K and 1st Grade - Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Friedensreich Hundertwasser is one of my favorite artists.  I honestly do not know much about his personal life, but I absolutely love his artwork - the lines, shapes, colors, rhythm, and repetition.

I needed a new kindergarten/1st grade lesson and I was coming up blank.  No ideas.  I thought and thought all weekend.

To hopefully stir up some inspiration I went traveling through my blog to see if there was an old project I had forgotten about and wanted to do.  Well, I did better than using an old project - I was inspired to create a new lesson all together!!!

A few years ago I was asked to make a piece of artwork with the students to auction off at a district event.  Kindergarten and I made original artwork inspired by Hundertwasser.  I decided to jump off this idea for my new lessons.

I went to the internet and searched images for Hundertwasser - originally looking for the artwork I used for my fundraising project.  Instead I found this beauty: Arche Noah.

It was not only beautiful but I could see my kiddos recreating this masterpiece with paper, texture plates, glue and scissors!  I had decided on the project, now to plan.

I could not decide if I wanted to have K do this project or 1st grade to do this project - in the end I decided to have both do it!  Often times when I create a new lesson I will try it out in different grade levels trying to figure out where it fits best.

First off I projected the image of Arche Noah and ask the students to raise their hand when they could tell me something they noticed - a color, a shape, something they see.  I wait until ALL hands are in the air.  Every single kiddo can tell me a color or a shape.  I call on kids until I see we have noticed a majority of the picture or the students are getting antsy.  I often get kids that will say they see lollipops and lots of circles.  On occasion I had a student who would notice the fence or the water running through the picture - but most times I would have to guide students to see those things.  I read them the text at the bottom - as most of my kids are still working on reading.  I ask the students if it would make sense for the bottom to talk about nature but have big lollipops - generally I hear light bulbs go off around the room as students' hands leap into the air and "trees!" is blurted from their mouths.

We then look for other clues that might tell us that they are indeed trees and not lollipops - they find the fence, the grass, the water - etc.  We talk about all the colors we see inside the concentric circles.  We talk about the textures we see on the ground....

Here is where it gets interesting.  I decided after teaching this to first grade that it was a little over the ability level of most of my kindergarten students - so for kindergarten I adapted the lesson for their abilities.

1st Graders:
I had the students gather around for a demonstration where I showed them how to add texture to their 'ground' by using different colored green crayons and texture plates.  After their WHOLE paper was covered in texture(s) they had to trace different sized circles on colored paper, cut them out and glue them down.  This lesson ended up not only being a lesson about Hundertwasser and concentric circles - but it also became a lesson about tracing, cutting, gluing, and placing the circles in size order -- something I realized I needed to stress halfway through my demonstration.

As an adult it is easy to forget that all skills are learned at one point - we aren't born knowing how to write, read, or how to put things in sequential order whether by number, size, color or any other qualitative element.

After a slightly longer than normal demonstration I sent the kids out and they got to work.  Most students only finished their background and part of their first "tree".

The next class period I quickly refreshed how to trace and cut - but that they needed to have 3,4, or 5 trees on their paper.  We observed and counted that Hundertwasser had 9 on his!  Once the students had their decided amount of trees they were to get strips of black paper for their "trunks" and a strip of color paper for their fence.

I explained and demonstrated how to add the trunks and the fence.  I showed the students how to make the fence by accordion folding - or "fan" folding as the students called it - then cutting off one tip at a diagonal.  This way when they unfolded their paper they had something that resembled a picket fence!

Magic I tell ya.

The kiddos were off and running!  My room was a mess and it was beautiful!

Now the adaptation for Kindergarten:
I realized that all the tracing and cutting was going to be too much for my beginner cutters so I changed my lesson slightly.  I had students pick if they wanted 3,4, or 5 trees on their paper.  I had them trace a large circle onto some extra tag board I had lying around, write their name in the circle and cut them out.  Once the students cut out their circles they took a white oil pastel and drew the concentric circles on the tag board.  Next I passed out Prang glitter watercolor - boy were the kids excited!  I made a BIG deal about using the TIPS of their paint brushes as many of them like to scrub with their brushes.  I explained that if they didn't use the paints the wait I taught them then they would not be able to use the glitter paint, but the normal kind.  I have never seen kids so gentle with paint before!

The paint beautifully added lots of deep colors to the tag board while resisting the white oil pastel.  At the end of class I had the students place their circles on a green sheet of paper and place it on the drying rack.

Next class the students finished up their projects much like 1st grade.  I had them color the background with green crayons and texture plates.  The students glued down their "trees", added trunks and a fence!

