I updated my art room expectations at the start of 2019.
I used to have a set of art room rules which I had worked on so they were positive statements rather than negative and I was happy with them for a long time but I realised I only referred to them at the start of each term and that was it.
In my quest to make the students more responsible for themselves and their actions I thought that a shorter rules list would be better and I found this one which I used in 2018. I got it from Miss JeMa on TPT. I used it although for me, I thought there were things missing , like RESPECT, which is one of our Cambridge Primary School Values.
So I created my own, as although there were things that I thought were missing from the expectations list I used in 2018, I didn’t want to end up with another looooooooong list. I wanted it to be short, easy to remember, and easy to refer to, so the expectations would become a living part of the Visual Arts room in every session. This is what I came up with.
Now I know, ideally, these sorts of expectations should be negotiated with the students BUT as my Visual Arts sessions for all year levels Prep to 6 were cut down to 1 semester only per year, effectively cutting Visual Arts time at my school in half, I need to take short cuts wherever I can. I figured that as the students would be busy negotiating expectations in their own class rooms that I would just present the Art Room Expectations and discuss them to ensure every student’s understanding of them and then we moved on. They were accepted readily and the changes from last year noted.
I then copied an A5 sized version for each student, without the coloured background. The students then had to glue it into their Visual Arts Journal and bring it to me and we signed and dated it together as their ‘official’ agreement to the Art Room Expectations. This was such a simple idea but has reinforced their importance to the students.
I now refer to the expectations frequently during all art sessions and have done simple reflections at the end of sessions such as –
“Which Art room Expectation/s do you think you always do?”
“Which Art Room Expectations do you still need to work on?”
As the 2019 Art Room Expectations have been such a success I am now considering if, and how, they will need to be modified for my Prep – 2 students in semester 2.
These stunning sunflower paintings were created by the Grade 3 students after they looked at the sunflower paintings and drawings created by Vincent Van Gogh.
I found some images online from Vincent Van Gogh’s sketchbooks and I always show these to the students to reinforce how important their art journals are in the process of creating their artworks.
The students also looked at photos of sunflowers which grew outside our grade 5 classrooms earlier this year
and at photos inside a magnificent book by David Douglas Duncan titled ‘Sunflowers for Van Gogh’.
I was lucky to stumble across this lovely book for $3 at the Salvation
Army Opportunity Shop in Werribee. What a find! The author and photographer, David Douglas Duncan, fell in love with Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings and travelled to France to create a book devoted to the fields of sunflowers in France. I often find fantastic art books on the bookshelves of Op Shops and they are always really cheap! Op Shopping is one of my favourite pastimes as you just never know what you might stumble upon! The students loved looking through this book and it was out, on their work tables, throughout the creation of these wonderful artworks. They were fascinated by the variety of the sunflowers and that they were so different to the sunflowers that grew in our school garden beds.
As you can see the grade 3 students spent many, many weeks on these art works and they are, rightfully, very pleased with them.
The students started by doing a 10 minute pencil draft in their journals of 4 different sunflowers – front view, side view, dying with petals dropping, not yet open.
All the students found these 4 views challenging but were willing to give it a go in their journal. They then bought their journal to me for a quick one on one chat about their drawings, full of praise, of course, and directed specifically at their ability level – differentiation!
They then drew a vase of sunflowers 10 minute pencil draft. And again bought this to me for a brief chat. Most children drew their sunflowers in the vase facing in different directions (hooray!) as the brief practice of the four views freed them up to do this. I did not make any direct references to how they were to draw their vase in their journal, or that they were to include the four views from their previous drawing. It was all learning by doing – and isn’t that the best kind of learning!
So that is 2 steps before they could even commence painting!
The students commenced by drawing a faint pencil line at about a third of the way up from the bottom of the paper. This gave them a line between the tabletop and the wall. This was suggested by a student who pointed out that Vincent had given his flower vase somewhere to sit by creating a table top rather than the vase just finishing at the bottom of the painting – hooray, hooray for improved observational skills! There was a huge variety in the colours used and some children created fancy tablecloths while others decorated the background wall. Most students painted their background with dry block paints giving it a wishy washy watercolour appearance.
