Tried & True Tips for Art Teachers is a monthly roundup of advice and wisdom
from fellow art teachers, put together by the intrepid Glenda Lubiner.
Learn Something New
“I just feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world being able to do what I love and be able to do it all day every day if I like, you know, I mean it’s great, I love it.” — Faith Ringgold
By now we are all quite busy with lesson plans, clubs, NJAHS and NAHS on our plates, but there is always time to learn something new. Here are some great tips and ideas about paper and collage, and substitute lessons.
It’s All in the Wrist The art of paper cutting has been around for centuries and in many cultures around the world. In China, this beautiful folk art dates back to about the second century C.E., in Poland from about the mid-1800s, and in Jewish communities in Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East for several centuries.
This traditional folk art can be done with students in grades K–2 by modifying the design details. For younger students I have students fold their paper in half, either vertically or horizontally so that they produce a symmetrical design. After explaining the process, the students draw their design, and color in the parts they are going to cut out. This makes it much easier for them to see what they are cutting. Older students can use craft knives to cut more delicate designs.
Polish paper cuts traditionally depict scenes from daily life, trees, flowers and birds. In China, the cutouts were traditionally done with red paper, as red is associated with festivities in that country. The negative space in these cutouts were important as they would generally put the designs on doors and windows and the light would shine through the negative space. Like the Polish paper-cut designs, Jewish folk art focused on daily life as well.
Magazines are NOT Just for Reading Don’t know what to do with all those donated magazines? Here are a few projects that can be modified for every grade level: create a color wheel or do an entire color theory unit with torn pieces of color from magazines; make a collage and print (foam prints, silkscreens, collagraphs, etc.) on them. They make a great background; collage a famous piece of artwork from magazine scraps.
Collage Away! It’s more Fun than you Think When I sometimes tell my students that we are going to make a collage, the general response is “awww,” and definitely not in a positive manner. This past year I switched it up a little and now all my students want to do is collage work. I showed them examples of Picasso, Schwitters, Cornell, Matisse, Bearden and various other artists. The student artworks were amazing this year, with such things as photos, image transfers, old slide casings and photo corners included in their work. One student even used modeling paste.
Sub Plans for ALL As a teacher for the past 20 years, I know that when we have to take a day off it is so hard to find an art teacher to substitute for you. Here are some plans that any substitute can use, even if they are not an art teacher.
The plans I leave for preK–2 are always literacy based. Young students always tend to finish early, so including a book will be of great interest to the students and keep them engaged and on task for a long time. Here are some of the books I use with a quick art lesson.
The Rainbow Fish: Have student draw a fish and either color insides the fish or glue pieces of pre-cut tissue paper. Where the Wild Things Are: students can draw their own wild thing. With the upper grades and middle school I have them create their wild thing using pen and ink, hatching, cross-hatching and stippling. When it is complete I have them add water color to it.
Giraffes Can’t Dance: students love this story and it also ties in character traits that we all use at our schools now. Students can draw a picture of Gerald the giraffe dancing. Tar Beach: students can draw a picture about what they do in summer and create a quilt-like border using scraps of wallpaper.
The following ideas can be adapted for third- through 12th-grade students: drawing crumpled-up brown bags; Zentangle; drawing a pun; and five- to six-step metamorphosis.
Happy Birthday to Annie Leibovitz (Oct. 2, 1949), Maya Lin (Oct. 5, 1959), Faith Ringgold (Oct. 8, 1930), Alberto Giacometti (Oct. 10, 1901), and Johannes Vermeer (Oct. 31, 1632).
Arts & Activities Contributing Editor Glenda Lubiner (NBCT) teaches art at Franklin Academy Charter School in Pembroke Pines, Fla. She is also an adjunct professor at Broward College.
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