Monday, October 24, 2016

The Ratner School Art Program

I am looking forward to having a full week of school to connect to all my classes and keep our momentum going in art class. Each grade level has started new projects and are excited to continue working on them. I appreciate hearing that you are enjoying the art blog and thank you for your kind words about the art program. I hope you are seeing your child create more art at home and that you join in once in a while.

One busy day in art!

Kindergarten Art

The students are studying the symbols of the United States of America in the humanities program. We looked at several images and talked about what symbols were used and what they stood for. We talked about the composition of a piece of art and what a focal point is within the composition. Each student had a sheet of symbols to chose a minimum of 10 images to cut out and create a balanced collage. This project allowed me to assess the scissor skills of each student, how they handled applying glue and offered insight on their sense of design. 

1st and 2nd Grade Art

We are having a great time creating story boxes in art! The students have been studying the Cinderella stories from all different cultures and times in their homeroom and I thought it would be a great tie in for an art project exploring how art can tell a story. I wanted the students to paint, construct and have to make a clear plan for a piece of art. We read the book Yeh-Shen, paying close attention to the beautiful illustrations of the ancient tale. Each student chose a scene in the book that they wanted to illustrate in their story box. We began the construction with setting the scene by painting the background using watercolors, oil pastels and experimented with a salt technique. The next phase of the project will be to glue the sections into a large shirt box and begin constructing the characters. This is a higher level project that requires many steps and planning on the students part. So far, they are all rising to the challenge!

A background for the forest scene

The background for a cave scene

3rd and 4th Grade Art

We began a new project based on the work of Faith Ringgold. This project is a tie into the hot glue gun work we just finished, a connection to the work the students are doing in Language Arts and an opportunity to study a living female artist. I love the accessibility of the work of Faith Ringgold and have found that the students respond well to her work. We began the project by reading her book Tar Beach, watched a short interview with the artist and viewed a power point. The students had a face to face discussion about two of Ringgold's work and then had a group discussion comparing and contrasting the works. They started a paper and fabric background today and will continue work throughout this week on the project. They are off to a strong start on this project. 

The compare and contrast board after the group discussion

5th and 6th Grade Art

The students are well on their way working on the Icarus sculptures. They began with wooden figures and created wing structures to attach to the figure. They could chose any material for the "feathers" of the sculpture. Many students went the straight forward route and actually used feathers, but some used fabric or paper to create the feathers. The final step will be changing the appearance of the face and clothing to represent the Icarus myth. This has been an interesting structural and planning project and I am curious how the pieces will resolve.


7th and 8th Grade Art

Beyond the creation of individual works of art, one of the tenants of the program at our school is how to assess and talk about art. This is a process that takes some time to develop and I begin talking with our youngest artists about their work to help guide the process. By the time the students reach the middle school level, they should be well prepared to speak openly and honestly about their own work as well as the work of their peers.  For the final unit of the pop art project, the classes had a critique of their work in the gallery. Each student had post-it notes they could write their thoughts and critiques on and they then placed their comments beside the work critiqued. The students were thoughtful and insightful with their critiques and I found the process to be of value. They enjoyed the critique as well and it was not just because they got to eat cookies and juice at the critique!