Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Victor Vasarely for Second Grade

One of the concepts we learn about for the first marking period in second grade is the difference between geometric shapes and organic shapes. For the geometric shape portion of our curriculum we have Victor Vasarely as a required artist.  As it turns out everyone in town at the elementary level all had a print of Zebegen.

So, it got nominated for the job of teaching the kids about geometric shapes.  I'm not a huge fan of this particular Vasarely, but hey, what are you going to do?  One of my colleagues in the department came up with this easy way of creating in a style reminiscent of Zebegen.

We started with a 6 x 12 piece of construction paper - any color is fine, I just happened to use my bright green because I had a ton of it!

I cut one inch strips of paper in four other colors. 1/2" strips in yet another four colors were cut as well.  Students took one of every color, plus a glue stick, and scissors.  I demonstrated how to cut the strips into squares.  We then created a checkerboard pattern with the squares from the one inch strips.  The shapes inside were made from the half inch strips.  Most students opted to keep the inside shapes as squares although some did get adventurous and tried triangles or circles.

Here's some of the works in progress:

For some finished examples you can check out my school's Artsonia Galeries Here:
Vasarely School #1
Vasarely School #2

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jackson Pollock's Puppies!

Somehow Jackson Pollock wound up a required artist for the second marking period of second grade.  Our main unit is Balance (Symmetry and Asymmetry).  

We read the book "Action Jackson" to help with some background on the artist.  I do love this book because it talks the kids through his whole process.  It makes them see that there really is more thought in the process then just "flinging paint" in the general direction of the canvas.  When questioned at the second day of the project my students were able to remember lots of things about Pollock and his working process.  It was really gratifying to see.  

After the book, we smocked up, newspapered the entire table, got a brush, a 12 x 18 white paper and wrote our names on the back of the paper.  I did a demonstration of how to use the brush to splatter without making a completely terrible mess.  Everyone was cautioned about overhand or overhead paint flinging - that was not allowed!  Instead, I showed them how to swing the brush in a circle over the paper and how to tap the brush with one hand while holding it lightly with the other.  This creates controlled splatters so it hits the paper and not - well, everything else.  We still had some overenthusiastic clothes casualties, but that's why we also had smocks.  

So Day 1 was just painting with the watered down black tempera. We did talk about "balancing" our splatters - not having too much in one area and not enough in another.

Day 2 was where we switched it up a bit.  Students were instructed to get a turquoise paper, a green paper, glue stick, and scissors before going back to their seats when they came in.  We used 12 x 18 for the turquoise and 9 x 12 for the green.  

When I called them over for the demonstration I explained that once Pollock's paintings were dry he just put them on display - but we were going to do something a bit different. We were going to turn our paintings into something.  

First, we drew a zigzag line down the middle of the green and cut.  This created the two layers of grass.  We only glued the bottoms not the sharp tips of the grass.  One the backs of the splatter paintings we drew a circle for the head, oval for the body, two ears, and a half a crescent for the tail.  After cutting out the shapes we inserted the body between the grass layers (which neatly covers the feet removing the need to make them), and glued down all the big parts.  The smaller pieces for eyes, nose, tongue, collar, and dog tag came from the scrap box.  Most students finished in just this class.  There were a handful however, that needed an extra half a class during the next session.  

Here are some of the finished puppies:


One Point Perspective Barnyards

This was a project I originally saw on Pinterest but I've seen it used on several different sites, so I'm honestly not sure where it originally came from.  If anyone does know where it originated leave a comment so I can give credit where credit is due.  

This was a third grade project.  The basic premise is to introduce one point perspective as a means of creating depth in a landscape.  In this case, we created farm fields and a barnyard in the distance.  We drew it first with pencil, outlined with skinny markers creating abstract textures by using a variety of lines, and then shaded with the crayons to match the markers (green marker = green crayon).  The kids loved this project and so did their teachers.  As soon as I sent these home with the kids they got confiscated and hung up on the classroom bulletin boards!

I was still on the cart at the beginning of the year so these were created in their classrooms.  Sorry for the blurriness of some of the photos.  They were taken on the fly with my iPhone as I walked around the classroom.