Monday, February 20, 2012

Kindergarten Jackson Pollock Paintings

I introduced my kindergarteners to Jackson Pollock by showing them this student-made video that I found on YouTube. They were intrigued by the fact that he painted with his canvas on the floor and that he got his paint all over everything.

I bought ketchup and mustard squeeze bottles at the dollar store and filled each bottle with a different color of tempera paint. I added a little bit of sand to each bottle and mixed it up.

I took the students into the courtyard right outside of my art room and showed them how they were going to lay their paper on the floor and squirt paint onto their paper. Then I demonstrated how to pick up their paper with 2 hands, so that they didn't get themselves completely covered in paint (not sure that mom would appreciate us completely embodying the Pollock style). They then would move on to another color and squirt that onto their paper, repeating the entire process until they had every color on their paper.

The interesting thing, was how long some of the paintings took to dry! I hadn't thought of this and there were a couple of classes that really loaded their papers with paint and their papers took 3 days to fully dry!

For the next class, they added even more textures to their paintings. I gave each table a variety of ribbons, foam shapes and confetti and showed them how to glue it onto their paintings, trying to spread everything around the entire page.

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First Grade Grecian Urns

 For this project, I got to use my new extruder again. I am hooked!!!

First grade made Grecian urns using red clay- which they thought was awesome! They had only ever used Longhorn White, so this was a completely new experience for them.

They made the basic pinch pot and we worked to build our walls up, so that our pots would be taller.

I gave them 3 coils. One was used to create a base for the urn to sit on. The other two were used to
create handles.

I fired the urns and then they used black glaze to paint patterns. Next year, I think I might just use black tempera. Many of the students had a hard time getting the black on heavy enough for it to really contrast with the red clay.

Then I gave each table a bowl of transparent glaze and showed them how to paint the entire piece until it was completely covered. They freaked out at first, because my transparent is blue. We then had the discussion about glue- when you put it on your
paper, it is white, but when it dries, it is clear. This was going to happen to their blue glaze. It would be clear when I took it out of the kiln.

This appeased them and when they saw them in the glass display case the next week- smiles all around!

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Second Grade Oaxacan Animals

Second grade just completed their clay project. They learned about Oaxacan Wood Carvings and how they are made. My rule for their animal was that it had to have either legs or fins (I wanted to stay away from having a bunch of students make snakes).They drew their practice
 sketches in their sketchbook and then
they were ready to learn how to make their animal. I found this very simple YouTube video on making four legged animals. After watching the video, I passed out their clay and tools and they got started. I walked around helping them build their animal. The main issue I found, was not using the knife to cut deep enough into the clay for the legs. I had to help quite a few students with this part. I also had to show them how the legs should be about as big as their finger, otherwise they wouldn't be able to stand up. I still got a few animals with matchstick legs, but overall, I think they did pretty well.

 Once the animals were fired, I made the decision to paint them with tempera paint. I wanted them to have the vibrant colors of the Oaxacan animals, and I was afraid that we wouldn't be able to get that with the glazes that I had available.

I had each student choose the color that they wanted to paint their animal. They painted the entire animal and then we left them to dry.

The next week, I pulled out the neon tempera and my smallest paintbrushes. I gave each table a plate with every neon color on it and showed them how
paint patterns.

Their first instinct was to paint the entire animal again. I had to remind them to leave the original color showing- they were only painting PATTERNS!

The last step was covering each animal with a coat of tempera varnish.

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Fourth Grade Ndebele Dolls

I found this project on Artsonia. It is a project that Linda Welling at Cedar Creek Elementary posted. Funny thing is, I found this PowerPoint to show to my students and it is also from Linda Welling! I added in the YouTube video on the last slide.
I also found this great book, Ndebele: The Art of An African Tribe by Margaret Courtney-Clark. The book has some great pictures of the Ndebele people, their art and the dolls.

Fourth grade continued their tour of Africa by working on an Ndbele doll. They learned about the bead work and artistry of the Ndebele people. I showed them a doll that I had purchased and then they began their own designs in their sketchbooks.

They had a lot of fun with this one. It's been awhile since we have done a simple drawing project. We have been doing a lot of printmaking, collage and sculpture projects, so this was a return to basics for us.

The children decided what they wanted their doll to look like. My only requirement was that, like the Ndebele, they needed to have
at least 3 patterns somewhere on the doll.

Once the design was ready, they drew it on a large piece of drawing paper and traced it with black marker.

Now the fun part!!! They got to use Crayola Color Switcher markers. The majority of my students do not have art materials at home. The only time they get the chance to create is when they are in my room, so when they used the Color Switchers.... you would have thought I hung the moon!

Even better, they liked them so much, that they took better care of them than any other materials we have used thus far!!

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Fifth Grade Ming Dynasty Vases

 Fifth grades study of Asia moved on to the Ming Dynasty. The students looked at different examples of Ming pottery. I showed them pieces of varying sizes and shapes and then we looked at how they were painted.

The students designed their own version of a Ming vase in their sketchbooks. I told them that we would be glazing the entire piece solid white and then they would be able to choose their own color scheme to add their design, instead of using only blue, as in the Ming vases.
On the day that we were ready to start the clay, I used my extruder (for the first time!) to make coils for the students. Ideally, I would have loved for them to use the extruder to make the coils themselves. However, since I only have 45 minutes and there are almost 30 students, I expedited the process by having them pre-made.

I gave each student a piece of clay to make a basic pinch pot. Some of them made bowls and others worked really hard to make the forms that they had seen the previous week.

I told the students that they had to use at least 1 coil in their project, but it was up to them how it was used. Some of them stuck with only 1 coil. However, many of them went wild with the coils! They loved it!

I absolutely love how different each vase/pot looks.

I fired them and the next week, I had them use opaque white glaze to cover the entire project. I pre-poured glaze into cups and my rule was that they had to use every drop in the cup. That was my
way of knowing that they were using enough glaze
to coat the entire piece.

Then I had plates with different color schemes set up. My students are fascinated with cool colors, so many of them used that color scheme. However, I did get a few monochromatic pieces and a few  complementary colors.

I currently have all of their pieces on display in our glass case in the entryway of our school. They look so nice!

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