Posted by: dbjaquith | March 8, 2015

Marble Mazes

Marble Maze Design

About half of our fifth graders are designing marble mazes over a five-class period. Working in teams or by themselves, alongside others, students learn to plan, test hypotheses, revise, learn from each other and develop strategies. They are discovering many parallels between art and science, especially engineering. Students value their time in the 3D Design Studio because they have few other opportunities in or outside of school to build things. In the words of one boy: “I persisted because victory is VERY sweet and I know our maze will be awesome!”

Many hands are needed to build larges mazes!

Many hands are needed to build larges mazes!

Students Name the Parts of their Marble Mazes
Bumpers and walls
Drops
Flaps
Gaps
Hoops
Marble holder
Paths
Ramps
Shutes and shoots
Slopes and straight sections
Supporters
Swirl
Towers
Tunnels
Twists

Resources
“I looked at some pictures to get an idea for my maze.”
“The video gave us ideas for turns.”
“I learned by observing other people’s mazes.”

 

Marble mazes require lots of table and storage space!

Marble mazes require lots of table and storage space!

Strategies for teamwork (in students’ own words)
Trying different options and techniques
Changing the plan to make it better
Trial-and-error: Some of it worked and some of it didn’t
Combined my ideas with my partners
Repairing and adding to our maze
Working out every kink in our maze
Upgrading for better performance
“When our first plan didn’t work we came up with a new one on the spot.”
“I am engaged because I am having fun with my friend and that makes me persist, to continue working with him.”

Shutes and shoots

Shutes and shoots

Strategies for improved marble maze structures (in students’ own words)
Cutting paper rolls in a segmented way to make turns
Using tactics to make bumpers
Supporting a ramp with string
Elevating the ramp so it will run faster
Reinforcing parts of the maze
Using a pole to hold up another pole
Adding supports so it will not fall

Team Design Ideas (in students’ own words)
Causing one marble hit another into the end zone
Making pins for marble bowling
Adding higher levels
Figuring out how to make the marble fly through the air and land nicely in the cup
Designing a twist so the marble stops on the cardboard
Adjusting the speed by adjusting the ramps

 

Marble Maze Design connects naturally with Next Generation Science Standards for fifth grade:

5-PS2-1   Motion and Stability: Forces and Interaction
5-PS2-1. Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down. [Clarification Statement: “Down” is a local description of the direction that points toward the center of the spherical Earth.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include mathematical representation of gravitational force.]

3-5-ETS1-1   Engineering Design

3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

Source: http://www.nextgenscience.org/next-generation-science-standards

Posted by: dbjaquith | March 8, 2015

Kindergarten Art

Children practice their design skills by constructing structures at the 3D studio.

Children practice their design skills by constructing structures at the 3D studio.

Franklin kindergarteners are enthusiastic artists!

Learning clay basics through trial-and-error.

Clay basics through trial-and-error.

They love to explore the art materials and tools, try new things and repeat what they have learned to gain mastery of their art skills. This year we have worked with drawing, painting, collage, cardboard / wood construction and clay. Now students can choose their art media to match their own art ideas. Typically kindergarten artwork shows us the things most important in a young child’s life: family, friends,

Drawing a birthday crown

Drawing a birthday crown

animals, houses, playgrounds, vehicles, toys and games. Last week a girl decided to make a drawing of her friend’s birthday crown and gave the drawing to her as a present. A boy repeated the previous lesson on clay birds nests to remember how to make a pinch pot. Painters used mixing palettes to create secondary colors from the primary colors, while children at the 3D Design Studio built mini-houses and other structures.

Color exploration!

Color exploration!

It is exciting to see what children choose to create each week during their 45-minute art class!

Posted by: dbjaquith | February 22, 2015

Snowmaggedon 2015

There is a baseball field hidden somewhere under that mountain of snow!

There is a baseball field hidden somewhere under that mountain of snow!

