Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kandinsky: 5th Grade Preliminary Drawing Exercise

Wow...What a great class this morning! The students saw my iPod and speakers and immediately were asking me if they could listen to this that or the other rap artist, dance hall, etc. Unfortunately the answer was no - I wanted them to listen to classical music just as Kandinsky had. I brought in Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and had the 5th graders listen while they closed their eyes. I asked them to pretend they were Kandinsky and imagine what kinds of shapes and colors they would see. After the first song (Spring) they were all pretty enthusiastic about what they had seen while they were listening.

For the rest of the class period I played all the songs on a loop while the students drew shapes and colors on white paper. They came out great... and these are only the prep drawings for their paintings. Even better, many of the students kept saying how much they loved listening to the music!

Here are some great drawings they did:





Saturday, February 22, 2014

Middle School Computers Students Work With Scratch

For this second semester of middle school computers my goal is to get the kids both comfortable and excited about the process of programming. They each did a web page last semester so learned HTML and CSS coding. That process was fun for them (albeit a little frustrating) in that they got to see how coding can give immediate results. I think they also enjoyed getting creative with images and gifs.

This semester we are starting our programming adventure by using Scratch, a programming platform created by professors at MIT.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Van Gogh's Starry Night

Our first elementary art project of the year was inspired by Van Gogh's Starry Night painting:

This is one of my all time favorite works of art, even if it is "overplayed".

I taught the kids about Van Gogh's life and style of using lines to form shapes and using color to express emotion. Then I gave them blue construction paper and oil pastels to draw the sky using Van Gogh's style. Then they got black construction paper to cut out shapes for objects in the landscape that they colored with oil pastels and glued onto their picture.  There were so many great ones, here are a few:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Upping the Ante with a Little More Art History

After teaching the elementary classes about Van Gogh, mosaics, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Winslow Homer, I realized they were doing great on the art part, but not really retaining much in the art history department. I decided to do a little research and came across this great site with a worksheet format that I used and changed a bit to suit what I wanted to do with it. Here are the printables I created, one for 1st and 2nd grade, and one for 3rd, 4th and 5th:

1st and 2nd grade

Winslow Homer Inspired Seascapes

After O'Keeffe I chose to look at Winslow Homer with the elementary school classes and we looked at many of his seascape paintings. I made sure they understood that a seascape always has at least two elements, the sea and the sky, and they always meet at the horizon line. I let them know its better to have your horizon line either above or below the center of the paper to make the composition more interesting. We looked at how the colors of the sky always reflected in the sea water and asked the students to pay particular attention to the time of day and/or weather they wanted to draw when they were selecting their colors. I offered either blue or white paper for them to work on. Many of them came out so beautifully!

Here are some of the Homer seascapes we saw first:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Creative Computers First Semester Projects

So this was is my first year teaching middle school classes and a high school "Creative Computers" class. I decided to teach them Photoshop and Illustrator. We did several long term projects in both programs.

The first Photoshop project was to create a postcard. I think these turned out great!

Lorenzo's NBA Postcard

Friday, February 14, 2014

O'Keeffe Inspired Watercolors

I can't tell you how impressed I was with the way the elementary students put their hearts into painting their watercolors in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe's flowers. First I read to them from two children's books that are wonderful biographies of her life and work:


Middle School Crazy Portraits a Big Success

For the final project Fall Semester I wanted the kids to do something fun while also demonstrating their acquired drawing skills. I let them use Photo Booth on my MacBook and choose a filter that distorted their face. I printed these out in black and white and then they drew them on large drawing paper. Many of them came out really well, and I think it's because the faces were distorted already so it wasn't so important that their drawing looked exactly like them. Its interesting to see the different styles inherent in these students even after only one semester of drawing. Here are some of my favorites:

First Semester Middle School Computers Sum-Up

Last semester in middle school computers we learned some keyboarding skills, how to format in and work with Microsoft Word, and do a little Microsoft Excel. The best part, however (at least for me!), was teaching the kids how to work with HTML/CSS and code their own web pages. Even though it was frustrating at times, as HTML is so sensitive to errors, they seemed to really enjoy it and loved the immediacy of making something happen in front of their eyes! Here are some of the webpages they created:

The Best Kid Shows of 2000 to 2008
NBA Basketball Teams 2013-2014
Top Five Crossovers of the 2012-2013 NBA Seasons
Top five NBA Dunks
Mr. Woofless' Pet Shop