Portfolio Piece #6

March 26th, 2009 by melewis

Portfolio Piece #6

For my sixth piece, I did Lesson 29:  Irregular and Organic Shape (Pgs 74-76 in Prince’s Art is Fundamental).  I cut irregular shapes out of different colored construction paper.  Then, I glued them down onto a black background, making sure to not create geometric shapes in the negative space. 

This lesson was very simple and still created a beautiful product.  It is a nice contrast to the lesson on Geometric shapes, as this lesson allows much more freedom.  It allows children to cut any shapes they want (as long as they are not geometric) and explore the many different shapes that are possible.

Response to “Ten Lessons the Arts Teach”

March 26th, 2009 by melewis

Before taking ARTE244, I never considered how Art would be integrated into the curriculum to help students achieve maximum success.  Over  the semester, I have begun to realize all the ways that I will be able to do so and what an impact this would have on my students.  This article, “Ten Lessons the Arts Teach,” by Elliot Eisner, perfectly sums up the value of having art in the classroom. 

One of my favorite “lessons” that Eisner pointed out that art taught was that problems are “seldom fixed, but change with circumstance” (Lesson 4).  Thinking back to my days in middle school, I remember when I made an elephant out of clay, and before the clay hardened, the trunk drooped down.  I was so disappointed when I first saw what had happened, but after having a talk with my art teacher, we came to the conclusion that my pottery would still be an interesting piece, droopy trunk or not. 

Another good point that Eisner discussed was how art helps children express themselves in ways other than speaking (Lesson 8).  Just like writing or speaking, art is a medium through which people can communicate feelings, ideas, or thoughts.  Eisner states that through art, one can ‘say what cannot be said.’ 

Finally, Lesson 10 discussed how having art in the curriculum shows children that art is important.  If children are limited in their art experiences, they will begin to understand that the schools don’t view art as essential.  If their experiences with art are rich, however, students will be able to see the value in it as well.  I feel like this lesson summarized one of the main points of our course, that integrating art into the curriculum is important and valuable for children in order to have the most successful learning experience possible.

Portfolio Piece #5

March 19th, 2009 by melewis

Portfolio Piece #5

For this portfolio piece, I did the Cut-Paper Complementary Color Project (pgs. 40-42 in Prince’s Art is Fundamental).  I started by creating three backdrops – 6″ by 12″ rectangles of yellow, red, and blue.  I made three same-size rectangles in purple, green, and orange.  The purple, green, and orange papers were folded into fourths, and then I cut shapes around the edges, just as if I was making a paper-snowflake.  I unfolded the cut-paper and glued the different designs down onto the background that was its complementary color. 

I liked this lesson because it was a hands-on way to introduce complementary colors.  It was open-ended, as students would have the choice about which color to make the backdrop vs. which color to make the cut-paper designs.  They also had the freedom to create any design they wanted for the three cut-papers.  Also, this lesson allowed students to visualize the colors directly next to their complementary color.  It would be a fun and useful lesson for children.

Portfolio Piece #4

March 3rd, 2009 by melewis

Portfolio Piece #4

I chose to do Lesson 23: Review of Line – Using Line to Create the Illusion of Form (Pages 139-140 in Prince’s Art is Fundamental).  The materials needed were only a piece of white paper, a pencil, and a black marker.  I started by lightly tracing my non-dominant (left) hand onto the piece of paper.  Using the black marker, I made a straight line until I reached the outline of my hand.  I curved the line slightly until I reached the other side of my traced hand, and then I again reverted back to using a straight line.  Any lines outside of the tracing were straight; lines within the tracing were curved. 

I chose to do this activity because I liked how it offered the possibility of teaching children a different way to make shapes.  Instead of thinking that they must use lines to draw the outlines of shapes, children can learn a new way of thinking about and making shapes.  I hope if I use this lesson in my classroom, children will realize that art offers many opportunities for “thinking outside of the box.”

Portfolio Piece #3

February 27th, 2009 by melewis

Portfolio Piece #3

The piece of artwork that I chose to do for my portfolio this week was Paper Weaving (Lesson 24, pgs 64-67 in Prince’s Art is Fundamental).  I created this by taking a piece of black construction paper and folding it in half.  Then, I made a series of zigzag cuts, starting with the creased end and proceeding until about 1/2 an inch from the edge. Lastly, I took strips of blue, green, and purple paper and wove them through the slits. 

