I have been doing these adorable owls with third grade for several years now. They come out so cute and colorful and the kids learn a lot about how to work with a larger piece of clay as well as deepening their understanding of how to join two pieces of clay together.
I loved how this 3rd grade lesson turned out. The students learned about value while creating these graphic flowers. They were required to use at least three values of whatever color they chose for their flowers. The students were able to choose their own bug to draw, I gave them some resources to help guide them in drawing their bugs.
The third graders were so creative when coming up with their ideas for this project. I read them two books by Caralyn Buehner, Snowmen at Night and Snowmen at Work. The students were then given instruction on how to draw a variety of different snowmen to show action. Students then created a draft for their project, they were allowed to do anything they could imagine! Before they transferred this to their final they checked in with me. The students were given instruction on how to shade the snowmen to create form, and we discussed various other techniques to use with chalk pastel. The kids came up with some very creative ideas!
I usually save the clay projects for the end of the year because the kids are always so engaged when doing clay. There are many frustrations with ceramics, things falling apart or things breaking, so the kids have to be really resilient! Organization is key to getting almost 600 pieces fired and back to the kids without losing anything! I love when we get to the glazing stage because opening the kiln to all the beautiful, shiny colors is so fun. It is also amazing to see the kids express their delight when they see how beautiful their projects turned out!
The annual DCSD art show is always a wonderful way to celebrate our amazing artists. The kids made me proud, and we even had two students win Wow! awards this year. The judges pick 3 students per grade level district wide for this award, so it is a great honor to have two of our students chosen! One of the student’s was also chosen for the district purchase award. Her work is on display at the district building for three years on a lease. Her work was chosen to represent all Highland Ranch schools for the intermediate level.
This project turned out so great! We started this lesson with a discussion of what a landscape is. We talked about the students favorite places to cultivate a connection to their own lives. We then researched landscapes on the internet. Once the students had chosen the landscape they wanted to use they transferred the design onto a paper plate. If they messed up they were not given a second plate, so they were required to problem solve and be resilient to come up with a solution. Some chose to redraw their image with a different colored sharpie or colored pencil. We then painted with acrylics. The students were only given the primary colors, black, and white. The kids were puzzled on to where they could come up with a brown. So we discussed that the three primary colors mixed will make a brown. They had to be resilient though because the brown they wanted wasn’t always mixed the first time around! After we were done with the painting we created our loom. The kids further ran into problems in some cases because they cut the slit on the wrong side. So some solutions we discovered were to tape over the wrong slits on the back side and re-cut. Other solutions were to turn their tree into a volcano or mountain! It worked perfectly and gave the students more opportunities to personalize their project. Finally, I taught the students how to weave. Some wanted to do a palm tree and so the loom and the weaving looked a little different.
My third graders started this project by looking at a community artist’s work, her name is Karla Gerard. We talked about how Karla Gerard has an Etsy shop and sells her work, making a living off her art. We also discussed the fact that one of her pieces was in the most recent Superman movie (on the wall in the farmhouse of Superman’s childhood home). This helped the students cultivate connections. The students were then given some basic requirements to meet, mixing colors to make at least 20 colors, having buildings, natural things such as trees, etc. And finally, a fun, playful style like Karla Gerard. The openness to ambiguity cultivates the students’ creativity.