11/14/2014: Art

Second graders are nearly finished with their amazing Bird watercolors! We were inspired by John James Audubon for the realistic, careful and detailed drawings of birds they created as the main subject of their artwork. To contrast the the realistic style of the bird paintings, their backgrounds were painted in very free form, abstract way. For the background style, we took inspiration from Stephen Gammel's artwork in the books, Twig Boy and Old Black Fly. We focused on making the backgrounds abstract, using many watercolor techniques, adding layers of paint that add interesting textures and finally including some elements from nature. The watercolor techniques we practiced were wet on wet, wet on dry, dry brush, pigment lift, crayon resist, salt sprinkle, splatter and straw blowing. Students were asked to use a minimum of 4 of these techniques in their background.

They all enjoyed the Art and Observation unit and loved painting abstractly with many options and materials to explore. The last step in each unit of inquiry is to fill out an evaluation sheet that helps students self reflect and assesses some of their understanding of the concepts covered during the unit. They will do this next week in class. If students do not complete this during class, they will be taking it home to complete and return the following week in art class.

Next week, please ask your child if they filled out and turned in the art evaluation. All their paintings will soon be displayed in Stearns Hall. Please come and have a look at the wide range of their imaginations and stylistic choices.

Second graders have taken responsibility for helping with classroom procedures but we still have some room for improvement in this area. Please check in with your child by asking them about what they know about the expectations in the art room. The main areas we are focusing on are to listen and share their ideas at the carpet, be kind to others, help their table group set up and cleanup supplies and to spend class time focusing on their artwork. We use a visual aide on the white board called "The Art Chart" that shows very clearly what their table's job is each day. Each table group is responsible for getting out certain art material and also for
putting away that same material. I want each and every student continue trying to do their very best and I need your help at home to keep a consistent message. Our next unit of inquiry is Art and Culture and we will be focusing on symbolism, pattern and color.
Thank you for reading!

Sarah Harpole
Art Specialist