Thursday, April 26, 2018

Stop Motion Animation takes the 4th Graders by storm

This spring 4th graders have been using their one to one Ipads to experiment with and create animated short movies.
Its been an exciting new opportunity afforded by these powerful tools. It has allowed students who may have been reluctant drawers to feel empowered to tell visual stories via moving pictures.

We are hoping to have a YES Animated Shorts Film Festival this June during a 4th grade lunch hour, so stay tuned.
Below are a a number of images of students working on their movies. Check out the clever set ups used to create various effects.  I literally just introduced this lesson and then 'got out of their way' so to speak to let them explore and discover. 

One of my most rewarding parts of this lesson was watching the SHARING of information and tricks' kids were truly team players and discovered so much by helping each other problem solve the app.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Time for " Think Different" Challenges in the Art Studio

Every year, between end of February and the April break I design lessons in the Art Studio around the concept of 'thinking differently'.  While artists are always thinking differently, during this period I often design and present challenges that stretch students ideas of what might be art, or artful, or I challenge them to transform objects into unexpected works of art.
The overarching theme in this broad unit is my way to pay homage to the concept of “Think Different”, so eloquently presented in the Apple computer ad campaign of the same name from the 1990’s ( if you are not familiar with its worth a look up as its truly inspirational). During this period of art challenges a number of the lessons will focus on process of making art, even more so than the product, and many will be “ Make and Takes”.
 In addition we will touch briefly on some of the artists and innovators who ‘thought differently’ starting with Dr. Seuss whose birthday is March 2nd, to Vincent Van Gogh ( March 30), Leonardo Da Vinci ( April 15)  and even Albert Einstein (March 14).
Lessons will range from Beautiful Oops books, to Scranimals, to Reverse Scranimals, Artist Trading cards, stop motion animation and contraption designs. Below are some highlights of works created so far.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Second Grader's Visual Literacy Trip to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art

In late January and early February all the second graders were able to visit and experience the amazing gem of an art museum on Bowdoin College campus.  The tour guides in this case were Mrs. Higgison ( me) and Ms. Charlotte Agell, Literacy Specialist.   Our goal was to introduce students to fine art in a museum setting as well as to engage them in activities that allowed for visual literacy, both looking, interpreting, forming opinions and sharing them. 
Bowdoin College Museum of Art has a world class collection and the setting is informal enough that we felt comfortable to sit on the floor, look, draw, pretend to walk into a painting with our senses and in general experience the art in powerful and memorable ways.   Here are some photos of some of the groups. 
If you are reading this and are curious about the BCMA,  know that it is free and open to the public and well worth the half hour trip to Brunswick.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Hand-work takes over the YES Art Studio

For the better part of December third and fourth graders were engaged in an intense unit of handwork; straw weaving for third graders and sewing for fourth graders. I have been teaching straw weaving for nearly 20 years and only just ( last year) introduced hand-stitching. The hand-stitching revolved around making mini-balsam fir scented pillows, a tie in to their Maine studies unit. For weaving, the straw looms can produce anything from a simple two straw bracelet to a 16 straw scarf and anything inbetween.

In both cases, kids became actively engaged not only in working on practical process that ended in a useful product, but they all were challenged to use their hands in ways that many of them never had.
I have been teaching straw weaving for nearly 20 years and only just ( last year) introduced hand-stitching. Originally I saw my handwork unit as a mini-respite from traditional art lessons but now, in time I have come to believe that handwork ( weaving and sewing) and the craftsmanship associated with it are an important part of a strong visual arts program. There are so many skill sets addressed in these two units from 3D spatial visualization and problem solving, to manual dexterity, and continual problem solving, in addition to envisioning and craftsmanship. Plus, much evidence has been written about the calming and centering nature of traditional handwork, and giving your child the opportunity to have such an outlet here at school I believe is a huge positive.
Its the middle of January as I finally write this an 3rd graders continue to come in during their quiet time to get more yarn and start more looms. It sounds corny but it warms my heart to see this unit of handwork have such strong legs of its own.
Here are some photos of weavers and sewers:

Chaké Higgison: Art Teacher Yarmouth Elementary School

We are now in the middle of January and the straw weaving seems to have struck a chord with students who continue to come to the art studio every day during quiet time to collect yarns and straws. Here are some photos of their products.