Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hello Fruit Face!

The past few weeks my 4th graders have been very busy working on fruit and vegetable portraits. These are very popular every year, although starting off can be difficult. I collect pictures from magazines of all sorts of fruits and veggies to help them get some inspiration. 

We also take a look at examples of these types of portraits by Guiseppe Arcimboldo at:

My project rules are:
1. The entire portrait must be created from fruits and vegetables. No pizza, no meat, no dessert. But I do allow seeds and nuts on this project.
2. Students may use parts of the fruit or veg (slices) or change the proportion of things. For example large strawberry head, but small watermelon slice mouth.
3. Lastly, students are to create a frame around their portrait using fruit and veg. It could be only one item, it could be a pattern, or completely random.

We began with pencil and 9 x 12" paper. Students then traced or outlined their fruits and veggies with color markers. We then colored the inside of their shapes with crayons.

This has taken us three forty-minute sessions including a lengthy discussion and introduction on the first meeting. Students who finish early are assigned what I'm calling Vegetable Cars!  Although, I actually gave them the option of choosing any mode of transportation they wanted...planes, trains, helicoptors, monster trucks, etc
They start off the same way as the portraits.. trace with marker... color in with crayon.
My boys especially enjoyed this and I even saw a few fruit and veggie UFOs.

My example

Love these every year. Hopefully I will have a few to hang in the cafeteria soon!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Springy Insects

This week my 2nd and 1st graders have been working on spring insect pictures. With my 2nd graders we created Butterfly Prints! This turned out to be a learning experience for me in getting them to follow the procedures I had planned... even then... a large percentage of them had a tough time letting loose on their art work not being perfect.

We began with pencils, 9 x 12" white construction paper, water container, and yellow-orange-and black paint in a container. (This is a tv dinner tray)  I also like to use old ugly construction paper under their art work to protect the tables.

Then I had students fold their paper in half (hamburger style) like a card or book. We wrote our names with pencil on the back. Then they opened their paper and drew a large number 3 next to the right side so that the top and bottom of the 3 touched the fold.

We painted the number 3 with yellow paint, then folded the paper to print. We repeated this a few times with shapes inside the wings then went on to use orange and lastly black paint.

Fold printing isn't new, but I did get inspired for this idea from

Then with my 1st graders we created Ladybug Landscapes. This project took 2 weeks. We first read the book The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. Little kids love this book!

Then we created the landscape by drawing a horizon line at the bottom of a piece of white paper and coloring below with brown crayon. We drew white clouds with white crayon then did a watercolor wash with blue for the sky.

The second day we created the grass and the ladybugs. We first cut long blades of grass from a piece of 4 1/2 x 6"  piece of green construction paper. I emphasized that making one end pointed like a triangle could appear more like real grass. Also they could vary the lengths and widths of each blade.

Then we created the ladybugs on a small piece of red construction paper. Initially I let students draw free hand their circles, but I found they drew entirely too small. So for many I gave them lids to trace to help with the sizing. They drew black dots on the body with black sharpie (although you could subtitute black crayon as well). Cut them out, glued them onto the grass on various heights. Then they used the sharpie to add a curved line head, six legs, and antenna.

I love these! So cute!

Between the frogs, ladybugs, and butterflies my art wall display is set up for spring!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hoppameleon/Frogs for Kinders

This past week my kindergarten students were learning about amphibians in their classrooms. I try to be interdiscplinary when I can, so we did a project to correspond with it.  I cannot recall where on the internet I found this idea, but credit is due to someone out there! We created Frogs on a Log. I first read them the story "The Hoppameleon" by Paul Geraghty.
Then I showed students how to put lines and shapes together on their paper to create their own "Hoppameleon Frogs".
These are the steps from my lesson plan.

We drew in black crayon. Students then colored their frog's body green, the log brown, the sun yellow, and the eyes red or yellow. They could also leave them white if they chose to.  Lastly, we did a blue watercolor wash over the sky.

I had several compliments on these this past week and today. I'm not sure why since I find this to be a rather simple project, but its been a bit hit. This took 1 forty minute class to complete.

