Sunday, December 18, 2011

A couple of favorites and Monsters

I just wanted to take a moment to sing the praises of two items I love to use in my classroom. Maxwell House and Folgers giant plastic coffee containers are amazing water cups! Some do have handles which make for easy carrying and the sturdiness of each makes spills much less frequent. Also, they can hold a lot of water so I find myself pouring and refilling cups a little less often during the day. 

Secondly, after Easter I found this plastic egg dying tray. This is by far the coolest paint container I've found. Excellent for keeping colors separate, quantity control, and extra space for mixing. I recommend looking after the holidays for this tray. I think I got them for 98 cents each!

This idea I found on pinterest. On pinterest kleenex boxes were the base, but we used Greenies Dog Treat boxes someone donated to my classroom. I cut a rectangular opening for the mouth, then students covered the box with wallpaper to create a fun print. The eyes are discarded cardstock and teeth are from a cut up card windshield visor. This is an entirely recycled project. I did this project with my 4th grade advanced students due to the limited number of boxes. I'm starting to collect kleenex boxes now so hopefully I could do this with an entire grade level in the spring. My students loved these!

If you look closely on the monsters, the lid for the boxes is on the bottom. We did that on purpose so that it could be used for a secret storage box. Notes, toys, etc can be put in the mouth then empty things out by pulling off the lid.

Two more student days until we are out for the holidays. Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Busy with Winter Works

Busy week in the schools. Trying to hang lots of winter artwork, much will stay up til the middle of January. I have a few examples of finished reindeer. They turned out quite nicely I must say! Students painted the snow on the ground with a sponge brush (tapping only, no rubbing) and the snowflakes using the eraser end of a pencil.

2nd Grade Reindeer. Completed in two weeks.

My 1st graders completed their penguins. They are so cute! I love them. I got this idea from the Georgetown Elementary Art Blog online. This project took two forty/thirty minute classes.
First week students created a crayon rubbing of different textures with white crayon on white paper. Then students painted over it with a watercolor wash.
The second week we constructed the penguins using ovals and squares. We used black, white, and orange construction paper. Penguins were then glued to the texture paper (I referred to it as ice).

Unfortunately the pictures don't do justice to the texture rubbings on the background, but they are most definitely there.

The expression of this penguin is my favorite!

I have two more teaching weeks with my Prek - 2nd graders so I've planned a lesson I'm calling Patterned Hot Cocoa Cups.
Teacher example

Students will fold a 9 x 12" white drawing paper into half (hamburger style), then a second time (hamburger style) to create a gride with four sections. Students then trace fold lines with a pencil. Students then trace a cocoa cup shape in each section, draw a unique pattern for each cup, then trace everything with a permanent marker.
I want students to start coloring part of their patterns and the table surface with crayon, then the following week we will paint the reminder of the picture with cake tempera (or watercolor would work fine too)
Also going to try a version of this with my fifth graders, however they will be designing the shape of their cups on their own and given specific color schemes to follow.

10 more teaching days til holiday break! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Complementary Poinsettias

Every year I create a special project with my fifth graders that make an excellent gift for any grown-up in their life. Who doesn't love a painting of poinsettias? :)  I found the idea for this project several years ago from Arts and Activities. Its pretty straight forward and has a very high success rate.

I first set up the tables with a tray (I re-use a styrofoam one each year) that has at least two wide sections for red and yellow paint. Another small seperate tray with green paint (I use plastic lids from those giant plastic coffee containers). I also put out a fake poinsettia for reference. Our painting tools are unsharpened pencils and sponges cut into "petal" shapes.

We start off discussing the parts of a poinsettia, then I get into red and green being complementary colors. Students begin by choosing three separate locations on their paper where they would like to create their flowers. They use the eraser end of the pencils to stamp a 'cluster' of yellow dots on their chosen locations.  Then they stamp the sponges into red paint and press around each yellow cluster to create the red "bracts" of their poinsettias. I love for them to keep white spots because it looks like "freshly fallen snow has landed on their flowers."

Lastly, we paint the negative space or background with the complementary color for red.. green!  My students can finish this in one 40 minute class, however, this can be drawn into two sessions depending on how you present your information.

Each one is special and I'm eager to hang several around the school until I send them home for the holidays.

Red, yellow, and green tempera
Paint brushes
Unsharpened pencils (or q-tips work too)
Sponges cut into petal shapes
9 x 12" or larger paper

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Textured Reindeer Landscapes! A favorite every year!

Every year I create reindeer with my second graders. I found the idea for this lesson from an Arts and Activities article. The teacher in the article used corrogated cardboard for the bodies of the reindeer. I tried this myself several years ago, however the prep for that began to overwhelm me and my hands. I found a great solution... brown bordette.  This isn't an easy color to find so when I see it I will grab as many as I can.
The bordette or corrogated cardboard is an excellent material to use if you want to create a lesson involving 'texture'.

