• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Sunday, April 14, 2013

sunbursts, starbursts, and silhouettes

Sometimes when I am looking for an idea for an art lesson, I scout around the Artsonia website. That's where I found these interesting starburst designs, done with primary and secondary colors. They looked easy and fun so I decided to try them in warm or cool colors with a second grade class. To introduce the lesson, I just posted a piece of paper and started drawing with three warm colors:  yellow, gold, and orange. I tried to emphasize the zigzaggy method of creating concentric circles of rays. After I had laid down about six rows, I put up another paper and started another one with cool colors: turquoise, blue, and purple. During this introduction, I did not speak at all. When I had two good starts, a warm one and a cool one, I had the students tell me what I did. These became the directions:

- choose 3 colors, warm or cool
- start near the center with a dot
- get bigger and bigger
- fill the whole paper
- no scribbling!

I gave them directions to choose three warm or cool colors and show them to me. Several students mixed the palettes; instead of giving them paper, I said, "you have two warms and one cool" or "you have two cools and one warm." I didn't tell them which color needed to be replaced; I left that up to them. As they got started, I quickly noticed that some students had difficulty making the short, zigzaggy strokes radiating out from the center of the circle. A few were coloring concentric lines instead, or lines that looked like open zigzags. For those few students, I took their hand in mine and showed them how to make the little zigzags.

When the first student had finished filling the whole paper, I interrupted their work for a lesson in making the cityscape silhouette. On black construction paper, I first drew a line across the bottom, a few inches up. Then I started with a tall rectangle in the center for a building, added a roof, and proceeded to add more rectangles until building shapes extended across the whole paper. I pointed out to the students how the buildings were not touching, but were pretty close to each other. I demonstrated cutting them carefully, and gluing down the silhouette. I made a big deal about putting the glue on the side of the paper that has the pencil lines so that the clean side will be the one we see when it's done. When I held up the finished product, there were a lot of oooohs and aaaaahs.

When doing the silhouette, some students mistakenly cut off the baseline, or cut off one of the buildings by accident, so they needed to do that part over. A few students put the glue on the wrong side of the paper (this always happens!) so we needed to do a little erasing. Overall, the results were pretty striking, especially when they were lined up along the white board tray.

And what about the other half of the black paper? Students were very intrigued by the opposite effect, and asked what to do with them. I decided to collect them and use them for a future activity. I haven't invented that one yet, but they are safe in a manila envelope.