Thursday, January 3, 2013

In the Art Room: Pieces of Paris

Framed masterpieces by my fourth grade artists.
My winter break is quickly coming to an end. It's been a lovely couple of weeks of traveling, crafting and catching up with fam and friends. Come Monday, it's back to reality. And I'm ready. I've missed my little artist buddies and their awesomeness. I snapped these photos of the last of the Parisian-themed projects my fourth graders completed before break. I thought I'd share this lesson with you.
Each 3" square was to be French-themed. This artist did a pretty bang-up job. From the top left to right: Le Sacre Coer, words in French, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, a fleur de lis and more words in French.
If you've been reading this blog since the beginning of the school year, then you are familiar with the Parisian theme with which we started. I painted my windows, the entrance to my classroom and sewed some dresses to get the kids excited about Paris. You can see the French-y works of art by my first graders, second and a couple of projects by my third graders here and here.
From top left to right: French words, the Eiffel Tower, French words, fleur de lis, French words and the Arc de Triomphe.
We began this project at the start of the school year after finishing our passports and suitcase portfolios. I wanted a project that would introduce many different types of media and enhance their drawing skills while teaching all-things-Frenchy. So our first order of business was learning the language. We had the help of Fifi (my smart mouthed pink poodle puppet), a couple of learning-French CDs and google translate. 

On a 8" x 11" sheet of paper, the artist wrote French words or drew mini pictures of famous icons of Paris in water-based marker. Once completed, they chose a handful of their favorite words and drawings to trace over in colorful sharpie markers. They then quickly brushed water over their papers causing the water-based markers to bleed and give a tie-dye effect to the background. Some artists added salt for that snow-flakey effect.

Originally that was gong to be the background for a different project entirely. But when I saw how their paintings were turning out, I decided to go a different route. Teaching is like that, you know? No matter how much planning and trouble-shooting you do, things don't always go according to plan. Which can often be a good thing.
But back to the paintings. We set those aside until the tail end of the project. When we'd finished all of our other little 3" mini-masterpieces, we got them back out, cut 3" squares of our favorite parts of the painting and added them to the final project.
Next up: Metal tooling. I love doing metal tooling with the kids. They learn so much about line, texture and color, if we happen to throw sharpies into the mix. This young artist chose to draw her version of the stained glass window in Notre Dame.
A mini Arc de Triomphe. After our French lesson, we learned all about the famous places of Paris, France. It was easy to pique their interest as they have a close buddy that recently visited all of these places: Jes! The artists were inspired by photos of his adventures in the City of Love.
After that: Scratch art. Dude, my students love scratch art paper. But it's expensive! So doing these wee masterpieces gives them great experience without breaking my art budget.
Le Sacre Coer is like the Where's Waldo in so many paintings of Paris. Because it sits high on Montmartre, it can be seen from all over the city. When chatting about this with the kids, one student said, "Ooooh. I thought that was the White House," to which another replied, "Really? In Paris?" Que eye-rolls, face palms and snickers. "What?! It does kinda look like it." I would have to agree.
Our last little drawing surface was this translucent stained glass paper stuff I'd had in my closet forever. These little drawings were perfect for out 1/2 hour art classes. We kept them in envelopes marked with our names.
Not sure if that's a moat or just a circle of silver encompassing the Notre Dame.
Top left to right: paint palette with fancy background, an artist hard at work, French words, more Frenchy goodness, the Eiffel Tower and Bonjour!
When all of the drawings were complete, we painted the background paper. I gave a quick lesson on color mixing and the use of texture combs. The kids chose a piece of colored construction paper to paint on and texture.
Bon appetit! When asked the chef was holding I was told "stinky fromage." Duh, silly me.
Once our envelopes were stuffed with mini pieces of Paris, the framing commenced. At this point, we were just a pinch over it so I really had to stay on the kids to use their best craftsmanship when framing. I started out with, "I'm so proud of your hard work. Be sure to take the same care when framing..." which quickly turned into "If you don't frame that carefully your evil art teacher will make you redo it." 

New kid looking around the room: "Who's the evil art teacher?"

Veteran kid jerking his head toward me: "That lady."

New kid looking up at me as I change my expression from smiling to Cruella Deville: shivers and gets back to work. 


As you return to work, school, and life in these upcoming days of the brand new year, have fun!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1/04/2013

    Your studets are really lucky to have you---they have no idea! We adults that work in the building with you admire your work with the kids. (And wish we could partake of the experiences also!) K.F.


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