Camp Ipad Photography: Paper Sculpture

It was way to hot to go outside some days, or rainy, and I saved this project for those days. It takes one class to build the sculpture, and another to photograph them. I like to wait until they have at least some composition lessons in before they shoot their sculpture so they have an appreciation for the lines, shadows, shapes, framing, rule of thirds, etc.

You need some kind of base for the kids to build their sculptures on. In the past I have used a nice book binding cardboard, but this summer a thicker piece of card stock worked perfectly. I precut a bunch of paper into strips and show some simple folding, curling, and quilling techniques.

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I also changed it up by using colored paper, where in the past we used only white and we only photographed in black and white. Not only was it fun to photograph all the colors, but we used the Photobooth App on the iPad and played with the filters to get some surreal and abstract images of the sculptures.

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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

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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Tree Mania

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I decided to do a tree project because I was sick of seeing a typical trees being drawn with a poof on top. I think winter trees are really beautiful especially when there is a good sunset behind them. I did this with 2nd grade.

We did a lot of sketching, looking at paintings and photograph of trees and concentrating on the branches. They tried to make their trees as close to the images they were copying from as possible. They previously prepared their rainbow background paper, and only painted their black silhouetted trees when absolutely ready after practicing on white paper first. We added snow last.

Since we did this towards the end of the winter I continued right into spring trees. We made tints of colors by adding white; they chose any color they wanted. We used brown instead of black, and replaced the snow with different colored flowers or leaves. They loved their spring versus winter trees.

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While on the subject of trees I went into the most famous tree of all, Klimt’s Tree of Life. We discussed how we were trying to paint our spring and winter trees to be realistic. Looking at Klimt’s tree how was it different? They were even able to come up with some interesting meanings for why the branches were spiraled and what the black bird represented (death).

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I taught them how to draw and paint spirals too. I was observed for this, my formal actually, and I wish I could say it went well but it was not an easy period. It was with one of my more challenging classes that I never, ever had a problem with. I’m not saying I let them do whatever they wanted, but I didn’t make them do the typical lets sit down and have a rigorous discussion for an eternity, because they would fight if they weren’t happy. This class did the best work, because they had so much time to actually paint and draw (you know art class stuff, kids are now WRITING in gym class, GYM class, whatever other blog) … needless to say they wanted to get into painting and not sit there and have a conceptual discussion on why we are painting spirals.

In the end their own trees of life were amazing. Since it was their imaginary tree they were allowed to use any color they wanted, not the typical lets me a Klimt tree out of gold paint because it is such a good excuse to use gold paint. Gold paint is expensive.

We added a collage element to the trees using colored construction paper to add in all the fun shapes like Klimt’s tree and a ominous black bird.

Mondrian Collages

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So this is kind of a typical art project but I liked it because I didn’t have supplies come in yet so it was a good way to introduces some elements of art before painting. The major themes in this project were primary colors, lines, shapes and abstract art. When they saw examples of Mondrian’s work there is a lot of room for discussion on what they think the paintings look like.

I showed them Broadway Boogie Woogie without telling them the title. I told them to use their imagination and discuss with their partner what they see. Without me telling them they got the sense of a city, and buildings and traffic lights. When I told them the paintings background they were really excited.

We also talked about what shapes and colors they see. I showed them another examples of Mondrian’s work with the typical black lines. We discussed what direction the lines can go, horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. We talked about the primary colors and what makes them special.

The guidelines were simple, students have to have at least 1 vertical, 1 horizontal, and 1 diagonal line. They have to use all 3 primary colors, and use different shapes to cover up most for the empty spaces. I didn’t want to give them too many limitations as I wanted them to be free to come up with their own things. I was observed during this lesson and my AP thought I should have had more rules, but I think they came out great with the guidelines they had? Yes, there is always going to be that kid who wants to do the bare minimum and get it over with quick and easy… but I feel like that is the kid you have a sit down chat with and try to inspire them to do more. Plus once things got going the kids saw what their peers were doing and kept going. Some kids cut their pieces smaller, some kids had their work pop out and make it a 3D project! I feel like you have to let them explore on their own.

I told them they can work to a certain design or see what it looks like after like we did with Broadway Boogie Woogie. We came up with titles based on what they saw I their pictures. Encourage students to use their paper wisely and not be afraid of the scrap bucket. I went through a lot of paper. Collage is also an annoying clean up so make sure you have a broom and dust pan.

I have also done this project on the computer! Great for learning how to make straight lines, use the bucket tool to fill in spaces, and create shapes! I used a program called PIXIE!

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Fall Trees

img_3588We forget how young PreK is and how little they can do. Ripping paper is good for strengthening their hands.

We started out by talking about what’s going on with the trees outside. They should be able to discuss how the trees are changing and how winter is coming.

We look at pictures of trees and discuss what shapes we see. The trunk is a long skinny rectangle, and branches are smaller rectangles or just lines. We use brown to do this. Remind them not to add leaves yet because we’ll be gluing them on later. Once the tree is done talk about the ground line and make that in green for grass.

That can take one period, so next time they can do the leaves. Show them how to rip the paper about the size of the top of their little fingers. Doesn’t really matter as long as the peices aren’t too big or small. Talk about where the leaves would go, some on the branches, falling down or already on the ground in a pile.

Depending on ability some students will need help with the glue. I used glue sticks for this. Show them how to put glue on the paper then stick the leaf on. For some kids you can just cover a whole area with glue n let them go sticking.

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