Monday, September 26, 2011

Makes Me Hungry!

This week I completed a fantastic collage with my second graders that I've titled "Sky High Double Cheeseburgers with Everything!"  Boy is that a way to catch a kid's attention. I was inspired by a lesson I found through another art teacher on Pinterest. Josette Brouwer's blog: is just a plethora of superb ideas and enthusiasim.

She did this lesson with K level students, but I thought I might give it a try with my second graders. We began by discussing shapes and how to draw them. Then we looked at specific art works by Claes Oldenburg: Floor Burger and Double Cheeseburgers (google 'em if you are interested).
From there we worked three weeks on this project gradually adding more and more to our burgers. We had a great time and my students are very proud of their work.

Bun: Brown construction paper circle cut in half
Meat/Veggie burger: Brown marker oval
Onions: Purple construction paper ovals with white lines
Tomato slice: red construction paper circle with white drawing
Bacon: Orange rectangle with yellow and red lines
Cheese: Yellow construction with holes punched
Pickles: Dark green construction paper circles with yellow or white crayon
Olives: Light green construction paper ovals with red crayon
Lettuce: Green tissue paper wrinkled
Ketchup: Red yarn
Mustard: Yellow yarn
Sesame seeds: Holes punched from cheese

Students were allowed a lot of freedom of where to place their toppings. However, our goal was to fill space and utilize some overlapping of each shape.

Some students weren't all too eager to add toppings to their burger they wouldn't normally eat. However once I explained it was a feast for their eyes, not their mouth they were much more inclined to stack their burgers high.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Marker Paint at Work - Warm and Cool color Seascapes

I started making liquid watercolor last spring and I've been very eager to try it out with my students. My 4th graders had the honor of testing out my paints on their warm and cool color seascapes.

We first reviewed landscapes and compared the difference between landscapes and seascapes with a variety of visual aids. We then drew our horizon line. Students added cool color crayon lines for waves below the horizon line. We also added warm color lines above the horizon line to define the sunset sky.  Lastly, we created shadowed boats out on the water with black sharpie.

To paint our seascapes, students used dry brushes. I placed a paper towel at each table so that students could dry their brushes between painting each color. We kept our cool colors below and warm colors above the horizon line. Students could paint right over their boats since the sharpie was permanent. I think these turned out spectacular!

While painting, I had students paint their warm colors first then lastly the cool colors. I emphasized the opportunity to blend colors together which the students found to be very exciting. One of my favorite parts of this project were the reactions the students had to the crayon resist. No matter how many times we paint over crayon, they never stop being surprised by the interaction of wax and water.

This project took 2 forty minute classes to complete.
Materials: 9 x 12" white paper, crayons sorted into warm and cool colors, black fine point sharpies

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Keith Haring Inspired Art - Lines, Movement, and Variety

I like to start off the school year discussing line.. always a good basic start to most drawings. My fifth graders are line experts so a quick review was all we needed.  I first introduced Keith Haring through a book called I Wish I Didn't Have to Sleep. Has some excellent illustrations of his work and pointers about his style. We also did a little critiquing of the work we saw.

From there, students created simplified body forms of 3 'break dancers'. We attempted to show movement with chosens positions of arms and legs. We drew with pencil and colored in with markers.  Our second day we discussed variety. Students then began drawing a variety of lines around each dancer. This actually took 2 days total on 9 x 12" paper. Students had to be very patient, but the finished products were definitely worth it!

Materials for this project: pencils and erasers, 9x12" paper, and crayola markers in a variety of colors
This project took 3 forty minute classes to complete.

I love these!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Line and Pattern Kente Cloth

If you are looking for a good cultural reference to introduce lines and patterns to elementary age children, then Kente Cloth may be a great option for you! I did this lesson with 1st and 2nd graders, but the second graders definitely had the best results. They just have a little more line drawing experience.

We started off reading an excellent book The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kente Cloth by Margaret Musgrove. This book is not easy to find however if you are a teacher you can purchase it through Perfect story for little ones and lovely illustrations.

We reflected on Kente cloth visuals and all the different lines we saw. Most importantly we noted that Kente cloth is not the same all over. Some parts have different patterns.

Students first folded a piece of 9 x 12" white paper in half (hamburger style), then in half again (hot dog style). We opened our paper back up and we just created three folded lines... hence we divided our paper into four sections. Students traced the folds with a dark color crayon, then we added stitches! These were lines that ran perpendicular to the first lines we drew.

Students then drew patterns (with crayon) using only lines in each section. Each section needed to be different than the others. Lastly, students painted each section with a tempera cake wash. This could also be done with watercolor.
The students loved the story and their kente cloth. We also learned some new vocabulary like "calabash". Next year I may try this again and let them have a little more variety in their approach to painting.


This project was completed in 3 forty-minute class periods.  


Also, I encouraged students to create patterns using 3 different kinds of lines initially. Eventually towards the end of their cloth some students starting using 2 lines.

***PS: I received my books from Amazon and Scholastic. The book Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman is just too wonderful. The illustrations are my absolute favorite and right now its only $10 on Amazon. The book is worth far more than what I paid for it. So thrilled!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Getting Psyched for New Books

This week I have all my classes up and running on their first projects. 5th graders have been introduced to Keith Haring, 4th graders are reviewed on warm and cool colors for seascapes, and my little ones have a variety of their own little projects so life is busy busy again.

However, we have a three day weekend! Yay! I would think I could take a break to rest up and fight these allergies that have been ailing me for the past two weeks, but I just can't seem to stop researching ideas....

This morning I've found inspiration in children's story books. I cannot wait for them to arrive so I can share them with my students. (Also I'm a sucker for the scent of a 'fresh' book -- the newly printed ink and texture of smooth pages is almost as good as a new box of crayons)
I'm ordering from Scholastic and Amazon (depending on the best price) the following:
Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman
(The cover is my absolute favorite. Can hardly wait to get my hands on this one!)

Hundertwasser for Kids by Barbara Stieff
(Architecture and landscape inspiration)

Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton
(Great inspiration for a K-2 winter project)

Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming
(Designs and patterns for insect drawings)

If You Were a Penguin by Florence Minor
(Another winter project idea!)

White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker
(An alternative for Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh)

Most of these books I plan to read to K - 2nds. However, the Hundertwasser is probably a better fit for 4th or 5th graders.

Another book that I recently came upon is Not A Box by Antoinette Portis. This is a book I would just recommend for PreK or K students. There aren't many words to this book, but the illustrations are what make it a delight to me personally.