Monday, April 21, 2014

A Gem of an Illustration!

Here's an integrated arts project that is good if you have only a bit of time, but you're looking to create a display or short poetry book. I designed it with middle school students in mind and it is meant to be done in two class periods (give or take)...you know your students best, so adjust accordingly.

The writing:
With this project, students create diamante poems about two very different things. For my example, my son and I chose to write a poem about school versus vacation (we're on spring break now and loving it!). A diamante poem is a great way to write about two contrasting things and the poem actually is in a diamond shape when you are done. It doesn't take long to write a diamante poem and www.ReadWriteThink.org has a diamante poem interactive you can use with your students (flash required) and it will prompt them through the writing if it. Or you can use more traditional means such a a worksheet.

Diamante poems are also a good test of your students' ability to recognize and use proper word choice and parts of speech since there is a particular format students need to use when creating a diamante poem. ReadWriteThink also has a rubric for the writing portion of the lesson.

Once your students create their poems, you can print directly from ReadWriteThink (or you can have them type it up in word or handwrite the poems). I printed ours out from the ReadWriteThink site.


The illustrating:
Then have your students brainstorm about ways they could illustrate the first concept of their poems--in our case, it's "School Days." Then, have them brainstorm ways they could illustrate the final thought of their poem, again, in our case it is "Vacation." For time's sake, I'm was thinking abstract, maybe bringing in abstract artists and color field artists would be a great tie to this lesson. I also wanted the artwork to be dry (not water-based) so students could create and didn't have to wait for watercolors to dry...although, if I had more time, I would love to have students create their own papers for this using tempera paint or watercolors.

Give each student an 8" square piece of white construction paper (I chose that size because I knew the finished piece would fit in my laminator and I wanted to make a book with the final illustrated poems, but you can choose any size you wish).

Have the students fold their square in half, open it up, and turn the paper so that the fold is the "horizon line." Have students use collage techniques such as tearing, cutting, layering and gluing papers to create two very different "feeling" backgrounds abstractly illustrating the two contrasting concepts from their poems.

In our case, we glued rows and rows of text that had little editing marks on them in the dreaded "red pen" of the editor. This is because both my son and I have been focusing a lot on writing and editing lately in our schoolwork. For the lower portion of our background, we ripped and glued layers of paper to look like waves and a beach because we'd rather be there right now! I then broke the rules I bit and added some torn paper clouds to the upper portion. I think I'll add a kite, too, later...Anyway, lastly, we glued down our poem. The diamond shape of the poem works well to cut the background in half.

Make sure your students title their poems--ours is "School Daze," and write "written and illustrated by:" with their names somewhere on the piece...I didn't, sorry!

Ta-da! You are done. Great for a bulletin board display or a class book of poetry.

ENJOY!

And thank you to Steph I. at Plymouth State University for being the inspiration for this project! :-)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Silly Seussical Hats at the PTA Fair!

Today I had a fun time at the second annual PTA Family Fun Fair making silly hats! I had a display about the Art of the Play explaining all of the different jobs or roles that people can do in a play (or behind the scenes) if they have an interest in dance, music, theater, building, drawing, painting, or playing an instrument! When putting on a play, there truly is something for everybody!

Yep, that's me in my silly hat--I wore it all day! I even saw a bunch of people
I went to high school with while wearing it! :-)
I had  originally wanted to have children create masks as a tie-in to the play and costume design. However, I didn't want the children to churn out the same masks or have it cost too much. But I wanted them to have fun and come away with something they designed to wear.

I decided to have the children create silly hats instead (or headbands if you want to be super-technical about it!). These are made from 1" and 2" strips of construction paper (12" long) and staples. That's it.

I toyed with the idea of bringing pom poms, pipe cleaners, feathers, hole punches, and peel and stick foam shapes, stickers, glue sticks, and tape. But I didn't. And it was great!

Some old friends stopped by to create and say "Hello!"
I did, however, make a few hats and pass them around for grown-ups who were working the fair to wear. And I was wearing the one in my pict above that demonstrated a few paper tricks (folding, twisting, linking, curling) and that got them going an showed them some options. I also had a poster showing some paper tricks (pretty much the same as above).

And then I crossed my fingers. Was it too simple? Would anyone want to make a silly hat? I did have a couple children look frightened at me when I asked them if they wanted to make one (kind of a deer in the headlights look!). Gradually, however, children (and some grown-ups) began to create and design.

I really suggest this easy, wonderful project if you have a little time and some paper strips (and a whole bunch of staplers!).

And thank you to the grown-ups who were such good sports!
This hat seriously went beyond anything I could have dreamed!

Some other projects that are like this, appear on these fabulous blogs, so check 'em out!

Seussical Landscapes from Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists:
http://dolvinartknight.blogspot.com/2014/03/making-art-in-media-center.html

Cut Paper-Collage Hats from Art For Small Hands
http://www.artforsmallhands.com/2010/08/cut-paper-collage-hats.html

ENJOY!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Justifying ART and Art Education

SIGH. Challenging day today. I can't be frank because I will offend. Let's just say I am feeling like I am having to "sell" arts education and that is frustrating. So, I'm not going to grumble, or complain, or yell...I am going to advocate.

Here's a poster I made that talks about the benefits that art has on a child...


And here are some close-up images of the poster so you can read the info. The images aren't the best, but if I make them too "nice" then blogger grumbles about the file sizes.





Great references. Thank you to them for their info. This poster is not for money-making purposes, it was intended as an arts advocacy project for my grad school. Thanks!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Surrealist Collages with Scouts

Today I had a great time talking to Webelos Den 5 in Amherst! I gave a talk on being an artist, showed them my graphic design & illustration portfolio and we did some art! 



One requirement for the day was to create a collage. I immediately thought of a project I had seen on the blog Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists! She had students use photos of famous places as backgrounds and collage magazine pictures on top. The results were pretty awesome and easy! I thought a bunch of 10-year-old boys on a Sunday may want to try it out.

We only had 1/2 hour for the project because they had 4 or 5 other projects to do in the two hour period, but this was fun, fast, and I loved that they were learning about art. But, SHHHHH! Don't tell them that!

Here are some of the results:









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