Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer is Here!

Summer is here! So the blog may be experiencing less attention for a bit.

In regards to the fall, I recently found out that I will be experiencing some changes in my schedule and time spent at my two schools. This next school year will likely be an adjustment and learning how to balance more time at the primary school. Isn't it fun when administrators shake things up?

This isn't my first choice, but I will do what is asked of me and try to make things work. Besides, this gives me an opportunity for some classroom redecorating. Woo! The walls at the primary school seem a little bland in comparison to my very busy intermediate walls. Time to snazz things up a bit!

I have a few fun plans for summer as well. Doing a little traveling and hoping to find some inspiration for projects while I'm out and about. Hope everyone out there has a splendid summer!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

End of the Year Box Monsters!

Tomorrow is our last student day. Then the teachers get what I'm referring to as a 'quiet day' to pack up the classroom. Its chaotic, but we are having so much fun.
I did get around to creating box monsters with my fifth graders and it was definitely an experience. I want to do this again next year.

I set up each table with the following: one kleenex box per student, scissors, glue-all, markers in varying colors, plastic cups and lids, tagboard (we use tv dinner box cardboard), and foam shapes.

I start off by explaining that the opening of the box will be the mouth and we will be adding eyes, teeth, and details with other materials. We began by tracing or drawing circular eyes on the tagboard. They can make as many eyes as they chose to. Then color with markers to create pupils. Cut out and glue above the opening of the box.

Then we take a second piece of tagboard and cut it into a long slender rectangle. Cut down the middle of the rectangle with a zig zag line to create the teeth. Teeth are glued to the top and bottom of the box opening from the inside. Use glue-all... holds so much better and more permanently than school glue.

Then I tell students they may use the foam shapes to create noses, eye lashes, warts, etc for their monster. Oh they had the best time!

Some students even used scrap tagboard to create arms or legs hanging off the edges of the box. Hilarious!

A pointer for this project: Start collecting early. I recommend the beginning of the school year. I wouldn't have stressed near as much the last couple of months if I hadn't waited until December to start asking.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Clay...butterflies...turtles.... with just 8 more student days!

Next week will be our last week of school, yay! We will be packing up all our art work to take home. This week we are finishing some very important projects. My 2nd graders are completing mix media butterflies (from clay and paper), 1st made what I'm calling Stacking Turtles, and K are creating clay pinch pots.

My second graders started off learning how to create coils with Crayola air dry clay. I like crayola for the sake of quality and ease of use. The one thing I've learned though is keep your construction thick and chunky. Too delicate tends to break.
Students used clay tools to create impressions and designs in the clay to make the body original.

I added pipe cleaner pieces for fuzzy antennaes while they stayed in the classroom to dry and harden.

After these are dry we can color the bodies with crayon. Yes, crayon does work. I can even rub them with black paint to create a batik effect. Students also created symmetrical wings with construction paper and construction paper crayons. We glued the bodies to the wings. Use GLUE ALL! School glue isn't going to cut it with these.

Love 'em!

Now with 1st grade I showed students how to create a turtle body using a "rainbow" line for the top of the shell then a horizontal line across the bottom to complete it. We use a triangle tail, circle head, and letter U's for the four legs.

I told them to leave some "air" between each shell to leave room for legs. Each shell has been decorated with patterns using yellow and orange crayons.

We painted the shells with liquid watercolor, turtle bodies with neon green tempera, and the background with yellow liquid watercolor.

I have tons more and each one is different. I'm going to ask a few of my students if I may borrow theirs to hang up for the new school year. Hopefully I will have a few turtles and watermelons to brighten the halls and greet us into the 2012 - 2013 year.  :)

A note about Crayola Air Dry Clay:
I do not have a kiln, nor the resources for one. I know this clay isn't particularly cheap nor is it perfect. However, I like the product. I've used it for many years with a rather high success rate. I can cut down 25 lbs of clay to meet the needs of 100+ kids. Its possible to do really amazing things with a small piece. The main issue every time I use it will be when my kids work too small, too detailed, or too thin. That stuff will crack and break easily. Thick and chunky construction is the best way to go.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gearing up for Summer with Watermelons

The last few weeks are winding down. In fact we have just 13 more student days (not counting weekends). Near the end I'm either completely overwhelmed by so many options of what to do, or completely out of ideas.

Today I did a one day project with my first graders that I absolutely LOVE! Its a fun way to think about summer while still getting in some art elements and principles.

We first looked at a print by Rufino Tamayo called Watermelons. This print came with our Harcourt textbook series. We discussed the strongest color, shapes, and overlapping in the painting. We created our own watermelons utilizing overlapping and repetition.

I first demonstrated how to create a watermelon with 1 horizontal line, then a curved line underneath, a second curved line, then dots for seeds. We started drawing in the middle with a black crayon. Then we slowly worked our way out to the edges. I reminded students that to create overlapping we wanted a watermelon in front and the other behind. **Make sure not to draw through the first watermelon.

My students then painted the rinds green and the remainder red with tempera cakes. (Oh how I love tempera cakes!) I can't wait to do these again next year. They look simple, but did require our thinking caps. The results are just excellent!

This project took 1 forty-minute class.
Black crayons (you could also use sharpies, or any other color crayon if you so choose)
Tempera cakes in red and green (although you could any paint you wanted)
Paint brushes

This project could also be done with other grade levels.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lions, Giraffes, and Paint... oh my!

This week and the last have been rather "jungle" or wild animal themed. Both of these projects came from other sources I'm sure somewhere on the internet, but I can't recall exactly where. If you want to claim fame to these feel free.

My first project to share I'm calling Radiating Lions. I did this with 1st graders although I'm sure it could be done with most an elementary level student. We used white drawing paper first that I cut into a square. I then demo'ed for students the following drawing which they did as well. 

I'm running low on sharpies this year so I had students trace with black crayon over their pencils lines. You could also by pass the pencil and go straight to crayon. **And you don't necessarily have to use black, brown would look great too!

Students painted the faces with yellow cake tempera. (Oh how I love cake tempera!) Then we painted radiating lines from the face outward with yellow, then orange, and lastly brown.  This paint dries rather quickly so we glued on pieces of raffia and yarn onto the radiating lines as well. These turned out so wonderful! Definitely a repeat for next year!
This project took 2 forty minute sessions.

Giraffe Portraits!  These I did with my second graders. I wish I had discovered this at the beginning of the school year. Our school mascot is a giraffe and this would have been perfect to have hung in the lobby the majority of the school year.
We used a 12 x 18" piece of paper cut in half long ways. We drew the following steps together with pencil and traced with black crayons (or markers if you got 'em)

Students also colored the giraffe spots with brown or orange crayons. The second day we painted the giraffe with yellow tempera cake. The background is blue. Lastly we glued pieces of brown construction paper for the "hair" or mane on the neck.

Love these!  They have been a huge hit at the school!

So many faces, so many designs, so little webspace.

This project took two forty-minute sessions. It could possibly take three depending on how you space it out. An excellent book to read as an intro would be Giraffe's Can't Dance by Giles Andreae.