Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Primary Works

The past few weeks we have been gearing up for the holidays at the primary school. I'm a fan of reindeer so I'm exploring two different approaches this year.

My second graders created a Reindeer landscape. This project also explores a variety of textures. I posted about this project previously here:

This year, however, I used shredded paper for the snow on the ground. Someone donated it to the art room and I found great use for it. I love donations!

My first graders made Reindeer Portaits! I found this project somewhere on pinterest and I just did my own version on 9 x 12" blue construction paper and we use geometric shapes to help create the portrait. This project took 2 forty minute classes to complete. It is made entirely from construction paper. Colors needed:  Red, white, black, brown, and green

Next time I think I might like to allow students to stamp snowflakes onto the background for a little extra fun.

Lastly, my kindergarten students made a portrait as well. We read the book "Russell the Sheep" by Rob Scotton. We looked at Russell's hat and made note of its pattern.  The first week students printed a pattern onto a piece of 6 x 9" white paper. We stamped with unsharpened pencils and pieces of cardboard to create dotted and straight lines.

The second week we cut the patterned paper into a large triangle.
(Student pattern work)

We drew a large rainbow on a small piece of white paper for his face. I already had squares pre-cut for the neck and curved shapes for the ears.
Students cut, assembled, and glued their shapes onto 9 x 12" blue construction paper.
We glued piece of cotton ball for the top of the hat.
Lastly, we painted snowflakes around Russell using eraser ends of a pencil.
This took 2 forty minute classes to complete.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stacking Donuts

I've been really interested in exploring "food" themed art as of late. I have created hamburger collages with my students before, however I thought I'd give something new a try.  With my first graders I discussed Wayne Thiebaud and we created Stacking Donuts.

The vocabulary we learned about on this project were overlapping, realistic, texture, collage, and painting techniques.

We began by viewing visuals of Thiebaud's work from google images. We also looked at images from Dunkin Donuts. Then the first week students drew 5 or 6 circles on manila paper. Drew a hole in each circle. Traced with a black marker. Then colored the donuts with a brown crayon by rubbing. We rubbed with brown crayon to "cook" the donuts and even discussed the assembly line process that takes place at Krispy Kreme.

The second week we discussed glazes and icing. I had each table set up with one color of paint and a painting tool (brush or sponge brush). Students painted a donut then rotated to a new table and new color. Btw: spongebrushes with white paint made for excellent powdered donuts.

The third week we cut out our donuts and glued them to fill a tall 6 x 18" white paper. We could overlap some parts of the donuts. Then students rotated to different tables again for varying toppings. For example:  Yarn for icing, shredded white paper for coconut, chopped brown paper for nuts, hole-punched colors for sprinkles, etc

Hopefully I can post some finished products soon.

On another note: I learned from another art teacher about a nifty little paint tray = styrofoam egg cartons. Easy, holds well, and great way to recycle. If you notice the empty side is great to rest brushes on. I covered  with paper the parts of the tray that I didn't want paint in to keep them clean for other colors later.

This project took 3 forty minute sessions and each one was lots o' fun!

Pattern Tee Pees

Its been rather hectic in the world of the art room the last few weeks. To update I'm going to share a few lessons that we have been working on.

First, my kindergarteners have spent the last two weeks working on Pattern Tee Pees. These are turning out sooo well!

We began by viewing examples of Native American costumes, historical black and white photos, and tee pees. Then we discussed patterns and how we could find them on many tee pee examples.

(Student examples of their patterns)
I pre-cut paper bags from the grocery store down into quarters. It don't have example measurements, but you can use most any size you feel most comfortable with.  Then I had students draw lines across their paper to create patterns. We said the lines out loud as we drew.
(Table set up for drawing then painting)
Students then painted all the same type of lines 1 color, then rotated to a second table to paint their next type of line. We continued that so on and so forth to paint all the lines in our pattern.
The second week when the patterns were dry, students cut out a large triangle from the painted pattern paper. (This could be predrawn from a template on the back if needed).
We cut a door from black construction paper, then used brown construction paper rectangles glued to the top for the support poles.
This took 2 forty minute classes.
1. Brown paper bags (pre cut)
2. Tempera paint in varying colors
3. Brown crayons
4. Scissors
5. Glue
6. Black and brown construction paper

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Silly Pumpkins are too fun!

