Year 3/4 have been learning about different biomes in their classroom, and in art lessons we have been making artworks about various biomes too. These artworks are focusing on aquatic biomes, specifically coral reefs. For inspiration we looked at the illustrations in the book, ‘Hidden in the Sea’ by Peggy Nille, and the art of Melanie Hava, (@artofmelaniehava) an Indigenous artist from Queensland, near the Great Barrier Reef. We also did an artwork comparison with one of Ken Done’s reef paintings.
Painting the sea was also a lesson about tints by mixing white with blue from light to dark. We used Melanie Hava’s ‘A Reef Wonderland‘ as the inspiration for the sea with a light source from a circle. Students started with a white circle high on the paper, then gradually added more blue in concentric circles until the filled to the edges of the paper and top of reef outline drawn at the bottom.
After looking closely at Melanie Hava and Peggy Nille’s illustrations students add patterns of lines and shapes to the reef. They then draw 3-4 sea creatures in size proportion to each other on a smaller piece of paper (A4). These are coloured in with paint sticks or markers and patterns and details added with paint pens (like Posca)
Next step was colouring the sections of the coral reef with warm colours- we used Zart paint sticks/slicks, as they give the painterly effect, but dry quickly. Paint pens (like Posca) are used to add texture, patterns and plants.
Final step is for students to cut out their sea creatures, arrange and paste them onto the background.
Year 3/4 Victorian Curriculum aligned lesson plan: Learning Intentions, success criteria, links to artist’s work, learning activities, Venn diagram for a comparing two artworks, reference sheet with organic patterns for reef and plants, student self evaluation rubric, student artwork examples.
Year 3/4 project looking at Australian animal habitats and biome of temperate forests where koalas, possums, sugar gliders, quolls etc. live. Students viewed and discussed artworks by a local wildlife artist and then chose an animal (I had plenty of print out image photos to choose from – mostly koalas) and sketching it large on their paper. They then used dye wash for the negative space, before mixing colours to paint the tree and animal using brush strokes to help create texture.
Foam leaf shapes were embossed with lines and then printed around the animal. Extra texture was added with chalk pastels, like on the animal’s fur and especially a koala’s ears!
Lesson plan linked to Yr 3-4 Victorian Curriculum, learning intentions, success criteria, artist artwork (with link for website) for discussion, lesson activities and materials, evaluation rubric.
This lesson is part of a series of lessons around the theme of ‘BIOMES’- (geographical area consisting of a biological community formed in response to the regional climate), this one being a GRASSLAND BIOME. There are many examples of African animal / savanna sunset silhouettes in stock photos and art, and was perfect for Year 3/4 skill set- drawing from observation, fine cutting, and arranging on a warm sunset background.
First we watched a video: The African Savannah – Virtual Field Trip and discussed this grassland biome, listing animals that live there. They viewed some examples of sunset silhouettes with African animals and students used pictures on Google of African animal silhouettes to draw just the shape outline of 2-3 animals and an acacia tree- all in proportion to each other- onto black cover paper (125gsm). The background was made with warm coloured food dye wash on A3 paper.
In the second lesson, the students fringed the edges of a long strip of black paper, then snipped pieces out at an angle to glue along the bottom of the sunset background for the grass. Next they carefully cut out their animals and tree, arranging before gluing down.
I did this project with Year 3/4, but would be really great do with Year 5/6 (11-12 year olds). Firstly, students viewed and analysed different types of landscapes by Australian artists, including Streeton, Drysdale, McCubbin, Namitjira, and Nolan.
Students began this project by choosing an Australian landscape type they wanted to depict. We sorted photos into the following categories: Beach, Bush, Mountains, Desert, River and Rain forest.
Students Began by mixing paint colours to match their photo to paint the background/ underneath layer of their landscape inside a sturdy box lid.
Next lesson they began to texture such as sand, tissue paper, bark, etc to the background- furthest away, moving to middle ground and then foreground. When complete they thought of an interesting title for their landscape and filled out a reflection/ evaluation sheet which was stuck to the back of the box.
Lesson Plan aligned to Year 3/4 Victorian Curriculum with learning intentions, success criteria, slides of Australian landscapes for analysis, analysis sheet, lesson activities and discussion questions, examples of student work, reflection/ evaluation sheet.
When looking at Street at with students, there are some interesting discussions about graffiti and street art and the fine line between the two. Of course there is much street art that is done with permission or on commission, but some graffiti (not done with permission) can be powerful art too! And then of course there is the graffiti that is only considered vandalism because people don’t appreciate it as art.
We looked at the different styles and types of graffiti / street art including tags (nick name or initials), a throw (still using a nickname or word, but often done with block or bubble letters that are coloured in), a ‘piece’ (like a throw, but usually with more colour), a ‘piece’: (more time spent on the visual conventions of the design including overlapping letters in a style like wildstyle, bubble or block letters adding dimension to the lettering to give it more form, like shadowing, and colour graduation and combination); and stencils which the artist (looked at Banksy’s work) has pre-made a cut out to spray over onto the surface. (see Banksy Stencil post)
The students did a Seesaw activity to review terminology so they could match the terms with some some graffiti & street art images.
