Apr 3, 2012

Worthwhile Links

I've been scrolling the internet for ideas, and have come accross a few new sites, and some that I always return to visit.
Here is a list of great resources with postings by other art teachers out there:
1. My number one reccommended site is The Incredible Art Department. It is categorized very well with loads of lesson plans listed in age groups, mediums, artist, and more.

2. A site that has fantastic usable ideas over and over again is Art Projects for Kids, by Kathy Barbro. I have gone back to this site many times for elementary school art projects, and projects that work for my high school students with modified and special needs. I really appreciate how so much of the art for children here is centred around an artist's work, and that is the jumping off point for students.

3. I came across Art-rageous. It is a site with a lot of great ideas for high school art projects. I will definately be using some of them. The main layout could be more user-friendly, but there are really good photo examples of student work.

Apr 2, 2012

Plasticine Trees

My special needs students created these plasterceine versions of trees. It was a great medium for them to work with that allowed them a different kind of control than painting or colouring. They worked on 1/8 inch plywood or masonite sheets. They did need some help first having a tree sketched out as a starting point, and then filled in their colours with the plasterceine clay. For my students with developmental delays and limited dexterity this was a really good project. Most spent a little over an hour working on it, and a few other students needed more time than that.

This would work well for an elementary art class, or junoir high. It could also be adapted with more requirements or themes for a high school class. There are various illustrators out there who use this medium, which could be worked into a lesson to show real-world connections. Here is a great site for illustrator Barbara Reid who illustrates children's book mainly using the relief plasterceine method, and a sample of her work below:

Mar 22, 2012

Pop Art for Kids

Alright,so I've decided to resuscitate this blog that really barely ever got going. I frequently take a look at other art teacher's blogs, and LOVE it that so many people talk about what they do in an art class, so I thought I'd start blogging more regularly about what I do.
I teach high school art, and one of my biggest challenges is finding the time to plan assignments for the students that have special needs and are on individual education plans. Often these students will work on the same assignment as the rest of the class, but more often they will finish the assignment very quickly and will need other programming. I really love having students with different abilities and I actually really love planning new activities for them. My main problem is finding the time to plan and prep for all the extra activities. I love it when I hit on something that doesn't require a lot of prep, that fills our 115 minute time slot, and that looks good in the end.
Here are some recent creations, as a sort of ode to Andy Warhol. I previously took pictures of each student, photocopied them into sets of 4, and then had the students paint each portrait with a different colour set. They then glued their images down onto larger paper. The mot successful ones are the ones with a different colour background than foreground. This assignment promotes colour mixing, builds hand eye coordination and dexterity, an allows the students to make choices about their paint. Sometimes I find that with watercolour paint or tempera paints they can end up with something that looks more successful than with colouring materials such as pencil crayons. One student had no interest in painting a photo of himself, but he loves school buses so we photocopied a picture of a bus, and suddenly he was very keen on this assignment.

This project would work well for elementary students, possibly a simple quick project for Jr high students, and I could see the idea of it being adapted a little for high school students if more complex colour requirements were added, or if students were given the chance to edit their photos in photoshop beforehand to up the contrast, convert to black and white, and posterize their images.