Bird Inquiry, Final Works of Art


The grand finale!  Students spent the last couple weeks creating original and expressive works of art using what they have learned about drawing birds. As the teacher, I had to let go of all my ideas of what the final works of art would look like--it was up to the students to create their own birds in their own settings--to think about how to draw their own idea of a bird and create their own environment for the bird.  In summary, these are the steps the students took to get to the final work of art:

  1. A memory drawing.  What do I already know about birds that can inform this inquiry at the start?
  2. Observational sketches.  How can I look carefully and attentively to draw what I see?
  3. Compare/Contrast.  How are the birds the same as each other?  How are they different?
  4. Diagram.  What is a basic structure of a bird? What are the parts of a bird? How can I 'play around' (explore) with the structure to create an original bird?
  5. Drawing & watercolor techniques.  For the watercolors: How can I get better at using the watercolors in a wet way with warm & cool colors, bleeding, 'lovely accidents,' wet brush and oil pastel resist.
  6. Original art.  How can I create my own original and expressive work of art using my own ideas combined with my observations and knowledge about bird structure and  drawing and watercolor techniques.

Click here to view drawings of birds from the third grade. In these drawings I asked students to think about combining their observation of a bird with their own ideas: such as adding original colors and patterns, creating a new kind of bird and visualizing the setting, weather, time of day and feeling.

Third Grade Bird Drawing


Click here to view watercolor and oil pastel paintings from the fourth grade.  For these paintings, I asked students similar questions about their bird as in the above third grade drawings . . . with the further challenge of adding a watercolor wash using bright, vibrant colors to help tell the story of the bird and where it lives.

Fourth Grade Bird Drawing


Check out the hallway by Ms. Smith's and Ms. Papciak's room to see the drawings and paintings--the light is a bit dark but I hope you can get a feeling for the wide variety of expressions and use of technique.

Studio Habits of Mind & Bloom's Taxonomy as Frameworks for the Artistic Process

In previous posts I have talked about how I use Bloom's Taxonomy as a framework to help me as an art teacher understand and teach students the creative process.  I also use another very useful framework that was developed by Harvard's Project Zero: The Studio Habits of Mind


The same way that I constantly ask myself questions about whether the student art works demonstrate that students are using deep and complex thinking to create original works of art, I also ask myself whether students are participating in the Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM) in my classroom and if I can visually see the SHoM in their works of art.  Below is a diagram of how I visualize the interaction between Bloom's Taxonomy and the SHoM.

blooms shom-input output.jpg