Emotional Pumpkins

pumpkins

Since we teach English Through Art, it’s not always easy to create a good balance between teaching English, allowing enough room for the kids to be creative and experiencing different artistic techniques.  This project was a good one clear idea: creating pumpkins that showed various emotions-not too complicated on the English, the kids could get creative by drawing the emotions they chose and the shape of a pumpkin is pretty generic so they could experience watercolors without struggling too much with how to draw.

To learn the emotions we did several games before actually rolling up our sleeves and getting to work each session. We used the cards below we played memory, charades and pictionary.  Click on the link for our pumpkin emotions crossword puzzle.

flip flop cards 2We also had contests trying to create different emotions using our pumpkin game, the first few times we asked them to do which emotions to do and after a while they had fun experimenting and have each other guess what they were doing.  Before beginning to paint, the kids used the game to create emotions and then sketch them – taking careful notice at how the eyes, mouth and eyebrows had to be placed in order to convey the emotion they wanted to do.

IMG_2190When we finally dove in, we first divided a large paper into 4 sections and the kids used a black crayon to draw their Emotional Pumpkins.  They were instructed to draw 1 pumpkin and 1 emotion per section and to do the pumpkin as large as they could, but they had to stay inside the confines of the space and they had to try and use their sketches.  Using water colors the kids had to shade from dark to light inside each segment of each pumpkin to give the pumpkins more dimension.  This was a real challenge – trying to control a very spontaneous medium.  There was one more challenge to this project – the kids were only given primary colors to paint with, so all of the other colors had to be mixed.  (This was not the first project mixing water colors, otherwise I think I would cut this step out so as not to get too overwhelming).   They did great and had a lot of fun.

IMG_2272The final step was to have the kids talk about how their pumpkins were feeling. We were really proud of them, I think they were surprised at how much they learned.

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ESeLf Portraits

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Self portraits are a great exercise in observation. The objective of this project was not not only to learn the names of body parts, but also for each kid to be aware in detail of what they looked like. Did they have a big mouth or a small mouth?  Long hair or short hair?  What color? We also asked that the kids put something in the background was a reflection of themselves (a sort of inner self portrait).  And on top of all that, the kids got to experiment with chalk pastels. Everyone had used chalk before (on chalk boards, on side walks), but it was the first time that they got to use it as an artistic medium-mixing and blending the colors together.  We think they did a pretty great job all linguistically, artistically and fun-tistically! (Yes, we made that last word up, but they did have fun!)

Tom Wesselman

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via moma.org

To learn about things in the kitchen, we took inspiration from Tom Wesselman, an American artist who helped lead the pop art movement. First, we played games to get the kids familiar with the vocabulary – we do anything from flashcard games, to bingo and spelling games and  we also like to throw in a few drawing warm up exercises before getting started.

Once the kids had a bit of vocabulary under their belt,  we looked at a few of Wesselman’s pieces and discuss what elements they recognized.   Then, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

via all-art.org

The kids had certain guidelines they had to follow, just to make sure we they used as much as the vocabulary as possible, but then after that, anything goes:

They drew, they cut and they glued:

They really got into making the smallest details of the kitchen, like the glass in the windows, the clock above the stove and some even made a chicken in the oven!

We’re so proud of the kids – they not only made some beautiful pieces of art, but they are also able to talk about them in English!