Thursday, October 23, 2008

Student Art: Overlapping

Sometimes I'm at school until 6:00 or later, but I still can't help feeling like I'm the luckiest teacher alive!... fortunate... blessed. Whatever you want to call this feeling, I am happy in my classroom, with or without the students. I stay late some days because I'm hanging up the students' work. It's my gift back to the school.
The above photo shows the second Fall Trees display I've hung in a week... this one is missing the apple pictures. The paintings and drawings were done by kindergarteners (the single tree) and second graders (three trees reflection). This display I hung right outside my classroom... I had been returning the work to the teachers when the students finished their art. Then I started thinking, I should have something to show what's going on in my room out in the hall. I never get tired of looking at their work!

Third graders have just completed a project featuring a new skill and concept they've been learning: overlapping. This is their introduction to the idea of how and why artists use overlapping. In this lesson, they learned how to show overlapping. They were given nearly free choice regarding the colors they chose to color their picture. Most of them chose to use bold broad tip markers. I taught them how to make the strokes with the marker so their lines would be smooth. They used common household plastic lids (and other 'circle makers' that I've been saving just for this purpose) to make circles of various sizes.

The most difficult skill these third graders had to learn was drawing a straight line with the ruler. At the introduction to the project, I asked them how many knew how to draw a straight line with a ruler. Nearly all raised their hand. When it came time to draw the lines, I discovered that maybe a handful could indeed wield the ruler and pencil properly. It's a lot more difficult than you'd think, and for a third grader, it was definitely a skill they honed while drawing their lines. They are developing and strengthening fine motor skills with this one!

This student got around the ruler problem by not drawing so many straight lines. Clever little kid!

When you see the results, you'll see why I wanted to hang these in the first grade hallway... that's where my class is. I want to see the paintings and drawings when I walk down my hall... I'm not going to be greedy! There are five third grade classes... I just want the work of one of them near my room.

The colors are unretouched... I took the pictures with no flash... see how bright they are! Our next project is to make 3D glasses. Nothing gets their attention and makes them go "WOW!" like seeing their own work with 3-D glasses... each will make their own pair. I got the idea at last month's art teacher meeting.

This one above truly captures my interest. The student actually did not follow the rules I gave at the outset of the assignment, but look how balanced it all is. She demonstrates overlapping, but adds her own sense of line and color. I didn't make her do it over... she proves she understands overlapping. It looks great. This is natural talent sprouting in my room! I'm just providing the tools, a little motivation, and teaching the skills... and the rest comes from them.

Below is the display in its entirety. It looks so good, I'm thinking of staying late again tomorrow night to hang another!


  1. It must be so satisfying knowing you're molding the minds of our future!

  2. I love coming to see what the latest projects are in your classroom. You keep art alive for these kids, showing off their work inspires them to new heights. (Hugs)Indigo

  3. It's always such a pleasure to read of your teaching, your excitement shines through with the telling. And, judging by the results, your classes feel it and thrive on it too.

    B. x

  4. I love the display gifts you give to the school and the students. Giving you a virtual apple :o)

  5. These are great! Very that they've mastered drawing lines with rulers, maybe you can teach them about Mondrian!

    The "overlapping" reminds me of these coloring books I used to buy. I used felt tip markers, and the results were sort of like stained glass. I loved doing them!


  6. Bea, you are such a wonderful teacher! You bring out the best in each and every one of your students. Those overlapping pictures are totall awesome! It's hard to believe that they were created by third graders. It truly shows that you love your job.

  7. Just beautiful Bea. Your students are so talented, but then again, they have a fabulous teacher!

  8. I think that the most telling piece of this post is your response to the work of the child who didn't follow the directions. Rather than focus on her failure to follow the directions, you saw a creative spirit. This is why I think that you are the best teacher that I've ever known and I've known many good teachers.

    This is a great project. I love color and these images really pop.

  9. So where were teachers like you when I needed them lol? You have the most important job next to parenthood I'd say.

  10. Oh I totally love it! you did sucha geat job teaching them that!

  11. I always get a warm fuzzie feeling when visiting your site. You are a gifted teacher.

  12. Hi Bea,
    I love those arts, I like true handpainted art. Kids have hidden talent and they just need someone to nudge them in that direction.
    Like you do.

  13. What a delight reading your Journal. I found you by way of Beth.


  14. Bea,
    The art work is great. Thanks for sharing with us.