Monday, 18 April 2011

Coloured Chameleons

Year 3 drawing, 2010
The Lesson:

I designed this art activity for a unit of work the Year 3/4 students were doing about animal and plant adaptations.  My class had been doing an animal study on chameleons and had been learning about how they can change colours not only to camouflage into their environment, but also to reflect their mood and temperature.

Lesson Steps:

1.  We first looked at many images and videos of chameleons.  We found a YouTube video that showed a chameleon changing colour and discussed the different reasons for these colour changes.  We also looked at the wide range of colours and patterns chameleons could display.
2.  We read and looked at 2 picture books about chameleons:  "The Mixed up Chameleon" by Eric Carle and "Chameleons are Cool" by Martin Jenkins.
3.  We also looked at photos of the different plants that would be in the environment of a rainforest chameleon.  I had also created a PowerPoint presentation filled with photos of chameleons and plants of differing colours to assist the students with ideas for their drawings.
4.  Using the images from my PowerPoint presentation, as well as clipart images and drawings of chameleons I had placed on each table group, the students drew their chameleons and plants onto white A4 art paper.  I encouraged them to have a range of shapes, sizes and styles of plants in the background.
5.  For students who struggled to draw their own chameleon, I allowed them to trace the head of the chameleon off one of the pictures provided on their desks.  From that point, they were then encouraged to complete the rest of the chameleon's body themselves.  This allowed all students to create a successful chameleon drawing.
6.  After the drawings were completed, I handed out coloured progressos and the students coloured in their drawings.  I explained the importance of pressing firmly with the progressos and ensuring there were no gaps or "messy bits" in their colouring.
7.  When their pictures were fully coloured, I asked them to outline each part of their drawing with a black progresso.

Year 3 Chameleon Drawings:

Year 3 student, 2010

By Ella, 2010

3B Chameleon Drawings, 2010

By Mathew, 2010

Aboriginal Hand Print Art

By Ella, 2010

The Lesson:

This lesson idea is thanks to my wonderful teaching colleague, Mrs Vince.  We had been studying a unit of work on the British colonisation of Australia, including Aboriginal perspectives and experiences.  This piece of artwork was created after studying the lives of Australian Aboriginal people before the British colonisation of Australia.

Lesson Steps:

1.  I used a PowerPoint presentation and a number of Internet websites to look at what life was like for Australian Aboriginal people before British colonisation.  We examined Aboriginal artworks, including both older, traditional works and more modern artworks.
2.  We discussed the techniques, colours, shapes, patterns, symbols and styles found in Aboriginal paintings.
3.  The students traced their hand shape onto black paper and stuck it onto red cardboard.  I encouraged the students to think about how they wanted to place their hands on the page and what they were trying to convey through the placement of the hands (e.g. unity/harmony, joy, isolation etc).
4.  I then asked the students to design a pattern of dots on some scrap paper.  I tried to convey the importance of creating patterns/shapes/lines, not just putting dots anywhere!
5.  When students were happy with their designs, I demonstrated how to use the bottom of the paintbrush and/or a cotton bud to dip into the paint and create dots.
6.  We also discussed what colours would be appropriate and effective on the artworks (e.g. red on the red cardboard may not show up well, white and yellow show up well on black, etc)
7.  The students went back to their desks and created their dot paintings.

Year 3 Dot Paintings:

Year 3 Paintings, 2010

Year 3 student, 2010

Year 3 student, 2010

Australian Bird Paintings

By Lisa, 2009

The Lesson:

In 2009 the Year 3/4 students were studying a unit of work on Australian birds.  We were learning about their body parts and features, their habitats, how they fly, their adaptations and how to listen for different bird species.  I designed this lesson to compliment these lessons and to help set the right "mood" for the classroom!  The lesson idea came from A Deep Space Sparkle art lesson on painting parrots:

Lesson Steps:

1.  Show the students photos of different Australian birds.  Also look at diagrams of birds and discuss the body parts and features of the birds.
2.  I started by doing a demonstration drawing, discussing the layout, sizing and spacing.  I then gave the students a sheet of white art paper, showed them how to start by drawing in a branch and leaves and then encouraged them to draw their own in. When I am teaching step-by-step drawing like this, I always provide hints about spacing, such as "Start your branch 3 finger spaces up from the bottom left corner of the page" etc.
3.  I then sent the students back to their desks to draw in their birds.  To help students draw the birds, I provided each table group with a variety of clipart images and drawings of Australian birds that they could copy/use to inspire them. 
4.  For the really reluctant/unconfident students, I allowed them to trace 1 or 2 of the bird features and then they were encouraged to draw the rest in themselves.  I found this gave these students a bit of support and scaffolding, which allowed them to create a successful independent drawing (without just tracing the whole thing!)
5.  After the drawings were completed, we met back together on the floor to discuss colours.  We looked at the different colours of Australian birds and I demonstrated how to mix colours together to create more realistic, richer tones.  I also explained how to wash brushes in between different colour selections, so as not to end up with dirty paint colours!
6.  The students went back and painted their birds.
7.  When dry, I asked the students to outline their birds with black texta and add in any extra details they had not already put in (either deliberately or forgotten!), e.g. claws on branches, eye details, feathers etc.  Many students forgot to draw in the claws on branches.  Next time I teach this lesson, I will make a point of reminding them!

