Third grade students have finished our first project in our Unity of Inquiry, Art from Many Cultures.
Learning about is how and why Dia de los Muertos is celebrated each year in Mexico, along with many other Latin American countries the was very interesting to the third graders. People come together to remember friends and family members they know who have died through their artwork, cooking, decorations, music, dancing, having a party, etc. There is a strong artistic tradition associated with Dia de los Muertos and so third graders looked at several different examples of artwork from Mexico for inspiration and created their own works. They created an “Ofrenda” or Alter celebrate the life of a pet, friend, or family member who has died, or depict a skeleton doing something unusual.
Students learned about how to draw skeletons by practicing in their sketchbooks and looking at many photos of a variety of skeletons. We reviewed the concept of pattern by creating a patterned border around their 3-D Ofrenda that relates to their theme. We practiced skills in drawing and made the artwork stand out by outlining and coloring evenly to add contrast and emphasis. We also practiced making measurements using a ruler, accurately folding and finally cutting and taping to create a 3-D form to use as the Ofrenda box. Students also sculpted their skeletons using model magic (air dry clay) and some chose to draw in black to add the detail. We also compared and contrasted celebrations from Japan (Obon) and China that focus on similar ideas. The student’s artwork from this unit is now hanging in Stearns Hall. Please come and see what they created!
Within our Art from Many Cultures Unit, we are now traveling to Panama to learn about the Mola, a traditional art form created by the Kuna tribe. The students are also learning to distinguish between positive shapes and negative shapes. They will be depicting a Rainforest Animal in their Mola design and are working to increase their cutting and contour drawing skills.
Third graders have taken responsibility for helping with classroom procedures but we still have some room for improvement in this area. Please check in with your child by asking them about what they know about the expectations in the art room. The main areas we are focusing on are to listen and share their ideas at the carpet, be kind to others, help their table group set up and cleanup supplies and to spend class time focusing on their artwork. We use a visual aide on the white board called "The Art Chart" that shows very clearly what their table's job is each day. Each table group is responsible for getting out certain art material and also for
putting away that same material. I want each and every student continue trying to do their very best and I need your help at home to keep a consistent message.
- Sarah Harpole