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

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!

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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Catching Up – Grades K, 1, & 2 – Regular Art

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It always seems that each year I get behind on sharing what is happening in the art room.  This year it hit right around the holiday’s, which I think everyone can understand…..But good news is, I’m finally catching up!

Scroll down to check out what we’ve been up to at Conant in grades k-2 recently!

Grade K has been up to a lot since I last posted. ¬†Each section has been working on a unit about sculpture, where they’ve been exploring a variety of sculpture materials. ¬†Provided we don’t have any more delays or snow days, ¬†both sections should start on their final sculpture this week!

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Grade 1 has been learning about shape and color via inspiration from Wassily Kandinsky’s painting¬†Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles.¬†Students explored brushstrokes and color mixing, reviewed the primary and secondary colors, and reviewed how to paint. ¬†I love how varied these paintings are! ¬†Be sure to check out all the work in our Artsonia Gallery.

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Grade 2 has been using African animals as our inspiration for our sculpture & painting unit.  We finished up our sculpture unit in mid January, and have started our African animals painting.  For our painting we were inspired by the work of Nick Brandt, who is a photographer working and living in Kenya.  His work in Kenya is now part of the Big Life Foundation, which he founded to help protect and animals and wild lands of East Africa. Our paintings have been created to look like portraits of the animals, the same way you would see portraits of people. Check out the photos below to see the sculptures and paintings, and be sure to check out our Artsonia gallery to look at all the sculptures!

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Grade 2 – African Animal Portraits

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Second graders were inspired by the photographer Nick Brandt to create these amazing animal portraits. ¬†First students spent some class periods practicing their painting skills, and understanding why it’s important to work on a painting for a few class periods. ¬†Then we looked at a handful of Nick Brandt’s photographs, and talked about why an artist might create portraits of animals. ¬†Students used some reference images to create portraits of an African animal, as well as an African landscape for their background. ¬†Check out my post on my art ed blog for more detailed information and resources.

I’m so impressed by the work these second graders created this year. ¬†They’ve really honed their observation skills and painting skills this year.¬†Check out their work below!

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Styrofoam Leaf Prints from Direct Observation – Grade 2

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Grade 2 artists just finished up their observation unit, with a couple of days of printmaking. ¬†They used their leaf drawings to create a styrofoam print, and then spent a few classes practicing the printing process. ¬†The ink they used was just regular crayola markers, which makes a bit more¬†manageable¬†for second¬†graders. ¬†One of our Big Ideas for this unit was that artists practice techniques, and boy was there a lot of practicing during the classes we printed. ¬†For some students it was a challenge to get a ‘good’ print, but they kept at it, and completed the challenge on the final day. ¬†A good print is one that does not have any smudging, and is completely printed. ¬†Check out the photographs below for a sampling of this grade levels work, and visit Conant to see all of them on display by the music room.

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Leaf Drawings and Printmaking – Grade 2

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Second graders have worked hard on their leaf observation drawings, to prepare for our printmaking unit.  In these photos, you see students transferring their drawings to the styrofoam, which is our printing plate.  

These printing plates are then inked with markers, and printed multiple times.  Ask your child how much time they had to spend practicing to get the printmaking technique down.  It took awhile, but everyone persevered.  

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