Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Art That Makes You Smarter- The Last Supper


Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, c.1495-97
Tempera and Oil on Plaster, 460 x 880 cm.

It has been said that Leonardo da Vinci accomplished more than any other man in history. He was an inventor, a musician, a sculptor, an architect, an engineer, a writer, and a painter (among so many other things). One of his most famous paintings, The Last Supper, is painted in the refectory of the Monastery of Saint Maria delle Grazie in Milan. This painting was copied by other artists of da Vinci's time and has been reproduced widely since. This is a painting of the last supper between Jesus Christ and his disciples. Jesus Christ tells them that one of them will betray him. The men are arranged in groups of three with Christ in the center. Da Vinci experimented with a new mixture (linseed oil, pigments, egg) to paint this piece resulting in restorative work being necessary as early as 1517. The many restorations to this piece have caused damage to the paint and some changes in the actual figures. There is some controversy surrounding the latest restoration, in 1977. It took 22 years, but those in favor of this restorative effort note that almost 50% of the original painting remains and the original brilliant colors are now more evident. 

Questions for Students to Ponder and Explore:
What types of food are the men eating? What is beyond the window? What is linseed oil? Why are the men wearing such a limited number of colors (blue, red, cream, tan)? Why are the men arranged in groups of three? Where are the women?

Arts Integration Ideas (adapt for specific grade levels as needed):
History- Some speculate that da Vinci painted himself into this work. Research theories that both support and refute this speculation. Determine which is most convincing. Write a persuasive piece citing research. 
Writing- View Ultima Cena by Juan de Juanes. Use a Double Bubble Map or a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the two paintings. Use this to create a piece of writing.
Math- Study the perspective of the painting. Use rulers to measure and draw the room (windows, walls, etc.)
Language- Make a Circle Map of nouns in the painting. Sort the nouns into categories. Use the nouns to form sentences and paragraphs about the painting.
Science-  Experiment with the materials da Vinci used to create the paint for this piece.  Create this paint. Test it, experiment with it. What materials would improve this type of paint? Make guesses about what other materials he might have included.

Helpful Resources:

Please leave feedback! I would love to hear about your classroom.
 Copyright 2012 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room

Coordinate Owls

Timeframe: 5 hours, spread over the course of several days 
Grade Level: 4th 

I worked with a wonderful fourth grade teacher to develop this project. She wanted something for her students to do that would incorporate math and "some cute owls". We decided to use the coordinate plane to help the students draw an owl! It turned out to be such a cute and educational project! When I saw the finished products and heard the students talking about it, I was amazed at the learning that took place! I just love collaborating with classroom teachers!

Here's what we did:

First, I taped two sheets of graph paper together to make a larger piece. I sketched an owl, being careful to touch points where the lines crossed. You can see my sketch in the photo above. Then, I labeled each point and determined the coordinates. There were about 25 points. I made a list of the coordinates. 

The classroom teacher let her students use two sheets of graph paper taped together to plot each point and connect them to draw their own owl. 

They used what they had learned in the art classroom about variety and pattern to color and decorate their owls. Then, they cut them out and glued to black construction paper. 

They wrote the procedures to incorporate language arts. 

The classroom teacher displayed this project outside her classroom. She posted objectives (below) with the student work so that others would know what the students were learning. 

I LOVE this project. 
It incorporates math, language arts, and visual arts! 
It is appropriate for inclusion classrooms. 
 It is very engaging for students.

Please leave feedback. Let me know if you try this with your students. I would love to hear what worked and didn't work for your classroom!

Share your own ideas, photos, etc!!!
 Copyright 2012 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room

Following Directions Center

My students seriously needed some structured activities on which to work while waiting for the other students to finish their main projects*. I decided that "centers" would be the best thing. Implementing these mini-activities (or centers) into my classroom has helped cut down on problems such as misbehavior, mess-making, and mischief in general. 

I spent about 5 weeks at the very beginning of the year teaching rules, procedures, and expectations for these centers. It felt like a LONG time, but it has really paid off in the end. When the students are independently working on centers, I am free to work with students individually and in small groups on other skills they need to complete their main projects. 

Here's what we do: 

Since my classroom is rather small, and I teach up to 30 students per class, it isn't feasible for my students to move from one center to the next. Instead, each table has a center basket placed underneath the general supplies basket. I rotate these each week. This photo shows the general supplies basket on top of the center basket (which is really more like a tray). You can also see the paint that students are using on their main project. I allow students to use any supplies that are on the table to work on their center. They can choose whatever they like as long as they aren't wasteful. 

I use this board to let the students know exactly what center activity their table will be working on for the week. It is helpful because the supplies used to get transferred from one table to next very easily. I suspect sneaky students were moving the supplies hoping they could get away with working on the center they like best, and then pleading ignorance. They can't do that with this chart posted. The cards must correspond to the materials with which they are working. ;)

This is an index card box that goes with the Following Directions center.
 It holds "How to Draw" cards. 

