Last year, my third grade students worked with their table groups of four friends to come up with positive four letter words that describe our school. Guess which lame-o and lazy art teacher JUST HUNG THEM UP THIS WEEK! That's right...this gal right here.
This collaborative is one that I think would be a wonderful back to school activity. It really inspired conversations on just who we are as a school and who we strive to be. As a class, we sat on the floor, looked at the work of both Jasper Johns and Robert Indiana. After a discussion of their work, I asked the kids to help me brainstorm a list of four letter positive words. Once the list was complete, the kids were to go to their seats and work as a team. Their assignment: settle on their word and who was going to paint what letter.I had purchased 8" X 10" canvas boards for each student. However, matte board works just as well or even cardboard primed with some gesso! Then my students used carbon paper and a printed copy of enlarged letters. I had laid out every letter of the alphabet on a table for them to find. They would then lay the carbon paper on their canvas with the shiny side down, place their letter on top and trace. What this did was insure that all of our letters were the same size and font style.
Once their letter was traced, every child was tasked with deciding how to paint their letter. They could either use all of the cool colors for their letter or all of the warm. Then they were to use the reverse of that color scheme for the background. Like this:
Having looked at the work of Jasper Johns and admiring his brush strokes, we used that as our inspiration...but really I left it open to the kids how they would paint their letters and background. I love the variety of these letters by my fourth graders. They did these as initial paintings:
It was a fun way to introduce two artists, color theory, discuss our school culture and get them painting and exploring pattern and brush stroke.
And now they are finally up in our halls (I am a bit of a procrastinator!). I framed them with 16" X 20" frames. The artwork fit PERFECTLY! I chose frames that were lightweight and had plexiglass so if they frames fell, there would not be broken glass.
Each is hung with 2 Velcro Command strips. The small frames were thrift store finds! I chose small black frames with each being between 50 cents to a dollar. I then removed the glass and cut plexiglass for the inside.
In the small frame, I wrote "A Johnson Elementary, we are...COOL" and then I wrote who painted the four letters and the year.
I love to do legacy projects and collaboratives with my students every year. There are plenty here on my blog...and this one is my new favorite. Such a wonderful way to start the new school year!