I usually write up a basic framework to create the art work during discussion with my first class at that grade level. I then revise and add to the framework through discussion with the other grades. All students are well aware that it is only a guideline and they are free to pursue their own ideas throughout the process. This allows the students to work independently, with a reference up the front if they need it, as they work their way back and forth, stopping and starting, between parts of the complex work. I scribble in alternatives at each step, sometimes as they appear, and make sure the materials are available on the resource table, to aid the students independence.
The next step was the sunflower stems. Most students chose to print the stems onto the background using cardboard scraps. Again, this created a huge variety of different looking stems.
They then painted the sunflowers carefully, most students leaving one stem without a head. Most students chose to paint their sunflowers using basic school acrylic paint. This accentuated the difference between the wishy washy background walls and the stark, bright, solid colours of the sunflowers.
The 3D sunflower head was made using Model Magic
which is created by Zart Art in Box Hill, Victoria, Australia as an alternative to Model Magic. My students have used both successfully. We found, as the weeks marched on, and some students had not created their Model Magic flowers, that it worked just as well when we started cutting corners to get finished. It was just as successful if you glued the flower on as soon as you made it, rather than wait for it to air dry, and you could paint it before it air dried as well.
To finish their amazing work of art the students cut and decorated a vase and made sure it was big enough to cover the stems! This was an hilarious learning adventure all on it’s own. I showed the students how to fold a kinder square in half, draw half a vase on one side, cut it out and get a whole vase. The shocked faces when their vase was way too thin or better still, in two separate pieces, as they had drawn their vase along the wrong side of the folded paper, were priceless! I am always pointing out to the students that mistakes are part of their learning so it was fantastic to watch them fiddling with the two sad, separate pieces of their vase, to figure out where they went wrong, so they wouldn’t do it again.
It was a very long, involved process from start to finish for this work, with many stops and starts in between, as work had to dry completely between many of the steps.
All the grade 3 students worked brilliantly and moved independently onto different parts of the work while waiting for other bits to dry.
I am very proud of how committed the grade 3 students are to their art and how well they used their art time!!!
And I’m sure you will agree that these are stunning artworks, some of which took 8 sessions to complete. All students, regardless of the level of their ability, were proud of their achievements.
And they made a gorgeous display. I can’t wait to put them all up at the art show! The Cambridge Primary School Art Show is on the 23rd and 24th October!!! Just 4 weeks away – aaaggghhhhh!
Thanks for reading and please leave a comment.
These interesting, amusing parodies of Mona Lisa were created by the Grade 5 students after they looked at several examples.
We looked at a large print of the Mona Lisa and discussed what the students knew about the painting.
- The Mona Lisa is one of the most well known images in the whole world
- Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa between 1503 and 1506 although some art scholars believe he worked on the painting as late as 1517
- The painting is believed to be of Lisa Gheradini who was the wife of rich merchant Francesco del Giocondo.
- King Francis I of France acquired the painting and it remains the property of the people of France and is on permanent display at the famous LOUVRE museum in Paris.
- The grade 5 students also watched several, funny Sesame St videos, which were parodies of popular songs.
Then we discussed what a parody was and watched a few music parodies so the students could get a handle on the concept. The obvious first place to look was Sesame St as almost every episode has some form of musical parody. The students had a good giggle at these.
Then we watched several videos by the uncrowned king of the musical parody, Weird Al Yankovic!!!
Once the students had an understanding of what a parody is they drew a 5-10 minute draft, in pencil, in their Art journal. The students then drew their parody on A4 cartridge paper and most used a photocopied face and hands of the Mona Lisa to complete their parody although this was their choice to use the photocopy or not.
The students then chose a complimentary background paper to form a frame around their work and decorated it to match the theme of their drawing.
Here she is a rock star on stage.
I was astounded with the range of situations that poor old Mona Lisa could be put into!
Here she is riding a dragon!
Some of the ways the frames were decorated to match the theme were very clever.
Here she is a wheelchair basketball player!
I hope you have enjoyed looking at these Mona Lisa parodies and the grade 5 students would certainly appreciate your comments.
