Elementary School Art Update by Joe Taylor

This semester students are working on one long term target "I can identify and use the elements of art and the principles of design in my artwork to communicate ideas about the world."

This long-term target has been broken into short-term term targets that study specific elements and principles of art. Our first quarter of assignments focused on identifying one element of art or principle of design in our artwork.

As a start to the year, students were customizing their folders (where each students art lives for the semester) and working on an image for Kids Kreations  that would spark the interest of parents. Each student was asked to identify and use one of the principles of design, which in turn were shared with other students so as to start the conversation about how to use each principle. Students were looking at examples of high quality work that exemplified the principles, and used them to formulate checklists that outlined what finished work should look like.

After the push to get Kids Kreations finished before the holiday deadline, students moved into the realm of shapes and lines in art. The short term targets for these two assignments were “I can identify and use three types of lines”, and “I can identify and use three or more types of shapes”. In class, students discussed hard lines, soft lines, contour line, organic shapes, geometric shapes, and positive/negative shapes. Each type of shape or line was investigated in other works of art before we created our student driven checklists for finished products. These works of art were playful and colorful. Every student engaged in the making process to the best of their ability as well as learned to talk about what decisions they had to make along the way. During this first semester I try to balance the hands on experience with the ability to identify and talk about what has been made. These skills will become the base line for our conversations and projects as we move into the second semester.

Art students working with their teacher at a desk
elementary student coloring
teacher watches a student color

The portrait project has been inspiring for many students and you can see it in the details of the work.

Most recently we have been investigating value (shades of a color) and proportion by creating portraits that tell a story. It has been a recent fascination of mine that art can tell a story, and how these stories help weave the fabric of our culture. The learning target for this assignment is ” I can identify and use values and proportions to create a portrait”. Each grade learned how to identify the correct placement of the eyes on a head, hard and soft lines for a nose, placement of the ears and proper width of a humans shoulders. With these topics as a base, each student brought their portrait to life by customizing the image with clues to a story. Instead of drawing just things they wanted to show the person likes, I asked for elaboration so the viewer can see or at least ponder what might be happening to the individual “whats their story?”.

The portrait project has been inspiring for many students and you can see it in the details of the work.

Lastly, before break we are working towards projects involving color, unity and emphasis. Students are going to investigate the color wheel and learn new ways to organize a drawing to create a sense of unity or make something stand out. Keep an eye out for another update coming soon. I am working on taking photos in as many classes as possible to document the work and progress of our students.

art by an elementary student
art by an elementary student
elementary students art along a wall