Friday, January 22, 2016

Third Grade Chihuly Sculptures

We started off this lesson learning about radial balance.  The students created some cool radial designs on square paper to get the hang of the concept.  Next, we looked at the artwork of Dale Chihuly.  He's a world-renowned glass sculptor whose art appears in multiple countries.  We divided his artwork into three-ish groups: chandeliers, standing sculptures and macchias.  The macchias were our focus and we safely emulated his glass macchia art by using markers, coffee filters and spray starch.  After adding a fun title and a background the fit with their theme, the artworks were complete!

Kindergarten Playscapes

Our primary focus on this lesson was to differentiate between 2D paintings and 3D sculptures.  To begin with, we discussed the similarities and differences between the paintings and sculptures of Atlantan artist, Kevin Cole.  We started out by making a 2D/3D practice.  This was very helpful to get the young students familiar with bending the papers to create 3D forms.

We had so much fun talking and discussing the 2D shapes and 3D forms found on playgrounds.  The students WOWed me with their creativity - dog parks, splash pads, monkey bar, grass, cars, and the list goes on.  Excellent job!

Monday, January 18, 2016

First grade Calder Mobiles

This super fun lesson relating to Alexander Calder's mobiles really emphasizes the difference between organic and geometric shapes.  Most of the first graders have learned them from me in Kindergarten, but our goal for this lesson is understanding and retention of knowledge, not just getting use to the vocabulary.
We start off by discussing a bit of Alexander "Sandy" Calder's history and we look at his incredible sculptures.  This is also a lesson where I really want the students to understand the difference between a sculpture and a painting.  Another reason why I love Alexander Calder.  He has gorgeous abstract paintings that focus both on either geometric shapes and organic shapes!  Then, we look at his sculptures (mobiles in particular) and we find the organic and geometric shapes in them.  Next, the students cut out their own organic shapes and punch a hole to get ready for the following day.
The last day is when we put it all together.  Using model magic, we create a base for our sculpture on mat board.  The students then use Twisteez wire and pipe cleaners to add straight, wavy or ziz zag lines in their sculptures with their organic shapes at the end (beads are added because beads are fun!).  Finally, the students draw geometric shapes to create a border for their base.  Way to go, little hands!  You made big success with this lesson!

4th Grade Foil Figures

My favorite thing about this lesson is when I have younger students, siblings of fourth graders, come to me in the mornings with foil figures they have made because of their older siblings.  I always hope this means my fourth grade students love this lesson so much so that they talk about it at home and then continue to "be the expert" and teach their younger brother or sister.  I'll never forget one year I had a mom come show me her house literally covered (elf style) with foil figures - in the coffee pot, hanging from the lights, on the mantel.  The kids thought it was hilarious and I was so thrilled they took what was learned in school into their own world.
Prior to the making of these fun foil figures, we discuss the sculpture of Swiss artist, Alberto Giacometti.  His art is fun to have at the center of discussion for kids of this age (and any!).  Next, we spend the rest of that day discussing gesture drawings and how important it would be for any sculpture to be cognizant of weight, balance, and movement.  The kids spend the rest of the day modeling fun gestures and practicing this art of quick drawing.
The final day is filled with creating the foil figure in a specific pose.  This year, I had them add shadows and a background on the mat board.  I am sure this is my favorite batch so far!  Super job, fourth graders!