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Expressive Self Portraits

Quite possibly one of my favorite lesson plans that I do all year. When students hear that I am making them do ANOTHER self portraits, after we just finished up a realistic one, they ask WHY. Once we start working on these, their attitudes typically change and they are a lot more excited.

I like giving the students the option to explore symbolism a little bit further and consider what imagery they can use to show the world more about themselves, rather than just their appearances. The PowerPoint that I created for this lesson can be found here, https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Expressive-Self-Portrait-PowerPoint-3161112

I can thank the wonders of Pinterest for many of those photo examples, but I also chose to incorporate Frida Kahlo into this lesson. Frida has so many amazing examples of symbolism and she is truly such an inspiring artist and person, that I wanted my students to learn more about her. We had discussions about The Two Fridas, and also about one of her self portraits. We discussed the symbolism and imagery in her artwork and how it reflects her personality and mood.

Students found this to be very interesting. We also discussed more in depth realism, abstract, and non objective. I told students to consider how realistic they wanted this to be. They had the option to be more symbolism and do a silhouette rather than a realistic approach that would require them to do eyes, nose, mouth, etc. This allowed my students of all different skill levels to choose a way that would be successful for them.

I also gave them an option in what art mediums they wanted to use. They had the options of graphite, colored pencil, pastel, watercolor, or mixed media. After the presentation, I had students write 5-10 things about themselves in their sketchbooks. These could be interests, personality, mood, appearance, home life, friends, etc. We then broke those down and considered how to interpret them into a symbol or some sort of imagery.

Students brainstormed with the others at their tables and came up with some ideas. When they had enough ideas, they began a sketch of what their portrait would look like. I offered suggestions to make sure that students were challenging themselves enough, and were not doing things too hard. I told students that if they chose not to draw a realistic face, that they needed to put extra details somewhere else, to ensure that all students were still working the same amount.

I graded these using four main components. Subject Matter & Creativity, Use of Symbolism and Details, Craftsmanship, and Effort.

I was SO happy with how these turned out. Here are some of the great examples from my classes!

 

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Realistic Self Portraits

Ahhh self portraits! Some kids love em, some kids absolutely hate em.

I start out by teaching basic cartooning. I feel like this loosens kids up a bit, and it also allows them to consider showing emotions. Cartoons have such exaggerated emotions and I feel like it is great practice for students to consider how to show emotions within their own portraits.

After cartooning, we spend some time focusing on each facial feature. We spent a day on eyes, a day on noses, a day on mouths, and a day on ears/hair. I graded these as progress, so I told students that as long as I saw effort, they would get full points. I took off points if they did not consider value or shading, or if they were misusing their cell phones.

I collected the facial features sketches and we moved on to proportion. To switch things up a bit, I decided to have my students do group drawings. Each group started with a face outline. They set up all of the proportions- we looked at an example on the board of where the lines should be. Where the eyes sit on, the noses, how far apart the eyes go, and where the ears go, etc. These can be found online.

I had students set up the face and then draw one realistic eye. After drawing, they were asked to switch with someone else. The second student drew the second realistic eye. Each time they switched, the student had to consider where each facial feature would go. These ending up looking like really creepy mugshots and my kids absolutely loved them!

This took about two days, because we wanted to make them look realistic and shade well. At the end, we did a critique. Students were asked to go around and identify anything that looked proportionally “off”. Comments included things such as “eyes are too far apart,” “ears are too high”, “mouth is too close to nose” etc. Students got the sketch that they had originally started with and they held onto it for reference.

Lastly, I introduced the final assessment. Students drew a realistic photo of themselves. I asked them to bring in a picture of themselves. I opted to do it this way rather than looking at mirrors because I wanted them to be able to compare and contrast the values and progress of their drawings with the actual picture.

