Wednesday, March 17, 2010

fictional beasts

Every year I get psyched about several particular art projects with my students. This one posted here is one of my favorites - where my fifth graders create fictional animals. They start out the school year by doing observational animal skull sketches and use those as a launching point. We do some drawings also based on animal photos so they can get an idea of different species, their patterns and textures, as well as their habitats. After all the preliminary studies, the fifth graders work on a final draft, or illustration showing their animal, both head and body, in their habitat on Earth. When I first started this project years ago, we didn't use animal skulls and the kids created aliens instead. I find this more recent approach is more relevant to a lot of things the kids should be thinking about and learning. Currently, my students just wrapped up their clay/three-dimensional replicas of their animals, after writing about them and doing oral presentations to their class. Once their clay sculptures dry up and are fired in a couple of weeks, they'll finally get to glaze their pieces. I think this year I've seen some of the best illos and sculptures yet, and I think next year, they'll do their presentations after all the art work is finished first. I look forward to seeing their sculptures in their final form and will be sure to photograph and post 'em up here when they're done.