October Newsletter

Our third grade students created Artists’ Trading Cards (A.T.C.’s for short), making five of them (2 to trade, 3 to keep) based on one of eight themes. They used tagboard, crayons with texture rubbing plates, colored construction paper, and markers.These cards are made by artists all over the world, and is a form of collaboration as well as having real-world connections.

3rd ATC

3rd ATC

3rd ATC

Our fourth grade artists completed their “Design Thinking: The Wallet Project” unit, based on the design school methodology taught at Stanford. Design Thinking is a real-world form of developing new products using the brainstorm/rapid prototype/revise/prototype again cycle. Students were challenged to make their wallets from atypical materials such as cereal box cardboard, fabric scraps, and duct tape. Additionally, students completed a peer assessment using an “art sandwich” (writing two things they like about their peer’s wallet, and one suggestion for improvement).

Fifth grade students completed their geometry integrative art unit on radial design, crafting 4 “slot cards” in a radial pattern, using colored pencil to make their art “pop”. Being able to use rulers and math to divide their cards into eight equal segments around a center point was the key to this project. “Slot cards” are most often used for architectural prototyping, as an easy way to see how a building looks with simple materials.

In November through early December, third grade is working on “Pop Art Cans”, fourth grade is integrating descriptive writing as the basis for their “Anime/Manga Cartoons”, and fifth grade is wrapping up “Architectural Patterns” before starting a kinetic sculpture unit.
In other news, our Artsonia gallery is gradually taking shape for 2013.14, selected fourth grade artists are having their radial linoleum block prints displayed at Aurora business, “The Latest Scoop”, and our fifth grade Art Club’s “circle paintings” are displayed in the halls near LES Media Center!

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September Art News

It is hard to believe that we are already done with the first month of school! Third grade artists have been working hard on their “Vejigantes” style papier mache masks and are finishing them up this first week of October (using acrylic paint to add pattern and color). This style of mask-making originated in Puerto Rico and is known for creative shapes and even more creative use of color! You can check out my Pinterest resource for this project at http://www.pinterest.com/lgirbino/vejigantes/
Fourth graders learned about balancing “positive & negative space” as they carved and printed linoleum blocks. They printed their blocks radially, which means rotating around a center point; this is a math concept integration. Additionally, students are wrapping up 2 positive/negative concept extension projects: negative space “Zentangle” and negative space tree branches.

Fifth grade also explored radial design with their “slot card” designs, using rulers to divide each card into radial segments, then adding design with colored pencil. Moving into October, the fifth grade will collaboratively build structures with their cards after an investigation of “pattern” within famous architecture. A tremendous resource about radial design, building with slot cards, and cultural examples of radial design is HERE.
The next units coming up as we move through October are: 3rd grade–Artists’ Trading Cards (ATC’s); 4th grade–”The Wallet Project/Design Thinking”; and 5th grade–Architectural Patterns.

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Amazing 2013/14 ART Start!

The first week of the new year was so much fun in LES Art! Meeting so many new third grade students and their parents at Meet & Greet, plus seeing so many familiar fourth and fifth grade families was a true joy. Your students have already chosen their seats for the year, Wednesday classes finished drawing activities, and we are ready to jump into some very engaging projects starting next week. Each table number has a name this year: #1 is Pencil Ninjas, #2 is Color Coders, #3 is Shape Shifters, #4 is Paint Planet, #5 is Build Guild, #6 is Crafty Clan, and #7 is Idea Island. The names correspond to special art tasks to keep the art room running smoothly and to support student responsibility and engagement. Additionally, students will be on a rotation schedule this year. I am very excited about this four day rotation as it will minimize missing art days due to holidays and absences. Generally, everyone will still have Art once a week, and after the four days, the rotation starts anew. Most of our media is washable, but if there is a concern, your students can keep an art shirt in their locker. We are also implementing a sketchbook assessment that will follow the students from third grade through seventh grade Art. This vertically aligned assessment will provide a wonderful snapshot of your student’s creative growth longitudinally. I am looking forward to the most exciting year yet in LES Art and will post each Month’s information and images here, so bookmark my website or start following us for automatic updates.

