Art lessons for Foundation to Year 6 – Victorian Curriculum aligned
I am a primary school Art teacher in Melbourne, Australia. I have been teaching Art for 10 years and I love finding out about artists and their artworks to inspire students. I want to share my lesson and unit plans and student artwork examples with other art teachers.
Different Autumn leaves can be used to add variety of shape and size to this art project. Students used a foam roller to roll white paint over a leaf, and then place it carefully onto black paper, placing another piece of paper on top and rubbing it with a flat hand, before carefully lifting the paper and leaf.
Autumn colours (warm colours) were then dabbed around the leaf print.
ANZAC day in Australia marks the courage and bravery of soldiers on the day the ANZAC soldiers landed in Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915, and broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and/or died in all wars. School usually have a ceremony to remember the people who suffered and sacrificed their lives during wars.
I cut out a large circle wreath shape from a cardboard box. Students sponged green paint over one side. They also sponged a combination of green, yellow and brown over green cover paper with leaf templates already drawn on the back. Once dry, the leaves were cut out and glued onto the cardboard wreath.
Students used circles of red tissue paper, crepe paper or patty pans to make a poppy.
Students used real Autumn leaves to draw the outline of the shape. They then used warm / Autumn colours to colour the leaf in coloured pencils; brown or red pencil to draw the lines of the veins. Sharpies (fine liners) were used to add zentangle patterns in each section.
Autumn is a great time to use colourful leaves of various shapes and sizes for students to use for observation drawings. I had Year 4 students choose a leaf to place in front of them to draw (some students found it easier to trace the leaf to get the shape right) They began using oil pastels in a colour close to the colours on the leaf, making sure to emphasise the veins on the leaf. They blended colours with their finger to spread the colour to look natural, rather than blocks of colours.
The topic for the school was ‘Community’ so I thought Year 5 and 6 could look at the houses in the local area (including student’s own homes if they chose). I introduced the Australian artist Howard Arkley (now deceased) and his artwork through a youtube video (see lesson unit plan) and a powerpoint with examples of his artwork. (see below)
Arkley’s house artworks were inspired by houses in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh. After returning from Europe he observed the suburban decorative gates and flywire doors, and used the patterns on his exterior and interior house artworks. He mainly used an airbrush on his artworks because he could make marks quickly and didn’t really like working directly with a paintbrush. He used real estate adverts and magazines for the images.
First, I actually got the students to do some research to get some basic facts about Arkley and his style and technique of art, and produce it as an artist poster (along the way discussing principles of art to help with the composition- balance, variety, etc.
Students used ipads to take a photo of their own home from the front or from the street, or get a screen shot of it from google street view, or get a screen shot of a local house from a real estate website.
Students at my school have their own ipads, so it makes it easy for them to use apps for digital art. They used the Brushes Redux App (free) to bring in the photo, add a layer and then trace the outline of the house, garden, fence etc. They uploaded just the traced outline to Google classroom, so I could print these off on A3 paper.
They then painted their house and surrounds in exaggerated colours, and blue dye wash for the sky. Early finishers experimented with making stencil prints, to see the colour contrast and pattern design to help them decide where would be best to use particular patterns.
Next lesson, students masked off areas with strips of paper so they only printed within the chosen outlines.
This art lesson is a good for Foundation students early in the year. It fits in well with themes of ‘Community’ or ‘My Neighbourhood’ when these Mondrian artworks can be interpreted like a map with the lines being streets and the coloured shapes being places on the map like houses. It introduces the primary colours and horizontal and vertical lines. Full lesson plan with Victorian Curriculum alignments below.
Our school theme was Community, so for Foundation students it was all about the places familiar to them. So our first activity in the art room was to make a collage (mixed media) of their house (with a bit of added imagination!) Full lesson plan below.
When students start school in Foundation (Prep) some are not confident with certain activities in the art room, so I really show them lots of examples, use directed drawing or as with this activity, have some pre-cut shapes for them to choose from, and then they can add their own details. This activity took 2 one hour lessons. The lesson plan below has the learning intentions and success criteria, lesson activity sequence and materials.