Sunday, January 30, 2011

3rd Grade Instrument Drawing/Collage

This lesson is adapted from a VAEA session I went to taught by Sarah Matthews at J.B. Watkins Elem, Midlothian, VA and Heather Levet at Elizabeth Scott Elem, Chester, VA.

I read the book I Live in Music by Ntozake Shange and discuss Romare Bearden's collages and how they were based on the love and excitment of the Jazz Scene.

Next students are instructed to choose an instrument and draw it lightly in pencil on 12 x 18 drawing paper. The instrument must fall off 2 sides to create interesting negative space. Students complete these drawings with oil pastels.

Students in 3rd grade do a lot of color theory and are asked to choose a color scheme to finish the background. I cut 1.5 inch squares of bleeding tissue paper and put into baskets for each table. They brush the paper with mod podge place the tissue square into the glue and then paint on top of the tissue paper to create a flat shiney surface when it dries.

Here are the best from this year:

And from last year:

I taught this lesson for the third year in a row and it just didn't have the excitiment for me anymore. The kids really enjoy picking and drawing an instrument - most choose an electric
guitar... but it seems that the background gets too tedious for them. This year so many did not finish. Part of that was due to the 3rd grade music performance happening right in the middle of the lesson - then snow days - so not all classes got the same amount of time to work on them. It seems even if I say today is the last day you must finish they still don't get it done. Maybe I will put this one on hold for a couple years or perhaps find a new way to finish the backgrounds.

What do you do with previously successful lessons that have seem to run their course???
And how do you get kids to finish when it is clearly time to move on... (or am I just being impatient?)

3 comments (+add yours?)

Phyl said...

First of all - I did a Romare Bearden jazz musical instrument project last year and posted it here:
The problem you describe is something we all deal with as art teachers. There's just so long you can wait for kids to finish stuff. I've invited them in during lunch, etc, but in the end if they don't finish I give up trying. It's not like a high school class where you see the kids every day and can hold a grade over their heads.

I have let a lot of projects go that have "run their course". I get bored easily anyhow! So I do different variations on things I really love: for example, I do a tooling foil project w/6th graders but one year it may be an African mask, the next year it may be a Medieval shield, etc. And I NEVER repeat the same papier-mache project 2 years in a row. Sometimes it is sad to let go (such as this year we did not do Pinwheels for Peace, after 3 years participating). Nobody even asked, so I know it was good to let it go at least for the year.

So I'd say if it's something you love, find a way to change it up completely. Different media, or same material but different subject, or focus on a different artist. I also change things according to the group of kids. I'm making papier-mache pigs this year because this group of kids has a hard time following directions and thinking things out independently. They are not academically strong and are very needy. So the pigs were selected because everyone's construction is basically the SAME. Do what you have to do to make kids successful! Get rid of the project that doesn't work like you get rid of a pair of beloved shoes that wears out. Eventually the new shoes will be broken in and comfy too, right?

Angie said...

I like to change things up, so I would have them do the background differently, or give it a rest for at least a year. I get bored easily, too! I've repeated lessons that were just terrible the second time. I don't know what I've done differently, or if I just remembered them being better than they were.

Nancie Kay said...

You could keep the theme of musical instruments but change the media/technique. Maybe printmaking or glue line drawing w/chalk or repousse w/aluminum tooling or collage w/variety of color & paper or...

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