Sunday, 8 December 2013

A Very Birdy Christmas.

 Here's another Quick easy Christmas themed activity.

It's also pretty easy to adapt for those who don't celebrate Christmas and are not able to do Christmas activities. They just did birds and the boarder was done with small squares of coloured paper not Christmas wrapping paper.

I found a couple of simple bird illustrations by googling Christmas birds illustrations. I chose these two illustrations specifically to illustrate the use of simple shapes to construct pictures. These birds are made up of  semi circles, tear drops, triangles rectangles, circles and diamonds. Another art lesson that supports learning in maths, there is a direct overlap between this art outcome and the maths outcome in the junior primary levels.

I traced over the basic shapes on my interactive while board and showed them ways of using simple shapes and 'letters' to create birds. D makes a body, a head and a wing. W can make a wing or a tail. M can make an open beak. SO if you can write the alphabet you can draw!!!
The kids took these ideas and created their own birds. 
The branches were added last to tie the composition together. Then musical notes, stars, snow or other features were added  at the artist's whim.
Once the painting was done with the ordinary everyday tempera discs a boarder was stuck down using pre chopped squares of colourful xmas wrapping paper.
All of this was achieved in one 1&1/2 hour session. 
As a special treat for the kids I have laminated them so they can take them home to use as festive place mats.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Animal antics

Wow only three weeks left of school. It can be a tricky time in the art studio. The kids are getting more and more excited and a bit tired too. The weather heats up and they start to droop (so does the teacher sometimes!) Lucky we do have an air cooler - evaporative which makes any pre-cut paper strips curl into tight little springs as I discovered when I pre-cut hundreds of paper strips ready for what was supposed to be a quick activity at the end of the year last year.

Quick activities are what you need at this stage because in reality there are only two more lessons left as the last week will be eaten up with award presentations and graduation assemblies along with special end of year excursions for some classes. This also means that some classes have fewer lessons left than others and there really isn't time to launch into new activities as everything has to be finished AND tidy..... tidy now that IS a trick in an art studio that encourages independence in children and has over 400 students passing through its doors in a week.

So here's one quick fun (not too messy!) activity that stimulates the kids imaginations at the same time!

This week some of the classes have been looking at this painting "School Rules" by William Holbrook Beard

After a discussion about the painting I gave the kids some photocopied animal heads which they cut out and arranged on their paper to create their own pictures of animals dressed as humans doing human like activities.
Here are some from year 4.

Monday, 4 November 2013

A stich in time.

My goodness it has been a while. I must confess I forgot my log name and password, it comes from having too many accounts, log ins and passwords now days! Finally I found my way back in and hope to update our progress a little more regularly.
It is very nearly our centenary open day, and it is getting a little frantic in the art room. We are making Bunting Banners for each class as a way of celebrating our centenary. Way way back last year when the ideas were floating about for what to do someone suggested that we get funding to pay an artist to come in and make a quilt with all the kids. Nice idea but a bit old fashioned I thought and besides textiles are something I enjoy in my own arts practice and I have quite an extensive range of sewing skills myself so I suggested that it was something I could do with the kids myself, that would leave us free to explore having an artist come in to work in a medium that I am not familiar with. As a result we have Kat and Jasper from VJZoo coming in to project the children's art works up onto the rooftops in a very modern contemporary art form. I think it is kind of nice to celebrate the past in a very modern way. More of that in a future post.
(These photos were taken at Art Blast in Fremantle last week)

Now, back to the stitching.
I decided to go with each child stitching a rectangle for a strand of bunting flags which have become very popular in recent years for times of celebration. The UK have used them for years stringing up strands of the Union Jack across the streets on special days, Prayer Banners and flags are also very common in Asian cultures like Nepal and Bali. Even in times past bunting and banners have been used to decorate castles and armies. We looked at these things at the beginning of our project.

And how is it all going? Well they look great so far but the celebration is next week and I have four bunting strands made up. Because of swimming, excursions, theme confusion and sports carnivals along with the normal day to day interruptions and some classes taking way more time than I thought they would and I still have 10 more to sew up! I'm not panicking! ... much!

Each class has worked on a theme that reflects their history research in their classrooms. For example the year ones have looked closely at the home and how day to day things have changed over time. Their bunting flags show old fashioned and modern modes of communication or transport or things used around the home.
One year three class looked at how the local environment has changed over time and their bunting shows native and introduced plants and animals.

The Flags have been made using old recycled uniforms because it represents our school, we are a sustainable one and it is the in thing to reduce reuse and recycle but also as a nod to times past with the thrifty and frugal ways during the depression times and for the 'war effort'

I am looking forward to seeing them all dancing and flapping about in the wind on Saturday as we celebrate 100 years at Palmyra.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Marvelous Matisse

This term started with a still life drawing activity with the children from year one to seven. I set up a selection of objects, some of which were used in our centenary cook book

(year 1)
Some of these drawings will be used for our big projection art work at the end of the year on our open day. But most importantly these drawings formed the beginning of the process in developing our own still life projects.
(year 4)
The year one and two and some threes will be focusing on Matisse's work with his beautiful use of colour and pattern. The children explored pattern by looking at Matisse's work and experimenting with some of their own patterns. 

Harmony in Red/La desserte
Spring 1908
Oil on canvas
70 7/8 x 86 5/8 in. (180 x 220 cm)
Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

They used these to create some "wallpaper" which became the base for a collage art work, using maths room 2D shapes and templates I made to help them create large simple shapes to represent plates and fruit etc for their still life design. 

