Color Theory Branches

Elementary students used color theory to paint branches as a collaborative project.

Students in third and fourth grade classes worked collaboratively to paint branches using analogous and complementary color schemes.

Supplies:

  • Tempera paint
  • Big and small brushes
  • 6 or more branches
  • Dental floss
  • Binder clips or small metal hook

Downloadable Sign: Color Theory

Downloadable PowerPoint: Collaborative Branches

Every quarter I get to collaborate with the Music and GT teacher to put on a Showcase for our students. I let my students choose two pieces of artwork from their portfolio, they help me mat it and we hang it in the hallways for a week.

Elementary students used color theory to paint branches as a collaborative project.
I like to have a collaborative project that changes every quarter. I use the same curriculum each quarter, so having a project that changes helps to break up the monotony of teaching the same assignments again and again. And it means there is a surprise installation that the school gets to look forward to each Showcase.

Elementary students used color theory to paint branches as a collaborative project.

Last quarter, I made a center for two Fridays in a row where the students worked together to create a branch as a class. Instead of introducing an artist, we spent the beginning of class talking about color theory. The first week, we talked about analogous colors, and they painted the base layer. The second week, we talked about complementary colors and they added dots and lines to their branch. (I compared the dots and lines to sprinkles on a cake, so that the base color would still show through.)

Elementary students used color theory to paint branches as a collaborative project.

I was able to find 6 branches to use by walking around the yard outside our school. The biggest prep component was mixing up the analogous colors for the first day. I mixed the whole set and then covered them with empty trays so they wouldn’t dry out. If you have more time or older students, you could have them mix the colors.

I learned from the first class to give the students separate brushes for each color. The water thinned out the tempera paint so much that it lost it’s vibrancy.

Elementary students used color theory to paint branches as a collaborative project.

I displayed them two different ways. For the Showcase, I tied dental floss (that stuff is an amazing, cheap way to hang art!) to each branch and used a binder clip to hang them from an outside ledge. Then, I retired them to a blank wall by the GT teacher’s room by tying all of them dental floss together and using and looping it over a metal hook. Displaying them as group definitely made a stronger visual statement. (Spreading them out made them stand out less.)

I hung up a laminated sign that explained how the students had used color theory. I hope that as students and teachers walk by, they will get to learn something new also!

Elementary students used color theory to paint branches as a collaborative project.

This was such a fun project to do, and an exciting way to introduce my 3rd and 4th graders to color theory. I love how the branches look in the outdoor spaces that we displayed them. I couldn’t have done the hanging part without help from the music teacher, so I highly recommend asking someone to assist you!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Organize Artwork using Art History

Students learn art history through a coloring center that uses artwork from an artist their table is named after.

 Elementary students learn about and connect with the artists their tables are named after.

Downloadable PowerPoints: Table Artists 2015 & Table Artists 2016

Supply Box Printables: Table Artist Images & Table Artist Names

 

I only have my students for 28 class periods, which makes me want to fit art history into every facet of our classroom routines. I discovered a great way to expose my students to important art history figures while keeping their artwork organized and easy to pass out.

Students learn art history through a coloring center that uses artwork from an artist their table is named after.

The supply box at each table has their artist’s name taped on it, along with a portrait and example of the artist’s work. The names change each year, so that over a student’s experience at our school they will become familiar with 24 different artists. I choose a diverse group of artists from different time periods and styles.

Organize student artwork by naming tables after famous artists.

On Centers Days, we spend 5-10 minutes learning about one of the artists that their tables are named after. We discuss the artist as a class first, then each table discusses their answer to a question about specific works of art. I created a Coloring Page Center so that my students would have something tangible to help them remember each artist.

Organize student artwork by naming tables after famous artists.

I publish an art newsletter that keeps our faculty and staff informed about what is going on in the Art Room. I post it in the bathrooms and leave a stack in our waiting area for parents to read. Each month, I include a section about one of our table artists.

cassat

I created folders for each class that have their artist’s name written on both sides. This is how they turn in their artwork at the end of each period. I use the folders as a way to separate their art on the drying rack. It makes passing out artwork at the beginning of class so much easier!

Keep track of student artwork by naming tables after famous artists.

These simple routines have made our classroom run smoothly. Students always know how to turn in their art and at the beginning of the period they can get right to work. They are so excited when we get to learn about the artist that their table is named after!

Encourage Creativity with Hand-prints

This project introduces printmaking and encourages student to think creatively.

