Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Monster Art with a younger class

Last term I relieved in a class where I used these two books to inspire art and writing with a Year 4/5 class and I blogged about it in this post, Art inspired by writing inspired by picture books...

Last week the teacher from the neighbouring class booked me and asked for this same experience for her Year 3/4 class.  Andrea said she had been reading the blog about what Sherane's class and I did and she really liked it.  So below are the pictures I took of the process and their creativity.






I love how children, when given the opportunity to make their own choices as an artist, really show their creativity.  However, I am do wonder about the desire for children to include guns and swords and the like in a monster.  What are we, as a society, allowing our children to see in their media world that encourages this?

Art inspired by writing inspired by picture books....

The other week I spent two days relieving in the same class I did the Rio Olympic Cartoons with earlier in the term.  This class is a Year 4/5 class and pretty boy heavy.  My task was to do some writing with the students and then some follow up art to go with it.  I had two picture books for motivation.  Below are photos of the front and back covers, including the blurbs, for the two books, The Great Snortle Hunt and The Beast Beneath the Bed:

I purchased these books from the Warehouse.  I picked them up in their "two books for $10" deal.  You can actually get some quite gorgeous inexpensive picture books from the Warehouse to put in your relief teacher kit that can be use at a variety of levels as a launching point for writing and art.

After I read the books we talked about what I wanted to see in the writing.  I wanted their writing to be about something that may be under the bed or in the cupboard.  We discussed this concept.  Some of the children had noted that the books I read to them rhymed.  So we discussed other authors we knew who used rhyme to tell stories.  With the students, I wrote the criteria of what I wanted from their writing on the board.  If I am not teaching a particular structure or genre, I like to give the students room to express their creativity in their writing.

And I certainly got a variety of writing (a credit to their wonderful teacher Sherane) which was creative and expressive.  I have included photos of the writing here that particularly stood out to me, and some of these students were chosen to visit the principal to share their work with him.

I loved how this young lady made her story rhyme.  It was an idea she had been kicking around in her head for a while, and the task I set allowed her to get it down on paper.  Great use of vocabulary.

This young man had the idea of a monster in his fridge, and used the language feature of repetition to write a poem.  During the editing phase, he and I discussed how to use editing shorthand to show how a sentence should start on a new line.

I love the use of rich language in this story to create a picture in my mind as I read.

A long story, but well constructed and full of great action, description and dialogue.

I love the use of expressive language and how this young man activated verbs and nouns with descriptive words.

In the afternoon we got onto the drawing.  I gave the students about 10-20 minutes to draft up an idea of their monster from their writing on scrap paper.  One thing I found interesting was the number of children who trusted their descriptions in their writing to draw from their imagination... and then there were a considerable group of boys who felt the need to go to the internet for inspiration.

While I think the internet is a great resource, and it has fabulous places where you can learn to draw just about anything, it does concern me that some children are not trusting their own imagination.

After the children had drawn their drafts, I asked them if they wanted black or white paper to do their pictures on.  We were using pastels as our medium, so explained to them before they drafted up that they shouldn't draw anything too fiddly as they would be drawing using chalk on the paper so that the pastel could easily cover it up.

So you won't be surprised to find out how many students did some fiddly bits in their pictures then.

Below I am grouping together pictures to show the process of these children creating their art.

I did talk to the students before they started colouring to do the big areas first and leave the fiddly inner bits until last.  We talked about why we needed to use newspaper under our art (protect our desks and to have a place to clean pastels that had multiple colours coating them).  We talked about the need to not leave pastels dropped on the floor so they carpet didn't have pastels ground into it.

We talked about how using different shades of the same colour can create interest and texture, about how hard we press the pastel can make a difference and about scraping some excess pastel off can cause a contrast.

This picture is a good example of how pops of colour can lift the picture.  One of my preconditions before starting was to use the bulk of the area of the paper.  I tell the children I do not want to have to wear binoculars to see the picture.  Most of this class followed this precondition well.

One of the reasons I wanted the students to use chalk was so they could rub it out when they weren't happy.  This student restarted their work and I think the chalk enabled them to do so.  If I had more time, I would have taught the students about the importance of cleaning their hands frequently to prevent finger smudges of the pastel.

This student initially wanted to do her picture on white paper.  However, the effect was not to her satisfaction, so she soon changed to black paper.  I think this is a good example of an artist making choices that satisfy their own creativity and what pleases their own eye.

Apparently Minions are terrifying.

Two examples of boys getting inspiration from the Internet.

A really good example of using a variety of shades of similar colours to create the look, texture and hairiness of a monster.  It is rather reminiscent of the Beast Beneath the Bed.


These two pictures were so simple, but having a white character created some artistic challenges.  It required a heavy hand with the white and black pastels in the top trio.  In the bottom set of pictures, after a discussion, the artist decided they needed some ground in their picture to give the impression of their monster hovering mid air.

Below are a few of the random ones who spent so long on their draft I didn't get a series of photos of their progress.

I look forward to going back to the class next term and seeing how these finished up.  I really enjoy working with this class and I learned a few really cool things from the students when they explained some of their learning to me that they had completed since my last visit to the school.