Camp Ipad Photography: Lines, Shapes, Shadows

Lines, Shapes and Shadows. You don’t have to do all three in one day, especially if it isn’t sunny. This summer I did lines and shapes first, then shadows another day.

With little kids you can show images and ask what shape they see, to get them practicing their shapes. You can also introduce horizontal versus vertical lines as well. This is great to do in a classroom too, especially PK-K since there are so many toys and things in there.

I do encourage my students to play with editing, trying the different preset filters on the iPad. With the older students you can show them how to access the editing buttons and explain what saturation, contrast and what it means to adjust the shadows and highlights separately. In the past, with cameras, I switched them all to black and white mode and we photographed in that mode all year.

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.

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.

 

Photography: Lines/Shadows/Texture

The photography of my elementary students brings tears to my eyes. They were so talented and totally understood concepts that I only began to learn in high school. My first year was a struggle teaching photography to youngsters, but by the second year I felt that they got it and I got it.

I taught photography the way I was taught it. Black and white was key. I feel that learning composition is easier without the distraction of color. We set the cameras to black and white for most of the year. Funny enough, at the end of the year when color was brought back the kids had new respect for black and white and some of the preferred to shoot or edit their photos back to black and white. And yes, my elementary kids as young as 2nd grade knew how to edit their photography in iPhoto.

The first year the students learned a lot about worm’s eye view, bird’s eye view, and rule of thirds. They brought these skills into their second year. I started the year out with editing in iPhoto because new cameras had not come in yet. They learned every editing tool in iPhoto and it was a huge success. By the time we began to shoot they were pros.

Lines, Shadows and Textures. Pretty basic stuff, but it got them shooting and excited. The school playground had a lot of this and when we went on a trip around the neighborhood they continued to find interesting lines, shadows, and textures. It never gets old, just look at anyone on instagram. I always reminded them to use their previous skills of worm’s eye view, especially with texture. My students would enhance their photographs themselves, sharpening, adding contrast, and so on.

 

Patterned Mittens

img_5352I did this with 1st grade. After doing line and shapes, we did patterns. Students spent a lot of time practicing drawing and coloring patterns on white paper. We discussed why we make patterns, specifically looking to our clothing. Using what we already knew about lines and shapes we created patters to prepare for a winter mitten design. I gave them a mitten stencil on colored construction paper, and they chose what color they wanted. I find that using colored paper is more forgiving when they don’t color in all the way it makes a nice background base. They took their practice pattern paper and transferred their designs to the mitten, using at leave 4 patterns. We used crayons and/or colored pencils. Some students outlines their patterns with sharpie.

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The snowflakes were really fun to do! I read Snowflake Bentley to the children and showed his real snowflake photography. They were fascinated by the designs. We reviewed symmetry here and brought up radial symmetry. We discussed what other things have radial symmetry as well. I also follow a friend on Facebook who photographs snowflakes today to show the kids a contemporary artist. She goes by The Snowflake Photographer and her work is breathtaking. We did some practice snowflakes using our drawing from observations skills. The kids were surprisingly into making the snowflakes look as close to the photographs as possible. I gave them black paper and white colored pencils for final snowflakes, then we attached the mitten to it. In the future I’d like to have them cut out a snowflake as well and glue on onto the mitten as if it was catching one.

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