Wednesday, 30 May 2012

There are bugs in our studio!

Beautiful winged bugs and butterflies!

Rooms 8, 9, 13 and 14 have been helping to beautify the studio with a host of lovely mixed media sculptures of butterflies and winged flying insects.

In creating these artworks we discussed the concept of symmetry along a centre line. We also talked about pattern. The children were able to choose weather to make more realistic butterflies or they could create a fantasy flying creature- even and alien winged bug.

Rooms 8 and 9 (year 1)  had one 45 minute session to create their insects. The focus was on using the PVA glue effectively. We found pegs were handy to use to hold things together while we waited for the glue to bond.

Rooms 13 and 14 (year 3 and 4) had two one and a half hour sessions and created more complex forms using wire and cellophane structures having a go at one of three techniques demonstrated in order to join the wings to the body or discovering a better one of their own.

These artworks are totally the work of the children - apart from demonstrating different techniques to solve a problem I try not to 'help" kids by doing their work for them. Only when a child has given it a good go first do I lend an extra hand. It is so satisfying to see the kids surprise themselves with their dexterity at a task they had at first attempt given in to.

Monday, 21 May 2012

A place for pencils and every pencil in it's place.

 Part of the art curriculum relates to developing an understanding of the value of materials and equipment and how to care for them. When I first took over the role of art specialist here I was surprised how often I had to replace textas and pencils that had been lost or mistreated, at one stage I was going through 5 or 6 pairs of scissors a week, generally these are not considered consumables! As a result of this the children now bring a set of art room equipment to our studio- a pair of scissors, a couple of 2B pencils, a sharpie and an artline marker. 
The children are in charge of making sure they put their equipment away properly at the end of each lesson. The littlies pop their equipment into class pencil cases, one for scissors one for textas etc. This is an easier system for them to manage. The older kids have made their own pencil cases which follow them from class to class year to year. Each of the year 3 to 7 classes have a box with a clip on lid to contain all the pencil cases and keep them safe and sound from one week to the next.
 Apart from the textas which dry out reasonably quickly (we have "how to put the lid on textas lessons" in year one ) the equipment should last them for most of their time here at school- unless of course they forget to put it away or don't care for it properly. Here are 2 pencil cases that didn't make their way safely into the pencil case boxes. (I have smudged the names in 'paint' so as not to embarrass anyone.) 
Even though last week I had to have a bit of a blitz on pencil cases, after finding several left lying about over the past few lessons, I have noticed a huge improvement in how the kids care for their own and class equipment.
Last year I promised the year 2s (this years 3s) that they would get to make their own pencil cases this year and they remind me every other week about that promise. So this evening I went to spotlight and bought a fresh supply of coloured felt and some thin crochet thread to use for nice contrasting stitches and tomorrow I will begin with room 14.
I will keep you posted with examples of their needle work!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Year 1s meet Monet.

As I mentioned in my first post,I recently travelled to Europe. While I was there I visited Monet's garden and bought this book called Katie Meets the Impressionists. 
I used the book to introduce the junior primary children to the impressionists, in particular Monet. We created fields of poppies inspired by Monet's work,

These art works were created over two sessions. Following the story in session one the kids created light and dark green using their fingers to mix cool blue and cool yellow with a mid green to make a selection of light and dark greens for their background.
At the beginning of the second session we learnt about the colour wheel and warm and cool colours using this video. (Be warned the music is a tad repetitive but the little kids seemed to like it!)

We created poppies by cutting or tearing warm red and orange paper, pressing them into our palms to create a 3D effect. We talked about how we could make some poppies look closer than others by making them bigger and putting them towards the bottom of the page.

Very pretty!

Settling in.

Until half way through last year our art room has been a tiny classroom in the old part of our heritage listed school, this small space had to be shared with the rest of the school for use for T&E lessons and the like. This situation meant that I couldn't really set up and use the space in a way that really suited me. I prefer to have much of the equipment and materials out and readily accessible by the children.
 My philosophy with teaching visual art to the kids is to make me "superfluous" as a technician and encourage confidence and independence. I want the kids to be able to select the materials they will need for an activity and learn how to care for equipment. The theory is that in doing so they will be able to transfer this knowledge beyond the art studio here at school and be able to use the techniques and skills learnt across other areas of the school and even at home. If they decide they want to do some art works they won't need me to set things up for them. In order to achieve this I have a number of systems I like to use in our "studio" .

Last year we were finally able to move into our brand new purpose built "Arts" building.
  We moved in with a bang just in time for me to run lectures about teaching visual arts with UWA students doing their Masters in Education.
  This involved a number of workshops and a HUGE exhibition and performances that raised a considerable amount of money for the school.
 Not long after this I took long service leave -I spent 2 months in Europe feeding my creative self being inspired by the wealth of galleries and culture- I almost didn't want to come home! So I feel like I am only just getting a chance to settle in and arrange the room properly.

I look forward to sharing some of the systems and ideas I use along with work the kids are doing in Visual Art.