Year 3 Bird Paintings:

Year 3 Australian Bird paintings, 2009

By Braedy, 2009
By Riley, 2009

By Minhyeong, 2009


Coloured Paper Spring Flowers

2009 Year 3 flowers

The Lesson:

Each year my town celebrates a flower festival.  To mark this occasion, I sometimes spend an art lesson creating paper flowers to decorate the classroom.

Lesson Steps:

1.  Show the students a vast range of flowers, including real flowers and photos of flowers.  Try to include flowers with a wide range of colours, shapes, sizes and styles.
2.  Demonstrate how to draw some basic flower shapes, discussing the construction of flower petals and stems and how this relates to drawing them.
3.  Ask the children to practise drawing different flower designs on scrap paper.  I always encourage the students to try drawing some real flowers and some imagined ones.  The children are always given the choice of whether to have more creative and/or simplified flower designs, or whether to have more realistic, intricate flower designs. 
4.  Talk about the colours of flowers, including the colours of real flowers and colours that may work well together on their imagined flowers.
5.  Look at constrasting colours against each other (e.g. red on blue) as well as similar colours against each other (e.g. yellow on orange), and ask the children to share their personal preferences with the class.
6.  Demonstrate how to copy/trace their flower designs onto coloured Brenex paper and how to cut the pieces out and glue them together.
7.  Ask the children to pick their best few flower designs and to begin construction!

Year 3 flower designs, 2009

Friday, 15 April 2011

Matisse-Style Paper Portraits

Year 3 Artworks (2010)

The Lesson:

1.  Teach the students about the paper cut-out artworks of Matisse.
2.  Discuss his use of style, line, colour and shape. (You can purchase the PowerPoint presentation I made for this part of the lesson at my Teachers Pay Teachers store: just search for the name of the artist)
3.  Demonstrate how to draw a basic face shape on art paper.
4.  Students draw their portrait on art paper, then trace/copy onto coloured brenex paper (ie. face/neck/shoulders onto skin coloured paper, lips onto red/pink paper, shirt onto any coloured paper, eyes onto white paper and then hair onto hair-coloured paper etc)
5.  The students then cut out the different pieces of their portrait and stick them onto a coloured cardboard background.
6.  The students use black texta to draw the iris and pupil on the white paper eye.  Then students draw in a nose and any other features they want (eyebrows, eyelashes, freckles etc)
7.  Finally, they create shapes and patterns with coloured paper for the background.

Student Artworks (Year 3):

By Alex (2010)

By Jasmine (2010)

By Kara (2010)

By Hannah (2010)

Matisse-Style Paper Artworks

Year 3 sample (2010)

The Lesson Steps:

1.  Teach the students about Matisse's paper cut-out artworks.  I used a PowerPoint presentation for this. (You can purchase the PowerPoint presentation I made for this part of the lesson at my Teachers Pay Teachers store: just search for the name of the artist).
2.  Discuss the types of shapes he frequently used.  Draw some up on the board.
3.  Talk about how he used colour, line, shape and negative/positive space.
4.  In particular, point out how the spaces in his artworks are just as interesting as the actual paper shapes he has stuck on.  The children are often quite surprised that this is a planned part of the design.
5.  Ask the students to design their own Matisse-style paper cut-out picture.  I asked my students to draw it onto scrap paper first.
6.  The students then cut out large pieces of coloured Brenex paper and place them onto cardboard as a background.
7.  The next step was to trace/copy their shape designs onto coloured Brenex paper, cut them out and place them onto the background.
8.  When finished, I asked the students to paint over the artwork with PVA glue (this helped keep the paper pieces stuck down and also made the artwork shiny).

