I only have 10 more classes to teach and then I’m done for the summer! I’m already thinking about next year and evaluating which projects made my heart go pitter-patter and which ones need some improvement. Here are my faves and fails from the year.
Foil People Sculptures
My hands-down favorite were the foil people sculptures I did with my fifth grade class. There was such a great energy in the room when they were creating these. I collaborated with the classroom teacher and she had them write a descriptive paragraph about their person. For this year’s art fair I put all the 3-D art in one room and they were I displayed them prominently with their writing hung behind the sculpture. I made a video to show them how to make the body from a piece of aluminum foil.
My second favorite was a first grade lesson about architecture, foreground, middleground and background. I started with slides of famous buildings and we discussed how architects consider the landscape around the building. I had 4 colors of card stock cut into 8×8 squares and folded in half. I showed them how to make tabs so the paper houses could stand up in their environment. One of my favorites has a dinosaur on top of a house! We made them in December, and a couple of them had a Christmas lights to their buildings—so darling!
To display these for the art fair, I created paper corner brackets that helps the L-shaped paper stay in an upright position.
I loved it so much that I did the same project with students in an afterschool enrichment class that I taught at another elementary school. Most of the kids in the class were in first and second grades. Someone in this class came up at the idea to put two pieces of paper together to make a double-wide landscape. I love it when the kids are more creative than me!
Modigliani & the Fang People
This is a lesson I developed for Pop up Art School. I showed 3rd grade slides of Amadeo Modigliani’s artwork. He is famous for elegant portraits of people with elongated faces and necks. Modigliani saw an exhibition of the ritual masks of the Fang people of western Africa. I showed Modigliani’s work alongside the masks. The comparison made it clear where he derived his signature style from.
I wrote a blog post about this lesson, so you can read more about it here. I will teach this again, but I won’t be using the floral foam for printing!
Gadget Printed Hearts
The inspiration for this project came from a Pinterest post. When I think of this lesson, I think of the Pinterest meme “Nailed It!“ I loved the finished work that the other art teacher accomplished. The first step was to paint a large heart. I quickly realized that kindergarteners need scaffolding to make a heart shape. The original post suggests putting different color paints on each table and have the class rotate from table to table. Even though I had the help of the kindergarten aide, chaos ensued. Oh well, the kids had a blast and they learned a printing technique. It just didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.
Stay tuned! Next week, Janell will share her art class faves and fails.
We’d love to hear about your faves and fails from your art class, art workshops or library programs. Leave a comment below or join us in our Facebook group Freelance Art Teachers in Libraries. The group is for sharing ideas about teaching art and other subjects in public libraries. Whether you are a librarian looking for new ideas or a teacher seeking a profitable AND enjoyable side hustle, we are here to answer questions and support you!