This past month in eastern Massachusetts has indeed been challenging! It has snowed every weekend, with over 6 feet of snow on the ground and below-zero temperatures that prevent any melting. We have missed 6 days of school, 2 days per week for 3 weeks, and then left for a week of vacation. Monday and Tuesday kindergarten classes are 3 weeks behind the other kindergartens and I haven’t seen Tuesday’s first and second graders in a month. At least one kindergartener enjoyed our massive snow storms, as illustrated in his enthusiastic drawing below!Snow Man

Posted by: dbjaquith | February 16, 2015

Drawing Boot Camp

1DrawingBootCamp6_editedFifth graders are challenging their drawing abilities with a series of exercises aimed at skill development. Drawing Boot Camp is one among five WOW (Wonderful Original Work) choices that students could make for a 5-class intensive study. These students draw frequently and have shown interest in expanding their skills to bring more realism to their drawings.

Contour drawing of armatures

Contour drawing of armatures

In the first class we discussed line quality and students practiced contour line drawing. This involves a single line to describe an object–the artist looks only at the object, not the

A variety of animal objects are available for contour drawing.

A variety of animal objects are available for contour drawing.

paper—and results in a gestural representation of the object’s form. This is difficult to do without looking and requires tremendous self-discipline. Students observed both the object and shapes defined by negative space around the object in order to describe the object in contour line.

Side-lit objects display their geometric forms through highlights and shadows.

Side-lit objects display their geometric forms through highlights and shadows.

The following class highlighted shading. An arrangement of geometric forms, including spheres, cones, cylinders, cubes and rectangular prisms was lit from the side for contrast in tone. Students selected a small section to draw, focusing on nuances to distinguish lighter and darker areas. They also observed the shapes and directions of shadows to portray them accurately. Gummy erasers and blending stumps were added to the arsenal of drawing tools for shading.

What’s next? One-point perspective!

2DrawingBootCamp5_edited

Posted by: dbjaquith | January 29, 2015

Observation

Observe1Artists observe their environment to get ideas for their artmaking.  The book, Studio Thinking (Hetland, et. al., 2007) includes Observation as one of the eight Studio Habits of Mind that artists regularly employ in their work. During class we talked about observation as a means of noticing, what Hetland calls “alertness.”

I ask students, “What did you observe in art class today?” They respond:  I observed…

…that it’s cold outside so I made a hot chocolate mug.

…how the marble went through the maze.

…a bent piece of cardboard that gave me the idea to build a bench.

…that the paint on my sculpture doesn’t always fill the holes so I repainted some parts.

…that the hot glue did not always do what we wanted.

…a stack of stools that became the top of a building in my drawing.

…that water makes the clay feel smoother.

Developing awareness of one’s environment helps young artists to utilize all available tools in service to art making.

Posted by: dbjaquith | January 25, 2015

Photography Revisited

The bubbler is working!

The bubbler is working!

Photos of still lifes were taken indoors on a rainy day.

Photos of still lifes were taken indoors on a rainy day.

After several months of waiting, third graders have finally gotten onto laptops to edit their photographs! Students each get an entire class to play with iPhoto, to crop and manipulate color and add vignettes. They are coached by those who last used the same laptop. Peer coaching reinforces skills and helps to consolidate understandings.

What does digital photography teach? First of all, technology skills. Learning to use a digital camera and laptop are life skills, ones students can practice both in school and at home. Digital photography also teaches students about artistic behaviors. By collecting a folder of digital images, students learn that art making does not have to be immediate. Artists pace themselves, knowing what they can do now and what can wait for later. These image collections can be accessed

A leaf becomes abstracted in iPhoto.

A leaf becomes abstracted in iPhoto.

and added to, providing future opportunities for photo editing. Third, students learn that it’s OK to make mistakes! Photo editing involves decision making, and no decision has to be permanent. By duplicating images, do-overs are possible and encouraged.

Digital photography is one of many art media available to students at Franklin School. For some, it may be the media through which they best express their ideas, beliefs and emotions.

Color expectations change in iPhoto!

Color expectations change in iPhoto!

Posted by: dbjaquith | January 19, 2015

Secret Sketchbooks

A 4th grader is working from his sketchbook.

A 4th grader is working from his sketchbook.