Both projects ended up being beautiful!  This lesson was engaging and interesting to students while also challenging their fine motor skills!  A lesson I will repeat in the future!

This one was done by a kinder that shows spectrum tendencies - got all the pieces!


Organized Chaos

Whenever I am asked to describe my classroom - I generally chuckle and say "Organized Chaos".  My room is busy with color, kids, supplies, and energy!  The art room is often in a state of organized chaos - it is chaos that is under control and has purpose.  The first graders were working on a project today that was inspired by Friedensreich Hundertwasser - paper everywhere, glue, scissors, pencils, oil pastels - it was all everywhere and I couldn't help but to smile.  It was a picture perfect moment - everything an art room should be -- busy, cluttered, creative, productive -- if only I could have captured the sounds as well.

::happy sigh::


"Movie" Posters - 4th Grade

The fourth graders at one of my buildings are creating their own fractured fairy tales in Drama class.  They took a fairy tale and altered it slightly to make a new story.  The students will be performing their creations in December and I thought, "Wouldn't it be neat if the students created movie posters to hang in the cafetorium during their show?"  So I took my idea to the drama teacher and she was really excited about the idea - so off to planning my lesson.

I created a slideshow with many kid friendly movies - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Goonies, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, the Emperor's New Groove, etc.  I asked the students to raise their hand when there was something they noticed that most of the movie posters had in common.  I gave them a round or two of watching the slideshow before I started to call on students.  I got great answers which I placed into two lists.  List one had things they would have to have on their poster and the other optional choices -- I did not label these lists just yet.  Students reported great observations - title, characters, background, dates, actor names, presented by, etc.

Once we had our lists I told the students that they have been working on something in another class that had a title, characters, a setting, and a date it would be presented to an audience -- sure enough the excitement in the room started to grow.  I then explained that they would be creating "movie posters" for their Fractured Fairy Tales.

For the first class each student was responsible for making a rough draft of a poster for their group - they could discuss titles and such next class.  So, each student created a version of their Fairy Tale on paper.

Next class I had the students get together in their Fairy Tale groups and discuss each other's rough drafts.  I gave examples of things I should hear, "I like the way you drew your letters, but I like this other title" or "I like where you placed the characters" or "I like your wolf and I like your pig" - After about 5 minutes of them discussing their work I handed out another piece of paper to be their 2nd rough draft.  I asked students to either re-draw or cut out pieces they liked from their papers and arrange them on their next draft.

The 3rd class I handed out their Final Draft paper - poster size.  The students then had to re-create their 2nd rough draft onto their final paper.

The classes worked really well together and I only had to help a couple of groups work through some issues -- mostly based on how they were talking to each other.  After helping them through their issues they were off and running!

A few classes later when I was talking with the Drama teacher about the project she mentioned that she wanted them to do backgrounds that we could project behind them while they were presenting.  I offered to have them do it in art!  The technical theatre person in me was so excited!

The following class I had the groups split up their teams - some students worked on their poster while the remaining people in the group worked on different backgrounds for their story.  Most groups are ending up with 2-5 background scenes!

The students are drawing their backgrounds with pencil, coloring with oil pastel and watercoloring overtop.  The depth of color in these are beautiful!  When they are complete I will be making a slide show of their backgrounds by taking pictures and entering them into the computer.  During their show we will sit with the script and as they change scenes I will be able to go to the next slide!

I am super excited for these shows and will post an update on how everything turns out!


Quiet Mouse, Quiet Giraffe - Line Game

One of the hardest part about teaching art is waiting in line to leave - either I line them up early or their teacher is late picking them up.  Keeping young kids quiet in line is a tough task!  I learned thee lamest game at my last school, but the kids LOVE it.  I don't really understand why the kids love it and why they ask to play it for years -- but I guess I shouldn't complain because it keeps them making good choices in line. 

To play "Quite Mouse" (I've changed it to Quiet Giraffe for fun)
- Pick a student who is modeling how you want them to stand in line - facing forward, voice off, body parts under control.
- That student steps out of line and looks for the next student that is making good line choices and says their name or taps them on the shoulder.  The original quiet students steps back in their spot in line and the new student steps out.
- This repeats until the teacher arrives.

Students RACE up to me and ask to play this game - even my 5th graders find this game fun.  I, personally, don't get it.  I think this game is a small step above "the quiet game" - but the affirmation of being picked by a peer seems to have so much motivation that the line is straight, quiet, and ready to enter the hall.