second grade art explorers

This year I showcased the yearlong work of our second graders in the gallery. The westward expansion is a big part of their curriculum in second grade and I think what we create in the art room is a wonderful complement to this.

How can we find beauty in the everyday? How can I be a lifelong explorer?

Our theme in Art combines the spatial and naturalist intelligences as we explore Art in Nature. Artists love to create and observe so we spent a lot of time developing observation skills. Our projects are inspired by landscapes and natural events: auroras, bird migration, and by the wonders of simple natural objects like the contours of a leaf or shell.

The second grade artists have done amazing work in creating their own paths of discovery just as Lewis & Clark did!

Each student was given a current map of the Saint Louis area. I asked them to think about how this map might have looked like in the time of Louis & Clark. What things would change? What would be the same?

They focused only on the lines and shapes that they found most interesting and drew those. Maybe it was the highway lines, or the waterways, or the boundaries. The pencil lines were outlined in glue and then colored with chalk and oil pastel.

These formalist map studies are beautiful in their lines, shape, and color but most of all it is interesting to see the influence of the Mississippi River and how it has shaped us.

This artist always has a fiercely original approach to everything he does.
"Where is the white pastel?"
(It hadn't occurred to me to put white out since we were working on white paper.)
"Just don't color in the areas you want to leave white," I suggest.
"But I want the whole thing to be white!"
And he waited patiently for me to get the white pastels out.
I love that he is never afraid to question and is always so dedicated to his vision. Thanks for keeping me on my toes Brian!

Here is a wall of nature inspired contour drawings.

I don't have a photograph of our felted cloudscapes, but these were also displayed!
And I'll be posting more on this watercolor landscape project soon:

Here is a peek at their gorgeous watercolor and ink birds:

These bird nest helper wire sculptures demonstrate ingenuity and problem solving by our second grade artists! Each artist designed their own three dimensional shape that could hold yarn scraps to be used by birds for nesting material. They LOVED creating these and did a great job handling the responsibility of working with many different kinds of pliers too.

Congratulations dear second grade explorers!


Chesterbrook Academy Elementary said...

What can I say?
I am always impressed with the quality of your students work.

What an amazing learning journey you are providing for them.

Hope Hunter Knight said...

Great work, as usual! I was thinking of doing the "bird nest helpers" myself - I have lots of yarn scraps! Really like the map creations too. Congrats on a beautiful show!

Shannah said...

Thank you both:)

This is the first year I have saved yarn scraps and I am amazed at how much we have!!! Now what else to do with them...

Catherine said...

I love these artistic map explorations. Can I just clarify, were the lines done in colored pencil and then glue piped over the lines, left to dry completely, and then the spaces between colored? Do you recommend a particular type of glue? Type of paper? Thank you for posting such a great idea! Cathy

Shannah said...

Hello there:)
Yes, we just used a pencil and then piped elmers glue over the lines. Regular construction paper works great. Chalk between the spaces and oil pastel on top of the glue line. Thanks Catherine!