This activity was inspired by the works of Jackson Pollock. Although I‘m not really a huge fan of his work, the children always love learning about/imitating his artistic style. This lesson is good for the end of year, and is an excellent excuse to take the art room outside. By the time May rolls around, my supply room is filled with bottles of paint that are nearly impossible to completely squeeze out the last of their contents (much like shampoo, ketchup, or any other squeezable bottle). This year, I decided to cut the bottles open and allow the kids to suck up the leftover paint into syringes. Each student then took turns squirting layer upon layer of paint onto canvas paper. This lesson was so much fun, and the finished products were amazing!
Additionally, I would like to give a shout out to Ms. McCormick-Dahm at Highcroft Drive Elementary school for donating the syringes which made this lesson possible!
To Learn more about Jackson Pollock Click here
I love doing this type of project with the younger kids (kindergarten/first grade), because it's a really good way to introduce a different type of art that they are typically not used to. Usually at this age, if you were to give any kid a box of crayons and some paper they will 9 times out of 10 draw a picture consisting of a house, a tree, and a sun in the corner. These abstract pieces were a huge hit!
A fifth grade student at Barwell Road Elementary School in Raleigh is the definition of what it means to be a well-rounded student. Sarhtee Kaw was born in Thailand and spent his first few years in a refugee camp before eventually moving to the United States when he was six. At that time, Sarhtee didn’t speak English, but it didn’t take him long to learn the language.
“Sarhtee has been pretty much firing on all cylinders academically,” said Bryan Allyn, Sarhtee’s teacher at Barwell Road Elementary. “He's very, very smart.” Sarhtee has most recently tried his hand at art. One of his paintings of a Ferris wheel has been displayed all over North Carolina. But Sarhtee remains humble about how good he really is. “I did pretty good,” Sarhtee said. But all his hard work didn’t come cheap. “I had to bribe him with some pizza, but he came in on his track-out days to work on this,” said Allyn. “And he also gave up quite a bit of recess,” Allyn added. But Sarhtee doesn't mind all the hard work; he says it’s worth it. It also helps that he has a lot of support from his teachers and classmates.
“They ask me like, 'is it gonna be on the news?' and stuff and they congratulate me when they see it and say how good it is,” Sarhtee said. And if academics and the arts weren’t enough, Sarhtee also loves to play football. “He does great in just about everything that he does. I'm pretty confident that that little man over there is gonna be the future of America someday,” said Allyn.
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One thing I learned early in my career is that if you want to get children excited about your lessons, you need to tie in elements that interest them. This is why I decided to do a themed lesson based on the song “What Does the Fox Say” by Ylvis. If you are up to date with your knowledge of pop culture, you are more than likely familiar with this peculiar song.
I started the lesson by promising the kids that if they focused on the science and art portions of the lesson, I would allow them to play a game of freeze dance at the end of class (to the tune of the song). Students learned scientific facts with the use of a fox skeleton that was found right here in Wake County. For the art portion of the lesson, I gave students the option of doing step-by-step instruction of how to draw a fox or how to make an origami fox mask (both pictured above).
The students loved this lesson, and it was a blast to teach. I would however like to apologize to any teachers or staff members in the building that may have fallen victim to the ballad of “wa-pa-pa-pa-ka-kapow!" at some point in the school day.
Last year, I entered some student artwork into a contest sponsored by the Raleigh Historical Development Commission. The RHDC was celebrating their 50th anniversary, and asked students from all over Wake County (kindergarten through 12th grade) to submit a work of art that represented their favorite building in Raleigh. Two of our students won ribbons in this competition (including the “Best in Show” award), and the curator at Marbles was very impressed with our school's artwork. At the awards ceremony, she approached me and asked if I would be interested doing an exclusive show at the museum.
After collecting numerous pieces at various grade levels, I have compiled just about 40 different works of art completed by over 75 students. This show is now on display at the Marbles Kids Museum from January 6, 2014 until March 2, 2014. The artists whose work is on display will receive special passes for free admission to the museum as well as their families.
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Sarhtee received his prize and certificate for the award winning painting that he submitted to the North Carolina State Fair in October. His painting was given the Jerry's Artarama Outstanding Student Award. He looks forward to taking advantage of the holiday sales to buy art supplies with his winnings!
Sarhtee's acrylic painting of a Ferris wheel was also featured at the North Carolina Art Educators Association Conference (NCAEA) in November, will be on display at the Barwell Road Elementary exclusive art show at the Marbles Kid's Museum in January, and also can be seen at the Gifts of Gold art show in March.