Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Be a Buddy -- Not a Bully!

The motto for our school's anti-bullying program is "Be a Buddy, Not a Bully!" Third grade classes are making posters that illustrate examples of bullying behavior and contrasting that with "buddy" behavior.

First, here's mine:

Here's a couple finished posters by third graders:

Here are some up-close details of a buddy behavior and a bully behavior.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

Little Gopher was smaller than the other young Indian boys of his Plains tribe, and although he tried hard, he could not do what the others did. The tribe's wise shaman assures him, however, that he has a different gift.

This book is a vivid retelling of a Wyoming legend of the origin of their state flower, the Indian Paintbrush. We read this together in kindergarten art classes, and talked about Native American life and art. Then students made their own drawings of Little Gopher.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Painting -- Andy Warhol Style

Fourth grade classes have been looking at the paintings of Andy Warhol. This artist often used repetition of the same image (like a can of soup or someone's face) to create a pattern. If you look at his work, you can see that he often used unexpected colors and didn't always "stay within the lines."
In some ways, each image is exactly the same, but when we consider the color, each one is completely different. To learn more about this fabulous artist, we've read these two books together. Did you know the author and illustrator is also Andy Warhol's nephew -- and that he'll be visiting our school in the spring?

The book above is his brand new book. Andy Warhol had 25 cats -- all named Sam!

One of the students was excited to find that his family owned the special edition commemorative stamp plaque below!

To duplicate our image, we made a sketch, scribbled on the back of it, then traced over the lines in the drawing over and over again. If you've never done that, try it! It's a lot of fun.

Now we're painting each one with some experimental and expressive colors and techniques. We are ready for our fifteen minutes of fame!

Splat! Good thing she's wearing a paint shirt!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Family Fun Night

A couple weeks ago, we had a Family Fun Night with the theme of "Carnival". Mr. Macik and I covered the Caricature Station. I don't know how many caricatures of kids we drew -- it seemed like at least a hundred!

Kids: "Mr. Wales, when will it be my turn?"
Me: "I'm drawing as fast as I can!!!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Clowning Around with First Grade

First graders are making drawings of clowns with markers this week. Everyone is illustrating something they've seen a clown do -- or something they'd like to see. Here are just a few. They have fantastic imaginations!

Comix by Kids

Every year the fifth graders create their own character and make a comic strip about them. Last year, I chose 24 of these and had them published through Ka-blam, a print on demand publisher. It has a nice color cover and the cost for these was $2 for printing and shipping. I ordered one for each student who was published in this comic, and these kids are starting to pick these up. I'm willing to make orders for extra family members, etc., for $2/each. Just let me know if you'd like a copy of Comix by Kids!

Our Adventures Where the Wild Things Are

We went to the place Where the Wild Things Are and what did we see? The first drawing and story are mine, followed by some by second graders.

Colorful Coil Pots

Third grade classes have finished glazing their ceramic pots made using the coil method. Methods of construction and designs were inspired by Native American pots. This week we'll wrap them up and take them home!

Friday, October 16, 2009

First Grade Pumpkins

We're really glad that Mrs. Sullivan brought in big boxes of pumpkins for us to paint. Students are using this as a chance to review what they've learned about using primary colors to make secondary colors.

First grade students had the choice to make a silly face, a happy face, or a scary face on their pumpkin.

Kindergarten Clowns

My favorite drawing instruction book is Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes. In her book, the author stresses the importance of teaching students the five elements of contour shape. It isn't enough to show kids how to draw, you have to give them the vocabulary that describes them. A good way to introduce many of these shapes is through making a drawing of a clown.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Coil Method

Third graders started this week by making pinch pots. That was the easy part. Next we took it to the next level! We made the pinch pots larger by using the coil method. That's when you make little snakes out of clay, and coil them around the top of the pot until it is the height you want. You can also use the coils to make handles, decorations, etc.

It's easy to remember the name of this technique, because you use little snakes of clay and coiling is what a snake does when he's about to strike.

But you have to score the coils with a plastic fork and wet them. When working with clay, remember this simple rule,

"You must scratch it,
If you wish to attach it."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Compare and Contrast -- Warhol vs. Lichtenstein

We started the class with art reproductions by two different artists, but they were all mixed up! Could the kids separate the work of two artists into two groups, just by looking at the paintings? They actually did it by analyzing the styles and subject matter of the artists and discussing it among themselves.

Here they have them all separated, with the work by Roy Lichtenstein on one table, and the work by Andy Warhol on another.

They decided that the work of Lichtenstein used mostly primary colors and very crisp clean straight black lines. Warhol had more varieties of color and a more subdued pallette. He also used photography printmaking and sometimes expressive, painterly effects. Of course, they put this in their own words by saying things like "Roy is more cartoony and Andy is more serious."

What do the two artists have in common? They were both artists who worked in the Pop Art style in the sixties and after. They both used imagery from popular culture in fine art settings.

Students summarized what they learned from this activity in writing. I told them they could organize their thoughts any way they liked. Below are a couple of the really good ones.