I have seen these pumpkins before online from various locations. I thought they looked so fun I gave them a whirl with my kindergarteners this year.

We spent 2 weeks on this project.  The first week we read a book about the life cycle of a pumpkin. There is an assortment of books out there on the subject so most any one would do. Then students painted a 9 x 12" piece of white paper with orange and yellow tempera paint. We left them to dry.

(Front and back of paper)

The second week I pre-drew an oval on the back of each student's paper.
I also set up the tables with small pieces of white and black paper (2 x 2 inches), a 4 1/2 x 6 inch piece of black paper, and one small green piece of paper.

(Table set up. Pink box has pencils, red tray contains paper)

We began by cutting out our ovals. Students had to decide whether they wanted a tall pumpkin or a short and wide pumpkin.

Then we drew a rainbow across our 4 1/2 x 6 piece of black paper. We cut it out to create the mouth. Glue to the bottom of the orange oval.

Next, draw a very large circle or oval on two pieces of white paper.  Cut out and glue above the mouth for eyes.

Next draw a circle on two pieces of small black paper (2 x 2") for the pupils. Cut and glue onto the white paper.

Glue on a green stem.

Then lastly, I used white paper scrap from another project for teeth. These were pre-cut white squares.

These turned out remarkably cute and everyone was successful!  I will certainly do this project again!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Statues Complete!

My first graders have finished their statues and they look fantastic.
I left off in my last statue post that we drew our statues with pencil using the steps I provided the first week.

The second week we traced our statues with a black sharpie marker. Then we painted them green with liquid watercolor (created from dried out markers).

The third week we cut out our statues (this was by far the toughest part). Then we used construction paper crayons to draw a background for our statues. We drew wavy lines for the ocean, then a variety of lines from a middle dot for fireworks.

We glued a piece of brown paper to the bottom for the island, then glued our statues to the island. Make sure your toes touch the island!

Lastly, students added 4 or 5 dots of glue in the sky to which we added some glitter. They are fantastic and oh so adorable. After this project I must say that my students are definitely experts on the statue. Did you know that she was unvieled in October? So this is technically her birthday month. The old gal is 126 this year and looks darn good for a lady over 100.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kindergarten Shape Mice

My kindergarteners have been learning about "pets" and families in their classrooms. I have a storybook from my childhood that is all about pets. Its called "At Mary Bloom's" by Aliki.

This book is nearly impossible to find. I've looked on Amazon for a new copy, but this one is out of print. If you find one anywhere hold on to it. You can tell my copy is a bit beat up.
The point of the story is this little girl has a mouse that has babies. She would like to share them with her friend Mary Bloom, but there are a whole series of pets at her house. It has super onomatopoeia and my students loved saying the sounds with me.
After our story, we created our own little mice using shapes.

On a piece of brown construction paper I had students trace a tear drop shape. Then draw or trace two ovals (depending on how capable you feel your students are thus far in the year).
Students cut out the tear drop and two ovals. We glued them together to create the body and ears. We cut out small pink ovals for the inner ear and glued them into the large ovals. Students then cut out a black circle for the nose and drew eyes on with black crayon.
The last step was gluing on a long strip of brown construction paper to the end of the body. I showed students how to create a curly tail by wrapping the paper around their finger or their black crayon.
(The mice have invaded!)

We allowed our mice to dry in the hallways outside of our classrooms. They all turned out so fun :)

This project took 1 forty minute class and used the following materials:
1 - 9 x 12" brown construction paper sheet per student
pink scrap paper
small square of black construction paper
black crayons

Funky Fall Trees

My second graders just finished some fun and funky fall trees!

Students first drew their tree with pencil onto 9 x 12" white paper. I showed them how to create a 'stick' tree at first that included roots, trunk, and swirling branches.
We painted the background with red, yellow, and orange liquid colors. We painted right over the tree then allowed these to dry. I suggested students paint in a horizontal motion and allow colors to mix. But everyone did their own thing.
The second week we reviewed our warm colors, then painted our trees with black tempera to create a silhouette. The key was to hold our brushes like a basketball player... TALL.
After we painted our art work skinny, students then went back a second time to thicken up their branches, trunk, and roots. We went right over or next to the first lines we painted.


