Week 6: Colouring, Storytelling, Robots and Magazines

This week is very much a continuation of last week. The Grade 3s and 4s finished their robot, the Grade 5s and 6s continued with their magazine spread, and the Preps went on with trying to colour accurately on the iPad. The Grade 1s and 2s, however, started a new project – tying in with their storytelling and toys topic.

COLOURING ON THE IPAD #2

Again with the app DrawingPad, this was much the same as last week, but limiting the students to using only pencils and crayons. I also showed them the eraser tool and suggested that they really look critically at their work and erase parts that went over the line. On the whole, they did a pretty good job, and the kids themselves were very proud of their work – even if some of them maybe overused the “rainbow” crayons and pencils. So much so that it hurt a little to look!

Here are some of the better examples:

TOY PHOTOSTORIES

As one of the big parts of the media arts curriculum is storytelling, I wanted to do this project with the Grade 1 & 2s. I had previously asked them to come in with a couple of their favourite toys. And did they ever! Any excuse to bring toys to school, right?

The task was fairly straight forward. Tell a story using your toys. For this, they would be in bigger groups (of four) and they had to work together to construct a basic narrative that would work with their toys.

The tool for this would be Adobe Voice (now called Adobe Spark Video). I modelled how to use the app, taking photos of toys and putting an audio narration on each slide. I told them they only needed one line per page.

Next week I will upload some of the students’ final work.

DRAWING ROBOTS IN ILLUSTRATOR #2

This week the Grade 3s and 4s finished drawing their robots. The main issue the kids had were that a lot of them were not very confident in using a mouse. There was a lot of silly mistakes with mouses being used incorrectly, wrong buttons pressed, shakey hands. In fact, several times I had to reset the Illustrator workspace on kids’ computers because they had accidently put them everywhere. Note to Adobe: Please include a way to lock this down!

Given that this was the first time most of them had done anything like this (and no one had used Illustrator before), I think they did really well. Some kids still couldn’t catch to the idea of using the selection arrow tool to draw a marque and group objects to move. That was something I helped the kids the most with.

Since the idea was that their robots were meant to look the same as mine, I didn’t save any of the kids’ work. Next week, we start logos and that certainly will be saved and kept on their portfolio. Really, the idea behind the robot activity was to get them practising using the tools they will use for their proper project in the next couple of weeks.

 

Week 5: Colouring, Collages, Robots and Magazines

This week the Prep students worked on carefully colouring in pictures using a stylus, the Grade 1&2s took went for a photowalk and created nature collages, the Grade 3&4s got to know Illustrator by drawing a robot using shapes, and the Grade 5&6s learned how to set out a professional magazine spread.

COLOURING ON THE IPAD

Continuing with the app DrawingPad, I showed the Prep students how to access the two colouring books that come preloaded with the app. The students then could choose which pictures to colour in. For this lesson, I let them choose whichever tool they wanted (marker, paint, crayon, pencils, etc) but next week we’ll do the same thing but limit it to pencils and crayons so we can get more accurate colouring in. Those pictures we’ll save for their end of semester portfolio.

NATURE COLLAGES

I took the Grades 1 & 2s on a photowalk (a field trip, if you like) to take some nature photos for a collage they would make. We started off talking about what a collage is and how you would traditionally make one using scissors and glue. I took the Grade 1s to our Wetlands area and the Grade 2s to our Indigenous Garden. I instructed them to only take photos of nature – no people, no buildings, no cars. I also asked them to do close up photography.

Once the photos were taken, we came back inside, and I demonstrated the LiveCollage app. It’s pretty simple to use, and the results were pretty exciting. I was going to use PicCollage, but I liked LiveCollage better. Here is a video that explains it:

Here are some collages from the Grade 1s in the Wetlands:

And here are some collages from the Grade 2s in the Indigenous Garden:

DRAWING ROBOTS IN ILLUSTRATOR

Given that I’m hopeless at drawing, you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Illustrator is not a widely used program for me. But like with tracings, I do know some cheats. And one of them is drawing, using shapes and lines.

