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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mondrian Art Portfolios

My homeschool art classes start up again this week! I'm so excited! This year's focus for the homeschool cooperative is the 1800's to today. That means, in art, we'll be exploring Modern art. It was so difficult for me to narrow down all of the wonderful artists and art movements that occurred during that time into 20 art lessons for the year. But I made list after list and contemplated and rearranged and now I'm fairly sure I have the curriculum down pat. Really. I do!


Mondrian-inspired art on a portfolio

So, now let's talk about the end of the year. Wait, WHAT?! No, seriously. There are a couple of things I need to keep in mind when doing my planning for the year and the biggest one occurs at the end of the year...

In the Spring, the homeschool cooperative holds a Grande Finale. It's a time when all of the big kids are honored for their achievements and there are plays and demonstrations and displays to check out. This is also the time when I have my students display their artwork from the year. One thing I learned VERY quickly (and for some of you, you may say "duh!" when you hear this): If you send artwork home you will never see it again. As a teacher this makes for a lame show at the end of the year. So this year, I thought I'd have the children create portfolios (folders) in which to keep their artwork during the semester. I already send out weekly emails letting parents know what we did in class, so they know we are doing something. This way I can hold onto the artwork for a bit and get a chance to photograph it.

Why photograph the artwork? Well...more on that later! I have a plan, my friends! But first, the portfolios! I decided to take one of the easy lessons I wanted to do and combine it with making the portfolios. This way, we can decorate the portfolios and learn about an artist! Mondrian was an easy choice for me, but feel free to substitute whichever artist you would like!

A Mondrian-inspired lesson is a good first lesson of the semester since it allows us to talk about basic art concepts such as:

  • line (vertical and horizontal)
  • shape (geometric, squares and rectangles)
  • color (primaries: red, yellow and blue)
  • balance

Mondrian Art Portfolios

Supplies Needed:
  • 1 Sheet of white poster board, 22" x 28" (i bought mine at the dollar store for 50 cents)
  • 1 Sheet of graph paper, 8 1/2" x 11"
  • Glue Stick
  • Masking tape
  • Electrical tape, black
  • Markers in Red, Blue and Yellow
  • Black Sharpie Marker
Directions:

1. Fold the poster board in half to make a 14" x 22" pocket. Seal the side seam with masking tape.

2. Use the glue stick to attach the graph paper to the poster board. 

3. Use the electrical tape to create a border around the edge of the graph paper, then use more electrical tape to divide the graph paper into smaller squares. Use the grid on the graph paper as a guide for the tape.

4. Color in some of the squares and rectangles you created with the red, yellow and blue markers leaving some of the sections white.

5. Write your name with the black Sharpie on the upper right corner of both sides of your folder. The front side of your folder (the side with the artwork) is for decoration, but the plain side (the side with only the student's name on it) is a nice backdrop for photographing the students' artwork--their name is written in the upper right hand corner, so you can include that in the photo and it makes identifying the artwork in photos much easier later on!

An example of student work photographed on the reverse side
of the folder. I included the student's name in the photo
and I can crop it out later if I need to.
You could also include teacher name or class session info or the school year on the blank side under the student's name. Whatever works for you! Here's to an organized school year!


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