Students had two options for this- they could choose to freehand their portrait or use a grid. We had used a grid earlier in the year for realistic animal eyes, the link for that lesson can be found here. http://www.makemesanguine.com/index.php/2016/12/12/animal-eye-value-drawings/

If students wanted to grid, they could either do an outline first, or go square by square and shade everything completely. As a beginning Drawing & Painting and class, I felt that this approach really helped my students understand and be able to take their time throughout this assignment.

Here are the results!

Realistic Self Portraits High School Lesson Plan

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Vans Shoe Submission 2017!

Very excited to report that our Van’s Shoe Submissions are officially entered!!

Let me also continue by saying that with this contest, the struggle was real! I worked with one other art teacher at my school. We opened up the contest to any of our students who were interested. We required students to create a sketch first and then any students who showed interest by sketching were allowed to work on the shoes.

Well, turns out these high schoolers have a lot going on. Honestly this contest often felt like pulling teeth! There were kids who often asked to work on them and did enjoy working on them, but with the deadline fast approaching, it was something that we really had to continuing hounding on the kids.

As I mentioned, after students submitted their original designs, I then met with the other art teacher and we brainstormed a theme. Although a theme wasn’t required, we wanted all the shoes to kind of go together. We decided on a beach/boardwalk theme. We met with the kids and we all brainstormed ways to fit each category. Once everything was decided, I then assigned each student a job and they began working on these.

I’m curious as to how other teachers coordinate this!

I’m interested to see how others incorporated the Technology in Design aspect of this into it, being that it was a new part of the contest this year.

Overall, I’m very proud of these! They came out super fun and I know my students are proud of their work. Here are our submissions:

Our Art shoe features a Sand Castle building contest right in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We incorporated waves and focused on bringing a sculptural aspect into our design.

Art Shoe Vans Shoe Design Contest High School Art Class
Art Shoe Vans Shoe Design Contest High School Art Class

Our Music shoe featured two different live music events. The first is a jazz musician playing on the Ocean City Boardwalk, with the sunset in the background. The second is a rock/rap concert (we haven’t decided which! ha!) with plenty of people in the crowd.

Music Shoe Van's Shoe Design Contest High School Art
Music Shoe Van’s Shoe Design Contest High School Art

Our Extreme Sport shoe focuses on our surfer. He’s in a pretty big wave that is made up of both of the shoes.

Extreme Sports Shoe Van's Shoe Design Contest High School Art
Extreme Sports Shoe Van’s Shoe Design Contest High School Art

Our Local Flavor shoe is made up of some boardwalk favorites! We have the boardwalk which shows Curly Fries, some Curly Fries made from shoe laces. We have Kohr Brother’s ice cream, and a seagull coming down to eat the boardwalk pizza! We also have a ferris wheel and a roller coaster.

Local Flavor Shoe Van's Shoe Design Contest
Local Flavor Shoe Van’s Shoe Design Contest
Van's Shoe Design Contest High School Submission EHTHS
Van’s Shoe Design Contest High School Submission EHTHS

This contest was fun! It was definitely time consuming and challenging to complete all of the shoes the way we wanted them to be in the time frame, on top of teaching our classes different lessons, but overall I am very happy!!

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Sgraffito Pots

Sgraffito is such a fun technique to use! For this project, I had students work a little bit smaller than normal, and I had them really focus in on the intricacy and details that they could incorporate into their designs. I had them sketch some sort of design. We also talked about Emphasis, and I encouraged them to use a bright colored glaze for the inside, since the outside was mostly black and white.

I asked students to have a lid, a handle, and if they had time, some sort of foot. Students really enjoyed this technique because it gave them the opportunity to draw freely and easily incorporate some of their favorite designs and ideas into their ceramic artwork.

Included are a few of my favorite examples!

 

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Animal Eye Value Drawings

So one of my favorite lessons is a lesson I created using Value. Because kids struggle with value. They are afraid to get too dark. They leave things light.

I spent awhile trying to figure out ways to make them realize the importance of range in value. I played around with different options for subject matter.