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April & May Wrap-Up

Third grade learned about Surrealism and discussed the artwork of Salvador Dali (“Persistence of Memory”) & Marc Chagall (“I & the Village”). Students thought about their own dreams, and used that as the inspiration for making rubbing templates out of tagboard. We then focused on the fine art of “frottage”, which is making rubbings, but using color layers, offsetting, and moving the plate around to improve the composition. This method (from French frotter, “to rub”) is a surrealist and “automatic” method of creative production developed by Max Ernst in 1925. Students wrote about their Surrealistic Dreams as their artists’ statements.
Fourth Grade used pattern in clay tiles decorated with engobe and finished off with a layer of acrylic “glitter glaze”, made paisley patterns with construction paper and colored pencils in addition to using Adobe Photoshop on the computers, and ended the year with one point perspective street scenes watercolored on Yupo. You can see many paisley patterns of both media types at our digital gallery on Artsonia.
5th grade made 2 point perspective treehouses using tempera paint and watercolor in April, continued their rotations to computers to design bus shelters using “Trimble Sketch-Up”, and spent well over a month creating art from discarded books for our “Altered Books” project. Great resources for making Altered Books is HERE. We ended our fifth grade art year (and I will miss all my students as the move on to middle school!!), with “Notan” (balancing light/dark, positive/negative) in a composition. Notan examples and a wonderful video we watched to get the students started is on Pinterest.

If you want to keep busy creating over the summer, here is my “Summer Symbaloo”, chock full of elementary age appropriate activities and websites that are free and do not require downloads (see screenshot below).

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April/May Art Gallery Samples

This gallery contains 5 photos.

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Art Club Skypes with Paramount Pictures StoryBoard Artist

Skype Call with Storyboard Artist from TILDE Netcasts on Vimeo.

First, our art club brainstormed with our math Scratch programmers. Next, we sketched and collaborated via Edmodo. Then, we spent months drawing and refining our sprites using Bamboo tablets and Adobe Illustrator. The Scratch programmers made their instructional math games with them and our culminating activity was our Skype call! Here are just two of our sprite designs below…

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March Art News

Both Third Grade Art and Fifth Grade Art completed landscapes that used “pattern” as the selected principle of Art & Design we were developing. Third grade artists completed theirs with a different color marker and pattern in each area, and fifth grade artists “Zentangled” their landscape patterns. Zentangles are a form of thoughtful, meditative drawing that allows the artist to concentrate on mindful, careful placement of lines to create value, depth, and visual interest.These pieces are still being assessed and photographed for our digital Artsonia gallery, but will be sent home soon. Instructor examples are below:

Lastly, Fourth Grade art made clay tiles, with a central motif carved into the center, and (you guessed it :))a framing pattern around the outside of the tile. We added “engobe” which is colored slip (slip is a very wet clay body) before bisque-firing them, and now, students are putting the finishing touches on their tiles by brushing on a coat of “glitter glaze” (which is really an acrylic paint rather than a clay glaze that needs to be fired a second time). These tiles can be used for display, but not for food since they are not glaze-fired, but are quite beautiful! Monday through Wednesday classes are complete and have been sent home, Thursday and Friday classes are still being fired and will go home after break. Fun fact:a bisque-fire cycle takes 1 day to ramp up slowly to the selected temperature for that clay body and a second day to cool down (that is 48 hours for each kiln load, usually one class fits in a load at a time). If we try to rush the clay, they will break, but very soon, all 220+ tiles will be home. If you want to use display on a table, I would recommend adding a felt bottom to the underside of the tile.

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February Art News

Third grade artists used their new knowledge of the landscape terms “foreground”, “middle ground”, “background”, and “horizon line” to create two types of landscapes, oil pastels (completed in Feb.) and “pattern” landscapes (completed in March). We discussed examples of those concepts in three American landscapes by Winslow Homer, Grant Woods, and Albert Bierstadt before doing rough drafts, then using water-soluble oil pastels. Many are currently in the hall leading down to third grade, and will be displayed until after break.