This is our product from the first day of reindeer.

I pre-cut the bordette and give each student one piece. They are to draw a large oval and rectangle for the body. If you are unsure your students can handle that you can always pre-draw these shapes and I can pretty much guarantee they will still all turn out differently.

Students cut out the oval and rectangle. Glue onto blue background. We use scraps for legs. Then we use smooth materials for the eyes, nose, and antler. I tend to use construction paper scraps from throughout the year to supply these parts.

Circles for eyes, pupils, and nose. I tell students they can choose to have a black or red nose. Most of them want to create Rudolph, but I like for them to have options.  To make the antlers, I tell students to draw a capital letter Y. Then put a line in the middle to look like a chicken leg. Oh they love that! Then draw a bubble around the chicken leg and cut on the bubble. I tend to have fewer antlers fall apart when we do our 'bubble'.

Next week we will wrap up these reindeer with a soft textured cotton tail and paint the snow on the ground. We use sponge brushes (sponges clipped with clothespins) to paint the ground, then q-tips or eraser ends of pencils to add snowflakes to the sky.

This project takes me about 2 forty-minute classes to complete with my students. The first day involves constructing the body which is most time consuming. The last day is completing the landscape.

9 x 12" blue paper for background
Brown bordette or corrogated cardboard (I've also used just brown construction paper scraps when materials were hard to find)
Red, black, white, and brown construction paper pieces/scrap
Cotton balls torn into small pieces
White tempera paint
Sponge brushes

My other classes are starting poinsettias, penguins (2 kinds), and cardinals. Will hopefully have some visuals of those to share soon.

I love this time of year!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Last Minute Craftiness

I saw classes just one day this week.  I decided to do something special with them since I normally miss Monday classes due to holidays and such. In keeping with our Thanksgiving/fall/harvest theme this week I decided to use the old toilet paper tubes again with my younger students. We made Native American Symbol Drums! Quiet drums I might add. Gosh we just get so crafty sometimes it almost hurts. 

Native American Symbol Drum

This is created by using a 4 1/2 x 6 inch piece of brown construction paper, toilet paper tube, small piece of computer/scrap white paper, construction paper crayons, and glue.

I pre-glued white paper onto each tube (similar to the way we did the soup cans last week) for my kindergarten students. (Make sure this is dry before giving to students). Then I hand each student a drum and their brown paper. They looked at examples of Native American symbols and could draw their own using their crayons onto the brown paper. When they filled the paper, we glued the brown construction paper around each tube and students had to hold it with two hands, like an icecream cone, for a long time so the paper would stick.

When dry I showed students how to play the drum by tapping it with a flat index finger. Out of 37 kids only 3 tore the top by using a pointed finger. That's not too bad of a ratio. The kids loved playing the drum back to their classrooms and luckily the sound of tapping computer paper isn't very loud.

Native American Symbol Medallions

My younger sister is interning right now in a 1st grade classroom and happened to have some left over crayola air dry clay from a project she did. Well I snapped the extra up and used it with my 1st graders at my school. We ended up making Native American Symbol Medallions.

Clay? with 1st graders?  Totally. They are completely capable with the right rules, expectations, and instructions. I had 33 students create their medallions on Monday and they all turned out unique and awesome. I am so proud. We also looked at the same Native American symbols my K students saw, but my students drew with plastic utensils. I first showed them out to roll the clay piece into a ball in their hands, then on the table, then gently press the clay to make a disc. It should be as thick as their pinky fingers otherwise the clay will dry brittle. Several had to ball up and try again until we got it just right.

Then they drew into the clay with their plastic utensils. I love these and the kids were so surprised and thrilled to be part of this special opportunity. I used the end of a paintbrush to poke a hole in each one and strung yard through when they were more solid. 

Now... its time for a break. Woo hoo!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Completed Soup Cans

Its almost Thanksgiving! Yay!
This will be a short week for us at school, so we will utilize our time finishing other projects. Nothing new planned until after the holiday week. Reindeer, snowmen, pointsettias, and snow are on my mind for the weeks ahead. I can hardly wait.

I have a few pictures of completed student soup cans that I put on display in our school. They turned out so nicely, it was worth all the little challenges along the way.

Delightful Tomato Soup

Mac'n Cheese Soup

Broccoli and Pizza Soup

This year I'm thankful for my job, my home, my family, and the creative little people I work with.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jive Turkey!