Using just their initials, students drew a tag, then explored thicker lettering styles, before deciding which one to use for their (master)’piece’.
A background of a brick wall was printed using foam blocks, and a large “dripping paint blob” was cut out to go under the letters. The lettering needed to be slightly overlapped or connected, outlined, have dimension added in the way of shadow lines and colours chosen to contrast the paint blob.
Lesson plan contains links to Victorian Curriculum, learning intentions and success criteria, rubric for student self assessment, links to useful youTube videos for the class, lesson steps and activities with photo examples, display photos of different types of graffiti (taken by me!) with explanation, and link to an online graffiti maker for early finishers.
This was a favourite project, the students loved designing and making their own soft “Ugly Doll” toy. The school topic was “Celebrate Difference!” Many students had seen the 2019 Ugly Doll movie, but we watched the trailer on YouTube so everyone got a sense of how it related to the topic. We discussed the ideas and messages in the film: e.g. “Our flaws are what make us unique.”
Students set about drafting a shape and design for their ‘ugly doll’ in their scrap books. The shape needed to be fairly simple so that it would be easy to sew around. Arms, legs, ears or any other appendages were added separately. I gave them half and A4 paper to make a template that size to cut out and pin to their chosen felt colour (two pieces cut together).
Felt scraps, buttons, wool etc, could be sewn or glued onto the top piece of felt to create the face, hair etc. They cut out arms, legs, etc. pinning to the body shape.
The two pieces are pinned around the edges and are stitched together, using either a running stitch or a whip stitch, leaving an opening at the top or bottom for stuffing, then stitched up.
Students draw a cow on A3 paper to mostly fill the paper. Colour it in a chosen breed. We used the Discover Dairy website to help choose: Cow Breeds Interactive We used water soluble pastels to colour then painted with water to give it a painted look. Food dye wash for sky and grass.
On A4 paper draw the cows four stomachs and label, making sure it will fit inside the cow’s stomach that they drew. Cut a flap in cow (I did this for them with a scalpel knife (Stanley knife)- basically a “U” shape, so you can see the stomachs stuck behind when you lift the flap.
The students loved learning about English graffiti artist Banksy and his stencil work. We were working on a unit about graffiti and street art and whether we think it is vandalism or art. The children learnt that while painting on public or private spaces is illegal, many thought if it was appealing and colourful or well drawn it could be classed as art. Banksy’s art is definitely appealing and very well executed, along with being thought provoking or conveying a message. We looked at how artists can use a stencil to very quickly spray a picture onto a wall or surface.
First we experimented with patterned stencils using rollers to print onto paper.
I used a scalpel knife to cut some famous Banksy designs onto A4 plastic sheets to use as a stencil with black spray paint. Students could choose two of the Banksy stencils to fit onto their A3 stencilled paper. They pressed the spray button on the black spay paint can while I directed it around the stencil for even coverage. (I am lucky enough to have double doors to the outside that I could open for ventilation whilst spraying just outside the door with a couple of students at a time.)
Jasper Johns is an American born (1930) artist (painter, sculptor, printmaker) who made artworks were about icons of everyday life including motifs and symbols like the American flag, a target, numbers and the alphabet. He often used stencilled letters and numbers.
For this art lesson, done with Year 3/4’s we looked at his artwork, ‘Alphabet’ with it’s continuous sequence of letters to fill the paper. Interestingly this artwork is only about A4 paper size. We made our artwork on A3 size paper.
Paper on Hardboard
30.5cm x 26.7cm
Students folded their lengthways twice, to give four columns, then twice the other way to end up with 16 rectangles (4 rows of 4). Firstly they write the letters of their name in grey lead continuously and repeated until the rectangles on the paper are filled, so it does not matter how short or long your name is. Next oil pastels were used to to go over parts of each letter, until all the grey lead is covered and the letters are thick.
We used food dye “wash” to brush over each section for an oil pastel resist. I have containers with diluted food dye at the ready in my art room as we use it a lot for things like adding backgrounds to artworks- quicker than painting!
Learning Intention: To use shape and colour to make a candy heart with a positive message and a complementary coloured background.
Success Criteria: I can draw a heart with a positive message inscribed inside the shape. I can add a shadow line to give it a 3D appearance. I can use a darker colour value to use on the sides. I can use the complementary colour for the background.
This lesson was done earlier this year before Coronavirus lock downs became something we had to endure here in Melbourne for many months. The messages certainly resonate now as we wait to see if shops, restaurants and bars can reopen and if we can socialise with friends.
The students used chalk pastels for the heart shape, darker on the edges. The background is food dye wash.