I chose to do this because it would allow children to experiment with patterns (with the strips of paper) and with different color combinations.  It would help to teach them an important math concept while still allowing them to creatively think and have fun.  Although when I first read the overview, I thought this lesson would create uniform products, I discovered that there are many possibilities that would allow children artistic freedom!

Museum Article/Field Trip Reflection

February 27th, 2009 by melewis

Kathy Unrath and Mick Luehrman, in Bringing Children to Art – Bringing Art to Children, proclaim, “We cannot overstate the importance of being in the presence of art in a museum setting.  The importance of this includes appreciating creativity and also understanding the relationship between materials and objects.  I agree with this sentiment.  Children often view art from afar, either on posters or pictures (maybe replicated in a book), but these art experiences are not equal to experiencing the art first hand, in its original form.  In my opinion, something about seeing the original work inspires students more than a copy could. 

Unrath and Luehrman also express their view about the importance of teachers introducing and discussing art with their students.  This is an important factor for teachers to consider.  Looking at art and appreciating it requires thinking skills.  Children need to infer based on context clues, just as if they were reading a story.  It is similar to reading a piece of literature and being asked to interpret what is happening. 

The trip to the museum today reinforced the importance of museums.  In the resource room where the woman talked about the Wild West tour, I saw firsthand how she was able to tie in content (the western frontier), artwork (from the America collection), music (square dancing), and creativity (children creating their own spurs and dressing as cowboys).  This was a perfect example of how art can be integrated into the core curriculum to enrich and aid students’ understanding. 

As the tour continued, the docent, Dora, took us through the galleries and prompted us to think using the “who, what, where, why, and when” questions.  I saw how children would use their imagination and critical thinking skills to delve deeper into studying art.  I also felt a sense of wonder as I walked through the large galleries.  I can only imagine how a child would feel who had never been to the museum before.  When I have my own class, I will definitely include a field trip to the museum because of all the positives it offers. 

Portfolio Piece #2

February 20th, 2009 by melewis

Portfolio Piece #2

For my second portfolio piece, I chose to do “Introduction to Form” (Lesson 40, pages 90-93 in Prince’s Art is Fundmental text).  To make this 3-dimensional object, I used a 12″ by 18″ piece of construction paper.  I folded it three times to make 4 equal folds.  Along the middle fold, I cut many slits, each an inch apart and 3 inches in length (each which extended to the second set of folds).  This enabled me to form a triangular prism once folded.  After cutting off one of the slits, I was able to fold the prism to make the circular form that was my end product. 

I chose to do this lesson because I feel that children do not get as much experience with 3-D art as they do with 2-D art.  This introduction would allow me to teach my children how a 2-D object (a piece of paper) can be transformed into a 3-D one.  Even I was amazed at how the final form looked, knowing it came from a flat, simple piece of paper.

Portfolio Piece #1

February 12th, 2009 by melewis

Portfolio Piece #1



The piece of artwork that I chose to do was Lesson 28: Geometric Shape (page 72 in Prince’s Art is Fundamental textbook).  My example was made in several steps.  The first step was getting the outlines of the shapes onto the paper.  Using cardboard shapes and a pencil, I traced shapes so that they overlapped and created new shapes or even left interesting amounts of ‘negative space.’  The next step was going over the pencil lines in black marker.  Lastly, the different shapes had to be colored in.  Nothing was left uncolored, and no shapes that shared a side were colored the same color. 


I chose to do this because upon finding the lesson, I saw all the mathematical concepts that this lesson presents.  With math as my favorite subject, I thought this lesson was a great way for children to explore with shapes and see first-hand how crossing lines often create new or unusual shapes. 