If you would like to look at a whole range of different Mona Lisa parodies just go to my Da Vinci Pinterest board.
It has come to my attention that lots of Visual Arts programs/classrooms don’t seem to be doing clay anymore!
I have developed this opinion after discussing it, off the cuff, at school, at network meetings, at our Outer West Visual Art Teachers Network Professional Learning Day, earlier this year, talking to colleagues at last year’s Art Education Victoria Conference, etc, etc, etc.
And, as far as I am aware, modelling is still a part of the Visual Arts Curriculum in Victoria.
I use clay for most of my modelling sessions. It’s fun. It’s messy! It’s cheap! And my students love it! And I love it!
And, let’s face it, the Visual Arts room is the last place in the school where you are not only allowed, but encouraged, to make a mess, while you express yourself!
So what is happening out there? Are you still doing clay at your school? Have you got a kiln that is no longer being used? Why not? Do you find it too messy? Seriously? Or is all the kiln firing too time consuming? is it an OH&S matter at your school? Why? Do you use alternative materials to clay for modelling or is it just not part of your Visual Arts curriculum any more???? Do you find it a bit scary – a bit out of your comfort zone? Would it be helpful if more networks or other bodies were offering more professional learning in this area?
Please reply and comment on my observation as I would really like to know what you think.
PS I have mentioned this to my students and they have been as horrified as I am that there are other students out there who seem to be missing out on such a wonderful material to learn and have fun with in the art room.
April 25th 2015 was the 100th anniversary of ANZAC Day.
I am part of the Special Weeks committee, which organizes all sorts of Special Events as part of the school calendar, at Cambridge Primary School, and we thought that as a whole school we had to do something to commemorate the 100th ANZAC day!
So we came up with the very simple idea of each student and staff member making a paper poppy and planting it into the ground to create a field of poppies.
Each grade was supplied with enough wooden skewers for one for each child but after that it was up to the teachers how they put their poppies together. There were no other rules or instructions to follow as we really didn’t want them to look all exactly the same.
I started the planting process off in the morning and then was running back and forth from the main art room during the day to take photos as the planting progressed. It was lovely to lift my head up from my work in the main art room and catch a glimpse of all the heads down and bottoms up action as the students and staff planted their poppies and then stood around admiring their work and the work of others. There was even quite a reverent, emotional atmosphere around the poppy field.
I did find I had to stand guard when I was on yard duty at snack time though as several Prep children thought it would be a great idea to run through and stomp on all the poppies – so much for being reverent, emotional and caught up in the atmosphere, when you are 5!
My battery died on my Ipad, of course, so I didn’t even get to photograph the complete field of poppies.
The photographer arrived from the local paper and took a lovely photo which luckily included my Georgie.(Yay! XXX) I think that is the only local newspaper photo Georgia has ever been in for her school so it was nice she got to be in one during her final year at Cambridge PS! As this photographer was there rather early in the day I don’t think he even saw the whole field of poppies.
A Bright ANZAC tribute at Cambridge Primary School. “The gardens of Cambridge Primary School were a sea of red last Friday as the school marked Anzac Day. The Hoppers Crossing school wanted to mark the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli with something special, so it created a field of poppies. Assistant principal Nella Cascone said the school’s 935 pupils and 90 staff made the flowers. A planting ceremony was then held last Friday afternoon, giving everyone a chance to pay their respects. Grade 6 pupils Georgia, Ayaan and Shaubing (pictured) were among the children who helped plant the poppies.” – See more at: http://www.starweekly.com.au/news/1836763-poppies-a-bright-anzac-tribute-at-cambridge-primary-school/#sthash.a5wHAjMi.dpuf
At the end of the school day there was quite a crowd as plenty of families photographed and admired the poppy field, with all commenting about how it had been a fantastic idea, and some being very moved by it.