I was so set on animal eyes because they are so freaken interesting! Zooming in no an elephant or an owl or an iguana and getting to see all the cool designs, the textures, the range in value. I knew that the students would find them extremely awesome too.

Before introducing them to the actual eyes, I had them create a value scale. They had to create 7 different ranges in value, going from dark to light. They also had to use four different techniques: Hatching, Cross Hatching, Stipple, and Scribble. I graded their value scales as an assignment grade. During this time, we also read some worksheets about shadows, midtones, highlights, etc. This way, students were familiar with the vocabulary and they were able to associate different words to their drawings.

When finished, I discussed how to grid artwork. Since this was the first time students were drawing something, and something realistic at that, I wanted to start slow and let them use the grid method because I really wanted the focus to be on the value. I encouraged them to find the shadows and highlights first, this way they were getting the darkest tones into their drawings.

I gave them the option to either work box by box or to sketch out the basic contour lines and then go back in and shade. Either way, I freaken love the results. My kids understand value and they have really awesome eye drawings that they are proud of!

Animal Eye Value Drawings Art Education
Animal Eye Value Drawings Art Education
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Color Study Composition Still Lifes

This lesson is one of my favorites, why you may ask??

Because there is so much to cover in our curriculum calendar. There is so much that kids need to be learning. I want to have time to teach them extra, because art is so cool and so interesting. But how do I do that if I have no time??

In order to make time, I created a lesson that focuses in on A TON of things that are listed in the curriculum calendar. This lesson covers the following topics:

We discussed Composition- Students learned about Rule of Thirds, Grouping, Emphasis with Color, etc. Students were asked to create a composition from their still life objects, using either three, four, or five boxes.

We discussed Color Theory. Before doing this project, I had students do a lot of worksheets and exercises to learn about Primary, Secondary, Analogous, Complementary, Monochromatic, Warm and Cool Colors.

We discussed shading and use of value. Before doing this project, students had created Value Animal Eye Drawings (which is also posted on my blog), to practice shading with just black and white. Adding color in the next step, in my opinion.

So there are a ton of different ways to present this lesson, and a ton of ways to alter it.

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Personalized Mandalas

After finishing Contour & Blind Contour Line Drawings, I wanted my students to take a different approach to our focus on Line, Shape, and Color. I wanted to do something completely different from the contour and blind contour lines… something more focused, intricate, neat, organized, etc. I decided to do Mandalas!

This was my first time teaching this lesson and I really love the results! I typically have sketchbook prompts posted on the board when students come in. They begin drawing for the first ten minutes or so of class. The week before starting mandalas, I had students draw symbols or designs that were simple, yet described themselves. I had students draw bows, flowers, bikes, ice cream, pizza, basketballs, baseball, just to name a few. Students built up many small symbols in their sketchbooks.

We then took a look at Mandalas. Students were guided through setting up a circular grid using compasses. I asked students to personalize their mandalas into an original composition. Again, they were asked to choose a color scheme or a color combination of some sort.

Students were focused and really enjoyed this project. At the end, I had a google classroom assignment that was essentially an Exit Slip. It asked students to Compare and Contrast the difference between the Contour and Blind Contour Line Drawing Vs. Mandalas. I also asked students questions that were personal to their work, to offer them a reflection opportunity to discuss what they did or did not like.

This was hands down one of my favorite lessons I have taught! Pictures below!

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Blind Contour Line Drawings

Soon since last time I’ve blogged… I accepted a new position! I went from K-8, back to high schoolers. I now teach three sections of Drawing & Painting and two sections of Ceramics.

One huge difference I noticed at the beginning of this year was how quiet my high schoolers were! Middle schoolers could care less what people think about them- they came in those first few days loud and crazy. My high schoolers really took (and are still) taking time to warm up in the classroom setting.

We began the year by focusing on three Elements of Art: Line, Shape, and Color. We discussed Contour Lines & Blind Contour Lines. I also gave my students a run through on basic color theory. They learned about Primary, Secondary, Monochromatic, Warm & Cool, Analogous & Complimentary Color Schemes.

