January/February Art News

Third grade art: We completed Zonkey Cartoons in January using acrylic paint. If you want to know what a Zonkey is, check out this video:

(video from Art @ Apex HS, Ian Sands, instructor)

Fourth grade art: In January, we used “Design Thinking” to create actual wallets out of cardboard, paper, fabric, or duct tape. Design Thinking is a process of making quick prototypes out of cheap materials to work out design bugs, making changes in the final piece, and being open for revisions in later design cycles. In our case, students made two paper prototypes before we went on to the final art. Also, each student worked on a MINDMAP about wallets—their function, color, size, materials, etc. to oraganize their thoughts before prototyping.
Our technology integration team has suggested a free online platform called “Mindmup” for creating mindmaps. Created maps can be saved to Google Drive, and even shared for peer-editing.
Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 3.16.31 PM

Fifth grade art: Students worked in collaborative teams to make Graphic Novels, based on a randomly chosen literary tone. Students are learning about “tone” in Language Arts, and being able to combine text and words to emphasize the tone (such as “scary”, “contemporary”, or “funny”) helps students understand the concept of “tone” better. Each table illustrated the Greek myth, “Pandora’s Box”, but the results were all unique based on the artists’ creativity and tone. This art project was aligned with both state art standards and Common Core literacy standards.
“At Your Library” has a great listing of graphic novels appropriate for grades 3 through 5: http://www.atyourlibrary.org/connectwithyourkids/reading-together/best-graphic-novels-children#3-5

In February, all grades are participating in a very exciting project. We are making art for a collaborative photomosaic mural that will be displayed at Akron Children’s Hospital in honor of their 125th anniversary. Parents, guardians, and friends will be able to enjoy the mural in October 2015, and find the images online once the mural is up at projectsnap.org/akronchildrens. You can learn more about this project (and see examples) from Project S.N.A.P., the organizers, at http://projectsnap.org/gallery-thumbnail/
Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 3.19.09 PM
(image from Project S.N.A.P.)

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What to Do When You Are at Home (Practice Art)

At LES, students do not need to do art homework, even on snow days! Yet, I have a great resource for my students who would like to work on drawing skills–it is a website that shows you how to draw LOTS of animals:
This book is online from “open library”, and you can download it as a PDF, or just look at it online while you practice. Although it is from 1913, the lessons are still great for drawing cartoons, animals, and even in perspective.
Screenshot 2015-01-07 15.11.48

If you are drawing from this resource, please bring it to school. I would love to see it (actually, I love seeing any art that is made by my students)!

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First Semester Review

A lot of wonderful art has been made in fall/winter 2014! In my first semester newsletter, I summarized it all and am including a screenshot below…Screenshot 2015-01-07 14.58.22

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November/December Art News

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Third grade watched a video of contemporary artist, Wayne Thiebaud. Then, they used tempera paint to create a cake picture, including parallel lines in their cake slice. Fourth grade is wrapping up watercolor experiments. In one picture they used three … Continue reading

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October/November Art News

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In Third Grade, we completed two projects: clay pinch pots with faces, and “creature behind my door”. The creature drawings were hidden behind a tag board door design, utilizing small motor tracing and cutting skills. We worked on those in … Continue reading

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Welcome to Art 2014/15!

The school year is off to a cool start at Leighton Art with third graders learning how to draw “Ninja Eggs”, and 4th/5th graders creating “360 Degree Doodles” the first week of art classes! Then, we dove into our regular schedule and third grade drew in their brand-new sketchbooks and started Flip Books, fourth grade finished their positive space/negative space sketches and are nearly ready to make their Radial Prints, and fifth graders are also doing Radial Art. Here is the flip book video we watched for inspiration in third grade (we are only doing 10 pages though, not hundreds):

The fourth grade prints will be made with collograph blocks. Students might even be inspired to try this readily accessible form of relief printmaking at home–all you need is some cardboard, scissors, glue, and your imagination! “Think “collage” when you think “collagraph” and you’ve got the key to this style of printmaking. A collagraph is a print made from a plate that’s built up from anything you can stick down onto a base of cardboard or wood. (The word comes from the French colle, meaning to stick or glue.) The materials you use to create your collagraph plate create textures and shapes, while how you ink the plate adds tone to the print.

A collagraph can be printed as a relief (inking the top surfaces only) or intaglio (inking the recesses) or a combination. The method you use will influence what you use to create your collagraph as intaglio printing requires far more pressure. If something squashes under pressure, the result can be quite different to what you expected!” (source citation: http://painting.about.com/od/makingartgicleeprints/ss/art-printmaking_4.htm).

Fifth grade radial design required students to find circle diameters, divide fractions with different denominators, and hone ruler measuring skills. Of course, the most famous radial designs can be found in nature (artichokes, sunflowers, nautilus shells, etc.), but the artist most commonly associated with radial art is M.C. Escher. Radial design gives learners a great opportunity to use a little math while they are creating, plus reinforces some key terms used in the Math Core Content. I can’t wait to post some of the beautiful art on our digital gallery, Artsonia.