The perfect introduction to printmaking – second graders trace and cut out their hands, then stamp their hand-print onto their artwork.

Art Lesson Video: Hand-prints

PowerPoint: Hand-prints

Supplies:

  • 2 pieces of construction paper per student (I used 8″ X 9″)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black Tempera
  • 1 Brayer (for teacher use)
  • Plate or mirror for rolling the paint

This project introduces printmaking and encourages student to think creatively.

Teaching creativity is almost an oxymoron. How can you teach something that inherently has to come from within another person? My goal this year has been to encourage creativity by presenting projects that are open-ended and allowing students to take their artwork in a new direction. This hand-print project combined cutting, gluing and printmaking in a way that my 2nd graders could finish it in one day. It also turned out to be a great way for my students to make their own decisions about their artwork. I came up with this lesson by reinventing a project I saw on Create Art With Me! 

This project introduces printmaking and encourages student to think creatively.
Teacher example

I usually shy away from showing my students a teacher example, especially at the beginning of a project. It can make them feel like that is the goal, and sometimes it keeps them from trying something new. But I have noticed that my 2nd graders need to see how the process is going to work. So, with this project I showed them my example, but I told them that they could make a lot of “artist decisions” for their artwork.

This project introduces printmaking and encourages student to think creatively.

They got to choose if their hand was opened or closed. They decided if they wanted to cut out one hand or two. When it was time to print their hand, they chose where and how to place it.

This project introduces printmaking and encourages student to think creatively.

The results were so much fun! Everyday I was excited to see how my students interpreted the project in their own way. About half the class decided to create a piece of art that was similar to my example. Which is why I think of this process as “encouraging creativity.” You can create an atmosphere that is conducive to trying new things, but it’s up to the students to decide when they feel comfortable and ready to try something different. Creativity isn’t something you can force!

This project introduces printmaking and encourages student to think creatively.

The other thing I loved about this project is that it was a chance for kids to practice their fine motor skills. Projects or assignments that are only about cutting can be frustrating for 2nd graders. They need the practice, but it helps if that experience comes with learning about something new, like printmaking. And who doesn’t love having paint rolled onto their hand!

Listen Up! Game

Listen Up! Game is perfect for introducing elementary students to the art classroom.

Listen Up! is the perfect game to introduce art classroom procedures while teaching composition.

Supplies:

  • Markers
  • Computer Paper
  • Scrap paper (optional for writing)

Downloadable Lesson Plan: Listen Up! Game

This is the first year that I have taught Elementary School (2nd-4th). I was nervous going into it, not sure if I would love it as much as I love teaching high school. With half of the year under my belt, I can confidently say that I love teaching the little ones just as much as I have loved teaching teenagers!

Listen Up! Game is perfect for introducing elementary students to the art classroom.

One of my big concerns was how much less time I would have with my students. I only see my 2nd graders one day a week for two 9-week quarters. That’s just 13.5 hours for the whole year! So I knew I had to find a way to get right to making art on the first day, while still teaching them basic routines and expectations of the art room.

Listen Up! Game is perfect for introducing elementary students to the art classroom.

To accomplish this, I created the “Listen Up!” game. Students learned our routine for getting supplies when setting up their table with markers and a piece of computer paper for everyone. They learned the call and response that I would use when I needed their attention. (I say, “Listen up!” They say, “All ears!”) Then they learned our routine about writing their name and their teacher’s name on the back of their artwork.

Listen Up! Game is perfect for introducing elementary students to the art classroom.

I talked with them briefly about composition – how an artist decides how to arrange their artwork. Then, I would call out a prompt, like “Draw a robot, draw your favorite number, draw something from nature, draw a circle that goes off the paper…” I would give them 2-3 minutes to add something to their drawing and then get their attention back by saying “Listen up!”

Listen Up! Game is perfect for introducing elementary students to the art classroom.

About halfway through the class, I had each student write down their own idea of something we could add to our drawings. (This was a great way to introduce them to the procedure of how we doing writing activities in my class; I keep slips of scrap paper in their supply boxes.) Then I put those slips of paper into a big bucket and would randomly pick out a prompt. They had so much fun hearing their idea called out and drawing their friend’s idea!

Listen Up! Game is perfect for introducing elementary students to the art classroom.

The visual results from this game were exactly what I had hoped for. It showed the students that every single person’s art would be different, even though we all had the same prompts. Helping them to explore their creativity and make choices about their artwork is the best way to start off our time together!