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A new book for art teachers by art teachers that combines art with history, geography, literature, rhyme, world cultures, and world languages. Here's a peek inside below.
(CLICK the center circle to see it at full size)
For a short time (Last week of Feb 2017) you can get this book at a huge discount. The normal retail price will be $19.95 on Amazon. Visit HERE for the discount.
Most art teachers are familiar with using grids in the Renaissance method to do portraits like my student sample below.
We had equal success using grids to create Pop Art Items of student's favorite consumer products!
We began with an exploration of Pop Art and Andy Warhol's soup cans and other themes. THIS Antiques Roadshow Video was shared as well. Students then made a list of common products they buy, eat, or use. Doritos, Brand Name Shoes, beverages, candy, etc.
Their homework was to bring in one full page print of their item in it's packaging or wrapper. I have a printer and computer set-up for those without a printer. This homework was graded and those who did not follow through were able to chose from a pile I had pre-printed out. Their homework grade was a zero (Though later they will have an opportunity for extra credit.)
I found it helpful to take student images and pass them through my printer with an 8x10 in grid superimposed on their image. HERE or HERE are ones you may be able to use. This cut down on time so they could get to their canvasboard and create their final grid. It was also helpful for everyone to start with the same grid because their was less individual issues. Most students were able to measure their final grid, and those who had difficulty were told to use the width of the ruler to draw horizontal and then vertical lines. I give students a choice of 3 grid sizes so ambitious students can work large (18x24 in.), and most others work on a medium format canvas (12x12 or 12 x 16 in.)
We outlined pencil drawings in sharpie marker, erased out pencil grids and line, and began to paint with primary and secondary colors plus black, white, and brown. We spoke about how Pop artists liked using saturated colors, and that if an object was originally turquoise, I encouraged them to choose an alternate bold color. They were even able to choose colors that were not accurate to their item, but that colors and combinations should be bold. They saw that contrasting colors created the most bold combinations.
Those that truly felt the need for a custom color were allowed to mix those from the colors provided in a separate cup, but it was generally discouraged for this project.
When images were complete, students needed to consider a bold pattern for the background. It was to be done in such a way that the pattern should appear to go behind the pop culture item. Most were fairly successful in doing that.
Before completing projects students did a mid-project criticism sandwich praising their peers for something positive in their work, and offering advice to ensure success. This too was helpful in keeping everyone on point.
The last sample is by one of my special needs students. I generally have them do the same or similar project in a simplified way. They do one step at a time to the best of their ability: Draw, Trace with pen, Erase, Paint one color each day till done, trace black lines to finish.
As I have said in THIS blog post, I get ideas from everywhere!
This lesson was based off the image of a "Monster" Smart Car I thought was hilarious. That's it above.
I remember as a kid designing cars and trucks and decided to give my students a chance to do the same thing. I searched out images of altered and souped-up cars and showed them to my students. I found one Smart Car I used as the basis for a simple outline version for kids to put under their paper and trace to get the main lines. They were also allowed to draw free hand if they wished.
I presented this lesson in my private class with a range of ages of 7 through 16, so you can see the varying results based on age and ability, but everyone really enjoyed this one-day design lesson.
Nothing is worse than barely finishing directions and having a student call out, "I'm Done!" Setting aside the obvious, like breaking up assignments into small chunks to help avoid this issue, or re-focusing that child, we need "stand by" stuff to keep kids occupied in a meaningful way.
For me, that means an "I'm Done" bin of hand-outs for students to complete on their own. My students know, if they finish early they must be meaningfully occupied or they will lose their daily participation credit.
For me, everyone gets 100% at the start of each quarter for participation, and I deduct up to 10 points for non-participation daily. Sometimes it's just 2 or 3 points for too much chatting, but most do well. 10 points off is for a student I redirect and they flatly refuse. (An email goes home too.)
Some kids though, legitimately do finish early, so the bin is helpful. They know that when I grade assignments, they need to show me their independent work too as proof of daily participation.
So what goes in my "I'm Done" bin?
Over my nearly 30 years as a teacher my bin has grown and grown so students can go through the pile and pick what they like. This is also great for unexpected days out. The sub can pass out one page to each student or assign one page to the whole class. The assignments are so open ended that every child will create a different version based on their point of view. For example, one of the prompts is to trace your hand and draw the awesome cyborg parts inside as if it was an x-ray. No two drawings will be the same.
