Students were seated around five tables. Arranged in the center of each table were two bottles, a pumpkin and two apples. I explained they would be creating a still life, and showed them examples of still-life paintings.
I asked them to look carefully at the subject. I asked each student how the arrangement appeared. Although several were looking at the same objects, they discovered they had different points of view. To some, the apple was completely hidden, to others only the top of a bottle peeped over a pumpkin.
Each student created a still life using construction paper and scissors. First, they drew each object on colored paper and cut it out. Next, they arranged the objects on a sheet of contrasting colored paper. I asked them to arrange the objects exactly as they saw them. This meant that some objects would be in front of others, so we discussed overlapping. I pointed out that this did not mean the objects touched each other, although overlapping made them appear to.
When the students arranged their objects, they pasted them down. They added details, such as labels on bottles, with a fine-line, black marker.
We hung the pictures around the room, and students were fascinated to discover how different the subject appeared to each of them. The lesson was a success in teaching students to be aware of the uniqueness of their own points of view. It also produced some beautiful pictures.
Career education deserves emphasis in the elementary school curriculum. AN idea for part of a classroom study, each child chose a business, obtained its address from the library and wrote for its annual report. When the annual reports arrived, we examined them and cut out photos of people performing jobs typical of that business. These annual reports are printed on high-quality paper, with quality color photographs-a natural for display. Rather than simply hanging up representative pictures from each report, we decided to use the photomontage technique and cover a bulletin board with these photos. We also included magazine and newspaper photos showing men and women in professions that might not be illustrated in the annual reports.
Next, we looked at each picture to see how different people were dressed for their tasks. We also thought of jobs that might not be represented in our display. Each child picked a job or profession he or she would like to illustrate. We made life-size models by tracing each child on brown craft paper, then stapling and stuffing the model with newspaper. Appropriate clothing was drawn on and then painted. The white-coated lab technician, the oil-rig operator, the farmer, the jackhammer operator, the corporate lawyer and the computer programmer were all represented. Some particularly ambitious children put tools of the trade in the worker’s hands.
To share the fruits of our learning and our labor, we taped a thin clothesline to the hall wall and hung each outfit with clothespins. A note of explanation accompanied each outfit. We titled our display, “What Will Our Line of Work Be?” It is said that “discovery favors the prepared mind.” This early introduction to career planning will help our children discover what career or careers they might like to pursue.
Purpose: To introduce students to collage techniques and purposes. Emphasis is on introspective thinking to create graphic self-descriptions.
Materials: Scissors □ Adhesive □ 12″ x 18″ (30 cm x 46 cm) white paper □ 18″ x 24″ (46 cm x 61 cm) black construction paper, Large assortment of magazines □ Clear acrylic paint
Process: Discuss collage as an art form and show examples. Emphasize use of found images and materials to create new meanings through cropping, unique relationships, alterations, etc Stress importance of weaning in creation of collages.
Tape white paper on bulletin board and, using an overhead projector, cast student’s profile on it. Trace shadow and cut it out, making a profile silhouette.
Have students search old magazines for images that reflect their interests, behavior, etc. Have them cut out whole images and parts of images. Next, direct them to organize cutouts in a way that visually suggests their personalities as they see them. Stress expressive relationships of parts. Paste arrangement on silhouette, keeping edges trimmed to profile. After profile/collage silhouette is complete, mount it on black construction paper for contrast.
Critique finished work. Can students “read” collage/profile? Is work well-crafted? Carefully thought out?
Purpose: To introduce students to silk screen printing. Emphasis is on translating well-known objects into basic forms.
Materials: Prepared silk screens, 12″ x 18″ (30 cm x 46 cm), Finger paints, 10″ (25 cm) squeegee, 12″ x 18″ (30 cm x 46 cm) white drawing paper, Brown paper bags, Scissors
Process: Show examples of block-out screen prints to students and demonstrate the technique. Discuss the idea of positive and negative space. Have students draw a few simple objects that form a picture on a 12″ x 18″ (30 cm x 46 cm) piece of brown paper bag. Next, have them cut out objects and arrange them on a sheet of drawing paper. Place printing frame screen side down on paper cutouts. Pour generous amount of finger paint across one end of screen and squeegee to opposite end with one even pull. Note: Better results are achieved when print is pulled across screen only once. Lift screen from printed paper—cutouts will remain on screen—and repeal process by placing screen on fresh paper and printing away! Up to 25 copies can be made from each cutout set-up.
Critique: Are designs coherent? Well crafted? Original? Can students “pull” their own prints? Do they express understanding of positive/negative composition?
Goal: Culminating project for a unit on figure drawing.
Objective: To draw a full body self-portrait showing action or—”doing something.”
Motivation: Students choose their favorite sport or activity—skateboarding, skiing, horseback riding, basketball, soccer, listening to music, or simply jumping.
Development: Students begin by drawing a picture of themselves in action on regular size drawing paper. I remind them to dress their figures in the appropriate attire such as a uniform or their favorite jeans.
The next step is to enlarge the figure onto a large piece of corrugated cardboard by using an opaque projector. Transfer as many details as possible. Cut out the figure with an art knife, reminding students that using the knife like a saw enables them to cut the figure out very easily. Have them paint details with acrylic paint.
Evaluation: Hang projects on the walls of the cafeteria or common space. Can students correctly identify who did each figure and the action or activity being represented?
Time: Approximately ten class periods (forty-five minutes per period)