I love the way they all turned out. We have had so many great comments on our works. Each one is so original!
We are now moving on to our Burger collages... one of my favorite projects of the year.  You can find that post here: Burger Collages
This project took 2 forty minute classes and used the following materials:
9 x 12" white construction/heavy weight paper
pencils and erasers
liquid watercolor - red, yellow, orange
black tempera
small paint brushes (size 6)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Statue of Liberty - American Symbols

My 1st graders have a PTO play coming up around election day and I try to help out with decor when I can. My students have started a mix media piece that features the Statue of Liberty! 
We first started by discussing where the statue came from, where does she rest, and what is she made of?  I then read students story called Liberty's Journey by Kelly DiPucchio and Richard Egielski . It has great visuals of the statue.

We then drew her together on a 9 x 12" piece of white paper. Students draw her with pencil. I use the following steps:

**Warning, the bent arm holding the book is by far the most challenging. Take that part slowly.
As we drew I told the students interesting facts about the statue. For example: Her 7 spikes symbolize the 7 seas and the 7 continents. The tablet in her arms has America's birthday written on it.
Our plan is to trace over them with black sharpie next week and paint them green with liquid watercolor. The third week we will create a night time seascape with fireworks for her. We will cut out and glue our statues to the center.
They all look so different already. I love the personality that each student gives their statue :)

Kindergarten Patchwork Color Mixes

In making up for lost time I will let you know what my kindergarteners have learned about the past few weeks.
We read the book "Mouse Paint" by Ellen Stoll Walsh. I adore that story about primary and secondary colors. Then we created our own mixed colors like the mice in the story.

As prep I pretaped 9 x 12" white paper with masking tape with three pieces that crossed to the other side. This created a window/patchwork effect.

Then at each table I placed a cup of liquid watercolor for each primary color: red, yellow, blue.
Students painted each primary color into 2 squares. Then we added another primary color to each box to mix the colors. Most students did well with this, but my kids who don't always follow directions did get all six colors we wanted to see. On a positive note everyone had a beautiful picture no matter the results.
As we prepared to leave I sprinkled a tiny bit of salt on a few squares of each paper and asked students to watch and see if "snowflakes" would appear on their paper. This they LOVED!  After papers dried I peeled off the tape and returned them to the students.

This project took 1 forty minute class with kindergarten students.
We used the following materials:
1. 9 x 12" white paper
2. masking tape
3. liquid watercolor in red, yellow, blue
4. paintbrushes and water
5. salt
**Issues I faced with this project was that taping is very time consuming... prepare way ahead of time. Secondly, the tape can tear the paper so a strong paper would be best or a weak tape. A few tore a little bit, but a piece of scotch tape across the back of the tear took care of those problems.
Happy Painting!

Busy Month! - Fun Line Names Continued

Its been a really busy month and I am finally finding time to blog a bit about what we have been up to. My first graders finished their Fun Line Names. They all turned out fantastically.

If you recall from my last post, students began by drawing their name large. We traced hard with black crayon. Then they added a variety of lines around each letter. The second week we painted our names with liquid watercolor. (In fact this is the watercolor I made from markers) I encouraged students to spread their colors into many different parts of the picture... let them flow into each other and see what happens.

The third week we glued our names to the center of a piece of black construction paper. It measured about an inch and a half to 2 inches wider than the white paper.
This last step was a bit tricky for some of my students so I went ahead and hole punched a series of holes around the edge (before I met with students) and from there they sewed color yarn through each hole occasionally adding a bead or a piece of patterned wall paper scrap. I mentioned that this was the "final line" we would be using to complete their work.
I loved the results from this project and it was really a great success for everyone. However let me emphasize that there is a LOT of prep work for this project. I found myself cutting lengths of yarn over my weekend to make sure I had enough for over 100 first graders. I think the results were worth it.
This project took 3 forty minute classes to complete. Sometimes you may need an additional week.
6 x 15" white paper
10 x 18" black paper
black crayons
color crayons
hole punchers
yarn in various colors
pieces of random interesting paper
liquid watercolor and paint brushes

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fun Line Names

This past week I started my first graders on a project that could review line while tying in with their current classroom curriculum of "All About Me".

