This is one of my all-time favorite projects. I love watching students problem solve the challenges that arise with 3D paper construction. Here’s a sampling of this year’s results. 🙂
I love celebrating fall in New England with fresh apples, beautiful leaves, and pumpkin flavored everything. Drawing pumpkins has also become one of my favorite fall lessons. This lesson is part of a vertically aligned drawing curriculum using elements of fall to teach observation skills to Kindergarteners-4th graders. (The entire curriculum is still a work in process.)
I teach this lesson to my second graders in October. Students are usually really excited to draw the pumpkins and learn a few tips for making their drawings better. I also like teaching an observational drawing lesson early in the year to build student’s confidence.
I buy 6-7 mini pumpkins (each under a $1) and put one on each table. The most important part is finding pumpkins with interesting/unusual stems so that they are more interesting to draw. Before the first class, I put a small piece of colored tape on the bottom of each pumpkin so that I remember which pumpkin I put on each table.
This year, I created a step-by-step visual giving students a way to breakdown all of the steps into smaller parts. After demonstrating how to use the handout, students get to work. Some students follow the steps one-by-one and some students work more independently. I like that I can use it at the end of the lesson as check list to encourage students to include as many details as possible.
How do you teach drawing?
This year, I’m introducing ATCs to 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders. I’m starting the year by giving students a couple of assignments. My hope is that these assignments will encourage them experiment more throughout the year and make cards that are more thoughtful and “complete” when they are given choice time.
2nd Graders: Oops! Card
For this lesson, I read the book Beautiful Oops!, by Barney Saltzberg. I talked with students about what choices an artist has when he/she makes a “mistake.” Next, I showed students a few Daily Monster videos and challenged them to turn an “oops” into something new… something scary, or friendly, or beautiful, or funny, or… just about anything they could think of! Students started by transforming their oops with pencil and tracing with Sharpie. Then, they added a background and colored in their ATC.
3rd Graders: Sky Color
For this lesson, I read the book Sky Color, by Peter Reynolds. We discussed that the sky is not always blue and then I demonstrated a few watercolor techniques… painting wet on wet, wax/oil watercolor resist, sprinkling salt, and blotting with a sponge brush, q-tip, paper towel, or bubble wrap. Then students set to work creating an ATC of a type of weather or time of day.
4th Graders: Abstract Dot Composition
For this lesson, I read the book The Dot, by Peter Reynolds and discussed how students might “make their mark.” After showing abstract spot and dot artworks by Wassily Kandinsky and Yayoi Kusama, students were challenged to create an abstract composition made entirely of dots. Students could choose to use Sharpies, markers, crayons, watercolors, or a combination of materials. **For this lesson, I also showed examples of this lesson from Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists.
Second graders were challenged to create an Underwater Story Collage. As inspiration, we looked at finished stories that past students (current 4th graders!) made. I love how action-packed each one is!
Then students created a setting and character for their story. Students looked used books, pictures and their imaginations to create each part of their picture. They also learned about special collage tools, materials and techniques like edger scissors, different types of paper, and overlapping. After finishing their collage, students wrote a story to describe their picture.
Yesterday I went to visit The Magical World of Art (the school where I did my student teaching). It was great visiting and seeing all of the exciting things happening! I can’t believe that it’s been seven years since I worked there! Here’s what students were up to…
1st graders were painting colorful line landscapes. They had already painted their landscape with black lines and tempera paint. When I visited, they were making edits and adding details with Playcolor Tempera Paint Sticks*. I have never seen these before. They looked like a lot of fun! I’m going to order some and try them out with my students.
In The Magical World of Art, Mr. D talks a lot about Habits of Mind. He has created a character for each of the 8 Studio Habits of Mind. These kid-friendly characters help students learn how to think about art and express their ideas using age-appropriate art vocabulary. Throughout the year, students can earn habit of mind badges. In order to earn one, another student must nominate you. Here, the Super Storyteller telling his story to the class, “The sun rolled on the ground and made the mountains yellow. And there was cotton candy in the sky.” Does it get any better than that??
2nd graders reviewed what it means to be an architect and some basic architectural forms. In their sketchbook, students sketched their Dream House or Dream School.
4th graders talked about abstract art. First, Mr. D read My Name is Georgia: A Portrait, by Jeanette Winter. Then students went outside and zoomed in on what they saw in nature. Students drew close-up sketches of leaves, trees, and rocks.
*Here is a review of the paint sticks on The Artful Parent.
This year my Kindergarten & 1st grade students are using sketchbooks (last year I only did them with Ks). Kindergarteners have yellow sketchbooks and 1st graders have red ones. I have tried making and using sketchbooks in various ways over the years, and I think I’ve discovered the perfect book!
It is SO easy to make these and they work great. I have a student teacher this year and she helped me make all 200 (!) books. Thanks, Ms. G! I’ve found that making the books ahead of time ends up working better than having them bind them themselves. That way they can spend more time using them. 🙂
This year, I will also be giving students a few sketchbook assignments. I want them to learn that artists use sketchbooks in a variety of ways–to plan, to practice, to observe, to take notes, etc. Other times, students will be able to choose what to draw in their books.
Last year some students made 2-3 drawings and some students filled up their entire books. This year, my goal is that more students use their sketchbooks more often.
*Update: I just bought this stapler for another book project. It is so easy to use and am going to use it for making sketchbooks next year (or for those students who fill up their books this year and need a second one!)
My first day assignment is pretty simple, but I love it because it helps me learn (and remember) students’ names, which is crucial for building relationships.
The lesson also gives me a general idea of my students’ drawing skills and creativity. With my K students, I wrote their name in block letters ahead of time and they colored them in. As students get older, I add more challenges–1st graders learn to write their own name in block or bubble letters, 2nd graders “make it artistic”, and 3rd and 4th graders are encouraged to design their own font and include an image of something they like.
This is one of my favorite 2nd grade lessons. I was inspired by a lesson my teacher mentor did when I was a student teacher and have since changed some parts of the lesson. First, students drew a dinosaur. Students looked at real dinosaurs for inspiration and gave their dino some kind of texture. Next, they created a habitat that matched the type of dinosaur they made.
I asked, “Can your dinosaur fly, walk, or swim? Students used tissue paper and water to create a background. The tissue paper came off easily once it was try, and the color of the ink was left on the paper (like using watercolors). Last, students used collage papers to add details to their habitat. We looked at my dino book again for ideas. Details might include mountains, trees, volcanos, fish, clouds, dinosaur eggs, etc. Some kids love this project so much that they end up creating multiple puppets to go with their background. I also thing it would be cool to do this project as a diorama.
S wore this outfit today. I thought it was the perfect outfit for the first day of spring. Hopefully the snow melts soon and flowers start to bloom!
I haven’t seen my second graders in a month due to all of the snow and school closings. When students return to school after the vacation, they will finish their self-portrait paintings. Here is an in-process painting that one of the students in 2L is working on.