Both Huegel second and third graders as well as Randall fourth graders created these beautiful stained glass windows inspired by nature just like Frank Lloyd Wright. We started with observational drawings of items from nature and then abstracted them into geometric shapes to create our symmetrical windows using line symmetry.
I saw this lesson many places around the web but I first saw it at the art ed blog Splish Splash Splatter. Huegel third graders were learning about line symmetry in math class. Rotational symmetry comes up next and the second graders were just getting a head of the curve. I always hope that when I teach a concept earlier than their classroom teachers teach it, that when they see it in the classroom it makes more sense to them. We are all a team to support our students’ success! (Sometimes the art teachers are a forgotten part of that team).
Anyway, this was a lesson where every kid felt successful AND a lesson where their math concepts were being reinforced. I call that a win-win!
Some students choose to create one mandala and glue that on their background paper. Some students finished early and decided to create a second, larger mandala to attach to the back of their first smaller mandala with a brad. Their mandalas are now moveable art, they spin!
These Mandalas were done by the younger class of kindergarten through fourth graders. This class has been passionate and focused on their art. They take great pride in their work! The other class of older kids, is very different. It’s like pulling teeth to get some of them to work! Why come to a summer school art class if you don’t want to be there? I don’t get it. But I very much enjoy the passion from the younger kids. At what point does most of the population lose that passion and excitement for creating? It’s a very sad moment.
I did this project last year with summer school students but it went over better this year than last year. I think I’m making this a summer school tradition. It makes me clean out my closet!!
This student was the opposite. She started off with a consistent tension in the middle and then as she was weaving, went tighter and tighter. The result is this tshirt bowl perfect for her new kitten to lay in! I love the idea of the circle weavings made into bowls and had never thought of it that way before.
99% of Randall 4th graders have finished their Frank Lloyd Wright art glass windows. To see our process, check out this blog post.
For those of you who are unable to visit our school, I’m posting a ‘tour’ of our art glass. For those of you who ARE able to visit our school, I highly recommend you come see these in person. They truly glow!
When students finish, they have three choices:
1. Go through the Frank Lloyd Wright books and write down 10 interesting facts you find.
2. Draw your dream home
3. Build a building using 10 or less blocks and sketch it. Then turn that sketch into a building. It has been said that Frank Lloyd Wright used to play with blocks as a child and this is part of what inspired his designs!
According to my brother who is going to school for architecture in Denver and who is obsessed with Frank Lloyd Wright, this is something he put in his biography to support the claim that he was born to be an architect but it isn’t really true. Either way, it’s a great way to recognize the geometric shapes in his designs!
Side note to teachers:
Simply Wright by Diane Bresan Fleming has been a wonderful resource for us to look at Wright’s work in new ways. This book breaks Wright’s art concepts down into categories like light, nature and many others. This book is perfect for the elementary level. I highly suggest this book to accompany any Frank Lloyd Wright lesson. (Terrace Town 2000 has a spot in this book as well).
This lesson is inspired by this Artsonia gallery from Oakridge Upper and Lower Elementary School Muskegon, Michigan (3rd grade).
As the last two hours in the last day before winter break, I wanted to have my K/1’s do a more simple lesson than I would normally do. I learned the hard way that blowing watercolors across paper is actually too hard for kindergarten students. I would do this with first and second graders.
Having said that, I taught both K/1 classes differently. The first class I focused on facial features. We talked about what we see on our faces (eyes, nose, mouth) and where those things go. We talked about what shape our facial features are. We talked about extra things we see on faces that make us unique (glasses, freckles, beauty marks, scars) and then added ears. The second class I really focused on shapes. I began the class by reading When a Line Bends a Shape Begins by Rhonda Gowler Greene. We discussed what shapes are on our faces (circle for face, oval for eyes etc) and drew our faces. Then we added the watercolor which went about as well in the second class as it did in the first class. We had some frustrated artists on our hands so we shifted our focus to pattern on our shirts instead of crazy hair. Can I say that keeping it silly is such a lifesaver? I taught both classes with staticy, crazy winter hat hair. They loved it.
At the end the class we played the ‘body shape game.’ Using our bodies, we created shapes on the carpet. I got this idea from Math Art by MaryAnn F Kohl. I know a lot of our K/1s really struggle with Math so when I can help them out, I try!