Students in 6th and 7th grade will be moving to a temporary school next year during the renovation process. To commemorate their time here, students were challenged to create a portrait based on their learning experiences, feelings, and memories of their current school. These portraits will be hung up over the summer, transforming the walls of their new school into an art gallery.
Today 6th graders discussed portraiture and began thinking of how to transform a portrait in a humorous way. While I photographed students one by one, the rest of the class began cutting out facial features from of magazines. Next week they’ll start to combine the found images to create an “altered selfie.”
Sixth graders focused on perspective drawing this year. For this project, students created observational soda can drawings. I taught students how to draw ellipses to make their cans look three-dimensional. Then students observed and drew the fonts and words on their can. Finally, students shaded their can using at least three different values. I gave students the choice of shading with pencil or colored pencil. Some students created a more complex space by adding a shadow, popcorn or a background.
My first year of teaching, I had each student make a sketchbook. Throughout the year, students used it to sketch, take notes, or draw in if they finished a project early. I love the idea of a sketchbook, but because I only see students once a week, I found it difficult to teach students how to use the sketchbook the way I wanted to. Last year I had all of my students make a folder to keep their smaller projects and in-process work in. I’m doing the same thing this year. The first lesson I do with students is about fonts and each student creates a name design on the cover of their folder. I give each student an assigned seat on the first day of class, and as they work, I label each folder with a piece of colored masking tape that matches the table they sit at.The kindergarteners focus on writing their name legibly and tracing their letters with Sharpie.
The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders focused on designing their names using bubble or block letters.
I also tape a small pocket on the inside of the folder for students to keep scrap paper when they do collages.
At each table, there’s a folder of “Reference Images” that students can look at for ideas. For this lesson, I made photocopies of 8 different fonts that they could reference when designing their name.
The second lesson I did with the younger students was one explaining the artistic Habits of Mind. After showing students a slideshow that explains each habit, I had them assess the habits they already do well and the habits they want to improve. I stapled this into the back of their folder. (We’ll revisit it throughout the year.)
The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders have slightly different folders. On the first two days of art, they also created a name design for their folder. Their design had to meet three criteria: 1. Name written legibly. 2. Interesting font (bubble letters, block letters, graffiti, hand drawn…) 3. Image(s) that represent you. On the second day, I started class by leading a 5-minute “Quick Crit” of their in-process work. When they were done, I laminated their designs and they taped them to the front of the folder. On the inside of the folder, students store work that is “in-process” or “done.”