Year 3 Student Work Samples:

Year 3 artworks (2010)

Overlapping Bird Drawings

Year 3 student artwork, 2009

 The Lesson:

I saw this fabulous lesson on one of my favourite art blogs, Deep Space Sparkle.  I followed the lesson almost exactly, except in my choice of art materials.  I asked my students to use progressos rather than pencil/texta:

1.  Teach the students how to draw a basic bird shape.
2.  Let them experiment with different wing, beak and tail shapes on scrap paper.
3.  When they are ready, ask them to draw 3 or more overlapping birds with lead pencil on white art paper.
4.  Ask the students to colour in their birds with coloured progressos, being careful of the overlapping parts.
5.  Ask the students to outline the birds in black texta/marker.

Below are samples of my Year 3 students' work:
Year 3 Samples (2009)

Year 3 student artwork, 2009

Year 3 class samples (2009)
A sample I made to show students what to do (2009)

Year 3 student artwork, 2009

Oil Pastel Fruit Bowls

Year 3 sample: by Shamiya (2010)

Background for the Lesson:

We had been learning about healthy food choices in our Health unit of work and had also been studying how artists use light and shade in artworks, when I spotted the art of Becky Roesler on the Internet (  I saw her gorgeous pastel artwork "Fruit in a Blue Bowl" and I decided the children could have a go at creating their own version of the artwork.

Lesson Steps:

1.  I showed the students Roesler's artwork and we discussed the colours, lines and shapes.
2.  We also looked at, and talked about the shape of different fruit.
3.  I then demonstrated step-by-step, how to draw the different elements in the artwork.
4.  The students followed these instructions with me, drawing with lead pencil on black cardboard.
5.  I also demonstrated how to use oil pastels to show light and shade (white for light, deep blues/greens etc for shadow).

NOTE:  We followed this lesson up with a still-life fruit-drawing activity.  I placed fruit on the students' desks and they had to use the knowledge and skills they had gained from the explicit demonstrations in the above lesson, to create their own individual artwork.  A photo of this activity is attached below.

Year 3 samples (2010)

By Robert (2010)

Follow up lesson activity (drawing in progress, by Shamiya, 2010)

'My Country' Soft Pastel Drawings

By Dharan (yr 3 student), 2011
By Andrea (yr 3 student), 2011
The Lesson:

We had been reading Dorothea Mackellar's poem, "My Country" when I saw a fabulous art idea on one of my favourite art blogs, Deep Space Sparkle: 
I changed the activity slightly so that the artworks represented images from Mackellar's poem. 

1.  Read "My Country"
2.  Discuss the landforms mentioned in the poem.
3.  Look at photos of Australian landforms and discuss the colours (lots of warm reds, oranges and browns for the earth) and shapes (curving mountains and flat plains of land).
4.  Demonstrate how to draw mountains and a sun (using concentric circles)
5.  Ask the children to draw their own "My Country" artworks using lead pencil on black cardboard.
6.  Ask the students to outline eveything in black oil pastel.
6.  Demonstrate how to use soft pastels (chalk pastels), including how to blend colours, smudge colours with fingers, etc.  Also demonstrate to students how to show where the light and shadow in the picture should be (in relation to where the sun is), and how to use different colours to show the light and shade (white/yellow/light colours for light, purples/blues/reds for shadows)
7.  Ask the students to use the pastels to colour in their drawings, then go over their black oil pastel outlining.
8.  Spray with fixative or hairspray to stop the pastel smudging (NOTE:  this often dulls the colours).

Year 3 Artworks:

By Andrew (2011)

By Daniel (2011)
By Denzelle, 2011

By Charles, 2011
By Keyan (2011)

Year 3 Samples (2011)

Modigliani-Inspired Oil Pastel Drawings

By Sekai (2009)
The Lesson:

1.  Teach students about the life of Amedeo Modigliani and show them some of his artworks (I used a Powerpoint presentation for this part of the lesson).
2.  Discuss his style and techniques, making particular mention of the lines, shapes,  colours Modigliani favoured.
3.  Discuss the features of many Modigliani portraits (particularly the unusual eye colour, connection of eyebrow and nose, elongation of necks and faces, and the sloping shoulders)
4.  Demonstrate how to draw a basic Modigliani-shaped head and facial features.
5.  Ask students to try drawing their own portrait in this way, using a lead pencil on black cardboard.
6.  Demonstrate how to use oil pastels, including how to combine 2 oil pastel colours to create depth in their pictures.
7.  Encourage the students to use blends of colours to create a richer, more vibrant and realistic portrait.
8.  Observe the simple backgrounds of Modigliani's portraits.  Ask students to design a simple background for their portrait and colour it in with oil pastel.
9.  When the students are finished, ask them to outline everything in black oil pastel.


By Tom (2009)

By Anna (2009)

By Apsara (2009)
By Kate (2009)

By Braedy, 2009

By _____ (2009)

3B artworks (2009)
By Liam (2011)

By Keyan (2011)