Sunday, June 8, 2014

Art With Mrs. Dennis: Rotational Symmetry

Many of you may not know that I also teach visual art in addition to music. My school does not have a full-time visual art teacher and hasn't had one in many years. Three years ago, at the request of my principal, I began teaching one art lesson a month. I have had no formal training in teaching art, but I personally enjoy using my creativity and creating art.
I am very thankful for Pinterest and many art blogs for helping me discover art projects for my students. My fifth graders love this project from Mrs. Brown's Art Blog.
  1. Trace a plate and cut a paper into a circle. We used white printer paper
  2. Fold the circle in half, then in half again, then in half again. When you open the circle up, you should see eight sectors "slices". 
  3. While the circle is folded, draw a word stretching the letters to the top and bottom edges of the fold. We used pencil first, and then traced with a black marker.
  4. Open the fold and trace the pattern onto a neighboring sector. We took a "field trip" to the lunchroom were there is an entire wall of windows. We used the windows and sunlight as a cheap and free tracing box!
  5. Continue to open and fold the circle until you can trace the pattern onto the remaining sectors.
  6. Fill in each section with color to form a symmetrical design. We used crayons or color pencils.
Mrs. Brown has provided a wonderful Powerpoint to accompany this lesson. It usually takes two 50 minute lessons to complete this project. We cut, fold, and trace the design during one lesson. We finish tracing and coloring in the second lesson.
This year, I observed a table of fifth graders working on this project, and noticed that none of them had chosen to write their name. Instead, they chose characters or words from a book series. This sparked an idea that this project should not be limited to our names. I thought the 5th grade students should create something to present to our school as a type of service project. Each class would create a large canvas with a word hidden in the symmetrical design.
Can you view the words in each design? Try isolating one sector (pie slice) and read from the outside to the center. The words are "CEDAR", GROVE", and "VIKINGS". Cedar Grove is the name of our school and our mascot is the Viking. I chose "VIKINGS" because "Elementary" has too many characters. This design looks best with words that have 5-7 letters. If you are still having trouble viewing the words, I have helped you in the image below.
Our school colors are purple and gold. I chose to use shades of purple and silver on the outer canvases with shades of yellow and gold in the center canvas. The canvases measure 24" by 24". To create the design on a larger scale, I first followed the steps above to create a paper version. taped the circle to a black paper and cut the excess paper to form square frame. I scanned the image and used the projector to trace the design onto the canvas. I did have to do some adjusting to size the image to fit the canvas. The students were given detailed instructions of which color to paint each section. They worked on this in their homeroom classes during free time.
We unveiled the canvases to their parents at the 5th grade send-off ceremony. The following day we unveiled them to the entire school on morning broadcast. The canvases are now hung in our front lobby above the main doors and below some windows. We have some beautiful architecture and skylights in the front lobby but people rarely stop to admire it. Now, the artwork catches your attention and draws your eye upward. It is a wonderful improvement to the aesthetics of our building. The canvases and paint were purchased by our Parent Teacher Organization and all the supplies cost only $70. 

Now, the 5th grade teachers have asked what we will do next year! I think I have started a tradition that they would like to continue. I'm excited to add beauty and art to our building, but I am in desperate need of some inspiration and ideas for next year! I may have to search Pinterest all summer! If your school has completed a mural or art project for the school, please share ideas below!

This concludes the first post of "Art With Mrs. Dennis." Music teachers, please share the idea with your art teacher, if you are so lucky to have one. I promise I will post more topics soon! Thank you for letting me share a glimpse into my other world as an art teacher.

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