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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"How to Build a Monster", by 2nd grade

It is really wonderful when a grade level team wants to collaborate with me.  Ms. Herman, one of our amazing 2nd grade teachers, was talking with me at lunch one day about how she noticed her students really struggle with writing out operational math sequences.  I shared with her how I teach the kids to think in steps when creating an artwork, and it inspired a collaboration! The team consists of Ms. Stokke, Ms. Drorbaugh, Ms. Attaway, and Ms. Herman. Rock Stars, I tell ya.

The 2nd grade team emailed me asking if I could create a project their kids could use in a sequence writing exercise. Since we've been studying the big idea of "fear" in October I thought of asking the students to collage a mixed media monster.

 These projects had to be finished in time for parent conferences in a couple weeks. Since I only see them once a week and they needed to complete the writing exercise,  they created these monsters in one class. I gotta tell ya, the 2nd graders sure did deliver.

2nd graders are no strangers to collage, they practiced this medium a lot in 1st grade. They were, however, new to the idea of mixed media materials. I explained they needed to show a variety of implied and actual textures in their collages. They were shown different materials such as raffia, yarn, twist ties, metallic wrapping paper, fabric, felt, photos of animals from magazines, and painted paper.

To reinforce the sequencing of steps, I listed for them an order of operations.
1. Imagine your monster in your mind
2. Collect your materials
3. Begin with the head
4. Add the body and details (tail, tongue, teeth, claws, tentacles, horns, etc.)

My room was in full workshop mode, I've never seen these kids work so hard! It was a incredible sight to behold. I shared some images of these kids at work in my last post about wips. Mixed media collage is a great medium for 2nd grade because it requires envisioning AND exploring. Two very important artistic behaviors they are ready to develop.

Here are some photographs of their results as well as the 2nd grade displays for conferences.

Great contrasts in texture!

I love the use of spike tail found photo.

They are all so unique and expressive.

I like how some students chose to orient their monsters horizontally.

She really nailed the process sequence in her writing.

This one has really nice purple tentacles.

Check out that Alligator head monster on the far right!

Monsters have taken over the halls! It just so happens that the Book Fair that is going on during conferences this week has a Monster theme! Yay for happy coincidences!

I look forward to more grade level collaborations and more ways to demonstrate how art is a subject that lends itself to all types of learning.