Below are two examples of the cards. I chose to make these cards for the beginning of the year. I started with about 5 of the same card in each box. It was "How to Draw a Star". Very simple! When I first began teaching this center, I wanted the students to focus on the steps to completing the center, not the actual drawing. (That came later!)

Anyway,  each student used just the one card until they learned all of the steps and could complete the center independently. This took about 3 weeks. However, this was the first center that I introduced. All of the other centers came much more easily for the students once they got the hang of this one. 

I added new cards to the box every week after those first 3 weeks. Now there are about 50 different cards in each box. This gives the students some choice in what they learn to draw. 

These simple steps are written inside the box. (See below.)

Eventually, I started adding "How to Draw" books to the center to give the students more choice in what they learn to draw.

 I really had to enforce the "No Tracing" rule with this! Tracing defeats the purpose of the center, which is to follow directions. Therefore, if they trace, they don't get to participate in the center. Since they are eager to use the "How to Draw" books and cards, they usually obey the rule.

I have this Flow Map posted so they can easily remember what type of Thinking Map to apply to their Following Directions center work. 

1. Draw
2. Color
3. Flow Map
4. Write

This center is differentiated. All students can draw what they see. Therefore, all students can complete the first step. Most students can also make it to the second step. They can use any available supplies (the ones on their table) to add color to what they have drawn. The third step requires a little more of the students. They must make a flow map of the steps to draw whatever they chose. However, most students can also be successful with this because they have the directions in the book or on the card. The fourth step requires the students to write sentences (and a paragraph if time permits) describing the procedures for drawing whatever they chose.

Most students don't have time to make it through all 4 steps in one class period. They are encouraged to bring what they have finished back the next week. 

*Main projects are the big, multi-step projects that hang for display around the school and throughout the community. Centers are like mini-projects that the students can take home after each class period.

Share your own ideas, photos, etc!!!
Copyright 2012 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Art That Makes You Smarter- Jackson Pollock

Using Art Prints in the Classroom

Jackson Pollock, Number 32, c.1950
Gloss paint on canvas, 87x118 inches

Jackson Pollock was innovative for his time because he was a painter who didn't really "paint". Instead, he spread paint onto canvases by dripping and pouring. He didn't create a central focal point in his artwork. He placed equal importance on all parts of his paintings, from the edge to the center. He was supported in this by the famous art dealer, Peggy Guggenheim. 

Questions for Students to Ponder and Explore:
What would possess a person to express themselves by dripping paint? How was this innovative for the time period? How have other artists used this technique in modern times? How could this method of painting help a person (physically, emotionally, etc.)? What are the physical aspects of this painting method? What are some other methods of painting that could be considered non-traditional? 

Arts Integration Ideas (adapt for specific grade levels as needed):
Science- Identify the muscles of the human body that would be used when dripping/pouring paint onto a large canvas. Compare and constrast these muscles to the muscles that would be used in the game of baseball or football. OR explore the concepts of force, gravity, absorption, etc. to explain why the paint splatters and spreads the way that it does.  
Math- Splatter paint onto graph paper by dripping or pouring. Measure the area and perimeter of the splatters. OR look at the splatters as if they were a road map. Thick (large) splatters are points of interest, thin splatters are the roads.  Determine distance between points of interest and write directions for how to get from one point to the next. Write word problems for a peer to solve based on this splatter paint road map. Measure and convert to different scales.  Make a scale that is suitable for walking. Walk it out on the playground with a group. OR count large, medium, and small paint splatters. Graph the data in different ways. Analyze the data. 
Language Arts- Create your own paint splatter piece. Imagine that the larger paint splatters are people. What are they doing?  List action verbs to match each. Write sentences with these verbs. (Label each larger splatter with a human name. This would be the subject of the sentence.)
Writing- Write a paragraph that tells how to get from one paint splatter to another. (Example: Exit the left most paint splatter through the largest, top right glob. Continue right for two pencil lenghts. Merge left with the thicker paint strand...). OR Use a view finder to isolate one section of your splattered piece. Pretend that it is an alien in outerspace. Describe what the alien looks like, where they live, etc. OR get students to notice detail by labeling one area of the painting A and another B. Compare both areas. Describe how the areas are alike and different (Example: Area A is slightly smaller than area B. Area B has a flatter top, left side. Area A looks like a firework, area B looks like...)
Special Needs- Let students use pipettes to spread paint. After this has dried, let students trace the edges with their fingers and then draw around the edges with a crayon or marker. Let them cut along this line. Guide them by placing your hand on top of theirs while they cut. Place your hand over theirs as they use the glue. Glue this cut out to a black sheet of paper.

Helpful Resources:
Jackson Pollock
13 Paintings Children Should Know by Angela Wenzel
Create Digital Pollock-Style Art (THIS IS GREAT! Would be an interesting early finisher center for iPad or computer.)
William Flewellen Heard- Pollock Inspired Artist- Tupelo, MS

Share your own ideas, photos, etc!!!
 Copyright 2012 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room

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