We began the lesson by drawing in the air together with our pointer/drawing finger. We told a silly story while we drew different kinds of lines in the air. Fun fun! We walked to the mall (horizontal line), we went up elevators and escalators (vertical and diagonal), we even traced some alligator teeth (zig zag) without a single student losing a finger.

After our silly story, I then explained we would use these lines to make our names special.
Students first drew their name very large with a pencil onto a piece of 6 x 15" paper. We also turned the paper horizontally, but a vertical approach could be interesting too.

We traced over our names with a black crayon to make the name very very dark!
Then together we put lines on our papers. I would tell each student to pick a bright color and then put a specific type of line somewhere on their paper. It could be inside or outside a letter. Then they would pick a new color and we would repeat the process with a different type of line. After we drew some together I let them loose on their own to fill the remainder of their papers.
The first two above just have a little more to do. The third paper is complete.
Next week my plan is for them to finish drawing their lines then we will watercolor wash over the paper using multiple colors. The last step will be to glue their names onto a piece of black paper to mount it. Hole punch into the black paper and tie yarn and beads around their names. I am really looking forward to seeing the finished products!
(On a sidenote: Pinterest has really been an awesome source of inspiration this summer. I was able to create new posters for one of my classrooms and this one has become the favorite. Thank you Pinterest, you rock!)


This year I decided to start off my intermediates (3rd - 5th) with a project that could keep them busy for the next two weeks while we are taking creativity tests. We began sketchbooks. This idea came from another elementary school teacher in my district. I think it was quite ingenious!

We start off with the following materials: old manila folders (cut in half), pre-cut white computer/scrap paper, markers, and a stapler.

I give each student a pre-cut half of the folder and my one rule is to write their name and their teacher's name on the folder. But the rest of the decoration is up to them. I prefer them to create a sketchbook cover that describes themselves in some way.

We use markers to draw on our sketchbooks, but crayons or colored pencils could work great as well.  As students work on their covers (the cut manila folder), I circulate around the classroom sliding the computer paper into each cover and stapling across the fold of the cover to attach the paper. Students could staple themselves, but I only have 1 really decent stapler so I'll do that work.

They open and close perfectly.
Surprisingly enough all my students are very excited about their sketchbooks and want to take them home already. I'm planning to keep them in the school for a while so that if I have any early finishers they can go work in their sketchbooks instead of finding something less constructive to do with their time.

Many of our teachers throw out old manila folders each year so this is an excellent opportunity to recycle and save some of my classroom materials.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Week Likes

1. I like what I've done with my classroom. I've worked in it for 8 years previously and it didn't change all too much. Now that I've moved to be there more full time I made some changes.

Before: Lots of stuff on the shelves felt cluttered to me
After: I put panels of fabric on the shelves with velcro. I can lift and pin up the fabric to access each shelf. I like it! It just seems a little more organized.
Also added fabric panels that are hung with curtain rods under the bottom window shelves. Woo! Less clutter visible and the kids have less interest in going over there.
2. I like the activity I chose to do with my primary kids this week. We did the usual rules and such then read the book Pete the Cat - I Love My White Shoes. My students then designed their own shoes that "stepped" in anything they wanted... stripes, polka dots, hey even pizza if they chose to. I'm starting to hang them outside my classroom next to my own Pete!


3. I like my sign that I use the first few weeks. Its terribly effective!

4.. I like my class incentive plan I'm going to put into place with my 1st and 2nd graders.

I found this on Pinterest! Great idea! Each class has a paper crayon box that will be adhered to the classroom wall with the teacher's name on it. Each week they work quietly in the art room I will add a crayon to their box. Each time they reach 8 crayons I will give their class 3 box tops! (Our school collects them and it has turned into a large competition).  At the end of the year the class who collected the most crayons over time will win a prize from me.
First week has been hard though. Kindergarteners are still learning the routines and are lost about 90% of the time. Any time you step out of my door you are more than likely to find a lost child. Thank goodness for our 1st and 2nd graders to help remind us all that there is an end in sight. :)