Category Archives: 4th Grade

4th Grade Projects

Lego Self-Portraits

What a fun way to start off the year!  A modern spin on a self-portrait.  Fourth grade were my guinea pigs on this lesson – I saw the idea on a blog (and can’t remember it now!).  Legos have always been a favorite toy ever since their inception in 1949 in Denmark.  Growing from basic colored bricks, there are now sets related to movies, cartoons, careers, cars, princesses, super heroes, architecture, etc., and entire amusement parks dedicated to these creative little bricks! Though we explored basics of creating realistic faces, the fun part was adapting these features to that of the Lego Mini Figure with its geometric body, and cartoon-like facial expressions.  I am very impressed and look forward to doing this in the future!

Our Learning Targets:

I can follow the step-by-step process of face-mapping to draw and accurate and proportional face.

I can draw my Lego self-portrait using the figure and steps I was shown, and make it resemble my hair, clothing, and facial expression.

I can draw a Lego figure that looks like me, and fill it in smoothly and carefully with colored pencil.

I can draw a neat background that fills the page and is related to my Lego-Me.

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Color Wheel Balloons

This project took a few more days than planned, but the results definitely speak to the student’s understanding of color theory and color mixing!  Understanding color theory, color terms, and knowing what colors make others, is not only essential in the world of art, but other walks of life as well.  Some great examples students came up with were those such as hair dressers, decorators, if you’re painting your house, if you’re painting a sports field, if you do fashion, if you’re designing logos, designing video games – and so many more – what can you come up with?!  Our emphasis was truly upon familiarizing ourselves with color vocabulary and working the with colors of the color wheel, including the primary, secondary, and intermediate colors.  Though it only covers the primary and secondary colors, one of my favorite videos to show (K-6) is this one by Ok Go, originally made for Sesame Street.   We also did this stick activity to identify colors as a whole group, then in partners.

For the project we were inspired by the penguin image below and the movie Up, about a  house being carried away buy a large bunch of balloons.  The kiddos were only given blue, red, and yellow, and were required to mix their own secondary and intermediate colors in the creation of their own balloon bunches. The bunches needed to contain seven balloons – 6 around 1 center balloon.  The six balloons need to be the primary and secondary colors in the correct order of the color wheel.  Where these balloons overlapped (like a Venn diagram), the appropriate intermediate color was painted.  These balloons then represented the 12-color color wheel painted in the correct order.  The center balloon could be an intermediate color of the student’s choice, and where that chosen intermediate color overlapped with the balloons surrounding it – the students mixed the result of those two colors as well.

They were given freedom as to which animal (real or imaginary) their balloons would be carrying away – I think they turned out GREAT!!

Our Learning Targets:

I can demonstrate my understanding of color mixing in class discussion, partner activities, and painting my balloons.

I can use the correct terms and vocabulary when talking about color.

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(Our inspiration)

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Sticks for Color Activity mentioned above.

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Color identification partner practice and color mixing practice.

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Keith Haring Positive/Negative Moves!

Taking inspiration from our field trip to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines, we decided to create people frozen in motion in the artistic style of Keith Haring.  After taking a closer look at some of Keith Haring’s images and his unique way of creating the cartoon figure of a human, we took turns posing and sketching only the outline of the person in action.

To make the actions and movements more realistic for our final image we incorporated the wooden mannequin – a drawing tool.  We go through a drawing process of a person with semi-complex details, to a simplified silhouette (outlined shadow or shape) of a person.  The mannequin helps artists to draw humans in an accurate and proportional way because the ‘joints’ can move in the way a human’s does.  To begin the drawing, it is easiest to draw each wooden piece as you see it in front of you, then once that is done, outline the basic shape to achieve the first outline shape, and then alter the outline to your preferences to achieve the final shape of the silhouetted person in motion.

Because some of Haring’s images are so simplified, using only two colors in some images, I thought this would be a great way to introduce the idea of positive and negative space.  We took a closer look at something that would be positive in an image (the first thing your eye sees, the main object), and the negative space of an image (the space around, behind, or between the main object), then explored positive and negative space with the Seeing Outside the Box cards, as well as the clever silhouette advertising of Apple products.

To refresh our memories about silhouettes and positive and negative space we studied more Seeing Outside the Box cards, and read the book Mother, Mother I Feel Sick… by Remy Charlip.

Our Learning Targets:

I can draw a human figure in the cartoon style of Keith Haring.

I can use the wooden drawing mannequin to draw the first stage of my person in motion.

I understand the difference between positive and negative shape and space.

Haring’s sculpture at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, downtown Des Moines:

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Here is a quick look at our process – final project pictures to come!

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International Dot Day – Make a mark and see where it takes You!

Because September 15th fell on a Saturday, I decided to promote International Dot Day with my students I have at my second school on Friday’s (Friday, September 14th to be exact J).  International Dot Day celebrates the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds, and urges all artists to “make a mark and see where it takes [them]”.  The Dot is about a young girl, Vashti, who is struggling with ideas and motivation in art.  Her teacher encourages her to make a mark on her paper and sign it – the next day Vashti sees her artwork (a tiny dot) nicely framed up on the wall, but knows she can do better than that (especially if it’s going to be displayed) and proceeds to make lots of dots big and small, using different colors.  It’s a very cute and encouraging book – especially for the budding artists.

To celebrate, I read and showed the YouTube video of the book, and had each grade level create a square to be included in one large collaborative piece done by the entirety of my Friday art classes.  Each square contained concentric circles inspired by Wassily Kandinsky.  See my previous lessons on Kandinsky Concentric Circles here.  The end result was a gigantic collage reaching almost floor to ceiling of concentric circles – it makes quite the statement!

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Special Note: Because I travel Fridays to a different school, I only have one kindergarten class/section my whole week.  Some of the projects we do are the same as those as I do with 1st grade, but others are solely unique to kindergarten creating!

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