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.