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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016: The Year of the MONKEY

February provides a wealth of integrated arts inspiration for Art Teachers! February 8th (2016) is Chinese New Year--the Year of the Monkey. Here are some of the projects from my site that I've done with my students over the years along with some resources and projects from the interweb that I love. 



My previous posts:


Projects I LOVE from around the web:

And a recipes to enjoy:



Resources I've used:

  • "China: DK Eyewitness Books," by Poppy Sebag-Montefiore (A nice overview of China and Chinese culture. The book has some clear, beautiful images of calligraphy, writing, and dragon costumes).
  • "Gung Hay Fat Choy," by June Behrens (This is a great nonfiction book that has lots of pictures and info about Chinese New Year. I love the pictures of the dragons used in the Dragon Dance).
  • "Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats," by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz & The Children's Museum, Boston (A wonderful book of Chinese holiday tales, activities and recipes).
  • "The Boy Who Painted Dragons,"by Demi (All of Demi's books are beautiful! This artist has been known to paint with a mouse's whisker! She's also created books on Mother Theresa, Mary and Jesus).
  • "The Kid's Multicultural Art Book," by Alexandra M. Terzian (This is a great go-to book for a number of crafts from around the world. A must for an art teacher's personal collection. I love the whole series of art books for children by this publisher).
  • "The Paper Dragon," by Marguerite W. Davol (LOVE this book! And artist saves his village from a dragon by using creativity and intelligence. A great book!)
  • "You Can Write Chinese," by Kurt Wiese (A bit dated, but the way the information about Chinese symbols is presented is wonderful and very kid-friendly).
  • A China Family Adventure. http://www.china-family-adventure.com/chinese-writing-symbols.html (Accessed January 2012) This site has a section entitled, "Learning Chinese Writing Symbols for Kids" that has some wonderful, clear images of chinese calligraphy and a nice chart that shows the evolution of a few Chinese characters (this is where you will see that the original Chinese character for rain looks like rain falling from a cloud)
  • Chinese Calligraphy By Kids. http://library.thinkquest.org/3614/intro.htm (Accessed January 2012) A wonderful website by two elementary girls that is very child-friendly and has a ton of wonderful information about Chinese calligraphy, great picture examples and explanation of some symbols and the combination of symbols. Lovely!


Monday, February 1, 2016

7th and 8th Grade Final Projects

A rite of passage in the art room for the middle school students at Amherst Middle School is the final project. Despite its name the project is started pretty early on in the semester because it has a bunch of components to it.

Anthony's project inspired by Roy Lichtenstein

Here's a basic outline:

  • Students are shown a Powerpoint presentation of famous artists and artwork (7th grade focused on the art from 1900-1950; 8th grade focused on 1950-today)
  • Students choose an artist to research
  • Students create a paper/brochure/poster/oral report, etc. about the artist's work and life (details below)
  • Students propose a project to do that is inspired by the artist they researched, but should be personal to them (the sky's the limit here--they can use whatever media they wish, but no copying the artist)
  • Students complete a final project
  • Students write an artist statement about their project
It's quite the process and it really was a wonderful opportunity for me to get to know the students and help them explore a variety of materials. Some of the students struggled with the open-endedness of the project, or with the writing component, and again, it was a great opportunity for me to hone my teaching skills to help each student succeed. I really love these projects and how unique they are! Unfortunately, I do not have photos of all of the projects--that's the problem with doing something like this at the end of the semester--final grading and clean-up take away from documentation, but you get the idea. Students worked in acrylics, watercolor, colored pencil, clay, assemblage and more. We had a great range of 2D and 3D pieces. When I do this project again, I also have some ideas for tweaking it slightly to make it easier for the students to understand and to push them to develop their ideas even further, but it was a great first run for this project--definitely a keeper!

The graphic organizer I created for the students to use for research.
I was hoping a design like this would help them organize the information better
than giving them a list of what was required. 
Here's the final project proposal form they needed to fill out
prior to starting their final project. This gave me a chance to meet with them
and SEE what they were thinking of doing for their final piece.

Beka's piece inspired by van Gogh, I think (it's hard to remember!)

Carrie's piece inspired by Claes Oldenburg

Clayton's helmet and shield inspired by ancient Greece

Hannah's piece inspired by James Audubon

Hunter's house design inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright
(designed on the computer and printed in 3D)

This little house was a lot of work! :-)

Nathan's still life inspired by Paul Cezanne

Nolan's sculpture inspired by Alberto Giacometti

Top: Daniel's piece inspired by Robert Delauney
Bottom: Patrick's piece inspired by modern street art

Trey's piece inspired by Roy Lichtenstein



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