To get my students a little out of their comfort zone, I had them partner up and draw their partner using blind contour lines. This means that they were not allowed to look at their paper, but were only allowed to look at their partner. This really got them laughing and interested about the project. I emphasized the importance of taking their time and focusing on all details, because the more detailed the drawing, the more interesting it would be!

Once finished, we discussed composition briefly. We talked about how to arrange things in an interesting way. Students used a light box to trace their new compositions. Lastly, they selected a color scheme of their choice. They added details, colors, patterns, and decorations to their drawings.

As a first project for an Art I class, I am very happy with these results! This was a very fun project, that the students enjoyed, and the results came out very nice!

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6th Grade Sculpture Ceramic Face Mugs

I decided to be daring with my crazy 6th grade class. The class that I had more students than chairs and table space, yet somehow I’ve managed to fit them all together. The class where all the skill levels are mixed, ranging from gifted and talented to absolutely no experience or interest in art.

This class is goofy, as most sixth graders often are. So I knew I needed a lesson plan that could hold their interest, while still giving them a wide range of creativity and the ability to expand on their ideas. I decided to create a lesson where students would create clay mugs, and then sculpt a face of some sort of the side of it. I wanted them to create mugs that had a ton of personality.

I recommend having students pass a basic clay tools and vocabulary test before they are working. This could include basic terms such as slip, score, needle tool, carving tool, metal tool, bone-dry, etc. One thing I did not include which I should have elaborated on way more is the variety of different clay tools and when it is best to use each one. That is something I ended up telling students as I went around and helped them individually.

Once students pass the basic clay test, then it is time to discuss the project. I showed students a variety of great sculpture examples, along with different styles of cups and mugs. I allowed them the creativity to expand beyond a basic shape, to play around with handles, to make a cup that is function versus a cup that is just nice to look at. Like I often do, I required that students handed in two completed sketches of two different ideas. I reminded them to include details and to consider how they could create a clay mug with personality.

I showed a demonstration to my students on how to create a clay mug by rolling out clay, creating a base, and attaching all of the pieces together by slipping and scoring. From there, they were allowed to change the shape into whatever way they wanted. I walked around individually and helped students, making sure to pass back their graded sketches so they had an idea of what they were trying to accomplish.

I graded these using my standard format for how I grade projects. 25% Subject Matter and Creativity, 25% Sculpting Clay, 25% Craftsmanship and Applying Glaze, and 25% Effort and Participation. Here are some of my favorites!

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Crafts Clay Tile Triptychs

I want to share a very successful lesson that I taught my high school Crafts I students. Many of these student were taking Crafts as an Art class, rather than taking Art I. However, I still wanted students to gain a strong understanding of basic art concepts and vocabulary.

A great clay project that they worked on was to create an original triptych. Before doing so, I taught them about triptychs and showed them various art history examples of where triptychs could be found in real life situations. We discussed where they originated from, where they could be found, etc. If you are interested in the PowerPoint presentation that goes along with this, please let me know!

Another important concept that students had to learn before starting are the basic clay techniques. Many of these students had never worked with clay before so it was important to go over the most basic stuff. For example, clay dries out! We talked about how to properly store clay so that it would be workable for multiple days. We went over basic vocabulary such as slipping and scoring, clay tools and when to use them, etc.

I focused a lot of their attention of the difference between additive and subtractive techniques. That is, if they are adding clay onto their tile or if they are taking away clay and carving out their tile. Students had to pass a quiz on clay tools and techniques before I let them begin. I also had students sketch out their ideas before we moved on to clay.

Overall, I was very pleased with the results from this lesson. I realized that many of the students had no practice with clay up until this project, so it was really great to see the results. I opted to have this class paint with acrylic paint rather than glaze, and I really enjoyed the way they turned out. I had them seal it with an acrylic gloss to make it shiny and really seal the colors in.

Here are some pictures of the finished work!

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