Feel free to use some ideas from my Sub Plans or sketchbook pages, but if you'd like some ready-made resources that include permission to copy or you just want to cut the spine and make your own "I'm Done" bin, visit this page and scroll down to "Activities and Sketchbooks" section.
30% off with code 3YPBN853
Many of my resources are available through eNasco or Crystal Productions so you can use your school budget to purchase from there.
Many kids have never been to a museum before. We know even visits to a museum are beneficial to kids based on proven RESEARCH. But if they have never been before, they might not know that touching works of art might hurt them, or that the flash on your phone can also damage light sensitive artworks.
I have developed this hand-out that you might just find helpful. Feel free to alter it for your specific situation. It has a second page with a simple assignment I give my students. You may want your students to do something else.
More tips and information for art teachers can be found in my facebook group here.
Last year I was exploring a project with TedEd called Perspective Detective, ultimately they decided not to pursue it because some assumptions had to be made along the way in figuring out the math portion and they wanted it to be more concrete and exact. So be it, but I thought it was an interesting topic to explore in art so I'll share it with you here on my blog. The portions in parentheses are directions for animation we were considering. (Maybe you have a class that might like to take this on as a project!)
Perspective is the way artists draw images that look 3D but on a flat surface. It was invented by Filippo Brunelleschi (Show a cartoon of him on white background) around 1413 and is used by artists and even game designers. Filippo discovered that when we look at things the horizon is always at our eye level. (Show a horizon behind him at eye level) He noticed too that there was an important point in our view we call the Vanishing Point and it was always on that horizon. (add a vanishing point to the side) Filippo saw that the lines in straight roads appeared to go to that vanishing point. (Add a road under his feet.) A sidewalk next to the road would do the same thing. It's edges too go to the vanishing point. (show it) Even the receding edges of buildings, (Add a building) Windows, (Add windows) Doors, and roof, (Add) would all go to this special point.
But Filippo noticed something even more strange. Because the vanishing point is always at your eye level, if you sit, the vanshing point lowers, and all the edges move as you do to your new vanishing point. (Animate illustration and have Filippo sit.) Look what happens when he lies on the ground! His point of view has changed, and so has his perspective. That's where we get the word; Perspective. It's unique and different for everyone!
Everything we can add to the picture has to agree with perspective. (Revert image to Filippo's standing position) If we add a neat row of trees to the side of the road they will follow the same rules. They will appear to get smaller as they go back along the road, even appearing to get closer and closer together.
If Filippo had a friend with him, and the friend walked down the street, as the friend walked, he would appear to become smaller and smaller. We could draw lines from his friend's feet and head going to the vanishing point, and know exactly how tall he would be within the image based on Filippo's perspective. (A strobe-like animation would help here)
Objects in the foreground, or the front, appear to get smaller as they go further away and closer to Filippo's vanishing point. If we add a building to the image, we can see that its windows, doors, and roof would follow the same rules.
Since Filippo's time, artists throughout history, even today, use his discovery to create their own works of art and make them look three dimensional.
One famous artist was Vincent van Gogh. He is most famous for his painting Starry Night. (Scene's sky could transition to the Starry Night sky and as an interesting transition zoom in on a window within the example, for the van Gogh example.)
Let’s look at Vincent van Gogh’s painting of his bedroom. Since he painted it, we might be able to find out his eye level. Before we do, make a guess. Was he sitting or standing when he painted this image? We know he was 5 ft, 7 inches tall, or a total of 67 inches.
Using the bed frame and connecting the parts that recede we can find an approximate vanishing point. See how the lines come together to one place. This was his vanishing point. His eyes were at that height when he painted this. (Could include animation showing the scene as drawn from close to the floor, and again close to the ceiling, illustrating how forms change with perspective)
We need to use something for a reference for his height. We’ll use the chair. We know most chairs have a seat height of about 17 inches. (In the 1800s: http://www.aaawt.com/html/gallery9.html ) When you take one leg of the chair as a reference, you’ll see it takes about 3 of them to go to the horizon line. 3 x 17 = 51. When you subtract 51 from 67, there are 16 inches different. Even when you account for the top of his head from his eye level it becomes clear he was probably not standing, but sitting, and likely on a stool. (Transition, animate through van Gogh's window to the balcony scene)
Let’s look at Gustave Caillebotte’s balcony painting of 3 men on a balcony in Paris. If you only see 2 men, you are forgetting the third. That would be the artist who painted the scene. We can deduce some information as well with perspective here too. What floor are these men on? How many floors tall is their building?
