Tuesday, April 7, 2015

In the Art Room: 2nd Grade Printed and Chalked Butterflies

Next week my super awesome second grade students are going to be involved in a street painting event! Chalk artist Lee Jones will be coming to our school and working with the second grade to create street paintings. Because the kids are learning about the Monarch butterfly in their classroom (they'll be getting their very own caterpillar this spring), I thought they could chalk butterfly designs. To practice for next week's event, the kids busted out these butterfly beauties this week. I popped a photo of 'em up on my instagram yesterday and it blew up with questions. So I thought I'd try to answer 'em today. Let's hope it makes a smidge of sense. 
This lesson was short and sweet. It took us a grand total of two 30 minute art classes to complete. Here is a list of supplies we used:

* 12" X 18" paper folded in half
* watered down black tempera paint (I love Sax's Versa Temp)
* paint brushes
* KOSS chalk pastels
 During the intro to this lesson, we chatted briefly about our upcoming visit from Lee Jones. I then introduced the Monarch butterfly to the kids with this prezi. Feel free to borrow away! 
After that chat, each student collected the paper and paint brushes. They jotted their names down on their papers and immediately turned their attention to me. At this point, we only had a short 15 minutes to get this bad boy painted so there was no time to lose. 
This painting process was great because I could introduce all sorts of groovy math terms like symmetrical and parallel. I made a short clip for y'all to explain the process. I do hope it helps! You can find more of my lesson video clips here
Like, Holy Cats, how simple is that, right?!
 And I love how each one turned out. I got the idea this weekend when I googled butterfly artists. Of course, my homeboy Andy popped up. 
This summer when I taught a workshop based on an Andy Warhol exhibit, the docent revealed just how Andy accomplished that blotted look which he is so known for in his early work. Apparently he would paint with ink then blot his work with a paper. This would give the effect of an uneven line. I thought this would be a great way for the kids to create their butterflies as well. 
 In the video clip, I mention how I tell the kids that something is "practice". I often tell the children that to have them relax a bit. If they think that it's just a fun creative experience (cuz, duh, it is), I've found that they loosen up a bit and let go of the notion of perfection. 9 times outta 10, they grow to love their "practice" piece so much that they never ask to start again. 
Some kids were bothered that the line didn't appear as clearly once printed. In which case, some repainted those lines on the other side. 
 Now let's talk chalk, shall we? I purchased this KOSS chalk just for our sidewalk painting event. And, I gotta tell ya, we've been using it nonstop since I got it! My third graders are currently chalking these lovely desert landscapes. This chalk is loaded with pigment and it's just so stinkin' rich. Check it out, y'all!

On the second day of art, I told the kids that there were just a coupla tips for chalking: they shouldn't use more than three colors and the colors should be analogous. Notice all the warm colors at the top? Those colors look great together! Pick three from that side. Love all the colors at the bottom? Perfect, they love being with each other, feel free to pick three from there. But mixing the two sets of colors may result in dull colors. And who wants a dull butterfly y'all? That's what moths are for! 
 A kid after my own heart: mixing the chalk with her fingers. Some used tissues but I found that often wiped the color away. 
 Many kids went the Monarch route...
While some wanted theirs to be "camo-greens". Sargent Flappy Wings. You got it!
 Each one of 'em was an absolute stunner. I cannot wait to see just what these kids chalk outside!
By the way, I think I'm in love with the white background. The kids and I chatted about cutting them out ("Let's hang them up! From the ceiling!" Oh, yeah, kids. The Fire Marshall would LOVE that!). For now, I think they'll stay this way. But if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear 'em! Until next time, y'all!
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  1. You could cut them out and "pin" them with straight pins to a black foam core background to make them look like an entomologist was studying them.

  2. They are just beautiful, Cassie. I wouldn't have thought to use chalk cuz of the mess factor, but your kids work make chalk look irresistible!

  3. wow! thanks so much for adding the video too. these came out great - maybe hang a bunch of them on strings along the wall...?

  4. Anonymous4/22/2015

    Love the butterflys and the ceiling tile butterflys too! You may have seen this but its a cool video on formative assessment using the visual arts. Check it out!! https://vimeo.com/38247060

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. However the steps followed in order to complete a great creative work almost been so admirable here, this will of course create out more of the opportunities for others as well to at least make an attempt towards it. rate my essay

  7. Put them on sticks and make sculptures!

  8. I just did this lesson with my students! They loves it and it was quick and easy! They cut them out and I plan on pinning them to a tree I am making for our local student art festival next month! I showed the students pictures of the butterfly trees in Mexico and told them we were going to make our own! Wish me luck!

  9. This was one of my most successful and engaging lessons to date! I always steer away from traditional, kitschy themes but I'm so glad I stumbled across this video! (15 min before class started lol) You're awesome!

  10. THanks Cassie! I have used a few of your lessons since I started teaching elementary art, and they have all been successful! I'm planning on doing this with third grade and then hanging them with this inspirational quote.


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  12. I was reading your article and wondered if you had considered creating an ebook on this subject. Your writing would sell it fast. You have a lot of writing talent.

  13. Love this! I might introduce this lesson by reading Yuyi Morales's book, Dreamers, and talking about the symbolism of the monarchs that she uses.

  14. Thank you for this! I teach high school, but my life skills kids LOVED this and they turned out so cool!


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