Monday, September 26, 2016

The Ratner School Art Program

It was wonderful to have another full week of classes. We are finishing projects in many of the classes and the students are well into the expectations of the art program. They enter the art room focused and ready to work each class and always exclaim with great dismay at the end of each class. They have not yet figured out how art class seems to go so much faster with each new project. I am glad we have such engaged art students at the Ratner School!  I taught a new unit to the Kindergarten students this week and showed them examples of the work of Edward Durell Stone, the original architect of our school. There are many photos of his iconic architecture on the internet and I enjoyed learning more about him. I added a link to his organization's page if you would like to learn more about him. 

Original blueprint and drawing by architect Edward Durell Stone

Kindergarten Art

This week in Kindergarten Art we continued the study of the Ratner School building. I showed the students the original plans of the building along with the blue prints of the iconic Ratner School column designs. We talked about the job of the architect and how art helps the design of buildings and houses. I showed the students other examples of the work of Edward Stone, the architect of our school.  The students then went outside to create a carbon paper "blue print" drawing of the columns. For the next unit, the students were given a photo of the school to draw and then watercolor paint. Many students now want to paint the roof of the Ratner School with rainbow colors! I love the creativity of our kindergarten artists.


1st and 2nd Grade Art

We began working on the art of Zentangle patterns this week. Zentangle designs are highly repetitive black and white patterns. The patterns are not representational and require a high level of concentration and thoughtful mark making. The students were shown several examples and I pointed out how many Zentangle patterns are based on a grid design. This work helps the students slow down their process in art and they have to study a design to try and figure out how to recreate it. They have also been learning about mindfulness in their classroom and Zentangle designs are an extension of a meditative drawing practice. 

3rd and 4th Grade Art

It was great to have a full week of art finally for the 3rd and 4th grade class! The students all finished their weaving project and several students were able to create a weaving with natural objects we gathered from the school grounds. The connection to the mechanics of the weaving being the same, but the final piece translating differently was a common connection made with this project. The students talked about the Mesopotamian culture constantly with this weaving project and have a better understanding about the labor involved in creating utilitarian objects. We will be beginning a sculptural project this week and will be working in the Maker Space in the coming weeks.

5th and 6th Grade Art

The students have begun to add the color designs to the playing card portraits. Traditionally, playing cards only use the three primary colors, but the students wanted a more creative choice on their work. I set a 5 color limit on the cards and the designs look fantastic! The students took care to create well balanced patterns and have shown good control of the materials to create a strong graphic work. Several students have completed the mounting and border designs of their work and will finish the project this week. Look for them hanging in the front lobby and on the second floor of the school by the end of the week. 


7th and 8th Grade Art

We have several artists finishing with the pop art project this week! Now the discussion moves to the design of the background in the piece. There have been a few good debates on the merit of a designed background and whether or not the background would add to or distract from the focal point and mood of the final piece. It is encouraging to hear debate with the artwork and thoughtful discussions taking place in the classroom.