The Sun Dance is an important tradition among the Lakota-Sioux. This dance takes place during the summer and is a celebration of the gifts of the year. Because the buffalo provide an abundance of food and materials for clothing and shelter, the skull of the buffalo is an important part of the ritual. Often adorned with paint and feathers, these skulls are transformed into works of art.
Using an armature of cardboard and tape, second graders used plaster gauze to create their own buffalo skulls. They then used acrylic paint to add color and pattern.
Second graders learned about Maria Martinez, a Native American artist who, along with her husband, helped revive a ceramic technique known as “Black on Black” pottery. Martinez sourced her own clay and built vessels using the coiling technique.
We also studied a contemporary artist, Jessica Hans, who mixes various clay bodies and embeds rocks and glass into her vessels and sculptures.
Second graders walked the Barnesville campus looking for interesting rocks to embed into their own vessels. They learned to mix coil and slab techniques as they built their work, utilizing both red and white clay bodies. After the bisque firing, they used black under glazes to add images and designs to their vessels.
Second grade learned about the Plains Indians, with a focus on headdresses worn by tribal chiefs. We looked at the paintings of E. A. Burbank, who created more than 1200 portraits of Native Americans from 125 different tribes. Burbank painted portraits of some of the most famous native American chiefs, including Chief Blue Horse, pictured above.
Second graders started by creating an atmospheric watercolor for their backgrounds. We then learned to draw portraits in profile and to layer colored pencils to build up various skin tones. Yarn, fabric, and scrap paper were added to our drawings to give them a three dimensional quality. Lastly, paper feathers and “war paint” were added to complete the portraits.
Second graders learned all about ants! We went outside and used magnifying glasses to search for ant colonies and the critters that live within. Then we learned about the different parts of an ant’s body, and practiced drawing them.
Ants can carry up to 20 times their weight, and we drew pictures of ants with the entire contents of our bedrooms on their backs.
For the final project, we personified ants, and invented different rooms for these underground homes. As it turns out, some ants like to swim at the pool, while others like to get down at the disco!
Second graders learned about the post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. Students looked at his sunflower paintings and practiced sketching their own sunflower images from observation. For the final project, they used oil pastels, blending different colors in order to achieve a more naturalistic image. Oil pastels lend themselves well to Van Gogh’s style, which is highly textured and vibrant.