Every year around Thanksgiving the kids are getting antsy. I do a silly little drawing with all of them that keeps things fun and light to survive the days before we get out. We create Jive Turkeys! These cool dudes will not be on the serving dish this Thanksgiving. They will be out dancing and boogeying until the wee hours of the morning. They are turkeys with "attitude."

I'm afraid I don't have examples that the students did because I send them home the day we do the drawing.

Jive Turkey 1

We start by drawing the head as a circle, then work our way down the body using lines and shapes. We draw a horizon line for our dance floor and a disco ball above. Students could choose the attire of their turkeys and even add hair if chosen.
I did more guidance though with my 1st graders and Kinders to simplify the process for them. 2nd grade and up can come up with many good ideas on their own. 

Jive Turkey 2

We drew first with pencil, traced with marker, then colored with crayons. Although, just drawing the whole thing first in black crayon works well with K's so that they don't start coloring all over everything they just drew with marker. This can take between 1 or 2 forty minute classes depending on how quickly your kids move.

With my 2nds and younger I will actually teach them the hustle that they perform down the hallway back to their classrooms. Its mostly for my amusement, but they get a kick out of it too.

Yay for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pop Art Soup Cans!

My 5th graders have been learning about Pop Art for about 2 months now. This has been a rather lengthy unit, but I think my students are now experts! This last part of our unit focused on Andy Warhol. I wanted to create a sculpture with my students in a time where clay is not something I can afford. So we used entirely recycled materials for this project.

1. Cardboard cylinders (paper towel or toilet paper tubes)
2. Discarded computer paper (1 piece cut 4 1/2 x 6" and small square for lid)
3. Cardboard/cardstock from frozen tv dinner boxes

Then we used scissors, glue, and color markers.

Easy supplies to collect if you can get kids to bring them in

Students were given freedom to choose a design for their soup label. They could invent any type of soup they wanted. I just had two requirements 1. Write the name of the soup in the middle 2. Draw illustrations to give clues to the flavor of the soup.

Students drew design with pencil, traces with black sharpie, then colored with bright colors (bold colors like Warhol).
Doesn't Pizza Soup sound delightful?

We then drew a "pop top" on a small square of computer paper. Colored it also with bright colors. Glued this to one end of the cylinder. Then we added glue to the back of their soup label and wrapped it around the cylinder to cover the rough edges of the lid.

Lastly, we drew an exciting pattern using bright colors onto the box cardboard (blank side). Students glued the bottom of the cylinder onto the "table top" as I called it. We allowed them to dry over night and voila! Recycled sculpture in Pop Art style!

*Pointers - if you have cardboard pieces like cereal boxes that don't have a white side you can always glue more cheap discard paper on it to draw on. *Put that lid paper on first *Remind students to orient their label accordingly with the lid. I had a few upside cans although I told them it gave their soup more personality. *Give yourself drying time before using marker again. *This takes some serious demonstration, be prepared

This project took 3 forty-minute classes to complete.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Conferences, Workshops, and Frank Lloyd Wright

I went to my state conference this past weekend in Florence, Alabama. It was a great opportunity to make new aquaintances, share ideas, and recharge my energy for the stint between now and winter holidays.

I probably learned the most from my tour of the Rosenbaum House (a Frank Lloyd Wright house) built in the 1940's. Its the first of his designs I've toured and changed my perspective on a lot of ideas I originally had. Apparently most all of his designs have leaky roofs. He didn't design his houses to last forever either... being all the natural materials he used. I'm sure the people who paid to have him design and build his houses would have liked to have known that before jumping into one. There's far more I learned, but I'll pause on that for now.
Rosenbaum House, and Carport

Living area. Bookshelves run the length of the wall from door to study.

Dining area. There is a buzzer under the table to call the maid. Notice all the wood.. all over the whole house.

Back side of the house faces the trees. Lots of windows.

Also, had a fun time in workshops creating marbelized paper using oil paint watered down with turpintine and poured onto a tub of water.

Also, fun birds created from only 10 strips of construction paper and glue. Great project for the end of the year when I'm packing up all the supplies and just want something simple to do.

I love attending state conferences. They are good for an art teacher's soul. In times that get isolating, its nice to know there are more people out there in the same situation dealing with the same issues.

Hoping soon that my fifth graders will finish up their lastest Pop Art project that I can share. We are presently working with recycled materials to create sculptures. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Matisse Helped Me Save my Technology

I love all this super cool technology this year to use at my primary school. I have an Elmo (awesome!), prometheon board (another version of smart board), and my lap top that I carry between schools. I am very thankful for the technology and I use it every week. However, my little students don't have the self-control to keep their little hands off of it yet.

