Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Here we go, teaching these awesome owls to 30 kiddos! And don't forget, this lesson was inspired by this post.
Amazingly, this lesson went perfectly. I think the kids were even more amazed than Miss L and I were at how wonderful these owls turned out. Here's how it went:
12x18 white construction/drawing paper
Owl drawing handouts
This was my first time working with this class in total (although several kids had been in S & R's class last year when we made the dog art auction project). So I went over my "Art Class Rules".
#1 Have Fun!
#2 No "I Can'ts"
#3 RESPECT (the art, the practicing, your classmates, yourself, the teachers, the supplies)
I talked a bit about how none of them started kindergarten knowing how to read like they can now, or knowing their math facts. That art is a skill that has to be learned and practiced and practiced and practiced some more. And that practice really never makes perfect (because perfection is pretty darn hard to achieve). But practice always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS makes better. (This has kind of become the art class motto now).
Now I am by no means an "official" art teacher and I do not have to worry about visual arts standards, etc. But I want the kids to learn something besides the art technique itself. My way of doing that is throwing various art words out at them as I am working or talking to them. Asking them questions about the art words and then continuing to use those art words as I help them work on a piece.
Charcoal, Pastel Chalks, Medium, Cropping, Emphasis, Color, Value, Line, Shape, Form, Texture, Space, Pattern, Contrast, Balance, Depth, Proportion
Yes, that was a lot of art words. But I was surprised that once I started using them, they came really easily to the kids and they understood what I meant when I would talk to them individually about their piece.
Now here's how I went about teaching the lesson.....
1. After we went over the rules and tools and used our beginning art words, I showed the samples that we had made. I also passed out some owl drawing handouts (2 that I made up and 1 from kutchuk) for them to gather inspiration from, but not to copy from.
2. I gave them scratch sheets of paper and charcoal and I continued to talk to them about how we were going to use the charcoal as they experimented with it on their scratch paper. We drew lines with a sharp edge, colored in space with the sides, smudged lines, made value scales...basically made a mess! We talked about how to control this medium by lifting our hands off of the page and essentially drawing in big sweeping strokes from our shoulder and wrist without the side of our palms resting on the page. But we also talked about how the nature of this medium is such that blurred lines and less defined images were totally okay. And that we were all going to make BIG, MESSY, FEARLESS owls. The FEARLESS part was from us letting ourselves go with this new medium and drawing BIG and being okay with the MESSY. I must confess, this lesson could have gone totally wrong here as this was my first art lesson of the year with this class and we do not have elementary art teachers in our school district. So for many kids, they have not had much art instruction and very few had ever worked with charcoal or pastel chalks. But these kids rocked it!
3. Out came the big pieces of paper, and the pastel chalks. They were allowed earlier to have pencils to sketch an owl on their scratch paper, but they were not allowed to use pencil on their project paper. They had to be fearless and start right away with the charcoal. They were to start with their owl and figure out which areas they wanted to color and to try to keep those areas free of charcoal. I told them they had to finish their owl in charcoal first and then bring the charcoal back to me and wash their hands before they could get the pastel chalks. They could of course use the charcoal again, but I was attempting to keep the surfaces and artwork as clean as possible and prevent smudging accidents. I talked to them about creating emphasis and gave them the "project rules" (see below) and talked to them about adding in the pastel chalks, how to start with light colors first and how to blend with their fingers and how to color with the soft sides and keep the colors from getting muddy with the charcoal. We added the color, but left a small outline of white and then blended with our fingers up to the charcoal lines.
4. I really wanted them to work on small areas of color (hence the project rules) that really made an impact in the image, instead of too many colors or such big fields of colors that lessened the impact of the owl image as a whole.
5. I worked on a sample taped to the white board while I continued to talk to the kids. Thankfully all that practice of mine ahead of time paid off and my sample came out really fast and easy. I actually looked like I knew what I was doing! The kids at least were impressed with the speed of how fast I did it. But I kept talking them up about being big and fearless and messy and the kids did just that!
Okay, here were my project rules. By no means do I want cookie cutter artwork from the kids. But I have decided that I do want them to have certain requirements that they achieve with each lesson, using art elements & principles. I tell the kids they have to first know "art rules" in order to break them later on!
1. Fill the whole page (go off the page if you like)
2. Crop your owl image (try to focus on the head)
3. Your owls must be made up of different values of charcoal (meaning no white)
4. Only two areas may be colored in (eyes and background, beak and background, etc)
5. No more than 3 different pastel colors
Not all the kids followed the project rules to a "T", but they tried hard, understood what the rules were for and most importantly, had a blast! And every one of the owls turned out amazing. Check them out:
And you know the best part - Miss L told me that several kids told her that this was the best art they had ever made in their life.
Monday, October 22, 2012
I have nagged - I mean, offered my services - to S's 4th grade teacher this year as an art teacher twice a month. I am so very happy that she took me up on it as I am having a blast coming up with lesson plans and working with the class. Although I AM spending way too much time on Pinterest - purely for lesson plan research, I assure you. And that is where I saw these WONDERFUL charcoal and pastel owls on Art Dish with MJ. I just HAD to do this with the kids, especially after I found out that they were reading Guardians of Ga'hoole, and it's Fall, and I just REALLY wanted to do this project.