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Summer Symbaloo

Once again, many cool websites to make art without downloads (screenshot below) at
Picture 1
May News: Third and fourth grade students used “perspective” to complete colored pencil drawings (“Magic Boxes” in third grade and “Cityscapes” in fourth grade). Perspective drawing involves mathematical principles, ruler and measuring skills, plus reinforces geometry concepts such as “parallel lines”, “right angles”, and “vertices”. Fifth grade students created “Altered Books”, turning donated, out-of-circulation books into works of art using many techniques: pop-ups; pockets; found poems; collage; creative folding. From Wikipedia “Altered books may be as simple as adding a drawing or text to a page, or as complex as creating an intricate book sculpture. Antique or Victorian art is frequently used, probably because it is easier to avoid copyright issues. Altered books are shown and sold in art galleries and on the Internet…
Recycling old books and using them as art journals has also become popular with some art bloggers and proponents of upcycling.”

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April News

April was a busy, busy month at Leighton Art! Third grade students made mobiles, starting with reviewing the concept of SYMMETRY. We carefully folded paper and made intricate cuts to reveal beautiful patterned insects, layering colors of construction paper. We then strung the insects on yarn to make a mobile. Fourth grade created abstract oil pastel triptychs, utilizing VALUE and vibrant color. This builds on prior investigations of value. “Value is defined as the relative lightness or darkness of a color. It is an important tool for the designer/artist, in the way that it defines form and creates spatial illusions. Contrast of value separates objects in space, while gradation of value suggests mass and contour of a contiguous surface.” (citation: http://char.txa.cornell.edu) We have been exploring value all quarter in fourth grade art, which is one of the Elements & Principles of Art.
Screenshot 2014-05-04 10.13.34
(citation: http://www.candcsigns.com/sites/default/files/elemets_principles.jpg)
Fifth grade had 2 projects going at the same time: clay and something called a “Limitation Drawing” In clay, students had a choice of 3 design categories: slab-built vase, slab-built gnome, or pinch-pot constructed “big mouth creature”. Can you guess which one was the overwhelming favorite to try? While the clay was being air-dried, then bisque-fired, students worked on their “Limitation Drawing”. This involved drawing a grid on their paper paper and “multiplying” designs like in a multiplication table. That is the limitation. Then, students used their creativity to add color, pattern, and shading to vary their drawings, using markers and/or colored pencil. Limitations are a catalyst for creative thinking, a concept used in the real-world in industries as varied as medical research, writing (haiku is a great example), and robotics.

Vases, gnomes, & big mouth creatures.

Vases, gnomes, & big mouth creatures.

Big mouth creatures.

Big mouth creatures.

So cute!

So cute!

Finally, we ended April with the Annual District Art Show at AHS, which ran the same weekend as the high school musical. Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful pieces of art were featured, from the HS AP art portfolios to Harmon Middle School to Leighton and Craddock. HS students, our district art teachers, and an LES parent volunteer and their student helped hang the art in the large gym off the HS cafeteria. If you missed this year’s show, please put it on your calendar for next year (always during the spring HS musical).

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Architect Visits 5th Grade Art

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On Thursday, March 20th, fifth grade Art classes got a visit from Mr. Craig Thompson, an area architect affiliated with AIA. He was able to share what he does, the education required, and the cool projects he is currently working … Continue reading

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February/March News

Third grade artists completed a unit using recyclable cardboard (mostly cereal and cracker boxes), constructing cardboard owls and fish. Then, they were painted with acrylic paint, and we made looms with them! Being able to do a little bit of free form weaving builds dexterity and refines small motor skills. Currently, students are designing “two environments” with two animals in each, which will be turned into watercolor paintings. So far, the sketches have turned out great, and students are very excited to be using real watercolor paper for the project.
Fourth grade students completed their clay tiles, based on the theme of “Community”. These are going to be part of a school installation, a tile mural (hopefully put together as soon as summer break begins). There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work needed to pull this together, including getting the materials needed for installing tile, thanks to a grant I wrote from the Aurora Schools Foundation. We are hoping to get some parent volunteers to help out on this very exciting project! Next up, fourth graders are working on their second cartoon unit, designing themselves as a regular cartoon and also as a creative character. We are starting the watercolor portion of this project by gradually building up values, from light to dark, which takes patience and practice! There are wonderful watercolor tips here.
Fifth grade students finished a unit integrating Common Core Language Arts Standards, designing and analyzing graphic novels. All the students worked in teams of three or more, and drew the same story, “Pandora’s Box” (a Greek myth), but utilizing different tones. So some have “futuristic” aspects like Pandora going through a wormhole, others have “fantastical” elements (think Zeus as a wizard), and even “funny” ones featuring Pandora as a panda! We started the process with storyboards, then moved to layout designing, and then the cartooning began. Moving into March, fifth grade artists are so excited to be working with clay! They are using either slab or pinch pot construction methods to make either a “big mouth creature”, “garden gnome”, or a vase.

The year is really flying by! In other news, artwork was shown at the annual Aurora Fish Fry, and coming up in a little over a month, the huge District Art Show, up at Aurora High School during the spring musical. Selected student pieces are also being displayed at local business, “The Latest Scoop”.

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