Susie, my Science teacher colleague, and I, waited until 4.00pm to make our sad, regretful decision. The weather was changing rather drastically, with the wind becoming quite ferocious and a heavy storm predicted for the early evening. We had intended leaving the poppies in the field and collecting them up on Monday morning but the thought of arriving at school to find the poppies shredded by the storm and dumped all over the school yard was just devastating. So regretfully, Susie, Georgie and I, and a few helpers from After School Care, packed up the magnificent field of poppies into boxes before the storm could destroy them.
‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.’
Thanks for reading,
I had always wanted to do some sort of outdoor mural and Cambridge Primary School has so many boring blank walls that I had to come up with something.
I decided on a CD tree after seeing these trees at inspirational Coburn PS in Melton, Victoria. Mel and Kate, the incredible art teachers at Coburn PS, invited me over to their school (well, actually, I think I might have invited myself) to have a look at ALL their outdoor murals and they have done plenty of them!
They have mosaic murals,
clay tile murals,
and CD trees!
They are everywhere and add so much to the atmosphere in their play space. So much better than bare walls!
So I decided I would have a go at a CD tree. However, like most things I do, the idea seemed to get bigger and bigger. Which grade level would I do this with? Perhaps the 5s? Or maybe the 4s and the 5s? Well, if I was going to do it with the 4s and the 5s I might as well include the 6s and what about the 3s? So, of course, I am doing it with the whole school!!!!
That’s only 940+ CDs – aaaggghhhhh!!!
So there will definitely be more than one tree. Perhaps it will look a little bit like this? This is a CD tree mural from Reservoir West Primary School created by Max Darby.
And hopefully all the CDs will fit as tree foliage on the one wall! We’ll just have to wait and see.
Gabby and Mel, who teach Prep-2 Visual Arts, tackled their CDs and I tackled grades 3-6.
We used Viponds acrylic paint, which is deliciously bright and glossy, as recommended by Mel and Kate from Coburn Primary School, as it is suitable for outdoor murals and will last on the CDs. I was stunned when I realized that Viponds Paint is actually manufactured in Victoria, in North Coburg to be exact. Not all that far from where I grew up in Brunswick. It always feels good to support Victorian manufacturers! You can get it from Cavalier Art Supplies in Geelong or Zart Art in Box Hill.
It really is gorgeous paint and I discussed why we needed to use it with the students and the huge price difference between it and ordinary school acrylic paint. They were all very careful with it and, in fact, the grade 3-6 students used less paint than I actually thought they would.
I asked the students to paint a background colour on first, which was very quick with a fat brush. I had eight students fit around one painting table and then place their wet CD onto the painting rack which was now covered in newspaper so the CDs wouldn’t fall through the holes. As this was so quick and easy to do it was easily worked around all our other ongoing activities for each grade level.
The following week the students were given back their CD and, as we had done so much pattern work earlier in the year, I asked them to decorate their CD with pattern/s.
I was so impressed with the range of finished CDs and know they will look beautiful when the mural is finally put together. That’s job number 4,095,864,345 on my to do list!
And the Prep – 2 CDs are just as lovely as the 3 – 6 ones, as well as being strikingly different! I will share some of them when I grab some photos of them from Mel and Gabby.
And as for the CDs, I didn’t buy a single one! I just asked the Cambridge Primary School staff and community to clean out their DVD cupboards and their computer desks and send all their DEAD DISKS to me! DEAD being scratched, obsolete, not working, DVDs, CDs, game console disks, start up disks for 5 computers ago, can’t even remember where it came from disks, and we had more than 1000 in no time!
So I hope you have enjoyed looking at all these lovely painted CDs and I’ll be happy to share the next instalment of putting the mural together when it happens. I’m sure the students would appreciate it if you left them a comment.
I am currently sitting at Aquapulse, the new aquatic centre in Hoppers Crossing, Victoria, typing this blog post. My 12 year old daughter Georgie and her friend Natalie are screaming down the giant waterslide as I type! I am sitting high up in the tiered seating area looking ridiculous, all rugged up for winter, with my laptop on my knee, while everyone else is strutting around in their bathersI This is all rather weird but such are the weekend pursuits of a hard working Primary Art Teacher!!! Multi tasking is my middle name!!!
I don’t know what Pablo Picasso himself would think of these face collages below but I just love them.