To that end, I showed the student a picture of a robot that I wanted them to recreate as accurately as possible. I showed them the tools they needed (mostly the shape and line tools) and how to manipulate the shapes by either size, rotation or weight. We looked at how to copy and paste elements (such as eyes, arms and legs) to save time and also to look accurate.

The idea behind them copying what I had done is that I wanted them to experience all the shapes and how they can be used. Any students who finished early could colour in with various fills.

This project carries over next week, as one session is not enough. I’ll discuss more about some of the issues we had in the next post.

Here is a link to a video where I demonstrate how to draw the robot:

MAGAZINES SPREADS IN ADOBE INDESIGN

One of the key things I wanted to get out of doing Media Arts as a full time specialist subject is to expose students to professional techniques in creating various creative projects. Page layout is not something kids (or many adults) really think about when flipping through a magazine, but it’s an important skill to understand. Ultimately, if I can get kids to think differently about presenting their work, instead of just typing up something in Word, then I’ve done my job.

I approached this slightly differently for the Grade 5s and the Grade 6s. Although essentially doing the same thing, the Grade 5s would be making a mock magazine spread (ostensibly related to their biodiversity theme). The Grade 6s would be doing the same designs but they would import a report they did last term on natural disaster into the text columns to make it more relevant.

I had a pack of cards made up of different magazine spreads. I explained that the content wasn’t important, we were looking at the designs. How the heading is placed, how many columns, coloured boxes, pull quotes, captions and images were all discussed.

Their job was to recreate the design on their card in InDesign using relevant photos and placeholder text. The Grade 6s then had the additional job of importing text from their previous report into the spread. Below is a video explaining and modelling the process.

This lesson will go over three weeks as there is a lot to learn and a lot to do. I will share the students’ work at the end of it.

Week 4: Drawing and Tracing on the iPad – Colour Theory

This week the younger students learned some drawing skills using an iPad and stylus, whilst the Grade 3-6s learned a little about colour theory and created their own colour themes using Adobe Colour and Adobe Illustrator.

DRAWING ON THE IPAD

For the Preps, I wanted a simple fun app that would have a variety of easily accessed tools. I found that with an app called DrawingPad. Here is a fun little video that gives you a taste of what it can do!

This activity was a nice mess around for the kids. I didn’t save their work this time around. Next week we’re going to explore the colouring books that come with the iPad to practise our colouring-in skills.

TRACING USING ADOBE DRAW

It’s an open secret that I am the art teacher who can’t draw. Not even a bit of it. So, what do when teaching a class on drawing? Why, we trace of course!  Adobe Draw is a fantastic app that allows some more advanced controls than DrawingPad, but also allows images to be imported on an image layer, which can then be made slightly transparent for the students to draw over. You can then save the image with just the drawing layer to get the proper effect. Here’s an instructional video which shows how to do this (note: this is an older version of Draw than what is available now, but it still works practically the same way).

I gave the students some artwork to choose from and had it preloaded on the iPads. Since the grade 1s were doing space, I gave them a rocket to trace. The grade 2s had a choice of a castle, dragon, princess or Pegasus – relating to their unit on Storytelling.

Here are some examples:

COLOUR THEORY WITH ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR

The Grade 3-6s were introduced to a bit of colour theory as we explored the Adobe Colour website over at http://color.adobe.com

The site lets students create their own colour themes according to different colour rules. Students were asked to create their themes and then go into Adobe Illustrator and fill squares in to create a colour swatch. I had the file ready to go with the squares. All students needed to do was to fill in the colours, give the theme a name and then put in what colour rule they used for the theme.

If we had individual student licenses (not possible with the current Adobe agreement – plus the kids are under 13) then it would be a simple matter of saving their theme in a library from the website, open up Illustrator, find that library and use it that way. As it was, I needed to get the students to write down on a piece of paper the RGB values for each colour and then use that in the colour picker in Illustrator to fill in the squares. I have a couple of videos below that explain this process.

 

Here are some examples- one from each year level.

Next week, the Preps will be practising colouring skills, the grades 1 & 2s will be making nature collages, the grades 3 & 4s will be drawing robots using Adobe Illustrator and the grade 5 & 6s will be introduced to Adobe InDesign to create a mock magazine spread.