I love the bright colors and  the fun attitude of the style. Maybe you do too. One of my favorite Pop Art lessons is based on Andy Warhol's Soup Can.

Divide your paper into 4 sections. In each of those sections draw a cylinder. Make sure the cylinder is centered in each section.

Divide the cylinder into two sections- upper and lower.  In the center of each cylinder, design a circular logo.

Go ahead and  figure out what kind of soup you want- no tomato or chicken noodle. Um, those have already been done- by Andy Warhol! Create your own style soup.

Outline everything in black Sharpie, then start painting. We used watercolor for these.

I have another lesson on Pop Art painting with a  different twist. You can view it here.

What do you think about our soup cans? How do you teach Pop Art? I'd love to hear about your Pop Art lessons.

Monday, July 14, 2014

An Easy Formative Assesment

Hey, are you looking for an easy way to do a formative assessment in your class? Aren't we all! This might be an idea you can use. Here's what you can do after you introduce a new concept.

This handmade poster is  hung at the front of my classroom.

It's divided into 3 sections. The top section has a smiley face for -I'm OK; the 2nd section has a confused face for- I might need a little help with some things; and the 3rd section has a panicked face for- I totally need help and fast!

After I've taught a concept, I hand each student a sticky note.  The kids put a little blurb on the note for me. They can write things such as- "I'm OK", "I get it", "Review blending", "Go over measurements", "I'm confused", etc. 

They come up and put their sticky notes on the poster in the corresponding section showing me where they think they are in understanding what they've learned. Are they OK, confused or need help fast!

After they put up their sticky note and you get a quick idea of where everybody stands. You can collect the papers and see what needs to be reviewed and who needs some special attention.

It's quick and easy!

What do you think of this formative assessment? Would it work in your classroom?
Do you have any easy and effective formative assessments? I'd like to hear about them!