First of all I showed the grade 4 students a range of portraits created by Pablo Picasso which I had on my Pinterest board, on the projector. I also had several Picasso portrait prints hanging up in the art room. The students happily discussed how interesting they were and how his portrait style had changed over time. Why do you think Pablo Picasso displaced so many facial features in his portraits? How does this make you feel? What about his use of colour? A portrait is usually a likeness of another person. What does this say about the displacement of the facial features on these portraits? Well done Grade 4s for your fabulous discussions!
Anyway, after looking and discussing I explained to the students that they were going to be creating their own Picasso style collage. In the past I had done this activity with grade 4 and just got them to draw a Picasso-ish face and I had also done this activity using cut out facial features from magazines. Both times before the students had stated that drawing or putting the facial features into the wrong positions was extremely difficult to do.
This year I had discovered this paper on the Zart Art website and knew it would be perfect for this activity.
So the procedure was
- Collect A4 cartridge paper from the resource table.
- Draw a head and neck on the A4 paper nice and large. (What do we say – FILL THE SPACE!)
- Colour the face using oil pastels. Natural skin tones were optional and up to the individual artist.
- Select and cut out desired facial features carefully from Zart Art sheets (that had already been trimmed down into quarter of their A3 size – hey, I’m not silly! And don’t massacre twenty seven eyes just to get to the one you want in the middle of the sheet. Cut out carefully and place leftovers from sheet you are cutting back into the EYES plastic pocket so somebody else can use them! Yes, sometimes the instructions have to be this basic to protect the expensive materials!)
- How many facial features can you have? How many do you need? Why? “I want more than one mouth because my person talks a lot!” “I need to give my person 5 ears ’cause they always listen to gossip!”
- Glue your facial features into their displaced positions.
- Is your person bald? What are you going to do about hair?
- Cut out your person carefully and mount them on an A4 piece of coloured cover paper.
Most of the grade 4 students are now working on their next collage which is again based on Picasso’s portraits but A3 size, incorporating different types of cardboard to create (hopefully) layered facial features! I will write up a blog post on these when they are done.
Well, as already stated, I just love these and hope you do too.
I saw a post, ages ago, on one of my favourite art teacher blogs, ARTE A SCUOLA.COM, full of patterned landscapes which I thought were gorgeous. As I have done with a lot of this blog’s brilliant ideas, I tucked the idea away on MY PINTEREST BOARDS, saving it up for just the right time, which happened to be at the start of our school year 2015.
I sort of went a bit Zentangle mad at the start of this year and ended up with the grade 3s doing Zentangle hands,
the grade 4s doing Zentangle feet
and these coloured Zentangle landscapes being done by the grade 5 students.
All three grade levels started off looking at and discussing examples of patterns and zentangles from MY PATTERNS AND ZENTANGLES PINTEREST BOARD on the projection screen. It was then time to get into a detailed pattern drawing frame of mind so I printed off about 15 pattern sample idea sheets, also on my patterns and zentangles pinterest board, for each table and then each student was given a grid sheet of 20 squares to glue into their art journal. The students had to use scrap paper and a pencil to come up with a pattern that they liked and then use a black fine liner to fill one of the grid squares on their sheet, thus creating their own pattern resource in their art journal. The aim was to finish off 5 grid squares at the end of the first session.
The grade 5 students, at their next session, discussed landscapes and looked at a couple of the samples from ARTE A SCUOLA.COM The students suggested writing up a list of elements for the landscape on the whiteboard which they could follow while they were drawing their landscape outlines in pencil. I reinforced with the students that the list was to be seen as a guideline rather than a recipe and they could add or take away elements as they saw fit. The landscape was drawn on A3 cartridge paper.
All students brought their pencil landscape shapes to me for a brief one on one discussion directed at their specific ability level – DIFFERENTIATION! Is the work balanced? What can you do to your tree so it doesn’t look so top heavy? Which elements have you put in your middleground?
Interestingly every grade 5 ‘discovered’ that if their landscape included a body of water it “just didn’t look right” or it “made me feel weird” unless the edge of the land behind the water was straight/horizontal – hooray, no more slanted lakes or rivers!!!
