Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Dream Robot Prints


Here's a super fun and simple lesson that I'm using to introduce my 2nd graders to basic stamping/printmaking methods. I had a feeling that robots might be a hit with young artists, but I had no idea how much 2nd graders loved thinking about robots--How do they work?, What can they can do?, Do robots have personalities and if so, what are they like? I found this great lesson over at  The Chumley/Scobey Art Room blog which proved to be a great, non-messy, ink-less and brayer-less solution for exposing young learners to the joy of printmaking.

20120428-093019.jpgThe recent 100th anniversary of the Titanic's tragic demise reminded me about how intrigued I was with the story/photos of the sunken vessel when I was an elementary student. I remembered my library teacher telling my class about "Alvin" the mini, underwater robot that could swim the ocean floor and explore the ship's remains. I recall watching video clips of little Alvin fitting through tiny, portal windows and wandering down the once grand, now rusty and barnacle-covered main staircase. I recall my mind being blown in library class-- simultaneously tickled to know that scientists were so clever as to have made such a useful invention and also so proud of the little guy for being so brave!

First, students brainstormed a few places where robots exist in the real world. Most classes were able to think of some good, non-fiction examples such as car washes, factories, NASA space shuttles, and even Roombas! Next, we made a list of ten adjectives that could be used to describe robots. I asked the students to design the robot of their dreams that would assist them in completing a task from their daily lives.

First, we used black Acrylic paint and recycled materials to "stamp" simple shapes to create a robot. I scoured my art closet for old tools such as old marker caps, paper cup rims, clothes pins, Legos, cardboard, wooden handles, nuts, bolts, etc. The students loved experimenting with making a variety of stamps for their robot's vents, tubes, latches, buttons, and doors. On day two, we used fluorescent paints to add a splash of color to our robots designs.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Surrealist Collage

6th Grade artists recently finished up a lesson on Salvador Dali and the Surrealists. We combined found images from magazines and calendars to create a new scene with a surreal feel. I first saw this lesson done with the cooperating teacher I worked with when I was doing my student teaching in a suburb of Philadelphia. I started out by showing a short video clip from the "Get Surreal" production released by the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. My art teacher idol, Phyl over at There's A Dragon in My Art Room suggested using this video.

I plan on purchasing the DVD for next year, but for this year, a condensed version of the film exists on YouTube. My students were pretty awestruck by Dali's life and work. They remarked that they thought his work was "weird," "bizarre," "strange" and quickly embraced the potential for absurdity this lesson allows for.