Sunday, July 22, 2012

Action Painting for 3rd Grade

Have you ever had your students tell you they just don't get Jackson Pollock's painting style?  Do they tell you they can do that at home "in five minutes?"  I had to quote a famous book with that one since I read it to my kindergartners on their first day of school (Olivia by Ian Falconer)

If you ever get a chance to, spend some time reading Olivia to your kindergarteners.  It's a cute book that shows imagination, and even work of artists, such as Jackson Pollock and Edgar Degas.

At the end of the year for the 3rd graders, I like to bring back the idea of action painting.  I feel that at this stage, 3rd can handle expressing themselves with action painting without going overboard with a paint mess.  Also, to saw on a big mess, I just stick with watercolors for faster drying and quicker clean up.  Here are the materials I use:

-Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
-Watercolor paints
-Watercups with water
-Newspaper to cover the table (or tablecloths if you prefer)
-9" x 12" white paper, preferably 60 lb. weight

I use this lesson within one day since I see the students for 40 minutes.  At the end of the year, kids are  want to get outside and play.  This project is good for giving them a little movement with their bodies and their artwork.

Start the class by reading Action Jackson.  Once finished, ask questions to the students on what action painting is and how Jackson created his artwork in that style.

Once finished with the discussion, show the students how to create an action painting by demonstrating different ways to drip or flick the paint off the brush onto the paper.  Make sure you take the time to explain about containing their excitement, or you may have extra clean up around the room!

Have the students make their paintings!  Since watercolor paint dries quickly, students can take their paintings out of the room that day, or drop them off later once dry.  You can even use this as your last project of the year to display around your art room or hallways.

I like this project because it's another simple one for traveling from school to school.  I have watercolor paints and paper at each school, I just carry the book with me.  SInce I have a bad habit of forgetting materials, I took the time to order a copy of Action Jackson for each school library (so if I forget, it's already there).

Are you wondering what elements or principles are used, or even the standards?  Movement is the number one principle of design.  Through paint splatters, students are demonstrating movement in their work.  Space is another one since I ask the students to fill their space with their artwork.  Empty areas means more room for creativity.  Responsibility with materials and using them safely and effectively is a state standard and one I push in each paint project, even through 6th grade.

Here are some results!

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