Sunday, February 7, 2010

Abstract Art with Grade 2

Our Grade 2 students have been doing a unit of inquiry called Abstract Art (this is in the How We Express Ourselves transdisciplinary theme). For the first few lessons students were using different tools on the National Gallery of Art website.

In the first week we looked at PhotoOp to introduce the students to digital photography and digital photo editing. Students used the virtual camera to explore different ways of composing shots and took snapshots. Then they changed to the PhotoOp editor to turn these photos into pieces of abstract art. Take a look at a slideshow of their work to see what a great job they have done.

After this we went on to explore BRUSHster, a painting machine with over 40 different brushes. Once again the students had fun creating different abstract art pictures and they were put together in a slideshow using Pixie. Take a look at the great artwork they have created using BRUSHster.

In another session we looked at Flow. For this the students first explored the ready made images, watching the changing patterns and colours in this motion painting machine. They then used the pencil tool to make their own designs that they could add to the flow. During that lesson we created 2 different slideshows: Flow 1 with the menu icons and Flow 2 with the students' own designs. This was a challenging lesson for the students who learnt to take screenshot of a moving canvas.

During this unit, students also explored self-portraits. They looked at artists who had done these self-portraits and were introduced to the pointillism style of painting. They then used PixelFace to make their own self-portraits. Pixelface has many colours and 24 different brushes that the students could play with.

In our last computer art lesson during this unit, we studied one artist, the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. We found out about his life and why he painted the pictures he did. Students then looked at paintings by other famous painters and asked themselves how Mondrian would have painted these scenes. Here is the final slideshow showing the Mondrian-style pictures our Grade 2 students have made. The students made these pictures using Pixie.

Next week the Grade 2 parents are coming in for the Abstract Art exhibition. We are setting up laptops in each of the classrooms so that the parents can view the excellent work these students have made.

The National Gallery of Art Kidzone is a great place for students to play with the concept of abstract art. I only wish we had more time so that we could have explored more on this excellent website. Oh well, roll on next year ....


  1. It is called great minds think alike. This is an awesome post. Thank you so much for sharing how you did it with your class. I have a Grade 2/3.I really loved how you intertwined different aspects of the NGA website . I look forward to reading more about what you do with you class.

  2. Maggie, what a very neat project for your grade 2 students! Have you seen Artsonia? ( it might be a good place to view more abstract art created by students, and is an excellent place to keep student artwork online. A virtual art museum just for kids!

  3. Kelly, thanks for this link. I hadn't seen it before. I will pass it on to our Grade 2 teachers. I'm starting a photography course with Grade 4s this week too, so I will let them know about this (though I will need to explore further to see if the site is for photographs). Maybe this could be the time to introduce the students to Flickr.