Response to Frohardt Text

February 3rd, 2009 by melewis

            The textbook for ARTE244, Teaching Art with Books Kids Love by Darcie Clark Frohardt, is possibly the best textbook I have ever read.  It is divided into three sections (Elements, Principles, and Artistic Styles), each of which took about 30 minutes to read.  Also, each section contained definitions of its subcategories; examples of Fine Art that contained each principle, element, or style; examples of children’s picture books that contained each principle, element, or style; and activities and explorations that teachers can use with their classes to help them grasp each concept. 

            Besides being extremely well-organized, the reason why I found this book to be so great was that it was specific, understandable, and practical.  By specific, I mean that the information was to the point; the author didn’t waste time explaining one topic several different ways.  It was understandable because the text seemed to be worded in a way that non-Art majors, such as myself, could understand.  Lastly, it was practical because it offered examples and ideas that could be used in a real classroom.  The fact that Ms. Frohardt teaches Kindergarten herself is evident through her ability to explain the concepts in a way that other teachers can understand and offer examples that can truly be implemented by any teacher. 

            Before I read this book, I was unsure of how well I would be able to teach art to my students.  I had already learned in other classes not to use “cookie-cutter” activities (since ‘real art’ should allow children to use their creativity), but I didn’t know if I would be able to do this.  After all, I never considered myself ‘good’ at art.  However, after reading the ideas in this book, I feel that there are activities that all teachers, including myself, can use to help children with learning technique while still encouraging creativity. 

Response to Catalano Article

January 15th, 2009 by melewis

            In the article, Understanding the Visual Language of Picturebooks by Dominic Catalano, Dr. Catalano informs his readers that during reading a picture book, three types of texts are experienced:  the written text, the design text, and the picture text.  These components work together to give the reader an idea and an image about what is taking place throughout the story. 

            When a child first begins to read, it seems as if the focus is on the pictures.  For example, if a child is having trouble interpreting a word, the child is encouraged to look at the picture and look for “a clue” that may help him/her with the decoding of the word.  In fact, before they even begin to read, they must solely rely on the pictures to see what is taking place.  However, I think as children get to a certain age, teachers press them to pay more attention to reading the text than looking at the pictures.  Maybe these teachers view the text as the most important part of the book, or maybe they are simply too focused on making sure their children can read and are not guessing by looking at pictures alone.  Whatever the cause of this concern, though, I think that somehow, pictures have become second-tier to the text. 

            Personally, I view this as unfortunate.  These would not be “picture books” if there were no pictures, and there would certainly be less appeal if a teacher simply did not show the pictures to his/her students.  How often do we hear children saying, “Let me see!” or “I can’t see it!!!” when a teacher is reading a picture book?  These cries for visual aid should inspire us, as teachers, to encourage children to keep looking at the pictures.  Fortunately, as I have progressed through my courses at Bowling Green, many of my classes have encouraged us future teachers to take a picture-walk (flipping through the pages without reading the text) with our students.  This lets the class begin to visualize what the text is going to be about and sparks interest in reading.  Because of the way that a picture from a book can lead children to increase their own imagination and interest level, I see pictures and text walking hand-in-hand as partners. 

            Referring back to Understanding the Visual Language of Picturebooks, Dr. Catalano also addresses how sometimes, in fact, pictures even add more to the story.  I have read books that have an entire subplot taking place only throughout the illustrations.  If one were to leave the illustrations out or discourage kids from looking at these, that subplot (such as a cat trying to catch a mouse throughout the background of the pages) could be lost. Or, at other times, the text may leave out details that can be picked up through the illustrations.  For example, in Any Kind of Dog by Lynn Reiser, a little boy wants a dog from his mother, but, “A dog was too much trouble.”  The mother proceeds to get him a lion, a horse, an alligator, a bear, etc., until finally, she does get him a dog.  This certainly leaves one thinking, “How can a dog be more trouble than a lion?”  It isn’t until the last page that the reader sees the little boy embracing his new dog, and that, in the background, he has left behind a pile of toys.  The lion, horse, bear, and all the other animals he had received were merely toys.  Again, this information would be lost if one were to subtract the pictures from the book.  I think Any Kind of Dog serves as a great example of how pictures certainly add to or enrich the text.  As a teacher, I will continue to show my students the pictures, and I will also encourage them when reading alone to not only carefully read the text but also examine the pictures to get the most meaning, and enjoyment, possible.      

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