Saturday, January 14, 2017

Monet's Garden Mono Prints

First grade students explored a little about Claude Monet this week and his role in the Impressionism movement.  My students are investigating print making this month so I attempted a new twist on an old idea for them.  You've all probably seen this project all over Pinterest.   I don't know who the originator was but it is a terrific project for mono-printing with mixed media.  It's terrific because the kids honestly are wowed by it as if it were magic.  So with this project in mind, I do it with 2nd grade, I began to experiment for a Monet project that would give similar results with different mediums.  I like the idea of focusing on Monet's Japanese garden and that very famous bridge that he has painted so many times.  I also wanted to make students conscience of the impressionist style of Monet and not have them rely on just coloring in the picture.  I pulled out the Payons, my 1st graders were using these for the first time so it would be a huge treat.  I modeled the way they should used them as if they were painting with shot strokes  of a brush.  They were to be very mindful of using strokes of color and also the intentional direction of the stokes to create the effect we were hoping for of flowing water and growing plants.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Making buttons today and watching it snow.  Hopefully these will be a big hit at the Talent Show on Friday.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Illusion of Space with 2nd graders

This lesson has been a yearly project for too many years to remember.  This year the 2nd graders seem to have knocked it out of the park.  The focus is on creating the illusion of space in a composition.  I used the wonderful "Snowmen at Night" series of books by Caralyn Buehner to kick off the project.  Her husband, Mark is responsible for the wonderful illustrations.  I chose a few of his illustrations for students to examine and determine what methods are being used to create Space.  They identify the use of linear perspective, overlap, placement, and size in the images.  Then they are off to create their own work emphasizing the four ways to show space.  I keep this poster visible to assist them with their planning.
Instructional poster for reference
They are task with comparing their work to the poster and determining whether they have included all four methods.  Because these are created in early winter, snowmen is the subject of the composition.  I am really impressed with the imagination and craftsmanship exhibited by these young artist.
Student works from 2017

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Kindergarten snowmen 2016

A crowd
I do this project every year with my Kinders.  I am sure I have posted it here before but had to add it again because of this picture.  The snowmen are a preface to working with clay after the first of the year.  Students practice forming spheres, cones and snakes using model magic.  The nose is formed by a tooth pick, painted orange, the arms are sticks from a bush in my yard and sharpies are used to add other details.  These are always individual and unique.  Sometimes they even appear melted and ill-shaped; just like real snowmen would.  I try to display them in the case at the front office for the weeks prior to Holiday break.  This is what they looked like when I gather them up to redistribute to the kids to take home.

Student works - they are color coded by class

Student work
Student work

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Winter Wonderland

The focus of this lesson was to demonstrate an understanding of the illusion of space in an art composition.   First grade students enjoyed creating the crayon/watercolor resist and salt technique to create the background.  I have done a similar project with my students for years.  However, we added a new twist to the project in the way we created the trees this year.   Students first colored a coffee filter using markers in an analogous color family.  The filters were spritzed with water and laid aside to dry.  Once everything was dry and the extra salt had been wiped away from the watercolor background, the coffee filter was cut into a variety of sizes of triangles.  These would become the trees in the winter wonderland.  Students review the important methods for visually creating the illusion of space and attempted to include as many as possible in their composition.  These examples demonstrate size, placement, linear perspective and overlap.  Final touches were added to the trees using a drawing marker.

Make a trade

Hall bulletin board to explain to experience to those not involved at school
Thanks again to Nicole Hahn over at Mini Matisse for organizing this year's ATC trade.  What a terrific experience for my students.  I really enjoyed seeing all the varied cards and once the students understood they were theirs to keep; they were pretty psyched as well.  Here are a few photos from our experience.

A little close-up view

I posted this bulletin board in the hallway with photo copies of some of the cards we received.  The card wraps were posted with links to the states they came from.  This way non-participants were exposed to the experience and were able to read about the schools we received cards from.

Let me see your card, too!

Want to trade?

This was great...I love the art I received!

We loved trading.  The only dissappointment was the missing artist information on the back of some of the cards.  We were able to think like detectives in some instances to solve a few of the mysteries but wish that everyone had taken the time to add the information to each card.

Here is the worksheet we used to evaluate the cards.  In the center, students attempted to recreate their card.  The lower right circle was to contain three things students liked about the card or the experience of participating in the trade.

Most of all we can't wait to join in the trade again next year.  Thanks again Nicol Hahn!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Kindergarten Arctic Animals - The many varieties of creativity

This was a Kindergarten directed draw with a focus on how shapes combine to make forms and identifiable objects as well as patterning with shapes and colors.