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.