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Monday, January 16, 2017

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Collaborative Mural

Each year the 4th grade students perform a Martin Luther King Jr. program for the entire school. They sing songs, speak poetry, and recite spoken word about our nation's civil rights history and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is a really powerful performance that moves me to tears.

Last year, I had my 4th grade students create a painted paper mural to display during their performance. But not just a single class before. They were inspired by Faith Ringgold's "Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky".  The mural received a very positive response from the kids, the staff, and the parents. I decided to do something similar this year.

I began by introducing my students to Faith Ringgold's book, "My Dream of Martin Luther King".,204,203,200_.jpg

We closely examined the artwork and the students created sketches inspired by the book's illustrations. I also shared a short clip of Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech.

The next class, we worked together in choosing from their sketches and the book's illustrations in creating the composition for the painted mural. We worked in small teams to create the various sections of the mural. The kids were really excited to create!

We decided to have teams for:
Martin Luther King Jr.
The Dream Speech crowd
and Text quote
another class created doves for peace signs

Each small team was responsible for these sections of the mural. I provided printed resources and laid out their supplies. It was amazing how they set out to accomplish these goals. Each student was engaged in their role and we achieved the completed mural in 2, 45 minute classes.

Upon reflection, I believe my students were engaging in most of these 21st Century skills. 


I will continue to find ways for my students to hone these skills and create authentic art that is meaningful to them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

National Boards and a Blogging

My life for the next 2 years.
I'm not entirely sure if anyone out there reads my blog regularly but you may have noticed my posting has dropped off to once a month. I was trying to post once a week and was able to manage this goal for over a year. However, now, it isn't sustainable. Enter National Boards work....

This work is consuming. It is worthwhile...but consuming. I need to focus my energy on this process as well as keep up my teaching standards (hello 11-12 hour work days).

I'll try to update this blog monthly but forgive me if I do not.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Kandinsky Inspired Abstract Painting

First grade artists were introduced to the artist Wassily Kandinsky. I shared the book, "The Noisy Paintbox" written by Barb Rosenstock.
I appreciate the rich language and artwork in this book, though some of the vocabulary is beyond the 1st grade lexicon, it can be adapted for the younger set. For example, when the word cobalt is used, I say, "Cobalt Blue". Just so my kids, have some bearing on what is being communicated.,204,203,200_.jpg

We discussed the lines, shapes and colors of his paintings and how they were named using musical words.

Students offered their interpretations of his paintings and then set to work creating paintings using red, yellow, and turquoise crayola tempera paint. I encouraged them to work with yellow first, then red, then turquoise, mixing colors directly on their paper. They rediscovered/remembered that these colors create orange, purple, and green...the secondary colors. Last,  they used black to create final details. I did give some guidance in asking them to paint 2 shapes with yellow paint, 2 lines with red, and 2 more shapes with blue. They could make any shapes or lines they wished.

Of course, I made sure to play some Tchaikovsky while they painted! 

The goal was to review primary and secondary color mixing and use lines, shapes and colors to create an abstract painting inspired by Wassily Kandinksy. Here are their results!

What I discovered is my students began to mix complementary colors to create neutral tones and were saying, "I made brown! I made a golden color!" They were so excited about the range of hues they were able to make by just mixing the primary colors. Each painting was unique. 

Thanks for reading!