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.
Barrage of Collage
“I was always making things. Even though art was what I did every day, it didn’t even occur to me that I would be an artist.” — Maya Lin
Happy October! This month we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15–Oct. 15). This is a great time to do some paper work for Day of the Dead, which is celebrated on the first of November. Paper garlands with colorful skulls and/or collaged skulls with bright neon paper are always a fun project.
So, this month we will have some great tips on collaging, paper projects, ideas for early finishers and some great quick projects for your substitutes.
A Barrage of Collage Ideas. October is a time to introduce collage and art history into your curriculum. Have your students create a story though collaged magazine photos in the style of Romare Bearden. We can’t talk about collage without mentioning Picasso. When Picasso and Georges Braque were transitioning from analytic cubism to synthetic cubism they used “papier collé,” glued paper. They added calling cards, labels from wine bottles, newspaper, and a variety of other paper products, creating the first of many collages. Study these artists with your students and let them roam free in the magazine box…my students never cease to surprise me.
Silhouettes. Don’t get rid of any scrap black paper. Use it to make silhouettes. Study the work of Kara Walker, a contemporary American conceptual artist. She is well known for her paper cut-out silhouette stories of the American South. Walker states that she “says a lot with very little information.” Have students write a story, either fictional or non-fictional, and then use the scrap black paper to illustrate it. Some of Walker’s work is large. High school students can collaborate and create a life size story in silhouette. Some ideas may incorporate social justice, world hunger, and pollution.
“I’m Done!!” What Next? Here is a list of quick projects to do once students have completed their assignments—that is after they really finished!
Kindergarten through Fourth Grade:
• Have centers in your classroom. You can have LEGOs (architecture) center, a drawing center, a texture rubbing center, a rubber stamp printing center, and a painting center—I find that tempera cakes work the best as they are not too messy.
• If you are on a cart you can have a box of art games and puzzles. Get coloring-book pages of famous paintings, cut them up in puzzle shapes and put each one in a zip lock bag. Students have to make the puzzle, glue it on a sheet of paper and color it. When several were done, I would show them a reproduction of the artwork and they would compare their colors to the original. We would then discuss the artist, country of origin and the meaning of the artwork.
Fifth through 12th Grade: I usually have 3 or 4 projects going on at one time so students are working, however there is always one that finishes everything and does it well. What to do…
• Have your students get or make a sketchbook
• Sketchbooks can be used for visual journaling, sketches for a project, or just drawing things around the room
• Students can do color theory projects in their books
• Create a personalized painted cover
• I also use a book called Caffeine for the Creative Mind: 250 Exercises to Wake Up Your Brain, by Stefan Mumaw. Sometimes I give them a 5 minute “do now” at the beginning of class and sometimes the early finishers do an exercise from the book.
Sub Plans to the Max. Here are some sub plans that can be modified for almost every grade level.
• Show a reproduction of a famous piece of art and have the students write a short critique. Have a list of elements of art and principles of design and have them check off what they see. They can add a sentence or more to each checked off item.
• Read the book Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. Younger students can draw and color their own wild thing. Older students (grades 5 and up), can create their own wild thing as well, but draw it with pen an ink using hatching, cross hatching, and stippling. Once dry, watercolors can be added.
Happy birthday to Annie Leibovitz (Oct. 2, 1949); Pierre Bonnard (Oct. 3, 1867); Maya Lin (Oct. 5, 1959); Faith Ringgold (Oct. 8, 1930); Robert Rauschenberg (Oct. 22, 1925);, 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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