Fourth Grade art had a very busy month creating their “Flutter Books” (see http://digitalarts.bgsu.edu/faculty/bonniem/Fall06/artc331_2/bookBinding/flutterbook.pdf) and filling them with Manga-style cartoons based on their completed “plot mountains” This was a big integration with Language Arts to support our writing curriculum and vocabulary. These 3D books are currently in the large showcase leading down to the third grade hall and will be displayed through mid-April.

Fifth Grade artists had a lot of choice in designing their “Avatars”, which are images that generally are used to represent you online and protect your identity. Students could use the computers, do collage, but many chose to either paint their avatars or use colored pencils. The images were symbolic representations of the artists, so don’t be surprised to see “basketball heads” or “cupcake” cartoon people displayed in our hallways leading down to fifth grade very soon!

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Dec./Jan. Art News

HI! We have been busy, busy at Leighton Art. Third grade three dimensional paper sculptures of soup cans (based on the Pop Art soup cans of Andy Warhol) came out really cool, and a large selection can be seen at our digital gallery on Artsonia. We also learned how to cartoon using simple shapes (circle, oval, square, rectangle, triangle) “Zonkey Style”, then did two sketches, leading to one completed watercolor cartoon. You can see a quick “Zonkey Zebra” tutorial HERE–>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6Xv9jKGtWY&feature=youtu.be. In fourth grade, we moved onto “The Wallet Project” based on Stanford University’s “Design Thinking” curriculum, and I really focused the concept with mindmaps being part of the project (a quarter of the grade, knowing that many of the fourth grade teachers have students do mindmaps as a form of note-taking). We also finished “flutter books” and are going to use them as the pages for our Anime/Manga cartooning unit. As far as that unit goes, many students are already familiar with Manga, so we are comparing the cartoon-y/cute style to the more realistic style. We have storyboarded our cartoon ideas first using the plot mountain, and are currently starting to draw the cartoon panels. Fifth grade artists seemed so good at 3D thinking this year (after slot shelters), that we squeezed in a two-point perspective drawing project (treehouses in watercolor and tempera) AND students are using Trimble SketchUp (formerly known as Google SketchUp) to design a bus shelter (this is CAD, but at a level students can work with). The Art Club is designing sprites for the Scratch programmers, using Illustrator and Bamboo tablets. It is all being facilitated online via the Edmodo platform. I love hearing pings on my iPad at home, as push notifications come in–students working together, online, outside of the school day! I highly recommend looking into MIT’s Scratch–it is a free download—> http://scratch.mit.edu/. Here is a screenshot of two of our sprites I recently uploaded:

The Wallet Project

The Wallet Project

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November Art News

It has been a very busy month at Leighton Art! Third grade finished their papier mache puppets, and because everyone was so excited about them, they all went home (although I really would have loved to display them). Then, we learned about the Pop artist, Andy Warhol and his silkscreen paintings, especially his “Campbell’s Soup Cans”. Students are currently working on their own 3D soup cans using construction paper, but most have very creative ingredients other than soup :).
Fourth grade finished a large geometry/art integration where we looked at the art of Charles Demuth:his “I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold” (a portrait of a friend). We reviewed color mixing, including primaries to make secondaries, and adding white (tints) or black (shades) to a color. Students chose a number that represented them, and divided their artwork in segments using a ruler. After several weeks of careful painting, we discussed geometry terms that are key for fourth grade math. Students then found 3 of those geometry terms in their art, traced them on tracing paper, labeled them, then wrote an artist’s reflection (“2 Stars and a Wish”). Many of these are currently displayed in the Leighton halls circling the media center.
Fifth grade completed their clay unit, using the pinch pot method to sculpt a gargoyle or dragon. Additionally, students used colored pencil to make “Op Art Shading Blobs”. We used the Smartboard to view the wonderful gargoyles (functioning downspouts) and “grotesques” (purely decorative) at The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Did you know that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans and Romans all used animal-shaped waterspouts? In architecture, a gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building. Preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls is important because running water erodes the mortar between the stone blocks. Additional places in the U.S.A. that you can see such sculptures are Princeton University and The Biltmore Hotel.

Fourth Grade Painting

Third Grade Puppet

Fifth Grade Clay

Fifth Grade Clay

Fifth Grade Clay

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