On another note, I have a piece of equipment in my classroom that my co-worker purchased for us. I... just don't think I am a fan. This machinery just isn't working for me.

Believe me... the idea is awesome. The execution... not so much at least on my part. If I have even a smidgen of paper on the crayon I'm sharpening in this machine the whole thing jams. Then getting in to clean it out is a messy and difficult process (especially with black crayons). Don't get me started on the stubby crayons and the ones that break while sharpening...
Until the day the crayons are made longer and less brittle, this is a piece of equipment that collect dust in my classroom. Perhaps I'm the only one who has issues with it, but this is one thing I won't buy for the other classroom I teach in at an intermediate school. Too much grief.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Warm and Cool Hands and some Balloons thrown in!

I found this amazing project idea on Pinterest. No clue where the origin is though. My fifth graders created Warm and Cool color Hands. This project took us about two forty-minute classes to complete.

We began by reviewing warm and cool colors (which they are experts on now!). Students first traced their hands with pencil onto a long sheet of paper allowing part of their arm to appear as well as leaving a small bit of space between the pointer finger and the thumb. This is actually old computer paper with that green stripe along the back. Perfect length for this project.

Students then chose a shape (not a circle) that they liked, many chose a heart because that was the example I put up. Then we traced our hands and shapes with a sharpie marker. (I've run out of black that works so really any dark color will do)

After students traced the hand and shape with sharpie, I told them to get their pencil out again. Now they began to create concentric circles that originated around the shape. These circles should overlap the hand. **Student need to space these appropriately otherwise close lines make coloring much harder later.

Then they began to color in the hands with cool colors only (blues, greens, and purples). Each time a line cut the hand a new color was to be selected. The fingers are definitely the hardest part since they are in multiple sections. I asked students to give each "circle" an assigned color for the section of the hand within it.

The second day of this project students finished their cool colors inside their hands. Then we reviewed warm colors (reds, yellows, and oranges). They were to first color their shape a warm color then continue to fill the circles with other warm colors. They could choose to make a pattern or keep it entirely random.


I've seen others attempt this with younger grades, but I wouldn't with my particular students. The fingers make this a particularly tricky project.   

Also, my challenging 3rd graders have been busy working on Asymmetrical Hot Air Balloons. This project also took two weeks. The first week we contrasted symmetry and asymmetry. We also look at visuals of Hot Air Balloons and the parts of the balloon we would need to draw.

We began with a 9 x 12" piece of paper, cds, pencils, brown and white crayons, and a permanent marker. Students first traced a cd twice with pencil so that one would be higher and the other lower.

Then they drew rectangles for the basket below. This could also be a template if you have one available. I happen to have several so I passed those out as an option as well. **Emphasize not to put the basket directly under the balloon otherwise there is no room for the ropes. We connected our balloons to the basket with rope lines.

Students then had to design their own patterns for each balloon so they were not the same, thus creating more asymmetry. Also, they could draw 1, 2, or 3 clouds. We traced everything with a permanent marker. We colored the baskets with brown crayon and clouds with white.

The second week students were allowed to paint their work with my handy dandy tempera cakes!  I especially like to do these in March when the wind picks up and it feels like the perfect time for a balloon ride!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Falling off the face of the earth...

I think I've overwhelmed myself...

I have a few too many projects going on at one time. Besides our collage color wheel I have students in my studio classes finishing their paper mache' birds, creating art work for the library, creating frames for said artwork, and creatinga recycle robot. This doesn't even include the bagillion other projects I have going on with all my regular classes.

This is "Tech-o" the robot. His body is constructed from shoeboxes, discarded cardboard boxes, gift wrap cardboard tubes, and lids/bottlecaps/yogurt cups to create the head details. He is about 90% done.

I think I need to slow it down. I'm so overwhelmed I can't even find time to blog about our regular school projects. And we have some nifty ones at the moment. I'll get to it eventually... time time time.

On an entirely different note, I cannot praise enough the amazing experience my 27 students had at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts last month. Its truly wonderful! The staff was prepared for our visit and well versed in the material we learned about. My students had a great time and I look forward to visiting them again!!!