So all students then went over their pencil landscape outlines with thick black texta and commenced the pattern work using thick coloured pencils or coloured textas. There was only one rule for the pattern work, once you have used a pattern you cannot use it again!
These were wonderful sessions for stopping half way for a “studio walk” around the art room where the children move from table to table quietly and look at each others unfinished work. The “oohs” and “aahs” and discussions about the work were fantastic! And, no, it is not just copying, if you see a pattern that you like on someone else’s work, and get an idea for your own work from that. Hadn’t we already been doing just that with the idea sheets on the tables??? And could you possibly reproduce such an intricate pattern EXACTLY the same????
I was astounded with the amount of effort some of the students put into these pieces! In hindsight A3 was probably too big to cover with such intricate patterns. These artworks took much longer to finish that I anticipated and the level of concentration required to get a fair bit done in one session was just too much for some students. However, I’m sure the students would say it was worth it when you can see the quality of work which was produced. Whatever their ability level, every student felt a great sense of achievement when the work was finally finished!
Thanks for looking and I’m sure my grade 5 students would appreciate it if you left them a comment.
UPDATE: I have added a few more photos to this post!!!
I saw this idea on USE YOUR COLOURED PENCILS ages ago and thought it would work well with my grade 3 students.
USE YOUR COLOURED PENCILS is a fantastic primary art teacher blog from Western Australia full of brilliant ideas.
We started off by looking at several David Hockney swimming pool paintings, from the 1960s, on the projector screen. I use MY PINTEREST BOARDS to store and then display images on the projector so I don’t have to clog up my laptop with squillions of art images.
The discussion was loud and vigorous with the students pointing out that it was interesting to choose that splash moment to paint rather than the person on the end of the board or in the middle of the dive, etc.
And in each grade the comment was made that the swimmer in this painting looked like he was wearing a nappy!?! Oh the highs and lows of discussions with Grade 3!!! This painting was excellent for talking about the differences between a swimming/floating body and a standing/walking body. I don’t think that was why he painted it but – Thank you, David Hockney!
So as I have been gradually introducing the students to using an art journal this year they had to start by doing a quick drawing, 5 – 10 minutes only, in pencil, in their journal, of themselves as a floating/swimming body. This was then brought to me for a quick personal discussion during which I write or draw a few prompts/praises on their draft. These are directly related to their drawings, at their ability level, and I ask that they try to incorporate the ideas generated from our short, personal discussion into their ‘good copy’. Yes, folks, DIFFERENTIATION is alive and well in this Visual Arts classroom!!!
The first time I did this in their book was hilarious. They were all horrified that I was writing on top of their drawing but they now all have a much more secure idea of what a rough draft is and don’t feel so precious about every rough drawing any more.
Once the students had started their drawing /painting on A3 cartridge paper I quickly called a halt as most were using grey lead pencil and drawing a teeny tiny swimming version of themselves. What happened to filling the space with their body? So the grey lead pencils were put away as soon as their draft was finished and the students moved bravely, straight onto using the oil pastels, to create their swimmer. Ahhh, much better!
Once their swimmer drawing was finished they tackled the challenge of pool water reflection lines using white oil pastel.
The students then painted on the water using dry block poster paint with the paint magically resisting the oil in the pastels!!! Yes, I know, sometimes the old techniques are the best ones for the job!
- Rich, engaging activity
- fantastic discussion
- lots of students came into the art room talking about the David Hockney images they had looked up on Pinterest or Google images after discussing this with their family about what they were doing
- comparing rough drafts with final pieces of work to demonstrate the changes and improvements in their final piece
- all students were very proud of their work, regardless of their ability level
- they make a fantastic display!
- I don’t think there were any!!!
You can see more David Hockney style swimmers inspired, like me, by USE YOUR COLOURED PENCILS here in these links
KIDS ARTISTS from the Netherlands
MRS KNIGHTS SMARTEST ARTISTS from Dolvin Elementary School in Georgia, U.S.A
And more from my Grade 3 students below.
And I’m sure my Grade 3 children would love it if you left them a comment.