Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Over the river and through the woods....

There are so many things to learn when you're new to school. First days and weeks can be overwhelming for little ones, and big ones too! Preschoolers and kindergartners learn how to line up, to raise their hand to speak, how to walk in the halls, how to go through the lunch line, and other school procedures to get them through their day. It's no different in their special areas, including art class. We learn how the room works, what the routines are, and we start learning to think like artists. Our first projects focus on line, where art begins. And what better way to explore something new with a new lady that isn't your classroom teacher than with a book?! We read "Lines that Wiggle" by Candace Whitman. This book is adorable! We paused often to talk about the pictures. Curvy line spaghetti! Dotted lines from bike tires! And monsters! We started to read the pictures and think about what we saw. What type of line is this? What is it supposed to be in this picture? We looked for some of the lines in the room and found lines between ceiling tiles, on the floor, between the cupboards and bricks. Some of us were wearing lines as patterns on our clothing. We were on a roll!

I drew a zig-zag line on the board and we talked about the many ways we could use it in a drawing. Mountains! With snow on top! Lightning! Shark teeth! I drew the ideas we generated together on the board. This was good exciting stuff...A dinosaur with a spiky back! Stairs! A zipper! We had quite a list! We did this for each of the major types of lines we learned and they were so excited! We were telling stories about the pictures. After a whole bunch of brainstorming together I gave them 12x18 white drawing paper that I'd folded into 4 boxes ahead of time. We drew one line we knew in each box and turned it into something we could use in our art (I could have printed something similar, but I wanted them to have the practice of drawing the lines themselves). Above you can see a "windy cloud" made with spiral lines. I love that he's blowing the wind from his mouth, like you would blow out candles on a cake! There is a spiral roller coaster. You can see the person on this ride has their hands raised because that's what you do on roller coasters! AAAAAAAAHHHH! Another student drew a buzzzzzzzing bee, leaving behind a dotted line to show where he'd been flying around. Hey! The letter "Z" is a zig-zag too! Another student chose to draw a truck driving on a dotted line road. 

Others drew zig-zag rows of trees, mountains behind curvy hills, sharp monster teeth, and curly spiral hair. Everyone shared their ideas with the people at their table as they worked. They encouraged each other. I love that this gave them the opportunity to think about lines and to choose what to make with them on a small scale before applying them to something larger. They were so proud! I was excited! It was a big day in art class! After some practice, it was time to make something big! We looked at "Starry Night" by Van Gogh. We talked about how pictures of the land are called "landscapes". 

File:Van Gogh - Starry Night - Google Art Project.jpg

I asked what the big blob in the corner was and they knew it was a tree. Well that's a BIG tree! If that's a tree, then why are the buildings so small? They knew it was because the town was farther away. Ah-ha! Things in the front are bigger because we're closer, and things that are farther away look smaller. Well what is behind the tree? A town. What's behind that? Some hills and mountains. MmmmHmmm. YES! 

We thought about what we see out the window on our ride to school and I drew what they shared on the board. A road! How will people know this is a road? Draw a truck! They really really like trucks! What would be next to my road, right behind it? A fence! Trees! What could be behind that? Fields! A barn! What could be behind that? Hills! Mountains! 

We created a few pictures that way with different themes, such as "what we would see on a camping trip" and "what would we see while we're out fishing". They totally GOT IT! I set them loose with 12x18 white drawing paper and a pencil and they created their very own landscapes. They chose what to draw and told their own stories. It gave me chills, it was that awesome!

We reviewed how to use Sharpies. These were my examples. The first picture wasn't traced well and their faces were shocked and unimpressed. They critiqued it for me and told me what my mistakes were. Apparently I scribbled?!?! No one was unkind. All were helpful. They kindly offered advice for me so I could trace better next time. I tried again, following their advice, and they gave thumbs up! Tracing requires patience, and they've done a pretty good job! 

After all of that tracing it was time to learn a cool new trick! We LOVE new tricks. The kids act like it's truly magical and can't wait to try on their own! To learn this new trick we gathered together for a demo and talked about how waxy crayons and watercolor paints aren't the best of friends, they just don't like to stick together. First, you need to press nice and hard with your crayon while you draw, trace, or color something (not so hard you're breaking them). If your crayon accidentally breaks, that's ok! Accidents happen. Now you've just got two shorter crayons! Lemonade from lemons people. 

When you're all finished with the crayon details, it's time for PAINT!!! This trick was super great for roads. It allowed for us to see our dotted lines! To get started, dip your brush in water (they are called watercolors, after all). We talked about staying inside your lines and painting carefully. We talked about filling in our white spaces. We talked about letting things dry a bit before painting something that touches something else. I showed them what happens if you paint with wet paint next to wet paint (the colors bleed together so my road and car looked sloppy). We reviewed how to treat our brushes and our paints. When students can tell me the directions instead of me telling them I know they really know what's up. They're owning that info!

Wyatt was working on painting a family camping trip and did a marvelous job of painting carefully!

Since students knew where to get supplies and understood procedures they could work at their own pace, getting what they needed when they were ready for it. It made cleanup a breeze too! We listened to music, shared stories and supplies, and had a great start to the day! They're officially line and cleanup experts!

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