Grade 2 – Fall Units Update

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In second grade we started off the year with one of my favorite units. ¬†This unit has students’ focus on observation and teaches them more about printmaking, one of my favorite types of art to make.

Students first start by learning about why artists draw from observation.  Our big idea for this unit is Artists draw to record what they see. Their job for the first class was to practice their observation skills and draw leaves from observation.  When you look at their final pieces you will notice that they observed the edges of the leaves, as well as the veins inside the leaves.

On day two, students transferred their best drawing to a styrofoam printing plate, and explored how they could create a rubbing with paper and crayons. You may have seen some of these awesome rubbings at home, because students were able to take them home the same day.

The rest of our unit was spent learning how to create a print, just like printmakers do.  They learned how to ink their plate using crayola markers, how to place the paper, and pull a print.  This required some practice and patience.

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Drawing from observation on Day 1

Finally they selected their best print, titled it, and uploaded it to our online gallery on Artsonia using one of our art room iPads. Be sure to click-through to check out the entire gallery of work on Artsonia.  The best prints are also currently on display at Conant on one of the bulletin boards right off the front lobby.
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Transferring the best drawing to their styrofoam printing plate on day 2

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Creating rubbings of their printing plates on day 2

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Learning and practicing their printmaking skills on days 3-5

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In extra art room 8 has been exploring and learning about the built environment. Our big idea for this unit is Artists practice thoughtful observation of the built environment around them. While working on this unit students learned about two artists: Arthur Fuller Davis, who was a librarian at the Acton Memorial Library, and James Rizzi, who was a Pop Artist from New York. 

First students started by exploring drawings of various buildings around Acton on our iPads, to learn that buildings are made of basic shapes. On day two students started using their observation skills, drawing either Acton Town Hall, Exchange Hall, or the Acton Memorial Library. These observation drawings helped students understand the parts of a building, so they could then use their imagination to create buildings inspired by the artwork of James Rizzi.

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Shape inventory using iPads and the app Explain Everything

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Be sure to stop by Conant to check out a selection of work on display in the hall by room 5!  Also, visit our online art gallery on Artsonia to see all the James Rizzi inspired drawings.

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Observation drawings of Acton buildings

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Coloring James Rizzi inspired buildings

Welcome Back – Pinwheels for Peace

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A belated welcome back to everyone here on the Conant Art blog!

To get this year started, students participated again in the international art installation project known as Pinwheels for Peace.  To celebrate students in each grade designed a pinwheel with symbols of peace on one side, and words of peace on the other.  These pinwheels were then installed on International Day of Peace, September 21, 2015.

The installation went really well and all the pinwheels were out for everyone to see over the weekend. ¬†If you didn’t get a chance to see the pinwheels outside, or would like to see more about the process, check out the photos below.

Also, stay tuned for more information about how you can get involved and make a pinwheel to help children who have had to leave Syria due to the conflict there. ¬†Conant School is participating in the Students Rebuild: Healing Classrooms Challenge, and will be donating our pinwheels to help raise money. ¬†I am so proud of all the students who decided to donate their pinwheels….we have almost the entire school participating!

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Our student teacher, Miss LeBold taught a few Pinwheels for Peace lessons

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Installing Pinwheels

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Installing Pinwheels

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Installing Pinwheels

Regular Art Update: Grades K- 2 – So Many New Units!

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With the addition of the trimesters of extra special, I’ve had about 12 extra classes with each grade level. Instead of coming up with something new right at the beginning of the year, I decided to teach units I’ve already done. Now that we’re are just 14 days away from the end, I’ve got lots of new units and lessons to share.

It’s been pretty hectic, so I don’t have pictures of everything, but check out below for some info about what we’ve been working on in art.

Grade K: Kinders have been working on exploring texture recently. They learned the difference between visual and actual texture, how to create rubbings of texture, and how to create texture in clay to create some amazing texture medallions. Some of the kinder’s texture collages were displayed at the high school in room 115N for all to see during May. The texture medallions were strung on elastic cord, and students were able to create beaded necklaces or bracelets, just in time for mother’s day. Check out a few of the pictures below to see the awesome work they did.

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Grade 1: In connection with their Japanese studies first grade made origami paper, which we’ve done previously. They created pecking birds, jumping frogs, and tumblers with the paper. ¬†Check out this short video to see the pecking birds in action, and click through to check out the Artsonia gallery to see the tumblers.