The students were encouraged to explore their ideas by arranging and rearranging their cut out pieces before gluing them down.

Some of them worked really well.
(These works are from the year one classes)

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Luncheon of the boating party. (Arts responses)

I have started this term with a common activity across all year levels. We are discussing and thinking about Renoir's painting "The Luncheon of the boating party"

This painting is alive with imagery and it is easy to imagine you are a part of this lively dinner party. It has things that prompts us to ask questions like, 'why are those men wearing singlets when the man in the background has a top hat and a coat on?" "Why is the lady holding a dog on the table?"
I have asked the junior children to imagine they were there at the party and asked them to tell me what happened before and after this scene recorded in the painting.

The middle and upper classes were given a different activity asking them questions at different levels about the art work. Prior to answering the questions we had discussed the painting with reference to the types of questions featured on the work sheet. The younger grades were allowed to work collaboratively if they wanted to but the yr 6/7 were required to answer these questions independently as they have had more experience over the years answering questions such as these in class discussions at the beginning of most projects.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Wabi Sabi, Happy accidents and Beautiful Oops!

One of the biggest challenges for an art teacher (besides getting the kids to pack up properly and get the work done in the time allocated!) is the balance between teaching kids 'how to draw', encouraging development and understanding of ways of looking and recording what they see in front of them or in their imaginations and and letting their own natural creativity and quirky, wild imaginative drawings survive the 'teaching process'.
Another challenge that I have found to be surprisingly common of late for all year levels is the "I can't draw syndrome". I say surprisingly because often the younger kids don't care a jot if they haven't got it exactly right and just enjoy the drawing for drawing sake telling wondrous stories as their page fills with all manner of images and inventive squiggles. But lately I have encountered more and more kids worried to take a little risk and make a mistake.
So over the last few weeks I have had a dual focus in my lessons. Firstly the arts elements of colour pattern and line but then also that of trying to encourage the kids to step out of their comfort zone and have a go, take a risk and make a mistake. Mistakes are important things that we all need to learn. I think that Einstein was quoted as saying after hundreds of so called failed trials of something or rather that he had not failed a hundred times but rather he had discovered a hundred ways that did not work...Perspective!
SO with this in mind I have been introducing the kids to some ideas around taking risks with their learning especially with art. Last year we spoke of Wabi Sabi - the perfection or beauty of things that are not quite perfect. The fact that often times the things that make something imperfect are the reason it is so unique and why we love it so much, think of your favourite battered old teddy bear or a baby's blankie. Or a home made cake, often they don't look perfect but they have more substance and flavour than the perfect store bought variety.
This year I have been showing the kids in years one to 4 this video clip bases on the book Beautiful Oops. Beautiful Oops focuses on the "happy Accident " approach to mistakes. Look at a mistake as an opportunity to make something beautiful, something different, or more interesting. This doesn't just happen it requires exercising your 'creative brain' or imagination.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

at the end of the rainbow.

This year my teaching focus is on responding to the arts. In order to do this we need to learn about the language of the arts and the arts elements, Line Texture, Tone, Shape & Form, Space and of cource colour!So this term has been one where I have been doing activities and looking at art works that promote discussion using the arts elements.
Over the last couple of weeks colour has been in the spotlight. Although swimming has meant there has been a bit of disruption to the timetable, most classes have had time to play a game or two or especially the older classes at least look at paint chips from the hardware shop. We mached colours, contrasted colours, grouped colours and were amused by the fanciful names they have been labled with.

Middle and upper primary classes produced their own colour wheels and mixed their own colours to create 'recipes' for future reference. These will go into their Visual Diaries so they can find them if they would like to mix a colour for another project and check how they made them.

I asked them to come up with their own descriptive or fanciful names just as the paint companies do.

I love this one ....grot splot! (I don't know why these photos refuse to sit the right way round but anyway grot splot is now on the left )

The juniors plus year 4 have been finding out about primary, secondary and warm and cool colours.
Here's a fun video clip about colours and colour mixing that I have been showing the kids.

To help frmember these we made Hot Dogs and Cool Cats.

In my science & Maths class I thought it was a good opportunity to look at light and colour and the kids used prisms to create their own rainbows. Then we made posters introducing ROY G BIV who helps us remember the order of the colours in the rainbow.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Happy New Chinese Year!

In this year of celebrations and in making links with the new Australian History curriculum last week we did activities using Chinese New Year as a focus. We discussed what types of things people did to celebrate this event and then why it is we know about Chinese New Year here in Australia. This lead to a bit of a discussion about immigration at different levels from year one upwards!

Yr 1 & some yr 2 classes made Paper chain dragons.


The Yr 3 classes made Folded paper spring dragons.

These 'puppets' were so much fun to play with! And obviously pretty special!


(PS: One older sister told me that her brother slept with his dragon on his bed! Cute!)

Those kids in mixed year 2/3 classes had the choice of either type of dragon- most chose to go with the paper chain one. I think it was because the paper chain ones could be made really long and this became a great game of measuring the length of their dragons to see who had managed to make the longest one with their two coloured paper squares. Maths meets art!

The year fours used line to create drawings of Chinese dragons. They had to include lines that showed movement and create patterns with lines rather than colouring in areas of their drawing.