I am so happy to share more beautiful art with you. Fairlawn fourth graders really succeeded in creating collograph printing plates and the prints that resulted are fabulous.
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We created the plates with two textures. Craft foam rendered a smooth surface and corrugated a ridged texture. I prepared for the first session of creating the printing plates by cutting  cardboard into 6 by 8 inch pieces for the base of the plate. I cut and soaked 4 by 6 inch cardboard, and peeled off an outside layer of each piece to expose the ridges, and cut craft foam to the same size. Each student received a base plate, an open faced piece of corrugated and foam.
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The students were directed to cut three freehand shapes from both the corrugated and foam. They used glue sticks and placed them on the base plate. They used the remaining scraps and cut them into smaller pieces trimming them to fit between each other and  glued them down. It was sort of like putting a puzzle together. The toughest part was trimming the pieces so that there was a space between each piece, but as you can see, they succeeded.
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After all the pieces were glued in place, the students used white glue and painted the entire plate, being sure to get the glue into the grooves of the corrugated and the spaces in between the shapes. The white glued then dried creating a seal around and over the pieces.
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The next session was two weeks later, so the white glue was good and dry. In this session the students used tempera paint and were directed to blend secondary colors adding black paint to create shades and white paint to create tints. Then they quickly painted their plates, applied a wash of water to their paper and placed the paper over the plate. Using their fingers and palms they smoothed the paper over the plates, then removed it to expose the print.
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The results were fantastic! The print above was a total surprise. I was sure it wouldn't come out because it took so long for the student to painstakingly apply each color, the paint was drying. But we applied a bit of water to each piece right before printing and this was enough to revitalize the paint. Wow! is all I can say!
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There was only one student who realized that he had to place his shapes in reverse to print out a word. He is the clever one!
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If there was any difficulty it was waiting too long to pull the print and the glue revitalized and caused the paper to stick to the plate. You can see in the sample above how the print is torn and pieces are stuck to the printing plate. I don't think it takes away from the print. If anything, it adds texture. This was difficult for the students to see. They felt like they had done it worng. But I assured them their prints were spectacular.
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Also, there were results that were not quite as clear. As shown above, this happened because the student forgot to put a wash of water on the paper prior to printing.

This was a great exercise. I am repeating it with second graders and so far they have done a fabulous job creating their plates. I can't wait to share their prints with you. Be sure to stay tuned for that!

 
 
On Tuesday of last week I worked with four groups of first graders. One of the visual arts standards for first grade is the use of texture. We are using the work of Gustav Klimt as our example of texture and shape in works of art.
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Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)
I shared many samples of Klimt's work and we identified the different shapes he used. Our work focused on "The Kiss,1907-1908"
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"The Kiss,1907-1908"
After the introduction, I took the students through a direct instruction lesson with step by step modeling.
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We began by gluing precut squares and rectangles from black and white paper to a golden background. This represents Klimt's use of gold leaf in his original work.
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Starting at the bottom of the page, I modeled on the overhead projector, different sets of shapes that can be found in, "The Kiss." 
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As we added shapes I informally introduced vocabulary for texture. 

During our second session we used view finders to locate specific examples of texture, and sketchbooks to record our choices.
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I passed around objects so the students could feel the texture and clarify vocabulary definitions.
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Finally, the students drew their representation of the texture in their books. It was a great lesson. The children were so enthused about touching the different items and discussing how they felt. They made connections to past experiences and were very insightful. 
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Stay tuned for our next lesson. We will be creating imaginary animals and representing the texture of their hides with sketch examples. 
 
 
This week my kindergarten classes investigated the artist Paul Klee. We are studying line and shape, and Klee's work is fabulous as an example.
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Paul Klee (1849–1940)
We looked at many samples of Klee's work, but focused our investigation on his work, "Park bei Lu 1938."
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"Park bei Lu 1938."
We talked about the things you might find in a park and our vocabulary word for the day was, represent. I asked the children what the lines in Klee's work might represent. They said slides and swing sets, trees and people.
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To begin, the children glued black yarn to watercolor paper to represent the things they would see at a park. This step was a challenge because the glue sticks we were using didn't stick to the yarn. So instead, we put the glue on the paper and stuck the yarn to it. 
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Before we started painting, I demonstrated how to use the paint brush to pull the paint. We practiced pulling the brush rather than scrubbing with it. It was a delight to see how the children applied this new skill to their work.
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I am so pleased with the results. The children created beautiful works of art. I wish I could share them all with you. Previously I shared the project with my husband. He was sure I was expecting way too much from kindergarteners. When he saw the results, he was blown away. He said each and every one was exceptional. I think you will agree!
 
 
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. 
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. 
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. 
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. 
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. 
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence. 
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.
 ... Abraham Lincoln 
 
 
I really had a great time with my first Children's Creative Project workshops. I spent two days with students at La Honda Elementary School in Lompoc and Fairview Elementary in Santa Maria. Take a look at what was created! 
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Kindergarten: Study of Line and Shape
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Grade 2: Monoprint color mixing, tempera on plexiglas printed on wet paper.
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Grade 2: Monoprint color mixing, tempera on plexiglas printed on dry paper.
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Grade 3: Color study value, shade and tint.
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Grade 4: Monoprint color mixing tempera printed on wet paper from plexiglas. 
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Grade 6: Positive, negative space across a line of symmetry.