I've recently been trying to incorporate more fun into my art classrooms. My goal is to get students excited to come to art and graphic design class. One thing I've found that brings joy-- and even some social and collaboration opportunities-- is using games. I don't typically play an art-related game for an entire hour, but the following are art-related games I've researched and many that I've tried out in my own high school classrooms. Many of these games could be modified for younger students too.
#1 Exquisite Corpse
How to Play:
#2 Pareidolia Scavenger Hunt
#3 Sculpey Pictionary
Need a list of pictionary words? Here are 138 different words at different difficulty levels I created for my classes. Download them free by clicking here!
#4 Ink Blowing
#5 Street Art Online Game
#6 Dice Drawing Game
My graphic design 1 students just finished a collaborative animation project. I connected with an Elementary art teacher about this project a couple months ahead of time. I asked her if she could have a group of 5th grade students draw characters, write what they want their character to do, and then send me the drawings. I ended up getting about 80 drawings and scanned each one to my e-mail.
Then, I uploaded the drawings as .jpgs to my Google Drive and sent a drawing to each graphic design student. I instructed my students that they had to animate the drawing according to the directions provided by the 5th grader. My graphic design students animated these in Photoshop...some students touched up the drawings a little, while others left the drawings as they were. Some students added photos or other images.
When all students finished, I put together a (not so little) Google Slide presentation to send to the Elementary art teacher so she could show her students all of our hard work! This animated gif project was a great way to connect with the younger student and share our program. We even got featured on the Rochester Public Schools Facebook page for this project!
This was just so much fun and a great challenge for my graphic design students! I will definitely be doing it again in the future!
View the compiled stop motion animations below!
This has got to be one of my favorite projects to work on with my middle school art students. The project goes relatively quickly (2 class times) and my students love to learn about the glass artist Dale Chihuly. The sculpture in the picture above is made of 200 plastic bottles. Each bottle was donated by a student or staff member at our school. We started collecting bottles about 3 weeks before we started the project. Each student selected a bottle & painted it with acrylic. Acrylic paint works much better than tempera. Next, each student was assigned a style for cutting the bottle apart (star shape or spiral shape). Some students modified their styles slightly for a more unique design.
The Warhol Project
A while back I had stumbled upon the website of a teacher who did a "soup drive" along with her Pop Art project. I thought this was such a cool way to get students involved with art history and their community! I took this teacher's (I have no idea who she is) idea and ran with it. I created what is now called, "The Warhol Project". For the last month, students have been bringing in cans of food where we will be donating them to Channel One Food Bank in Rochester, MN. Our goal is 400 cans by the end of May. We already have 238!
We are collecting our cans in two large barrels that Channel One kindly gave us. It's not a bad idea to put a sign on them that states they are not garbage (I encountered I few issues there...)
Last semester we made pop bottles (Pop Art...get it?) on the benday dots handout. We used markers and colored pencils for that project. This semester, I plan on having students draw soup cans in their table groups and use the benday dots handout I used last semester. I think I will teach students how to use watercolor pencils instead of using regular colored pencils and markers. I think it would be interesting for students to use complementary colors in this project as well.
I just love how the students (and parents!) have shown so much enthusiasm and generosity by donating to our soup drive! Stay tuned for the next part of The Warhol Project: Drawing our soup cans!
End of Semester Classroom Art Show
I used disposable black tablecloths on the tables and reused old wire/thread spools as pedestals for the 3-D work. The image above shows how I hung up the larger artworks using scrap mat boards and clothespins. Students were asked to fill out an "Art Sandwich" about the artwork created by the student to their left. We talked about writing respectful comments and using professional language. Since this was our last day, I brought snacks and pop for the kids to munch on while they looked at each other's work. Overall, I think it was a great success and such a great opportunity for students to experience an "art show". We had a few minutes of spare time, so I showed them this "Latte Art" video. Kids had a lot of fun trying to figure out how it's done.
The end of this semester has proved to be quite busy. We are currently working on our birchbark boxes and will hopefully be finished by the end of this week. I will be moving schools for the second semester and that means an entirely new group of students. It also means that I am working on planning the curriculum for this second semester.
As an artist who likes to work in a variety of mediums, I am definitely one who likes to try new things and experiment with different lesson plans. A few of the projects we did last semester (pop bottle drawings and zentangle pyramids) will be repeated but I will be teaching many new projects this second semester. One project I have been dying to have students try is a large-scale collaborative grid drawing. I think I will be doing this project instead of the Chihuly sculptures with this group of students.
I took inspiration for the grid drawing lesson from Chuck Close's gridded portraits. This lesson is still in the works, but I think it will be a great lesson on drawing what we SEE, rather than what we think we see. This is something I know a lot of 6th grade students struggle with and breaking it down into 5"x5" square chunks should ease frustration. The 7th & 8th graders do their own personal grid drawings and this should be a nice precursor for building up background knowledge of grid drawing.
I chose six artists and their portraits for this lesson. I copied and pasted their images into a word document and overlayed a 7"x9" grid over each image. I applied the artistic filter "pencil sketch" over each image to show contour lines more effectively.
The hardest part was narrowing my choices down to six artists. These may not have been your own choices, but my criteria for selecting artists was based on the lessons I will be teaching throughout the semester and I wanted to represent different cultures and show a balance of both men and women artists.
I plan on printing each gridded artist image twice. I will use my paper cutter to cut out each small 1"x1" square from the image. I will then label the back of each square with a number so we can keep track of which image goes where. Then I will give students a handout for the project with a 5"x5" square box to draw in. Each student gets a small 1"x1" square and will be asked to transfer the 1" box into the 5" box on the handout. I plan on showing students examples of what we are doing, but not what our final image will be. I like a little mystery! :) Once students have their drawing in pencil finished, I'll have them color with markers or colored pencils. I will be testing this project out myself to see how it works before teaching it. The worst case scenario is that it doesn't turn out to look like a portrait.
Each final work will be a combination of two art classes (approx. 30 students in each class). The final work will be 35"x45" in size with a total of 63 5"x5" squares in each work.
Time required: 2 (50 min.) class periods
You can see the document I created with the six artist images below. I will keep you posted about how this project works out!
I am a 7th year high school art teacher in Rochester, MN. I have taught middle school for 2 years and high school for almost 5 years. I truly enjoy working with students on a daily basis. I also enjoy teaching real-world skills such as problem solving, using technology, and the power of teamwork and collaboration. My joy is sharing my passion for art with others!
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