When you look to the bottom of the painting, their building is blocked by trees. We can’t see the base of their building, but we can see the building across the street. By finding where receding lines converge, we can find the height of the artist’s eyes. When we draw a horizontal, that’s the eye level of the artist. We can count the number of floors high that line is across the street, 4, and know the balcony’s floor will be at that same level, the fourth floor. When we look up, we can see where the building ends, so we can deduce the total floor height of the building they were in is four.
Let’s look at the masterpiece by Raphael called “The School of Athens.” (No, not the Ninja Turtle) The sense of space in this wall mural, called a fresco, is amazing. It looks like we could just walk into the painting. As a Perspective Detective, we know we first need to find the vanishing point. We draw lines along the receding elements and see where they converge. Then we draw a horizontal line through that point.
The building in the painting is not a real place, but if it were, how tall might it be? We need a point of reference to measure the elements within the image. If we look on the left of the main arch, there is a man standing against it and standing tall. He looks to be average height, not too tall and not too short. The average height of a man in the renaissance was about five and one half feet. Though we can’t see his feet we can use the floor grid to find where his feet would be. Based on this we can see the wall he is standing at is about 3.3 times his height, or about 18 feet tall. The arch is a barrel vault based on half a circle. It’s about half height of the wall. So another 9 feet tall. So the wall and arch together are about 24 feet tall. Based on other buildings with domes, like the Vatican of Rome, and others from about that time, we know a dome doubles a building’s height. We can make a guess that the entire building is about 48 to 50 feet tall on the inside.
What else can you learn by being a Perspective Detective? Explore more with your art teacher.
What do you do when a student comes in with their arm broken?
In my many years as an art teacher I have had a few kids with broken arms. Some even come in with a grin expecting they get to sit and do nothing. This is what I have always done different with them...
They create with their able hand as a form of physical therapy. I tell them that their grade will be based ONLY on their level of participation, NOT the quality of their work. If they try, they will not fail. I don't sideline my multiply disabled students, so it's similar, their disability is just temporary.
DON'T make more work for yourself. Let them participate at the level they are able. They may find out they have a hidden skill. At worst, their coordination gets better with their non-dominant hand.
If they are in a 3D class where two hands are necessary, then maybe an aide can work with them, or they can do a drawing version of what you are doing in 3D. That said, even with clay, I have them pinch small pieces, glaze what has been completed, and do what they can with their able hand.
For those that flatly refuse, feel free to assign book work, a research paper, etc., and I bet they will give project work a try.
If you have enjoyed this blog, and also believe in lessons where students are allowed to make individual choices (big or small) to express themselves through their work, and maybe even connect to core content, you might like my new forum on Facebook. (Click RED Text)
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As teachers we want to jump in and help. We know art can be therapeutic and help those who are suffering. We instinctively want to be proactive in the aftermath of tragedy; an accident, suicide, or terminal illness. The loss of a child or staff member is huge. But before jumping in, consider this...
In most cases, you really need to leave these situations to the family, guidance, councilors, and the administration. Let them lead. Let them know you would like to assist in any way they feel is helpful. If you have an idea or suggestion, speak to guidance, councilors, or the administration first. Let them communicate to the family instead of you directly. Starting a "Go Fund Me" campaign before informing the family may be intrusive and unwelcome. Having kids dive in and make mini-memorials may inadvertently deepen wounds; so again, seek approval and guidance before doing something for a whole class.
Perhaps councilors may find it helpful for you to lead a special art sessions for kids dealing with grief during a non-class period or after school. That might be great! I'd recommend that you partner with a councilor should unforeseen issues arise.
Above all though, be observant. If someone seems upset and need to speak to guidance, write them a pass, send them. Though we should generally carry-on because normalcy can help heal, we also need to remain aware and ready to refer those who need help. You may never know if a cousin or half-sibling is in your class and how they might react to your proactive lesson to deal with the tragedy head-on.
We know through research that suicides can actually trigger more suicides among teens. (https://goo.gl/453mGE) and up to 5% of suicides among teens occur in clusters. (https://goo.gl/sTOQ4v) Kids see it and say, "If they did, maybe I can too." So though we may want to set up a memorial, comfort everyone, help the school heal, some actions can actually make things worse. "They made a nice memorial for that kid, maybe they will make one for me?" This is why it is rare and maybe even unwise to memorialize a suicide. We need to deal with the loss, but a memorial may not be the best route. This may seem harsh, or cold, but those decisions really rest with your Board of Education, and the Superintendant.
