Tuesday, June 11, 2013

First Grade iPads...

My first attempt to use iPads in the art room with my students was last November. I chose first grade by default, since this grade level is the first one to have 1:1 iPads, but it turned out to be a great place to start. Actually, some of the students knew more about using the iPad than I did!

Our iPad technology teacher loaded the ArtDoodles app on all the first grade iPads. It was so cute watching them carefully carrying their precious cargo into the art room that first day we used them! Art Doodles has three different parts, each allowing the students to create a different kind of artwork. I introduced the students to the paper cuts made by French artist Henri Matisse before we opened the app to get started. That first class, each student created a digital picture in the style of Matisse, then took a screen shot to save the work to their camera roll.

Although the number of images and colors is limited, the first graders had a great time manipulating both to create their first digital art projects.

The following week, the students left their iPads in their classroom so we wouldn't have that as a distraction. I had saved some of their screen shots to my computer and began the lesson by sharing on our SmartBoard some of the work they had done the previous week. We analyzed their choices for shapes and colors and how everything went together to create an interesting picture. The students then created actual cut-paper collages using pre-cut shapes, tracing patterns, and their own free-style cut outs. Our theme was Christmas and the results were fantastic!

This student worked very hard to create symmetry in his composition, even though we had not talked about that concept since early October. I must say that I love it when I see a concept being applied in a new context, especially with such young students!

 I'm not sure what some of the shapes were meant to be, but this little artist told me that the "peace dove" was bringing the star that would rest over the stable where Baby Jesus was lying. She then proceeded to put an angel in the stable!

Next year, I would like to add a writing feature to this iPad project. Nothing too elaborate, since November-December is still early in the first grade learning curve, but a simple "artist's statement" to describe or name the work might be a good introduction to the idea of using writing in the art room.

No iPads? No problem! If you have colored construction paper, some tracing templates and/or access to an Accu-Cut machine, scissors, and glue, you can easily do this same Matisse lesson in any classroom.

In my next post, I'll share a few ways my older students manipulated these same images using the art room iPads and some drawing and photography apps.

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