Category: 4th grade

4th Grade – The Mola of Panama

4th Grade – The Mola of Panama

Description of the Unit – The Mola, a traditional cloth worn by the Kuna (from the tiny San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama), are quite brightly colored, in contrasting patterns of various shapes, and in the center depicting what is typically an animal, plant or person of special interest to the Kuna. Students will explore the tradition of Molas, noting the use of contrasting colors, abstract patterns as well as noting the contrasting organic shapes of the main subject to the mostly geometric shapes of the background patterns. Students will use their understanding of these elements to create their own interpretation of the Mola in colored construction paper.

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4th Grade – Día de los Muertos “Sugar” Skulls!

4th Grade – Día de los Muertos “Sugar” Skulls!

Description of the Unit – Students will celebrate Día de los Muertos by sculpting and designing their own “sugar” skulls (with clay) and setting them onto a colorful patterned background.

Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skulls
Sugar skulls, or “calaveritas” for Día de los Muertos
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4th Grade – Suzanne Valadon and subjective approaches

4th Grade – Suzanne Valadon and subjective approaches

Description of the Unit –

This unit will be guided by both technique and style. Students will observe the work of Impressionist painter Suzanne Valadon and discuss ways in which her paintings, particularly of animals, are impressionistic. How does Impressionism differ from realism?

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4th Grade – Basic Watercolor Techniques

4th Grade – Basic Watercolor Techniques

Description of the Unit –

This is a two-part unit that will be guided by both technique and style, starting with practicing four basic watercolor techniques: 1) dry paint on dry paper; 2) dry paint on wet paper; 3) wet paint on dry paper, and 4) wet paint on wet paper. (For some students this will be review as we practice this in earlier grades as well.) In the second part of this unit students will explore Impressionist painting, particularly the work of Suzanne Valadon (to be posted next week).

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4th Grade – Loom Weaving

4th Grade – Loom Weaving

Description of the Unit –

Students will practice simple loom weaving and create one small tapestry.

Activity statement –

In the California Visual Arts Standards, fourth grade students should experience using “fibers…to create a simple weaving,” (2.4, Creative Expression). Further, as students will be working on sewing samplers in fifth grade, they will benefit from this opportunity to develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Finally, while practicing this simple weaving technique on a cardboard loom, students will reinforce their understanding of color and pattern via the design they choose to weave.

4th Grade – Loom weaving, works in progress
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4th Grade – Cubist-inspired Portrait and Figure Studies

4th Grade – Cubist-inspired Portrait and Figure Studies

Cubist-inspired Figure & Portrait Studies

Description of the Unit –

Students practiced aspects of traditional figure study, learning to draw facial features, hands and feet. Students then built on their experience to explore the Cubist approach to the figure, and used what they learned about Cubism to create a cubist-inspired portrait or figure collage their earlier drawings.

4th grade “Cubist” portrait collage
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4th Grade – Japanese Notan Designs

4th Grade – Japanese Notan Designs

Description of the Unit –

In this unit students will explore the relationship between positive and negative space via the elaboration of a Notan design using both geometric and organic shapes.

4th grade Japanese Notan Designs

Activity statement –

Notan is a design concept of Japanese origin that plays with the relationship (what I like to call “the dance”*) between dark and light, or rather positive and negative space, and how the existence of one naturally engenders the other. Using both organic and geometric shapes cut out of a rectangle and then flipped over, students will experiment with the way shapes contribute to a dynamic relationship between positive and negative space. This unit also satisfies requirements within the California Visual Arts Standards for fourth grade, including 1.2 under Artistic Perception, “describe how negative shapes/forms and positive shapes/forms are used in a chosen work of art”; and 2.6 under Creative Expression “use the interaction between positive and negative space expressively in a work of art.”

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