I even gave Miss L several different owl project idea examples and this is the one she really liked too. But then she said, "It looks hard however". I assured her, "Oh no, no, I can teach the kids...". But in reality I have NOT worked with charcoal much at all and (shhhhh....pastel chalk is not my favorite medium). But I REALLY wanted to make these owls!
So I gathered my trusty crew of guinea pigs - my 3 art maniac children - two days before I was to give the lesson (yes, procrastination is my middle name) and we sat down to see if this project was actually going to be possible.
S & R are twins and this is the first year that we have separated them into different classes. SO far they are doing just fine with that. But R was not so happy that I was doing an art class for S's and not her class. So I made sure to have her help with the samples and asked if I could share her finished owl as well. That appeased her for the moment....
Peelu had already helped me earlier and made the above owl. I thought it was pretty funny. And she of course insisted on making another owl with her older siblings.
Peelu exemplified the reason I am not a huge fan of charcoal or pastels - they are messy. But, I have to say, this lesson changed the way I feel about chalks as these darn owls were addicting once we started going and they came out so easy and quickly. I LOVED IT!
S's completed owl sample is above and R's is below. As I was making my second sample and helping the kids with theirs, I would stop and scribble furiously the directions I had just given them. Then I'd figure out something else I should add for teaching purposes and I'd scribble that down too. These were my how-to-give-the-lesson notes. HA! They were written in crayon on a scrap piece of paper with chalk and charcoal smudges all over it. I look like a professional alright!
I had all of us practice on some inexpensive textured charcoal paper 9x12 size. But then I realized I needed a good sample on the paper that the class would be using and of course to make sure it would still turn out okay on different paper. So I grabbed a blank 12x18 white construction paper that they have at school and made my big sample.
I must say that I am amazed how easy it was to make such a bold an fun piece of art. And addicting - did I say addicting - I think by the end of it I had made 5 or 6 "samples" on my own. But now....can I teach this to other kids?
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Spiral Grannies were very interesting to make. Fun but a bit of a tangled mess. We had a week off from the crochet-along to catch up and I had already tried my hand at one of these grannies just for fun. So I was very happy to see this was th next square chosen. Only had to make two more. A fun addition to the Granny Square Sampler crochet-along.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
S was also in a 4-H leather craft club this year as a Cloverbud (k-3rd grade). They can only earn participation ribbons as Cloverbuds in 4-H, but they got to talk directly with a judge (in his case two older high school girl judges) about the pieces they entered. Here are the two amazing pieces he entered, although he made quite a few items throughout the club year.
His scrappy turtle. He cut out and glued the pieces on and then hand laced the hole thing. The lacing was the true accomplishment for him, as that was hard work.
He was quite into drawing Transformers this year. His leaders were amazed that he designed this and then cut it out with a swivel knife all by himself. Not traditional leather crafting, but crazy cool just the same - that's my boy!
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
It's quite possible her entries weighed more than she did. She's definitely following in her sibling's footsteps if "large amounts of fair entries" is any indication!
Colored Pencils "Rainbow Mermaids Swimming"
Mixed Media "Printmaking with acrylic and coloring designs with markers"
Crayon "The Doggies in My Life" Jack (who died last summer), Joe, Frankie (my parent's dachshund), Scully
Watercolor "Hearts and hearts and hearts..." I LOVE this piece, although you can tell when she got tired.
Collage "Rainbow in the sky" This is my other favorite piece of hers. She was amazingly patient and quite exacting with her yarn placement. I don't even think I could have gotten it that even by myself.
Marker "The Scooby Gang" We watch A LOT of Scooby.
Papier Mache Recycled fruit container with papier mache and paint.
Nature Art "Crayon Melted Rock"
Acrylic "Finger and handprint painting of birdie in nest"
Jewelry "Shrinky Dink designed necklace"
Recycled Art "Glass Garden Sculpture"
Felting - Needle "Butterfly"
Felting - Wet "Rainbow" Can you tell she likes rainbows? I don't know where she gets it from.
Her photographs - Our dog Scully, her Papa, and her garden gnome. "Her treasures" she said.
I realize that Peelu is the youngest and tries really, really hard to keep up with her siblings. But I am still constantly surprised with her talent at barely 5 years old. Of course, I'm prejudiced.
Totally overdoing our county fair arts & crafts entries as usual! Now it's S's turn.
Papier Mache "Clone Warrior Helmet"
Marker "Boba Fett Pop Art"
Acrylic "Eye of Osiris"
Pencil "My Transformer"
Colored Pencil "Dog Hall of Fame" I LOVED this piece. It's not his best at coloring in, but he created a "famous" dog character, using our dogs and friend's dog's made up as that famous character. Darn, that boy's creativity amazes me!
Collage "Ancient Egyptian Tomb"
Woodcraft "Wood burned wolf"
Felting - Needle "Our backyard bee hives"
Felting - Wet "Solar System" He won Best in Show for youth felting with this!!
I like how S always seems to work in themes. This year it was apparently Star Wars and Egypt. Hmmm....the ancient past and the future? Nothing like diversity with my boy!