Sunday, March 22, 2009

In the Belly of the Whale

This was one of our stations on Family Fun Night. We were giving tours of the inside of a belly of a whale. Well, it was actually several plastic tarps connected and shaped like a whale, but it's very instructive because it is the actual size of a whale.
Mrs. White and her 5th grade students were in charge of the station. They led students through the whale and then told them A Whale of a Tale that they had made up.
This is a view from inside the whale. It really was a neat experience.
Kinda scary, but the guides had flashlights.
Here they are letting the air out of it, which looks like fun too. Thanks for all your hard work, Mrs. White and kids!

Porthole Pictures

This stations was a big hit on Family Fun Night. About 140 kids made Porthole Pictures.
As you can see, the art room got a little crowded.

Sponge-Bob was there in person, and making his rounds.

Family Fun Night Photos

A big thanks to John Johnston, who emailed me a bunch of photos from Family Fun Night. In the photo above, you see that Mr. Manchester has relinquished the megaphone for a bit to Mr. Macik in the bingo game station.
Here are some pictures from the Crabby Patty Toss. We were pretending that the bean bags were Crabby Patties, and that Sponge-Bob and the gang were really hungry.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pictures from Family Fun Night

"Everybody say 'Barnacles!'" On Friday, March 13, we had our Family Fun Night & Art Show. I think it's neat to have one of these once a year, because unlike a regular art show, kids can also make something and do some other fun learning activities with their parents -- plus every kid gets to show off to their parents what they are learning in art class and other classes. In the picture above you see me, the Sponge-Bob sculpture we made, my son David in the Sponge-Bob costume (from Costume Capers, and a lot of the kids who came.

Our theme this year was "Oceans of Fun", so all of the art on display was related to that theme, and all the activities had an ocean flavor. In the cafeteria, we had Swedish fish candy and goldfish crackers and ocean blue Kool-Aid.

That Mr. Manchester loves to use that megaphone! In the library, he and Mr. Macik organized a game of Bingo. Lots of neat prizes were won, like comic books and Sponge-Bob posters of historic value.

Kids made Fancy Fish crafts with paper plates and neato foam stickers. Thank you, all you teachers and older kids who helped!

Other events included:

  • Crabby Patty Toss. Mr. Gorman and Mrs. Fisher helped kids with this bean bag throwing game.

  • tours of the inside of a whale, thanks to Mrs. White and her students who organized that.

  • a really neat craft called Porthole Pictures. This is made with two paper plates and blue cellophane. When you look at them, it's as if you're looking out the window of a submarine. This was organized by Miss Bean and Mrs. Shangraw and their helpers. About 140 kids got to make this craft.

If anybody has any pictures from this night, please send them! Our school camera was locked up that night and I couldn't get to it! (Thanks, Mrs. Rowe for sending these).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Drawing Light & Shadow

How do artists like James Gurney make paintings that are so realistic? Well, it's a lot of work! One approach Mr. Gurney uses is the making of macquettes. These are little sculptures that he makes. He then sets them up in the studio with a single light source.

If there is a fire on Dinotopia, how do they put it out? There isn't modern technology like fire trucks. To answer that question, Mr. Gurney made the painting below.

Before he began this painting, though he made lots of macquettes, models and sketches. He discussed his ideas with an engineer who designs firetrucks. The macquettes he created below were to help him make paintings of Dinotopian fire fighting equipment.

He changed some details when he painted the scene, but the models he built and the figures helped him imagine the scene.

He made the cab on the dinosaur below out of old mat board and hot glue.

We're not building our own models, but we are using dinosaur toys and action figures to imagine scenes. Below you see that Cyclops of the X-Men is taped to a dinosaur. We're working with the lights off, using only the lights that come in from the skylights. In my demonstration sketch, I'm showing the kids how to use charcoal, blending stump and erasers to create shadows and highlights on objects.

Tyler (below) is doing well on an anklyosaurus drawing.

Shaylee's drawing is below. It's not finished, but you can see that she's got the idea.

To see the whole process of how Mr. Gurney made the fire engine paintings, visit The Gurney Journey.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Artist Visit Coming Soon!

Our school is very lucky in that on April 2, we will be having a special guest. Artist and author James Gurney will be coming to talk to the students about his work. Gurney is a world reknowned artist and illustrator who is best known for his illustrated book series Dinotopia, which is presented in the form of a 19th century explorer's journal from an island utopia where dinosaurs and humans peacefully co-exist.

I think Gurney's work is a good example of how our school subject areas all run together in the real world. He is an artist and a writer, but he also does an amazing amount of research in the fields of science and anthropology to make his fantasy work "believable". He has degrees in anthropology and fine art, but he is also "self-taught" in many areas. He stays up to date on new discoveries about dinosaurs so that his paintings are as authentic as possible.

Gurney's interest in paleontology and anthropology began in his childhood sandbox. As he says on his blog,

When I was in second grade, I was convinced that if I dug enough in my
front yard I'd find the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh or the skull of a T. Rex.
Never mind that I grew up in Santa Clara County, California, the heart of
suburbia. You can't talk a determined archaeologist out of his steely
determination. My dad couldn't talk me out of it either.

I was the youngest of five kids, and by the time I came along, my dad had
pretty much given up on yard maintenance. He didn't mind too much if I dug test
pits in the yard. The Tonka trucks stayed at it for months. All the neighborhood
kids helped out. Eventually their moms banned them from coming over because they came home with their shoes and their pockets full of dirt."

When I heard this story, it made me think of so many of the kids in our school who have what I call "healthy obsessions". Who knows what careers these interests may lead them to? As Gurney says, "Big dreams are born in little people, and I am always grateful to my school teachers, my parents and my older brothers and sisters for encouraging me--and letting me dig up the yard. "

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Family Fun Night this Friday!

Our Family Fun Night and Art Show is this Friday, March 13. 6:30-8:00. This is open to children who attend Lynch-Bustin Elementary School and their families. There will be crafts, snacks, games and learning fun. As always, these events are free, but we are asking for a $1 donation to help defray expenses.

Lesson Plans -- Week 19

Kindergarten/First Grade
Use basic shapes to draw dinosaurs.
913A. Know and use the elements and principles of each art form to create works in the arts and humanities.

Second Grade.
Artist study: James Gurney. Discuss and make drawings inspired by his books.
913A. Know and use the elements and principles of each art form to create works in the arts and humanities.

Third Grade. Review concepts from video last week. Finish still life drawings.
Genre: A type or category (e.g., music - opera, oratorio; theater - tragedy, comedy; dance - modern, ballet; visual arts- pastoral, scenes of everyday life).
913A. Recognize critical processes used in the examination of works in the arts and humanities. Compare and contrast
913F. Know how to recognize and identify similar and different characteristics among works in the arts

Fourth Grade.
Artist study: James Gurney.
Art history video. Landscapes. Continue work on landscape drawings. Add dinosaurs to create a human/dinosaur society.
913A. Recognize critical processes used in the examination of works in the arts and humanities. Compare and contrast
913F. Know how to recognize and identify similar and different characteristics among works in the arts

Fifth Grade.
Most students should be done with inking. If not, they can finish. Those who are finished will clean up any stray pencil marks with an erasers. Then they can use correction fluid to cover and accidental ink spots. They can touch up with either ink pen or markers.
Artist study. James Gurney.
Next unit: Drawing from life. Single light source. Shading with charcoal and blending stump.

913D. Use knowledge of varied styles within each art form through a performance or exhibition of unique work.
915A. Know and use the elements and principles of each art form to create works in the arts and humanities.