Monday, June 18, 2012

Signs of Summer Grade 3

After creating the beach ball mural with the second graders I was feeling the summer spirit, therefore for the last lesson of the year for grade three I decided to have them make "Signs of Summer." It is really a play on words because they are making a sign and using imagery that they consider to be signs of summer, such as surf boards, ice cream, etc.

The materials are simple as are the instructions. It is the end of the year and many of the students are already on a mental summer vacation so why make things too complicated. First cut paper into 6 x 18" strips. Then fold those into 6 sections -- one for each letter of the word S-U-M-M-E-R. Have students write the letters using a block or bubble style. There should also be at least 6 images that accompany the word, preferably spread out across the sign. They can overlap the letters or go behind them, etc. I used the standard markers/colored pencils/crayons that are available to the students at all times and did not limit which was used or what was combined.

Here is an unfinished student example. He was very thoughtful in creating his imagery, being careful to be original and not copy the example that I had made...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Beach Ball Mural -- Grade 2

About a week or so ago I began clearing the bulletin boards to get all the students' work sorted to send home, but since the year is not quite over I did not want to leave the boards totally empty. I also did not want to have to hang up anything that would have to be taken down too soon to be handed back. As it turned out the school was also having literacy week and the second graders were doing something in their regular classroom that related to beach balls. I decided that the best solution was to create a beach ball mural. It used simple shapes that would look awesome as a repeated pattern; it provided an opportunity to use up some left over paints; it gave the students a chance to work collaboratively -- the best part by the way; and it was so much fun!

I created the design on large poster boards placed in a grid before the students arrived in class. Then I divided the boards between the six tables in the art room. Each table got a tray with six paint colors and six brushes (one per color). The students were told that they had to work together in their groups to decide who would paint which parts and what color they would use. They were also told to give the paintings at least two coats of paint to keep them from being too streaky. That was all I instructed. It was really interesting to hear them planning. Some were very methodic -- painting one color at a time and taking turns with that color. Others divided up the colors among themselves and only painted with their individual colors, but worked out who would paint where. Some were very careful not to put the same colors next to each other -- other students not so much.

After the students left (it was the last class of the day) -- I went over the outlines in black and filled in the background space with a neutral mixed tan. I wasn't planning to paint the background at all since the poster board I used was blue, but there were a few accidental drips that made it necessary to paint over them. That and I felt there needed to be more contrast than the blue background was allowing.

The mural was a huge hit with teachers, staff and students, who had a blast trying to figure out which part they had helped paint.