First Grade Expressionist Self-Portraits

The Boston area saw over 7' of snow this winter, and the majority of it fell during this painting unit. I'm still working to help my Monday classes catch up to their peers who have art on other days of the week (almost ALL of our snow days landed on a Monday!) Here are all their wonderful expressive faces, in various stages of completion! Did I mention these awesome kids are only 6 years old??!! 

Student-Made Tutorials

Here's a fantastic idea for students who finish early:

Encourage early finishers create a tutorial video for the next time you teach the project they just completed! Students love to become the teacher, and they also love working together with their classmates, it's a win-win! 

Here are some of my third grade students creating a landscape in oil pastels inspired by Hundertwasser. They’re working collaboratively to demonstrate the process and record it using a stop-motion program called Koma Koma.  This would work equally well if they took video, but the magic of watching a piece of art construct itself is pretty engaging! 

This is also a great way to assess student learning and reinforce techniques through repetition. The conversations these students had while cooperating was incredibly telling of what stuck with them from the lesson! 

I’m excited to use their examples when I teach this unit next year! 

Learning to SEE like an Artist

My third through sixth year students began their year with some challenging exercises that, if practiced diligently, will drastically improve their observation and drawing skills. 

These skills will be invaluable as students progress in their art education and compare their work to that of their peers. This critical time, around the 10-12 year range, is when children consider that they are either “good at art” or “bad at art” using only the metric of observational drawing as a deciding factor. In truth, observational drawing is a very attainable goal, given a few pieces of information and tricks of the trade. 

Check out the presentation below to see a few techniques we practiced to enhance our ability to see like artists: