SchoolArts Magazine

September 2015

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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Presenting a Collaborative Mural To ensure that the whole school had a chance to enjoy our mural, I hung blue paper in the hallway near the cafeteria to serve as the mural back- ground. My sixth graders used fan brushes and acrylic paint to create clouds, my seventh graders painted the grass, and my eighth graders added giant trees. Early finishers in every class added flowers to create a beauti- ful environment for our birds. Several sixth graders gave up their recess time in order to hang the trees and birds using loops of masking tape. My only rule was that everyone's artwork had to be included. Finally, I typed up an explanation of our project and hung it in the corridor beside the murals. Rachel Wintemberg is an art teacher at William C. McGinnis Middle School in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. thehelpfulart- teacher.blogspot.com, rachelhw1966 @ gmail.com N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Presenting: Interpreting and sharing artistic work. for this lesson, I videotaped birds in pet stores, observed birds outside with binoculars, and photographed my father-in-law's pet parrots. After students looked at and discussed my photographs and videos, we examined bird paintings by the naturalist artists and ornithologists John J. Audubon and John Gould to observe the com- mon characteristics of all birds. We also watched a movie to learn how birds fly and turned to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Feather Atlas to find out more. I also shared a short video I made to demonstrate how students could use their new - found knowledge about birds in their drawings. (See Web Links.) Using the information we gathered, I created a worksheet for students to use. Style and Color I gave students the option of drawing realistic birds, inventing their own imaginary birds, or creating whimsi- cal cartoon birds. Students looked at John J. Audubon's classic book, The Birds of America, and John Gould's stunning bird illustrations for inspira- tion. Most students elected to invent their own birds and color them in a whimsical fashion. Once the drawings were complete, we reviewed basic color mixing using a bird color wheel, which I created. Since the final pictures would be cut out to place on the mural, students were free to experiment with color combinations on the rest of the paper. Students used pastels and mixed the different hues using tissue paper. At this point, I shared another video I made to demonstrate how to follow the direction of bird feathers and how to layer and blend pastels. (See Web Links.) As students finished and cut out their birds, I collected them in folders until we were ready to add them to the mural. If I taught m tudents to observe like naturalists, would it make them better artists? W E B L I N K S www.youtube.com/watch?v= 3So7O MwNgy8 #action=share www.youtube.com/watch?v=wskhU Pwp2q4&feature =youtu.be www.youtube.com/ watch?v=iyEqLx1kU_ E www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas 18 SEPTEMBER 2015 SchoolArts

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