Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Collaborative Design Challenge with Fourth Graders

Four grade artists have been working hard on individual projects such as their Zentangle leaves and experimenting on  color mixing.  Due to the unusual schedule of the wind storm disruptions some classes were able to jump ahead to a collaborative design lesson, versions of which I give students throughout the grades and years.

Part of the art curriculum calls for creative collaboration  and work to instill a growth mindset. I have found that students work very well if the groups are random, there is a set time in which to create and there are limited resources and a non-competitive environment ( i.e. we don't judge the creations).  I try to impress on the students that these are conditions that they may find themselves in later in life, real life work conditions where we work with co-workers ( not necessarily friends), have a time line to complete a job, and have a budget to stay within and are asked to suggest or draft different solutions to one problem.

A key concept of this activity was collaborative cooperation. At our end of class group reflection with Mrs. Winton's class these are some of the things kids had to say:
We tried really hard
• We combined ideas
• We added ideas to ideas to make a better idea.
• We made new ideas from mistakes and failures ( collapsed blocks)
• We worked with people we hadn't before and it was fun.
• We had different job descriptions; we each did a different part, one was the idea person, one did the backdrop, one of us did the building. 

Below are images of the collaborative artists and their creations from Mrs. Winton's Class.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Collaged Paper Puppets

Second grade artists are starting off November with some fabulous collaged paper puppets inspired by Rebecca and Ed Emberley's book  If you are a Monster and You Know it....   . Below are images of completed paper puppets by Ms. Davis' class and is a slide show of collages, in process by Mrs. Moll's class.
Completed monster puppets by Ms. Davis' class 

Students were challenged not only to transform pieces of paper into an imaginary critter, but also were challenged to only ' draw with their scissors', no pencils or markers were used for this lesson so artists had to think in shapes and colors.  While at first some students were apprehensive, once they got into the cutting and gluing no one seemed to even notice that they were not using a drawing tool.

This is a make and take lesson so second grade families should see these puppets home soon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The " Life Cycle of an Apple"... Artist's Style

Third graders are all, once again being SCI-ARTISTS.  But this time instead of experimenting we are being careful observers of the world around us.  In this case we are observing the details of an apple and recording how it changes as we eat it.
Below are some examples of these engaging drawings.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

ISH follows THE DOT in 2nd 3rd and 4th grade

In September we all revisited the book ISH, the continuation of The Dot , by Peter Reynolds.  Its a very empowering book where the boy in the story, Ramon, discovers that his art need not be perfect and that it can be ' ishy' and artistic and wonderful and knowing that frees him to once again enjoy making art. 
I find that harnessing the power of ish is a powerful tool and allows all the students to be willing to attempt making art that they may otherwise be leary of.

Fourth graders did a studio day of painting ishy objects, mannequins,  plastic animals, fruits and veggies or flowers.  Third graders painted small-ish flower still lifes and they are now experimenting with color choices on the copies of the paintings and second graders are completing beautiful large ishy flowers in black paint with oil pastel over them.
 Here are some examples of the processes and ishy  works created in September.

SEcond Graders painting ishy flowers. 

Blending oil pastels on week two of ishy flowers. 

Blending oil pastels on week two of oil pastels. 

Third Grade Hour Artist Garden Explorers

For our first Third Grade Hour rotation, we are being artist explorers.  We discussed what it means to be an explorer.  Here are some highlights of the discussion, some photos and at the bottom a slide show of Mrs. Colfer's Artist Explorers.

 Explorers: •  Look for things, they may not find them but they look.• Are very curious.• Artist explorers try different things or techniques• Are adventurous.

• Look and try and find things.

We started by looking at the ground below us, grass, pebbles, mud.

We made zig-zag books and went out to the garden to explore and draw what we saw. We were like sci-artists looking closely at the world.
A mini-zig zag book. 

Exploring and looking closely.

Drawing the entrance to the garden 
At the end of our exploration evidence of a great deal of looking. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

4th Graders Upcycle Used CD's and DVD's to Make their Marks

Inspired by the book THE DOT, by Peter Reynolds, fourth graders each made their mark by decorating a used C.D. or DVD.  The challenge was to transform a boring disc in into a work of art without using symbols or recognizable images.
The results on view here are fun and  engaging, each very different and unique. Each up-cycled disc represents one child’s individual  approach to art and collectively, as a whole, they work beautifully together to make a beautiful display,  just like our school community here at Yarmouth Elementary.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Welcome to the Y.E.S. ART STUDIO September 2017

The Y.E.S. Art Studio
Welcome to the Y.E.S. Art Studio.  This is my third year as the art teacher here at Y.E.S. and I am thrilled to be part of this wonderful  community of learners- students and teachers alike.

We will start off the year, as I do every year with a watching of  Peter Reynolds empowering book
The Dot.  It is an inspiring book, in which a young, frustrated artist is 'met just where she is at",without criticism or judgement by her teacher.  The teacher values the very minor efforts of the frustrated artist and encourages her to make her mark and continue to discover her own strengths.
For me as an art teacher, its a reminder for me to meet each student where they are at, and empower them to grow from there. ( see posts that follow)

In addition, I have registered our school to participate in International Dot Day, which is officially on or around September 15th.  This year over 9 million artists around the world used the book The Dot  as inspiration for making their mark.  Its a great way to start out the school year creating community via art  not only by the collaborative displays at our school  but also when we view the art works created by artists around the world; all different, but all inspired by one book and a single dot.

I will periodically update this blog and I will also periodically send home notes from the studio attached to various works of art.   I look forward to making art with your children.   Please  know that you  are always welcome to visit us in the art studio.

Chaké K. Higgison

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Kindness Rocks Rock the 4th Grade

As the school year winds down, 4th graders are paying it forward with kindness rocks. Each 4th grader is painting two rocks with inspirational words, sayings or images. One rock they keep and can do with as they please. The other, they are placing in the garden in front of the school.   On the last week of school each 4th  grader will take a rock, someone else's and then put is somewhere else in the world to be found by, hopefully a stranger.... The seed for this idea came from many places.  Our after care director Samantha told me of a peace garden at a former school where kids painted inspirational rocks and left them.  I have been thinking about random acts of kindness and how kids can create positive culture through making art. I also have been thinking of art as gift... the act of giving of oneself.   This all came together in this project.   Then just as I was introducing to the kids I found on line that there is something called the Kindness Project, similar to what we are doing.
Take a look at the front garden if you can. Below are some examples  of  the lovely rocks  that kids are producing.

A HUGE shout out to the PTO for providing extra funds to purchase amazing paint markers for this end of year project.