Saturday, March 26, 2011

1st graders are "real" artists

It was a busy, messy week, with Kindergartners thumbprinting rainbows and painting skies, papier-mache flying pigs reaching completion, and more more more. But my 1st graders were not messy for once (though they came prepared wearing "art shirts") as we had one of my annual 1st grade favorite art classes.
I tell my 1st graders they are "real" artists, doing portraits, making sculptures, etc, all things real artists do. I explain that real artists practice drawing people by looking at live models, and they will each become a model for a minute or two for the rest of their classmates to draw.
I have them all stand up and we practice bending our bodies into positions I draw on the white board, using just ovals (you'll see a couple behind the models above). The kids folded up a big piece of 50lb white paper into enough rectangles to fit everyone in their class, and they love to get their turn to be a model! Unfortunately the artwork went home and I forgot to take pics of their finished drawing practice, but here's someone hard at work:
I'm using this lesson this year to intro "Giraffes Can't Dance" (a popular blogger art lesson) in their next art class, since we now have experience in how we bend and articulate our bodies. Hopefully that will help with our giraffes!!
NOTE: You may have noticed on the white board behind the first child the word "NO!" but recall my opinions on the "No-No board", posted a while back and generating much discussion that I really don't want to start again. So you may think I'm being hypocritical here, but I don't think so. FOR THIS LESSON, we did agree to say NO to stick people and NO to M&M people and the kids laughed a lot especially at the drawing of the M&M person (forgetting that a year or two they ALL drew people this way). Other than those 2 "NO's", I was open minded. Some kids drew with ovals like I had on the white board, but honestly that is tough for some 1st graders and often a drawing ended up with an extra oval or two in each leg or arm, making a multi-jointed person.
By the way - I had a comment about my color wheel table, so if you are interested, I posted about it here:
Later this weekend I promise to post trihexaflexagons and flying pigs!! (I told you it has been a busy week.)


  1. First, how cute are they up on those tables?! Second, how AMAZING are those tables? Is that your handiwork?

  2. Amy, thanks, the table is indeed my handiwork, and I posted about it here:

    Actually I'll add the link to the post, since it was so long ago.

  3. I love figure drawing in first grade! You have definitely gained their trust and built their confidence to have them do figure drawing for you with such enthusiasm! I bet you have to wait till this point in the year to do this and have them "go there" with you. I know we would. Post some of their drawings if you can.

    It's interesting to see what "first grade work" looks like across the blogs, across the country and helps to set some common standards in my mind at least. Can you believe before blogging (like last year for me) we were in our art rooms doing are best with no sharing (that was my case)?

  4. Well I guess you can't post their drawings. . .I did the same thing a lot this year and didn't get to post a lot of projects. It was just easier because of being away. . . and now it's time to prepare for end of the year believe it or not! Or else the art room gets piled high with art work.