Thursday, July 30, 2015

5th Grade - Pixel Portrait

Another project inspired by Thomas Elementary Art, this one was a huge hit with the fifth graders.  As big as Minecraft is nowadays, I have a ton of students drawing in the pixel style anyway, so this was right up their alley.  First, I gave each student a grid paper and, with a bit of a learning curve, asked them to draw a picture of themselves (and background of course) by using only the blue lines that go straight up and down.  The bigger they work, the easier it is to add things like curves and details.  Once the grid portrait was up to snuff, we traced it onto a piece of sketch paper and added some color.

I really enjoyed this project myself, and think the work turned out great.

Friday, July 24, 2015

1st Grade - Giraffes Can't Dance

A staple in Mr. Schmidt's art room for a few years now, we made the jump to first grade and the painting process ran a lot smoother.  The project (taken from the incredible Thomas Elementary Art blog) centers around how we can interpret lines to show movement.  First, we read Giraffe's Can't Dance and point out how the artist wiggles and waves the lines to make the animals appear to be dancing, then we go step by step to draw our own dancing giraffes.  Then we paint our background and color our giraffes before we put them both together.  The result is a fun mixed media project.  Check out some sweet examples from our first graders!

Monday, July 13, 2015

2nd Grade - Rainbow Stencil

I've been experimenting with fun ways to incorporate color mixing in my classroom since the beginning, and this project has sort of stuck.  It's a two or three parter, where we first make a stencil or a shape or drawing and then trace it onto a strip of paper six times.  Then we use only the primary colors to get a rainbow into each shape.  It's simple and pretty direct, but a good painting project to close the year out for the second grade.

6th Grade - Anti-Single Story Portrait

Author Chimamanda Adichie has a powerful TedTalk out there about what she calls the "dangers of a single story," where, in a nutshell, she describes her experience growing up in Africa and her move to the US.  Her idea of the "single story" - the notion that we might assume we know how Chimamanda grew up because of our preconceived idea of "African" - is an extraordinary message and can be applied to all sorts of backgrounds, cultures, or places.  Watch the link above.  Oh, what the heck I'll embed it here so you don't have an excuse.  She's awesome.

Anyway, I shared this video with my sixth graders and we set about making an artwork based on her ideas that we deemed "The Anti-Single Story Portrait."  The goal was to create a portrait of yourself that both addressed your "single story" - or what you think people generally know or assume about you (gamer, cheerleader, math geek, jock, etc.) and included things that help to round you out.  Maybe you're a cheerleader who also loves to play video games.  Or a mathemagician who rocks put on the guitar.  

It's not easy to confront these types of things when you're in middle school, but these examples did a really nice job building a more complete portrait of themselves.