Saturday, March 31, 2012

Surreal self portraits.- TAEA

Today I presented my surreal self portrait lesson at the TAEA mini "get connected" Tech Conference. For those of you that made it THANK YOU! It was the first time I ever presented anything, and I loved the enthusiasm.  Here is my lesson plan for anyone that wants it.

 I didn't realize until I packed it all up, but this takes a lot of supplies! You will need:
Magazines with interesting images, 8x8 white paper, 8x8 tracing paper, print out of your face (computer and printer help here), carbon paper, chalk pastels, colored pencils, scissors, glue, black crayon or sharpie, and a pencil. 

I started this project off by showing the kids examples of surrealist art. I brought in some imagery from Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, and my favorite Rene Magritte. we talked about the unconscious mind, and how much surreal art seems random.


We capitalized on the random part of the imagery and used magazines as source material.  I found lots of good content and cut it out so the kids didn't waste time going through pages and pages of things that they wouldn't use. I also photocopied and enlarged some good small things. After picking imagery the kids traced it onto the tracing paper. I encouraged them to think about balance in their artwork, to overlap objects and rotate their paper as much as possible.

 After filling the page with tracing color in the whole page with chalk pastels. any place you don't fill in will be white, so I tell the kids not to leave any white spaces. I also recommend they balance their color choices so one side of the page doesn't get too heavy.

 This is the tricky part. You want to glue the side that you chalk pasteled down. Put a line of glue around the edge of the tracing paper on the same side that you put the chalk pastel. Then flip the paper face side down onto the white paper. You will now view your color through the tracing paper. This is nice because you don't have to spray fix on the pastel, and it won't smudge. It also has the added benefit of making everything backward, which can be weird. the muted colors give it a nice Chagall color scheme.

  --> The unfortunate side effect is now you can't really see the lines in your background, so I trace over them with black crayon, or sharpie if you want. Now the background is done and you can work on the portrait.

 This is the Tech portion that got me to present at the get connected conference. Take your picture with photo booth. Photo booth comes standard on all Mac's, and you can get the app for ipad and iphone. I know there is an equivalent for PC that you can download, but I don't know its name, so if you do, comment.  

On the 2nd page of effects there are some that distort the face. I would recommend any on this page other then light tunnel, fish eye, and normal. Click on the one you want, then click the red camera button to take the picture.  Now print the photo. 


My printer prints on about half a page as is pictured above. I had the kids just cut the bottom off the page and use that, but you can use another piece of paper if you like. 
My carbon paper has flowers on the non carbon side, so for me I layered the white paper, carbon paper flower side up, and the photo. now all you do is trace the features of your face. It is important you trace right on top of the features and not go around the features. This makes it look more like what is in the photograph. I like this because it gives the kids just what is there, but because it is distorted they can't get in the "it doesn't look right" trap, because it is supposed to look wrong. Make sure they get their shoulders in, otherwise there will just be floating heads.

 Now color. I have a color printer, so since they had the reference of proper colors I had them color realistically,  including shading. I use prismacolor colored pencils which blend well for shading, but you can use any type and they will look fine. Now cut out the head.

 Ok, we have reached the end of the journey. Glue the head onto the background. I have the kids turn the paper until they find the perfect spot on the background for the head to fit.

Obviously you can change this project to suit your needs, but please, give me credit!!!! I spent some time coming up with all of this!

Now for the boring teacher details:

The Learner Will (TLW) view and discuss surreal artists.
TLW pay attention to detail.
TLW use found imagery in an original piece of art.
TLW blend with colored pencils.
TLW use a computer to take a picture.
TLW create a self portrait. 

Students (Ss) have traced background neatly and paid attention to detail.
Ss colored in the background fully.
Ss use bold coloring on faces.
Ss use shading on faces
Ss create an effective composition.

The Artsy Girl

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The Artsy Girl

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lesson Plan Organization

Here is the scene: I am at work trying to plan anew lesson for 3rd grade.  I look at my poster of topics that need to be covered in a year, and locate one that I want to do. Then I go to my supply of lessons.

This is the problem. I have too many forms of lesson plan organization.

Last year my mentor teacher from college retired.  I was lucky enough to absorb her 20 year collection of lesson plans. Some of them were in the form of papers in file folders that I store in this little number:

My massive filing cabinet.

I have spent too much time going through these files, putting like things together, separating by grade level, scanning into the computer.... And there are still several  boxes in my apartment.

No, you don't need to see the boxes.
 Some of the things I got from her are also samples of lessons. I create a lot of these too, it is a natural byproduct of teaching art. For a while I was gluing the lesson on the back of each sample. I may keep doing this, it is nice to see when I dig through the big folder.

My second method.
 I'm not super crazy about either of the methods mentioned above.

then the art teacher that travels to my school every third day introduced me to her new lesson plan book:
I really can't say enough about this.  She came up with what I want to call the BEST idea in the world.  It is a sketchbook. That's all. But it is the most amazing thing I have ever done. I am actually excited about making lesson plans now because I love putting them in this book!

Basically I write the lesson on one side and put the sample on the other side. It is great that it is all compacted together, because I can carry it all with me and work when I am out and about. I also love it because it all stays together. Also I can put it on my desk so my principal can see it when I am teaching and she comes in. I'm not sure what will happen next year when I have lessons that are repeated from this book, but am working in a new book because this one will be full, but I'll fugure it out when the time comes.

Well that's it for the day, how do you keep your lessons together? Any suggestions I can add to my already out of hand storage situation?

Happy teaching,
The Artsy Girl
(Did you see that? a sign off! totally one of my blogging resolutions!)