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Besides the origami, we also learned about Children’s Day, which is a Japanese holiday that celebrates children. ¬†During Children’s day, koinobori are flown outside of homes. Students created their own koinobori, or carpe flags in preparation of Children’s day in May. Check out some of the koinobori below, or click through to check out the Artsonia gallery.

Grade 2: A lot of what we’ve done this year has been connected to grade two’s study of Kenya. ¬†It’s just so rich with things to explore. ¬†I developed a new mask making unit, in connection to the African artwork we had on loan from the Gallery of African Art in Clinton. ¬† Second graders were taught how to create a faux wood grain on oak tag, as well as how to connect paper pieces using tabs. ¬†With that basic knowledge, they were challenged to create a mask using their problem solving skills. ¬†Students helped each other out, as well as came to me for support. ¬†I just love all the work they put into these! Check out their finished masks by clicking through to visit our Artsonia gallery.

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Grade two also created thumb pianos for the second year in a row.  Students learned how to sand and prepare the wood for adding color.  When ready they decorated their thumb piano base with patterns inspired by Africa.  With the help of myself, or a parent volunteer, the keys to their thumb pianos were attached, and ready to be played.  Click through to check out the gallery on Artsonia.  You will be amazed with the details in their patterns.

A selection of thumb pianos from room 5

A selection of thumb pianos from room 5

Check back tomorrow for an update as to what has been happening in grades 3 through 6!

Happy Youth Art Month!

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March is Youth Art Month and Conant is celebrating with 3 shows in and around Acton! We have a show at the Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough, a show at the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, and a show at the State Transportation Building in Boston!

Congratulations to all the students whose art work was selected for display, and to everyone at Conant for all the wonderful art you make weekly in art and daily outside of art!  Starting today we will work on our school wide bulletin board to celebrate, and of course, we will continue to be makers!

Check out the work below that has been put on display in our three Youth Art Month exhibits, and be sure to check out the progress of our collaborative bulletin board.

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Extra Art Update: Grades 1-3

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This year, students in grades 1-6 are rotating through an extra class of all 3 specials.  So that means each class gets to see me for extra art for 1/3 of the year.

I’ve been doing separate extra art units, instead of one class getting far ahead of the others.

Check out below to see what’s happened so far this year in extra art, grades 1-3!

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Grade 2 – Practice is Important – Printmaking

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Second graders have spent many classes practicing how to create a print from their styrofoam printing plate. ¬†This is called ‘pulling a print’, instead of ‘printing a print’. ¬†Second graders had to keep their papers and printing plates still while printing, otherwise the prints they pulled would be smudged and blotchy.

It took a lot of focus, but the Studio Habits of Mind really help children remember the skills they needed to complete their work successfully.  The Studio Habits of Mind we focused on were engage & persist and develop craft.  

The reward for all their amazing practice was being allowed to print with multiple colors at one time.  Check out the images below to see the amazing work they did.  Also, if you visit Conant School, be sure to check out the work on display.  Students picked their best piece for display.

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Welcome Back & Pinwheels for Peace

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With school starting after Labor Day this year, the art room @ Conant School has been in fast forward mode, working to get our pinwheels finished for Pinwheels for Peace.

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Students have been thinking about what peace means to them and creating pinwheels with words and designs related to peace.Photo Sep 12, 10 36 34 AM

I learned about the project at the National Art Education Conference in Boston in 2005, and have been¬†participating¬†with my students ever since. ¬†‚ÄúPinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by two Art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan,‚Ķas a way for their students to express their feelings about what‚Äôs going on in the world and in their lives. The project was quickly embraced‚Ķby millions of art teachers, teachers, parents, children and adults who desire peace in our world‚ÄĚ

This year International Day of Peace falls on Sunday, so our pinwheels will be installed on Friday September 19, and will be removed on Monday September 22. ¬†Be sure to stop by and check out the pinwheels flying for ‘whirled peace’. ¬†Students in grades k-3 will find their pinwheels by the school sign by Taylor Rd, and students in grades 4-6 will find their pinwheels in the back field by Minot Rd.

Also Heidi Kupferman, the art teacher at McCarthy-Towne school is participating in Pinwheels for Peace with her students, so there will be even more pinwheels flying in Acton this weekend!