Monday, November 21, 2011

1st Grade Collage Unit

Students in first grade have been busy working on a collage unit. They started by learning about the collages of French artist, Henri Matisse. We started by looking at his collage, "The Snail" from his era of "paper cutouts" or collages. 
"The Snail", Henri Matisse

We discussed what he might have used to make this picture, how he might have done it (overlapping, layering, placement, etc.) and what it might be a picture of. We then spent the day exploring ways we might change paper with our own hands (using colored construction paper). We learned we can tear and rip paper into a variety of sizes and shapes, and then use glue to create a picture. It was a day of pure exploration, so students were free to create a collage of whatever they wished. The following week, we looked at some more cutouts by Henri Matisse and discussed the way he "drew with scissors" to create a variety of interesting edges (smooth, bumpy, zig-zagged, etc.) and shapes.
"Panel With Mask", Matisse
Students then added to their exploratory collages from the week before by changing paper with scissors and then placing pieces on top of their existing collages (via layering, overlapping, etc.). The results were as varied and unique as each child that made them. 

Brayden, 1-105

Kiara, 1-125

Vanessa, 1-125

After students had finished their two weeks of exploring collage, we switched gears to discuss working from observation, instead of from imagination. We discussed looking at flowers, in particular, and spent time looking and observing the different parts of the flowers. We learned how all flowers have stems, petals, and leaves, the way these look (size, color, shape, etc.) can very greatly from flower to flower. Students then practiced looking at flowers from observation and sketching what they saw using an ebony pencil. We tried to draw the different shapes and lines we saw, as well as some of the textures.

Carol, 1-106
Natasha, 1-106
Jaeden, 1-106
After this, students began their final collages. They spent the next 2-3 weeks creating collages of the flowers from observation, using the skills they honed during their week of drawing. Students discussed lines and shapes they had created in pencil, and how they might "draw" these lines and shapes with their scissors. They also discussed how they might rip and cut small parts, then layer and overlap these parts to create the shapes in the flowers they were observing. Once their flowers were more or less finished, students then cut out their flowers from the white background paper. 

During our final session together, we discussed murals and came up with ideas for how we might make murals using our flower collages. Students then worked together to arrange place their flowers on large pieces of paper (with glue) to create class "gardens". These murals are now installed on the first floor hallway.

Great job first grade!!

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