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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Leaf Prints and Art Education Musings...

Around this time of year, I have a project I like to keep on hand for early finishers. I've posted about it before and it is originally from Deep Space Sparkle. When I first saw this project, I thought "WOW! How striking and different!" I love the contrast between the white leaves and the black paper. The colors in the negative space really pop!


The project is easy-to-do and once you give a quick-demo, students from first grade through fourth are good to go and can do the project themselves (my kind of early-finisher project!). Here are some of the results from my "Fall Into Art" Class....

I super-love these! They look so nice!


But...I noticed something after this last class did this project. Maybe it is because I'm going for my Master's and have been reading all sorts of articles about creativity in children and revamping arts programs and all that (that stuff will mess you up! ;-) ), but I think I may need to alter the way I present this lesson...
  • Children always ask: "Why are we painting the leaves white? They aren't white--they are beautiful colors!"
  • And I think, "Hmm. You're right, children. But trust me, the project is awesome and the white leaves look so great with the black paper....really...you can put all those beautiful colors in the background..."
  • And then a few always say, "But do we HAVE to do it this way?"
So, I did an experiment...I reversed the colors and changed the papers and tried it in a way that would seem more real to the students and allow them to observe and connect with the colors outside the window and represent that in their work...here's what I got:


So above you'll see my test of different colors of construction papers with the revised color combinations. I think the light blue works well, BUT, I *absolutely HATE* the new temperas I bought from Michael's--they no longer carry the brand I like there and these are seriously the worst (and the only choice at our local store). So, I'm sure that when you all do your versions with quality temperas you'll be much happier.

The revised version isn't as striking as the Deep Space Sparkle original, I truly do love her version more, but this version above might be one to keep in mind when working with with younger students and getting them to really look at the world around them. Just some food for thought...

BTW: The image above was marked up using Skitch, an APP for the iPad. I love it! Although this isn't the best representation of what you can do with it.

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