Bangor third graders create like the Masters
I must admit that I have always had high expectations of my students and most often they live up to those expectations. A project I recently did with my third grade classes at Fruit Street School has blown my socks off. They far exceeded anything that I thought would be capable of this age group. Not just one class of students but all four of my third grade classes and not just a few students in each room but all students. I give credit of the idea to a fifth grade class from Bangor Christian School which explored this creative lesson last year.
We began by viewing various artworks by numerous Master artists. I collected at least 3 or 4, 8 by 10 reproductions of around 35 artists and we viewed and discussed the styles and techniques of the diverse work comparing similarities and differences. Students were then paired into groups. The partners were asked to select their top 3 or 4 pieces of art work that they would like to paint. For three sessions the students created 18 by 24 size paintings fashioned after their selected reproduction. They worked on the same painting, first they drew the work to scale and then matched the colors and textures that the artist used. Their teamwork was amazing. The third graders were excited to experiment mixing the tempera paints to match the artists colors as well as mimicking the textures the artists portrayed which were a great learning experiences. Students dabbled, smoothed, dotted, and blended using various size paint brushes and swabs.
The excitement the students exhibited was contagious, exclaiming they felt like real artists. The pride they felt contributed to the atmosphere. They were always on task with quiet conversation about what they were doing. They were eager to listen to directions on how to make the “right” colors or the “right” proportions or textures to make their work look like the actual artists work. The works the students created are PHENOMENAL. Their enthusiasm, exhilaration, and pleasure were contagious. They could hardly wait to come back to the art room and I could barely wait until they did. Right now the 25 paintings are hanging in the school’s lobby next to the artists’ reproductions.
In the next steps the students will be researching their artist and their work from books that were purchased through an art fundraiser held last year. The few artist books not available in our library were loaned to us from other school libraries, the Bangor Public Library as well as University libraries. The students will work on their biographies for about three weeks and then will present an artist share and exhibition where one of the two team members will dress like the artist and the other student will become the artwork and they will converse with each other giving the viewer knowledge of both.
To add animation an oval will be cut out of the painting large enough for the student to put his or her face through. The students face will be painted with face paint to become part of the painting. We will collaborate wtih students from Bangor High School art club and University of Maine art students to help with the face painting. Anticipation is building for this event which will take place on the afternoon of Thursday, February 16th where the third grade artists will present their artist share and exhibition to other students at the school and to their parents.
The learning accomplishments are many in this project that supports the importance of the wide platform of art beginning with discussion of various artworks, decision making, and cooperative working. Besides the process of creating and the production of a visual piece of art, mathmatical skills were practiced by reproducing an 8 by 10 image to an 18 by 24 image. The science of color mixing was a constant triumph the students experienced as well as the capability to create various textures with paint. Researching information on the artist and the art work will expand the students’ knowledge of biographical research which is part of their third grade curriculum. The students will need to accurately record information and transcribe it to an interesting oral presentation. Their ability to converse with another student will strengthen their communication skills. I am extremely proud of my third grade students whose capabilities went beyond proficiency.
Thank you to Wendy Libby, Fruit Street, Bangor art teacher, for sharing this post including the pictures of the student artwork.