Kindergarten: Rockin’ Robots

Rockin' RobotsSince we meet for just a handful of times during the year, I like to make sure each lesson is jam-packed with different techniques and media.   One of my favorite lessons to teach to Kindergarten is on robots.  We discuss robots and their purposes and function in society.  This project is great for exploring collage, texture, printmaking, and splatter painting.

When creating their robots, students first use metallic paint to imitate the texture of metal.  They organize and lay out their pieces to form their robot.  On the second day, students assemble and glue their robot to a brightly colored pieced of construction paper.  Then they add more texture, using splattered paint.  Then, they use small pieces of cardboard, wood, and marker lids to add details like they eyes, buttons, mouth, and other details.

Technology in the Art Room

It can be a challenge to implement technology, but it is essential to be a 21st century teacher and create and equip 21st century learners.  I have spent the last few years coming up with strategies to implement technology as instructional tools, as well as implementing free and low cost web-based programs and apps for art production.  Keep in mind that this is a working knowledge of resources.  I am building up my arsenal of technology tools and strategies every year to streamline my classroom and be a more effective teacher.  These strategies and instruments help broaden the perspective of my students on what exactly is considered “art media”.  That being said, here are a few resources for you to explore and try in your art room.

The “Re-teaching” Document Camera

One of my most essential instructional tools in my document camera.  I use this tool to demonstrate a technique, a step in a project, or Document Cameraeven to set up a still life for students to observe.  I have found it especially useful as a re-teaching tool.  Even after I have verbally given instructions, demonstrated the instructions, and written them out, there is still canDocument Camera 2 be that one student who may have been distracted.  (Gasp)  Here is where the document camera comes into play.  For example, say I am teaching my second grade students how to make the paper relief sculpture, and we are starting to make our petals.  I set the camera to record as I am demonstrating, and when I finish that step, I stop the recording.  It saves the file and there is a digital video of me teaching.  (I try to keep these short and sweet).  I open them to play (in a program like Windows Media Player or QuickTime) and set them at “Fast” and loop.  This plays (on mute!) on the projector, freeing me up to monitor and teach students one-on-one or in small groups while the other students may catch a step that might have missed or are confused about.

(FREE!) Web-based Media

Here are some fantastic websites for students to create art on the computer.  I have used these time and again as stand-alone projects or to incorporate into a mixed-media lesson.

Mr. Picasso Head – a great program for an artist study!  Students create portraits in the style of Picasso!Sea-Saws Student Example - 5th Grade

Brushster – A program on the National Gallery of Art’s Art Zone page.  This program allows for students to explore different brushes and styles of art.  Versatile and fun, this program is great for upper elementary and middle school.

Collage Machine – Also on the National Gallery of Art’s Art Zone page.  This program allows students to use shapes or textures to create digital collages.

Jackson Pollock by Miltos Manetas – Allows you to paint fractals like Pollock.  This is a great program for younger elementary as it is simple but creates colorful works of art – mess free!

Sea-Saws – This National Gallery of Art – Art Zone program allows students to create collages/found object “relief” sculptures using a variety of textures.  It even has an added animation capability.

Brushster 5th Grade Student Example - Insect StudyArt Pad – This web-based program is similar to Brushster.  You “paint” with a brush and can even add a frame.  As an added bonus you can “replay” your painting, and it demonstrates the brushstrokes step-by-step.

Others include: Jungle, Still Life, Flow, Photo Op, and many more found on the National Gallery of Art website under Education.

This is just part one of Technology in the Art Room.  Next time I will be discussing apps in the art room for instructional use and art-making!

4th Grade Cubist Cat Collage

Cubist Cat CollageI have always been inspired by the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  Even more, still, in the illustrations of Sir John Tenniel within this whimsical tale.  This inspiration led me to the whimsy of another great artist, Pablo Picasso.  After seeing the Picasso Monsters created in Mrs. Picasso’s Art Room, I jumped on the opportunity with my fourth grade students.  BrainPOP, as I have mentioned a few times, is a great resource to introduce an artist, art technique, or even make an interdisciplinary connection.  These fabulous people have created a short video on Cubism and its origins.

After my students explore Cubism, they compare, contrast, and analyze the work of Picasso and Tenniel.  We also discuss distortion, point of view, proportion, analogous colors, and portraiture.  The students begin their collage by creating the cat face.  We chose a set of analogous colors, and start on our way.  The majority of the first day is spent on the construction of the head.  On day two and three we create the body and tail, and add details (eyes, nose, etc).  Finally, students use similar colors of gel markers to add patterns onto their collage.  The last day is when they students weave paper to create their background and assemble their collage.  To add a bit of “flash” I have students weave using metallic paper.  This project is a wonderful chance to delve into literature and math through the lens of the visual arts.

1st Grade Starry Cityscapes

Starry CityscapeThis project is a great way to introduce the principle of design, movement, to First Grade students.  The students  first observed and explored the art of Vincent van Gogh.  A great resource is BrainPOP, Jr.  I use it as motivation to engage and introduce van Gogh and his style of art.  Next, it’s time to create!  They then increased their manipulative skills using tempera paint for the stars combining circles and short, curved lines.  The students created shades and tints of blue to build up the sky background.  After finishing and letting the painting dry, students used a continuous line that employed vertical, horizontal, and diagonal straight lines to create the silhouette of the city onto a black piece of construction paper and then collage it onto their painting.

Here are some student examples from my fabulous first graders.

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