When it came time to start up a new project for 2nd grade, Miss Ostrowski (my student teacher!) looked through my lesson plan binders and found a lesson I had taught my first year about Sam Francis. She updated it and the lesson turned out great! She wrote the following post to describe the lesson:
SAM FRANCIS BLOW-PAINTING AND A QUICK LESSON IN AESTHETICS
Second grade philosophers? You bet! Students were posed the comment “that’s not art; my kid could make that!“ and asked to respond. There was a divided front- while most were against it (they’re kids!), some found the argument valid. After exploring some ‘unconventional art forms’ (think graffiti, tattoos, toilet sculptures, sidewalk chalk masterpieces and paintings made by cats!), as well as the featured art of American abstract artist Sam Francis, our second graders were left asking “what is art?” The usual answers “painting, drawing, something that hangs in a gallery” were falling through cracks and students began to wonder what art really meant to them. The beauty of it was that everyone could have their own opinion! What mediums could art be made from? Who qualified as an artist? When is art just considered ‘stuff‘? Is art okay if it’s illegal? When does art get disrespectful? Does art have to look like something real?
While pondering, they got winded blowing primary-colored paint around with straws to form lines and shapes and secondary colors. The results were magical! Then, they zoned-in on the best bits by outlining the parts of their art that they wanted to put focus on. After, they used their artistic license to choose how to crop and mat their art. While some artworks were big and crammed with colors, others were small and simple!
Last, but not least, they put down their Aesthetic stance on paper by incorporating their sentences that started with “Art is ___”. Who would have thought art could be so “spontaneous” and “for everyone” and “colorful” and maybe even a little bit “dirty?” Get ready for a response next time somebody says “my kid could make that” because our students are armed ready for a bit of light philosophical discourse! And their art is phenomenal!
The Sam Francis paintings are on display with amazing leaf print paintings in our hallway!