8th grade -
Students nominated themes for a ceramic tile mural and then voted to elect one (album covers). They each cut and glazed their own tiles. Leading up to this they participated in a group mural warmup exercise; cropping and combining sections of sharpie drawings. They also made painting studies in color mixing and observation of light and shadow.
Students learned about industrial design and looked at examples from Bauhaus artists. They attempted to create lamps from cardboard, clay, wire, paper mache and other media.
In response to hearing classroom discussions about wearing school uniforms, classes were shown advertisements as well as examples of artworks that respond to imagery found in those ads. Using rubber blocks, linoleum cutters and fabric ink they designed logos and printed t-shirts.
8th grade students reviewed techniques in perspective drawing. We listed qualities found in Italian High Renaissance paintings along with some other examples, and this helped us develop a rubric. Using pencils and rulers students created drawings from memory of familiar spaces. Next they learned about the terms and history of site-specific and plop art. They made perspective drawing proposals for installations/changes to the school grounds. Some students were also assigned to make rubbings from surfaces around the school and incorporate them into their proposal.
Advanced students worked with photoshop/photo-collage, as well as animation (rotoscoping) to further develop proposals. Students presented and critiqued their proposals by role playing how various community members would be affected and might respond to the changes.
solar plate etchings - a small group of advanced students researched and made short powerpoint presentations on a professional photographer of their choice. They created digital positives in photoshop from their own photographs for etching and printing solar plates.
The course introduced a brief history of alternative photographic processes and the discoveries of light sensitive materials. We looked at early photographs by Daguerre and Fox Talbot, as well as photomontages by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Using sun exposures students explored paper coating/printing with cyanotypes and van dyke prints from hand drawn transparencies. They also looked at collages by Kurt Schwitters and were encouraged to use found sources from magazines, newspapers or printouts, but for tracing into their transparencies/negatives (rather than collaging like Schwitters)
Albumen prints using digital negatives and black light exposure boxes. These images were captured mostly on students' iPhones with various apps. Classes discussed how photographic devices have historically influenced art and culture. They were given instruction on how to use Photoshop to create and manipulate negatives, as well as how work with digital printers and Pictorico transparency film.
2nd grade -
cyanotypes created for a school auction using a combination of digital negatives and hand-drawn transparencies
Before taking a trip to the Museum of Natural History to see the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians and North American Mammals, 2nd grade students looked at Native American masks (as well as some others...http://masksoftheworld.com). They learned about the various purposes Native American masks were created and worn and the concept of supernatural. Students were asked to consider how these customs apply to their own lives before sketching out a mask of their own design and purposes. Finally students used their knowledge of ceramics to construct and paint their masks.
This hallway display was not permitted to be in an end-of-year Lewis & Clark studies gymnasium exhibit. (A tradition to have each student create a ceramic buffalo would have been allowed.)
styrofoam totem carvings
2nd grade animation - classes were shown examples and taught how to sequence and organize a series of drawings in order to create a moving image. They considered needing approximately 12 drawings to make 1 second, so drawings should be simple. More advanced sections were able to share and stream different ideas together to create a longer sequence, while some classes/students were assigned a single theme.
Although some students were both able to combine lines and shapes to create a variety of symbols and legibly animate text, another strictly Native American symbols/pictograph animation replaced this, and was accepted, to accommodate the Lewis and Clark gym exhibition. All videos were displayed with a projector I gave to the school due to technology restrictions to my budget.
Printmaking - Students were introduced to a brief history of printmaking, beginning with Chinese woodblock printing, Gutenberg's printing press and digital prints found in everyday objects today. We discussed the advantages of multiples and how a print can help create symmetry and pattern. They sketched ideas on graph paper before transferring into a styrofoam plate. Some students participated in print exchanges with classmates.
Students cut up their used plates. We made a group print to promote an Ellis Island event.
After our class trip to the AMNH we started another sculpture unit with a discussion of 2nd graders social studies; frameworks found in Native American artifacts and architecture such as bull boats, teepee's and Mandan village huts. Using the idea of a physical infrastructure students constructed an armature with tape, newspaper and wire, to be used for paper-mache North American animals. (Again, in order to accommodate a Lewis and Clark gym exhibition, students also made paper mache bull boats, teepees and Mandan huts...instruction to use a bowl as a prefabricated armature adhered to school tradition)
2nd grade students read and then discussed some architectural drawings by Dr. Seuss. They created watercolor drawings of an imaginary place or "dream" house. Classes furthered an understanding of 3-D and ways to use clay and woodblocks to translate their sketches into sculptures.
2nd graders started a painting unit with review of color mixing.
They began with some quick studies blending oil pastels and made self-portraits using mirrors.
Next they moved on to a material exploration with brushes and acrylics. Then finally we talked about landscape paintings (for example Albert Bierstadts Storm in the Rocky Mountains at the Brooklyn Museum) and they were asked to create paintings about something they see on their way to school.
Group paintings with stencils and brayers on canvas made for a "road trip" themed PTA fundraiser
3rd grade -
3rd grade students began the year in art reviewing their knowledge of American tall tales which they studied at the end of 2nd grade. Each student was assigned to write and illustrate a short story. First they made books with both black and white paper and considered how their story might transition from one chapter to the next on the varying background paper. Students also looked at Where the Wild Things Are, and thought about how different compositions and combinations of text and illustration could help tell their story.
Finally they created their characters using modeling clay, painted cardboard sets, and enacted and captured their footage.
After seeing Jacob Lawrence's Migration series at MoMa, and in conjunction with writing short essays about Harlem Renaissance artists, 3rd grade students created these watercolor portraits from observation of photographic portraits. They also looked at collages by Romare Bearden before creating their own.
scenery and props made for the 3rd grade play -- an idea to use silhouette projected backgrounds was not used, however we followed this with a shadow puppet video unit.
Next, they created ceramic sculptures based on their sketches. Then students learned about animation and made videos soundtracked with their own sound effects.
We also looked at a New Yorker magazine cover by Saul Steinberg, made a list of things that come to mind about NYC and some sketches in preparation for another animation.