Given a bit of time past the incident, you may want to let students work on a project that allows for them to express emotions in a safe way. I have a lesson here that explains how to code emotional values through color and shape. https://goo.gl/O5kJuk My example uses a family theme, and should a loss have occurred, students can express that without being very specific if they are not yet ready. This is based on information in the book, "The Emotional Color Wheel."
Another project I have done that helps students explore loss at their own pace is a mini sculptural memorial. Students write a bit about someone they know that is no longer around, this could be because of a move, divorce, death, or historical figure should they not yet have experienced a direct loss. Many however can relate to an old friend they no longer see or hear from. Those who have faced a death can, if they wish, focus on that, but it should be their choice. Students start with by making a list things about the person. Best memory, their positive attributes, something they wish everyone knew about that person, and maybe even 1 or two negative traits if appropriate.
In the first example, the student took on the topic of his grandfather who passed away. The van was his grandfather's, and they would take weekend drives to the ocean, park facing the surf, and talk about everything he felt he couldn't discuss with his parents, or just share in some guy-talk and advice.
Not every student is prepared to discuss loss, especially if a recent one, so offering a choice is helpful. I have also done this with students picking an historical figure, the base being what connects them to the person or philosophy, and the top being a symbol for the historical person.
I have done the same process as a clay project too with students doing a memorial bell, etched with symbols of the person. I do it as a pinch pot that's inverted. My option for those who do not want to deal with loss is to make a bell to commemorate an achievement or something they hope to achieve.
The student in the first image below created a bell to memorialize his father who had recently passed. The second image was of a family represented by animals for their personalities, and the butterflies represented the children. One child was stillborn and is shown in the bright area between the parents. The last image was a portrait of a grandmother who had passed and the work became a family treasure. These all became wonderful keepsakes and a safe way for students to express their feelings at their individual level of comfort
Are art classes a waste of resources...
or the most important class a child can have?
In a test driven, results oriented public school system, the art department costs money. Supplies don't come cheap, nor do teacher's salaries. Is art just a class that allows core content teachers a bathroom break or preparation time? Is it a moderated block of time for kids to express themselves, have fun, and blow off some steam? The short sighted and ill-informed will say "AMEN!" They fail to understand something very important.
The solution to failing schools is right under our noses. It has been for a long time. Research, studies, and evidence prove it, but schools ignore it because they feel it's counter-intuitive. Worse yet, when schools do decline, they cut the one program they should be strengthening. ART!
Not "craft time," or follow-along busy work, but a rigorous, focused, inter-curricular program taught by a certified ART instructor. The facts show that schools that implement STEAM programs, outperform schools that promote STEM. The "A" (Art) is THE important key to student success!
A study by PlosOne (https://goo.gl/6XZ5KZ ) shows that exploring art and making art both help the brain make more neural connections, but that making art showed significantly greater cognitive gains.
Evidence from The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the AEPsupport (https://goo.gl/op4zGo ) the fact that art students are more successful than their non-art involved peers by a significant margin.
72% of business leaders say that creativity is the number one skill they hire for. Art is one of the few places children develop these kinds of problem solving skills. Students who participate in art are 4X more likely to participate in a math or science fair. Art students are more likely to be recognized for student achievement. Art reduces truancy in schools and in poor districts student dropout rates go from an average 22% in schools without art to 4% within the SAME population in schools with art. Art students are 17% more likely to volunteer, and 20% more likely to vote. Art students outscore their peers on the SAT exam by an average of 100 points. https://goo.gl/wik68T and https://goo.gl/CBMB3R
Art does even more, like lowering stress so students can cope with the challenges of school. (https://goo.gl/pguZ2l ) A Missouri study (https://goo.gl/t796S2 ) of public schools in 2010 found that greater arts education led to fewer disciplinary infractions, higher attendance, graduation rates, and confirmed data that student test scores were higher. Conversely a New York City high schools study showed that schools that had a graduation rate under 50% offered the least access to art education with fewer certified arts teachers. (https://goo.gl/a9AOHY)
With such huge, verifiable benefits, it's amazing that only 7% of schools require art education. State arts agencies receive 0.037%—less than one half of one tenth of one percent—of state general fund expenditures. https://goo.gl/E1VXAO
The solution to failing schools is right under our noses. (https://goo.gl/Ps1YWN) More statistical evidence can be found on the Arts Ed Now organization publication located here: (https://goo.gl/a9AOHY)
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