Some students have sketchbooks that travel back and forth to school. They are typically tiny, fit easily in a pocket, and sometimes are hand-made. The sketchbook appears while students are working at studio centers but, quite often, no one but the artist sees the sketchbook. So it is a magical moment when I come across one, as happened the other day. A boy was drawing fish with tremendous focus. He had his tiny sketchbook as reference. He had filled out about 12 pages since New Years, when he started this sketchbook. When asked why he decided to use a sketchbook he replied, “I like having reference material when I draw.” In addition to many fish, labeled with their names, this boy’s sketchbook contains drawings of reptiles.

Posted by: dbjaquith | December 15, 2014

December in the Creativity Studio

Various weavings from one 3rd grade class

Colorful weavings from a 3rd grade class

Now that December has arrived, students are familiar with routines and skills are developing in drawing, painting, printmaking, fibers and 3D design media. Student-directed work has transitioned into more sustained practices, with art making activities that extend over several classes or longer.

A love of soccer engages fifth grade boys in this long-term stadium design

A love of soccer engages fifth grade boys in this long-term stadium design

Fiber arts, a favorite of third graders, took up much of the fall for those who chose to make a one-sided or two-sided weaving.

A group of fifth grade boys is engaged in making a soccer stadium.  After the field was completed, they started working on the stands.  Next came the fans, dressed Barcelona-style.  When I recommended that they wrap up their work by the end of the month, they were very disappointed.  Given the opportunity to argue for more time, the boys adamantly described their ideas, process and interest in extending their work to bring their project to completion. Request granted!

Students explore fashion design through color and patterns

Students explore fashion design through color and patterns

Second grade girls are interested in fashion design.  Using a template, they are designing clothing with markers and patterned paper.  Their designs are kept in folders.  Soon each will have a collection of designs to share.

Some of the fourth graders are painting murals for the new library.  They created plans and then drew their ideas with chalk onto large panels.  As they work, they have revised their plans to improve their composition.  We hope the murals will be on display soon in the library!

Fourth graders paint a large mural for the library

Fourth graders paint a large mural for the library

 

 

Posted by: dbjaquith | December 7, 2014

Teaching for Artistic Behaviors

A student recreates a tiny sculpture made from found materials.

A student recreates a tiny sculpture made from found materials.

Our choice-based art program at Franklin School stems from the philosophy of Teaching for Artistic Behavior. This pedagogy is based on the premise that every child is an artist with unique vision, ideas and interests that can be acted upon during art class. Using available materials and tools students create new objects and, in doing so, recreate the world as they experience it. In the artwork to the left, a third-grader has drawn-to-scale a tiny sculpture that he made from discarded art materials foraged off the floor. What was interesting about this experience is that he was sitting during the instructional portion of art class collecting these objects. An idea was emerging that was far more powerful than the lesson! Had I, as teacher, intervened at that point this artwork would never exist. The fact that the artist further challenged himself to draw his tiny sculpture demonstrates artistic inquiry and initiative typical in choice-based learning environments.

For more about Teaching for Artistic Behavior please visit www.teachingforartisticbehavior.org

Posted by: dbjaquith | November 9, 2014

Kindergarten Choice-Based Learning in Art Class

2D Collage is about organizing shapes, overlaps and edges. This artist decided to make her design symmetrical.

2D Collage is about organizing shapes, overlaps and edges. This artist decided to make her design symmetrical.

Kindergarteners come to art class once a week for 45 minutes where they create artwork in our art studios.

Students choose their own ideas to draw.

Students choose their own ideas to draw.

They enter the classroom, sit on the rug and are ready to listen to the day’s lesson.

Learning to manage glue in 3D construction with cardboard takes patience!

Learning to manage glue in 3D construction with cardboard takes patience!

So far this fall we have discussed line variation, shapes, color, symmetry, two-dimensional and three-dimensional art.

After the lesson, students move to the studio to begin their work. These young artists are eager to apply their learning to their work! They choose to draw, collage, paint or construct. Materials and tools are arranged on the tables for them to access. Students have now experienced drawing, collage, painting with tempera paint and, most recently, construction with cardboard.

At the end of class, artists take responsibility for their studio area. They return materials and tools to the right places and put their artwork away. We all meet on the rug at the end of class to review the day’s activities before lining up.

Kindergarten art class is awesome!!!

Painters work with the primary colors plus white when starting out.

Painters work with the primary colors plus white when starting out. They mix their colors in a palette and blot their brushes on the sponge.

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