I love upcoming October, the air is changing, the leaves are beginning to fall, and I love the crisper days. The pumpkin is the eternal symbol of October for me and they are cheap and readily available for a still life sitting. In the coming weeks, we are going to take some time to look and chat about the pumpkins in third grade. In the past, students have noticed that our pumpkins had a texture and some tonal changes in their orange color. When we go to draw and shade them we will draw them in sections and blend our yellows, reds, and oranges together carefully. We had a quick review of warm and cool colors and through a shadow in there for good measure. I think they are quite beautiful.
I spend a fair amount of time drawing from life with my students. Starting very early we talk and practice finding common shapes, lines, and letters to help us draw objects.
Being in a new school, I'm spending a little more time than I usually would with the upper grades finding a common language and skill set for basic drawing techniques.
I'm sure you've seen a version of these awesome posters foating around the internet. I really liked that they were positive reinforcement of expectations in the classroom. I made a digital version that is sized to print to legal size. If you're lucky enough to be able to print directly to your photocopier you can send them there and then laminate after. Feel free to download and use in your classroom.
I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to establish the practice of large group, community projects but it has. This year I have made a vow to provide more opportunities for students to work together on community projects. I think this is positive in a number of ways; it provides a good problem solving experience for kids, it is fantastic PR for the art program, and it's great fun.
An example of a community project that was executed is in the picture above. Students from my special needs class worked together to create an artwork in the style of Jackson Pollack. To let the rest of the school know what we were doing I displayed it in the hallway under the heading of Be Art Smart. I plan to continue to change up the artist that is emulated.
I'm not a fan of worksheets, especially in the art room - but occasionally, they serve a purpose. In my 1 and 2nd grades I use an introductory worksheet as a first day activity. It's a simple worksheet that doesn't require gobs of supplies and can easily be completed in the time left after going over rules and routines. I refer to these 6 or 10 famous lines (depending on first or second) throughout the year and this worksheet directly drifts into our first project.
What do you do the first day?
Feel free to download below.