THIRD GRADE CURRICULUM
In third grade, students' dexterity has matured enough that alongside more technical projects, they can be introduced to more theoretical and conceptual-based projects. This year is essential for solidifying a foundation of art theory and vocabulary, therefore projects reflect color theory, geometric and organic shape recognition, among other elements and principles, all the while engaging a more improvisational approach to artwork. Key words and theory are developed through process, and the ultimate products are often abstract. There is a somewhat technical approach to this year in art education, intentionally providing the specific rules and ramifications of theory and materials so that once students prove a solid understanding, they become ready to dissect what they know and apply unique individuality to their work in the next grade level.
It is only once rules are known, that the realization and opportunity opens for bending and molding them to reflect individual feelings and intentionality.
In this lesson students looked inward for inspiration. Initially, in small pairs, students discussed positive character traits. They then assigned themselves and each other at least three. We had a class conversation about positive attitudes and feeling confident about who we are as individuals -- then we channeled those characteristics into animals. What animal might be bold, caring, strong of mind? An elephant? What animal would be smart, adventurous, playful? A dolphin? What animal would be mysterious, excited, over-the-top filled with energy? A dragon? Students thought well and illustrated their chosen "spirit animal". Third graders were then introduced to a print-making process using washable markers. It was a big class effort as I was the master paper-wetter'er and students were the expert plate-placers and print-rollers. Everyone contributed to this lesson on positive self-viewing, even when stuck, we all chipped in a happy character trait for each other. As a treat for early finishers, students were allowed to keep illustrating, scratching and printing any animals they loved. The outcomes were wonderful!
As winter approached, I, like so many, was inspired by the bare trees that decorated my neighborhood, particularly the birch trees. In this lesson students used a variety of techniques to achieve these tranquil results, not only learning about a variety of art processes--masking tape and pastel resist, wet-on-wet watercolor technique, and cardboard printing--but how art takes time, patience, and planning. Of course, because it was a jam packed lesson already, we threw in compositional elements and discussed foreground, middle-ground, and background to boot.
In this lesson, students used mixed media to recreate the magnificent Arctic and Antarctic light show! We used chalk pastels and rubbed them on our backgrounds to create an awesome glowing effect and then added silhouettes of evergreens—it’s winter themed after all. Students are discovering all sorts of new ways to recreate the world around them with so many different materials!
A special thanks to Kaitlyn Edington - I saw an image she created and just had to adapt and create for my own students to enjoy!
In this lesson, we let the autumn be our influence and took our first dive into a really challenging artistic feat: creating a 3D rendering of an object using 2D materials. Translation: we drew pumpkins with value so that they looked as though they'd pop off the page. Starting with simple contour shapes and lines, students outlined their pumpkins and then we located all of the orange, red-orange, yellow-orange and white pastels we could. Using analogous colors to create differences in value gave the work that 3D look we were after. Once our pastels were near worn down to the nub, we used watercolors for the background to really make our pumpkins pop. They came out totally gorgeous!
OLDER WORK FROM 2016 - 2017
STRAIGHT, RIPPED, AND SPATTERED
So much about art is transformative. And in this lesson our goal was to transform geometric shapes into organic shapes, then add depth and dynamics by spattering black and white tempera paint on top of a finished collage. Students began by using their knowledge of lines to create a set of geometric shapes (all connected) on the page. They then colored in each section of the work with crayons and made sure that all colors got a chance to meet and become "friends"--no two same colors touched. Time to rip.
Understanding that artistic rules are phenomenal to know--and then break--students carefully ripped their geometric illustrations into smaller organic shapes. These shapes were then collaged together, side-by-side, but not quite touching, onto black construction paper. Students were to continue transforming their organic shapes so that the collaged pieces fit together to their personal liking. Finally we learned a few spattering techniques to create open and close spatter patterns.
The project culminated into a glorious mess resulting in incredibly pleasing bodies of work.
FOLD ME A WAY
In this lesson, students will create imaginary maps using symbols to distinguish terrain, modes of travel and landmarks. Drawing from information they know and class discussions, students will illustrate a variety of shapes and designs to demonstrate their understanding that symbols have multiple meanings. Students will learn about the concept of duality and the importance of acknowledging (in this case through map keys/legends) different perspectives.
COMPLIMENTARY SCRIBBLE CREATURES
In this lesson, students are exploring the wonder of improvisation by beginning with a simple oil pastel scribble. Students are to use this unplanned mark as the base for an adorable little creature of their creation. Letting imaginations run wild, adding beads, feathers, and additional pastel markings, the young artists learned how there are no such things as mistakes--just opportunities--and that even the most minute scribble can evolve into an original piece of art work.
Alongside the improvisational aspect of this project, students learned about complimentary colors and produced a background for each creature with tempera cake watercolor paint.
It was an excellent introduction to third grade as we reviewed color theory and explored our imaginative powers.
Third graders start the year off making graphic designs of their name initials surrounded by patterns. The lesson reinforces knowledge of shapes, lines, and how the use of repetition can result in unique and eye-popping art work.