The problem is that all my technology is set up by the doorway and when we line up my usual suspects are the ones sticking their hands all over it. Needless to say, no matter how many times we go over the rules some of my kids just can't seem to keep their hands to themselves.
I've come up with a conclusion that will hopefully derail all the dirty finger prints and cooties being shared over my technology.

My promethon board, lap top, and elmo. Notice a nice distance between our line and technology.

Yesterday and today I created a picture line on the floor. (This idea I'm borrowing from a fellow teacher in my system) I cut out Matisse inspired shapes from peel and stick material that was donated by a parent (woo! love when parents send stuff in!).  I began adhering the shapes from where the door opens and around my classroom tables far away from my technology. 

We begin our line on the orange swirl.

My students were very excited about the designs on the floor and were eager to find out what shape they would get to stand on when we lined up. So far this looks to be a good idea. Time will tell how long this material will hold up with 300 little feet standing on it each week.

Our line swerves to accommodate the furniture placement in the room.
I actually had so much fun creating this picture line it became hard to stop.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can't Resist New Books

Our school book fair is being held this week and I can't seem to help myself when the scent of fresh books are in the air. The first book I found was Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. This is a great counting book for little ones (I'm thinking I'll read it to my Preks - 1sts) and at the end illustrates various types of butterflies and interesting facts about them. Excellent story book to start off a butterfly project in the spring.

Next I found Ocean Soup: Tide Pool Poems by Stephen R. Swinburne and Mary Peterson. These poems are clever and cute. I love the simple illustrations and the fun facts around the poems on the pages. Great reference for when we create Ocean/Seascape resists.

Next I found a book that really I didn't have a need for in my classroom, but I love this series. It holds a special place in my heart since I recall the original "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" from my childhood. The latest in this series is If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff.

Lastly, I got a silly book Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman. I love the illustrations and the story is very funny. I imagine my 1st through 3rd or 4th graders would love it. Not sure when I'll use it, perhaps if we create symmetrical alien collages or drawings.

Happy reading!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shapely Farm Animals for Kindergarteners!

This week and next my kindergarteners are learning about the farm in their classrooms. To tie in with their curriculum, we are creating cow drawings this week. We are using different types of lines and shapes to create the cow and a landscape around it.

We first read a fantastic book called Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin. We observed the cows illustrated in the books and took note of the pattern on their bodies.

Then we began drawing first with black crayon. I drew an example on the board and students drew with me to create their cows. We used a rectangle for the body, long vertical rectangles for legs, an oval head, and triangle tail. We also added details like eyes, ears, nostrils, a 'chin', and spots.

Students then created a horizon line with green for the grassy landscape the cow lives in. Students colored green from their horizon line to the bottom of the paper.

Students also drew a yellow sun and a red barn using squares and triangles.
To complete our works, students then painted a watercolor wash over our papers with the exception of avoiding the cow. The best part was the amazement over the yellow crayon of the sun resisting the blue watercolor. Seeing the surprise in their little faces never gets old.

I love the way these turned out and they are all unique. (The faces alone vary each cow's personality) Next week we will work on pigs... I so enjoy just a simple animal of shapes!

This project took 1 forty-minute class.
Materials: Black crayons, green crayons, yellow crayons, red crayons, blue watercolor
Vocabulary: Rectangle, Square, Triangle, Oval, Circle, Horizon line, resist

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bugs bugs bugs!

I have a project that I've done for several years with my fourth graders, but for some reason took a break from it the past couple. After puzzling on what project I wanted to do next, a few classroom teachers urged me to create our Symmetrical Insect drawings again. My teachers love it and it usually ties in well with their science studies.
I begin by introducing students to insects with a powerpoint I've created. We talk about "symmetry" and that insects are symmetrical. I tell students to pretend they are an explorer in the rainforest and you have discovered a new insect. What would it look like? I then create rules for this project. (written on the board) 
1. Insects must have three main body parts - head, thorax, abdomen
2. Insects must have 6 legs
3. Insects should have compound eyes and antennas
4. Insects must have original patterns and designs
5. Insects may have details such as wings, stingers, pinchers, etc

The first day students draw their insects with pencil, then trace with black sharpie. I ask students to choose 3 shapes of their choice for each body part. The second day students then begin to color with markers. My father happens to be an entomologist so he can usually scrounge up an insect collection for me to share with my students which they love! (Well mostly, I have some kids that are totally creeped out) Because these drawings are large on 12 x 18" paper it usually takes a third day to complete the coloring.

I also have fifth grade advanced students working on paper mache' birds. I think we are off to a great start!

This is an excellent recycling project. We are using two-liter bottles as our base. The head is formed from newspaper, then covered in aluminum foil. The beak is also aluminum foil hot-glued to the head. Lastly our wings are made from scrap posterboard. I am so eager to see them in paper mache'.