SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2008

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Unexpected Cats Early Childhood The Art Problem In this lesson, students imaginatively combine their inherent love of animals with an exploration of the artwork of Sandy Skoglund. Objective After investigating Skoglund's Radioactive Cats, students will portray their own cat in a unique or unusual environment. Materials 12 x 18" (30 x 46 cm) black construction paper, construction paper crayons Resources Radioactive Cats by Sandy Skoglund ( Meow: Cat Stories from Around the World. Jane Yolen. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2005. Process 1. Ask: Where are cats usually found? What sorts of things do cats do? 2. Display Radioactive Cats and ask students to identify what they see. Guide them to see that this is a typical place (a kitchen) with many unusual creatures (green cats). Objectives Students will describe how a variety of visuals and processes cause different responses, and understand and utilize aesthetic experiences in the artroom. Materials 35mm camera, black-and-white or color film (digital photography is also an option) Procedures 1. Define the word "aesthetics." Discuss with students some common aesthetic experiences they might have had. As they brainstorm, remind them that aesthetic experiences need not be "pretty," but rather they should transform us beyond our everyday experiences and make our minds wonder, ask questions, and thirst for more. 2. Take students out on an aesthetic photo walk, with camera in gear. The objective is not to take photos Elementary 3. Read Meow: Cat Stories from Around the World. Compare the cat stories to the visual story told by Radioactive Cats. 4. Brainstorm: What sorts of unexpected places could cats be found? What sort of unexpected things could cats do? 5. Distribute materials and ask students to draw a cat in an unexpected place or doing something out of the ordinary. If needed, show how to draw cats using simple geometric shapes. 6. When finished, display students' artwork. Ask classmates to point out which cats are in unusual places or participating in unusual activities. How does the picture show these things? The Art Problem The mbira, also know as the kalimba or African thumb piano, creates a distinctively beautiful sound. It is also an instrument students can make and decorate with African symbols. Close Impress to students that artists can surprise us by changing everyday ideas such as cats and kitchens into the unexpected. Procedures 1. Have students sand their wooden blocks with 2" (5 cm) squares of sandpaper. 2. Have students push/straddle five roller pins over the nail, parallel to each other. 3. Help students tap the doublepointed tacks over both ends of the nail into the block of wood. 4. Have students adjust the bobby By Julie Bringhurst Wells, a graduate student of art education at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff. A Lesson in Aesthetics The Art Problem As children mature, their creative minds get trained by society to become more concrete and pragmatic. How can we restore a student's state of aesthetic awareness? Mbiras Middle School of objects or scenes, but rather of aesthetic experiences. Examples of positive aesthetic experience on a photo walk would be: mud or rust drifting into swirl formations, shadows casting across an old door, or textures forming their own abstractions on tree bark, sandy sneakers, or stone. If students can stop and say, "Wow, cool!" for a moment, they have likely had an aesthetic experience. Assessing Learning 1. Did students define and reminisce on their own aesthetic experiences? 2. Did students capture in at least three photos their own sensitive "Aha" experiences? 3. Were students able to verbalize at least three roles that aesthetics play in the artroom? By Tracy Ellyn, president of Miami Art and Design in Miami, Florida. Photograph by Jordan McGary, Grade 8. Objectives Students will become familiar with the African instrument called the mbira and make one of their own. Materials 6–8" (15–20 cm) pieces of 2 x 4" (5 x 10 cm) lumber, sandpaper, 20d nails, large bobby pins, #9 doublepointed tacks, sandpaper, staple gun, hammer, pliers, brown or black permanent markers, visuals of African designs and symbols pins into a descending, long to short order. 5. Using a staple gun, staple the curved ends of the roller pins to the block of wood for students. 6. Adjust the roller pins with pliers to tune it. 7. Have students use a permanent black marker to decorate the block of wood with African symbols. Safety Note: This lesson requires the use of potentially dangerous tools and materials with sharp edges. All students must wear goggles and gloves. Teacher must assist students with use of tools and sharp objects. Assessment How well do the mbiras play? How elaborately are they decorated? By Craig Hinshaw, elementary art teacher in the Lamphere School District in Madison Heights, Michigan, and author of Clay Connections (Poodle Press, 2007). Atmospheric Perspective The Art Problem Use simple perspective techniques to create a sense of deep space. Objectives Students will effectively use simple perspective techniques of placement, size, atmospheric perspective, and overlapping in a painting. Materials pencils, rulers, painting boards or heavy paper, tempera or acrylic paint, brushes, water containers Procedures 1. After learning about one- and two-point perspective, students are shown examples of how other simple perspective techniques are used to create a sense of deep space in art: placement, size, and atmospheric perspective, as well as overlapping. The assignment is to create a painting showing an understanding of all four of these "other" perspective techniques. High School 2. Show students examples of architecture all over the world. 3. The next step is to do a value scale with at least eight distinct tints of one color. 4. Students complete a drawing on board of overlapping architectural shapes. The final painting includes shapes that overlap, get higher on the board, smaller, and lighter in value as they go back in space. Assessment Display student work and discuss. Ask students to point out effective uses of the different perspective techniques. By Carol Horst, an art teacher at Tehachapi High School, in Tehachapi, California.

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