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.
Year 5-6 Art unit – 5 one hour lessons
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.
Mixed Media House
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.
I spend a lot of time on planning for my art lessons, usually wanting to fit in with a class topic or school theme. I research artists whose work students can view and use for inspiration. I want to share my lessons and plans so that other art teachers may just find it saves some time not having to write/type up the details of every lesson. I’m always on the lookout for ready made lessons I can cut and paste into my documents, but more often than not, I am writing my own.
I often look for ideas for student artwork on the topic, then work out the Elements of art that can be covered, skills, techniques and processes to be engaged with and adaptations for the year level.
As I am teaching in Victoria, Australia, we use the Victorian Curriculum which has four strands (Explore and Express, Visual Art Practices, Present and Perform, and Respond and Interpret) all of which involve making and responding to art. Most primary school art Curriculums will have similar structure, standards and descriptors.
Here is a blank unit planning template for Foundation with the Victorian Curriculum with the strands and standards. I usually add in the 5E sequence (Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend/Elaborate/ Explain) in the description of the learning activities.