I like to start the year with a Creative Challenge designed for all of my high school classes. This is a small, simple, fun project that warms up their brains, gets their creative juices flowing and prepares them to dive into their individual curriculums.
This year, we focused on Jasper Johns and the use of letters and numbers in his work. I had seen an interesting lesson plan in School Arts a couple of years ago, so I simplified, modified and shortened it for our needs.
1) I asked students to choose one letter or number from a font that they found interesting.
2) They prepared a background by using pieces of phone book pages ripped, cut and glued to a piece of tagboard in whatever way they saw fit, giving their work some texture.
3) After drawing their letter large on a piece of sketch paper and cutting it out, students traced the letter on the background. (We did it this way because the phone book page paper rips easily when trying to erase.)
We looked at Jasper Johns' work and talked about the treatments he used: layering of colors, textures and patterns that make the composition interesting.
4) I asked students to develop their own style based on this idea using watercolors, markers and colored pencils.
This two day project was a great way to start the year, quickly get some new artwork on our display board in the hallway and rev their engines for the bigger projects to come. It also has many options for developing it into a larger piece or using it for other grade levels. I LOVE flexible projects like that! I hope your year is off to a great start!