Mixing Primary into Secondary

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You would be surprised how many children and adults do not know which primary colors make the secondary. I did two versions of this lesson for the younger elementary kids and the older ones.

The younger kids, 1st grade-2nd, did the ice pops. I did find the lesson online but I changed it up a little. We did this following our How to use a brush Winter Style lesson. I did just a lesson on mixing colors on white paper. I told them we were going to make magic today. The paint brush is your magic wand. We started out by making sure our brushes were super clean. We put some yellow on the paper, cleaned the brush, put a tiny amount of blue on the tip, said the magic words and they mixed green. They were really amazed. Same things with yellow and red for orange, make sure you reinforce just dipping the tip of the brush into the red (and blue) because they are such strong colors. Last we do red and blue to make purple.

I closed this lesson by having the kids take a look around the table at their friend’s colors. Are all the greens exactly the same? Some are more yellow and some are more blue. Why? This is how you can introduce the intermediate colors. Why would you want a green that is more blue? Why would you want a green that is more yellow? This can be a nice conclusion.

The older kids, 3rd through 5th, did the color wheels. They already knew the primary and secondary colors. We traced a circle on white paper, used rules to draw 3 lines through the circle, and outlined in sharpie. Then as a class we painted in the primary colors, skipping a space between each color. So you have red, blank, yellow, blank, blue, blank. This is where they mess up. Some kids will just go again and know that they two colors surrounding the blank spaces need to be mixed in there, so red and yellow to make orange in the middle. Others you have to do it step by step.

Moving on to the Ice Pops. I actually got observed for this lesson, and because it was a step by step process it was deemed not creative enough. Which is fine, but I think the lesson served its purpose because after all the kids knew exactly how to make orange, green and purple, and they had fun. I pre-drew the ice pop shape, and even color coded labeled them with Y O R, for yellow, orange, red. They already had an introduction to mixing so it was applying last weeks skills. I still did it step by step so no one was left behind. Some kids liked painting the top, then bottom, then mixing the middle. Others painted the whole top and middle yellow then added red on the bottom going up to make the orange middle. Depends on the students.

The background was choosing horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines in a pattern. So before they did that we reviewed all those words. We used PAINT CAKES! My favorite. And any colors they wanted. Cut, glue, done.

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Warm vs. Cool Colors

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As part of our color theory unit we learned what the warm and cool colors are and how to use them. I started the class by asking kids to name me all 6 colors from the color wheel, grouping them into warm and cool. I asked if they knew why I put orange, red and yellow on one side and blue, green, purple on the other. Some students knew why. I showed them how they are together on the color wheel as well.

I showed them paintings and photographs in a warm and cool version. So I searched warm or cool colored images and then manipulated them in Photoshop to change them. So I had the same image in a warm version and a cold version.

We did a lot of group discussion on how the different versions make us feel. I actually found a cool image of Beyoncé crying. The warm and cool version had very different responses from the kids. The were very insightful to how warm colors make them feel versus cool. I gave them more images to discuss with their tables. By the end of class they were able to identify why artists would use warm or cool colors to create different moods.

As an activity they traces their hands, drew a line down the center, decorated one side cool and the other warm. This was all in preparation for the big end of unit color theory projects: Feel Good Words and Kandinsky Circles.

Photography without cameras

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So you might want to introduce photography to your kids and not have any cameras! Or you want to remind them that what they choose to have in the frame should be planned and thoughtful.

In the past, while waiting for cameras to arrive I cut out viewfinders. Sometimes I cut them to be in the shape of an old school camera or you can find pre-cut frames.

I actually did this as my demo lesson. The goal was to teach them worm’s eye point of view and bird’s eye point of view. They used the view finders to get out of the comfort level of photographing in human’s eye, or just straight forward. I encouraged them to lay down on the floor and stand up on chairs for interesting views. At the end of the period they did a drawing of one of the points of views and we discussed which view was more interesting to them.

I have also used the paper view finders to introduce a David Hockney collage assignment. Showing them how many pictures you can take of one scene. I also cut up images and had them put them back together like a puzzle to prepare for their own Hockney. The did Hockney’s digitally and printed out.

The paper view finder is a great way to slow them down. I think you could stop mid year, remove cameras and review point of view with the paper view finders if you feel like their photography is becoming stale.

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David Hockney

How to use a brush Winter Style

This stated out as an exercise to teach the kids a few different ways to handle a brush and turned into painting a quick winter/Christmas picture because it fell into the week before holiday break. I did this with 1st and 2nd grades.

I showed students how to properly wash the brush. You should always assume your brush is dirty when you get it because you can’t trust the last person to clean it. Dip the brush into the water, tickle the bottom of the cup, wipe the excess water on the lip of the cup, and dab it on a paper towel and check if the water is clear or still dirty. Repeat as necessary. I told them that if I can hear them cleaning their brushes they are not cleaning it the right way and are in hanger of splashing.

Bad hair day brushes. If your brush looks like it is having a bad hair day you are using it wrong. I showed them how to properly hold the brush and how you can use the tip, side, and other angles to have a different effect.

We made fat lines, skinny lines, painted in large areas and used the brush to “stamp” in dots. Using these 4 things they were able to experiment by making a winter or Christmas picture.

PAINT CAKES are the best! I highly recommend paint cakes. You have a set or two for each table, so easy to distribute. The colors are vibrant and the clean up is simple. If the babies mess them up you just rinse them, it is beautiful.

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I showed them how to use our new skills to make a snowman or a Christmas tree. Make a fat line, skinny line, paint in a large area, and use “stamping.” Since the paint cakes dry so fast they were able to take their pictures home for the holidays.

 

Do you wanna build a snowman?

I have seen the obligatory snowman project done in such boring cookie cutter ways where every snowman(woman) looks the same? Why? I did these with PK and K. For some crazy reason I decided to have us paint our backgrounds, probably because I didn’t have paper that was big and not white. This was kinda a mistake because the white paint was too watery and I had to figure out a way to make the snowman. So we used ripped paper after the white paint failed, and I love how the ripped paper added texture.

The kids started out pretending to build a snowman on the carpet. We talked about what shapes we’d use to draw a snowman. I had stencils of a big, medium, and small circle for each kid and they arraigned them on their paper in size order and traced. When they painted they stayed in their lines, and then when they ripped and glued paper they stayed in the lines as well.

Accessorizing the snowman continued with collage. We talked about how we could dress the snowman(woman) using different shapes. For the younger kids I had precut shapes, and the older and more capable were able to cut their own shapes.

Some kids added snow eventually, smaller classes used glitter. They made snow dots using glue and I added the glitter.

If I were to do this again I would definitely use ripped paper again and find some colored background paper. I’d use any colors, the more colors the better.

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