The focus on routines and procedures, the first two weeks of the school year, paid off. Week three was about content. We started science and a focus on the Earth and the Sun. Using Microsoft Teams and the ability to upload our social studies textbook to the platform, we read about indigenous groups of North and South America. We added and subtracted decimals and continued to expand sentences, this time using subordinating conjunctions. We read about Antartica and water, from our adopted ELA materials, and we completed our first art project. Great week.
A post describing an art lesson shouldn’t be that interesting. Instead, it is. This is because it was the first time, all year, that I have had an opportunity to teach in person to my distance learning students. It was great to see them and their final pieces turned out great.
For this lesson, students selected a building they have visited or wanted to visit one day. To do this, they used Google Maps and the Street View. After drawing their building and adding details, they mixed colors to create a mood in the background. This was followed by selecting and applying analogous and complimentary colors for their building.
We completed our Enchanted Lands project this week and the final pieces are terrific. We first explored the idea of background, midground, and foreground through classic pieces of art. Then we played a game in which students drew images matched to magical elements, they identified.
Their understanding was then leveraged to create art that included painting a setting and collaging. (Incidentally, thanks for all of the magazines!)
The class was quite fortunate in being selected for a visit by the Sierra Watercolor Society. This is a group that helps students understand watercolor technique and color theory before having the students compose their own watercolor piece. This was a nice experience and it was great that our classroom got to participate.
Students finished their Enchanted Lands following several days making careful observation of art by Albert Bierstadt, Erik Johansson, and Salvador Dali; learning about foreground, mid-ground, and background; studying setting and magical elements; and how to use paint and collage to build out their piece of art.
One of the great things about Roy Gomm is the consistent exposure to the arts that students receive. In part, the Masterpiece Art program, led by parent volunteers, aids this. This week parents led students through an exploration of work by Wassily Kandinsky.
The finished art will be displayed in the Gomm multipurpose room.
Today we completed a Zoom In. In this case we took a careful look at Edward Hicks’ Peaceable Kingdom. This is an instructional strategy first introduced to me by Angela Orr which she describes as follows:
The Zoom-In Strategy is an excellent way for you to have students participate in document analysis in a new way. Zoom-In’s are images that have been manipulated so the students only see a portion of the image, rather than the whole thing at one time. Students often struggle to identify the nuances in art, details in a photograph, or historical significance of terms or images chosen by an author/artist/photographer/illustrator. Zoom-In’s highlight these nuances and with the use of guiding questions enable students to analyze primary sources in a new way.
The strategy is important insofar as reinforcing the the habit of making claims supported by reasoning and evidence.
We packed a lot into our last week of school in 2016. We had our classroom holiday celebration, auction, white elephant book exchange, Polar Express presentation, beeswax candle making, and we even found time to watch a movie. All of the aforementioned did not get in the way of making sure we also learned a lot including more work with fractions, a careful study of theme and point of view, and a project based learning task in which students constructed their own Maker Space.
What we were able to accomplish in 2016 proved pretty amazing and I look forward to what we do in 2017.