Thursday, February 28, 2013

Adobe Houses out of clay

Our last day of the after school clay program was today and we tied it all up by glazing and painting all the completed projects.   The family art show won't be for a few more weeks, lots of glaze firings need to occur first.  Here are the finished adobe houses.  We use acrylic paints on the adobe.  I've stacked them together to make them look more like a real adobe community.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More Dr. Seuss

Here is a project idea that I borrowed from Art Projects for Kids.  She recently re-posted this Cat in the Hat image to share again this year.  Here is what I did with it.  My 1st graders completed the picture by giving the cat a Mondrian styled hat and 3rd graders used a Picasso theme for their hat.  Fourth graders were studying Keith Haring so completed the image in Haring style and 5th graders used their knowledge of Jim Dine to complete their pictures.   These were very successful and a lot of fun for the students as they were already studying the artist we used.  Here is also an image of a Dine by one of my 5th grade students this week.   I posted a multi grade bulletin board last year with works from all the artist styles.  Definitely one of my favorite bulletin boards. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dr. Seuss Fish by Kinders

I shared my lesson plan for One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish with you a few days ago so I was eager to get a few of the finished projects posted for you today.  My kinders surprise me with this project every year and these things just turn out sooooo cute.   Enjoy!
You can find a not too good picture of the bulletin board on that page .

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NO Name No Fame

I don't recall where I stumbled on those words a few weeks ago but they really got my attention and I began to test them out with my students.  I'd always get a giggle or two when I wrote it on the board but so far its really cut down on those no-name papers.  In my quest to discover a way to create a poster to leave up in the classroom instead of my writing it on the whiteboard for each class, I stumbled on to a really fun website for making signs or posters.  The web is Red Kid and it contains a variety of applications that would be very helpful to the classroom teacher.  This site lead me to another sign making site called says-it.  So here they are, my new signs for the classroom.  I printed them out on photo paper and will add an adhesive magnet to the back. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dr. Seuss

I always try to create a few project linking to Read Across America Day.  I begin by reading a Seuss book and then spiral off into a lesson in a few different ways.   I will share a few of those lessons over the next few days and follow up with photos of student works next week as we finish them up.

For Kinders a lesson using 
"One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish"

2 - 9x12 pieces of paper (1 is taped to a firm surface where it will dry flat)
watercolors in warm and cool colors
black oil crayons
glue sticks
black construction paper for mounting

Week one - using warm or cool colors we create a patterned background.  Pattern is a big focus for kindergarten so I try to support their curriculum as much as possible.

Week two - I begin by have students follow along with me as we draw a fish.   I use my document camera for projecting on the wall for all students to easily follow along.

Using a black crayon or oil crayon,  here are the steps:

   Draw a large open "C" on the left of your paper
   Connect a large "V" with the point toward the right
   Connect a smaller "v" with the point touching the previous one with the opening facing right
   Close the small "v" with a small "c"
   Where the "v's" meet, add a smile on top and a frown on bottom to widen the space
   Add angles to the top of the fish and the bottom of the fish for fins both dorsal and pectoral
   Place a large oval near the front of the large "C" for an eye
   Place a smaller circle inside of the oval
   Personalize the fish with a smile, eyelashes fins, etc as desired
   Decorate the fish using lines in a variety of ways,  horizontal, vertical, zigzag, wavy, etc.

Students finish up by adding watercolor to their fish.   If their background uses warm colors, the fish is cool colors and vice-a-versa.  They really turn out beautiful, colorful and individual.

Finally, fish are cut out and glued onto the patterned paper from week one.  The finished project is glued onto a black mat before display.

At this point I'd like to mention the website Deep Space Sparkle because I think I initially found the ideals for this lesson on her sight a year or so ago, I don't know if I added my own twist or if this is the way she presented it.

A second grade Seuss lesson features the book 
"My Many Colored Days"

This book is about color and emotions.  I have color "people" that coordinate with the characters of the book.  After the reading, we review the colors and expand on what the colors might represent to the students.  I then share some cute monster teaching aides that I purchased that also reflect emotion through their face expressions.  Each student is then challenged to think of a color/emotion combination to use as they create their own Emotion Monster.   

9x12 drawing paper
drawing pencils
sharpie markers
water based markers
construction paper

Students will first brainstorm monsters on a scrap paper using pencils taking into consideration the facial emotions needed to match their color of choice.  Once final decisions have been made, monsters are drawn on 9 x 12 paper to fill the space using a pencil and then going over with a black sharpie. Color is added with water based markers and then "spritzed" with water to add a textural effect.  Monsters are cut out and attached to a colored paper of choice.  This could be complementary to the color of their monster.  The monsters are glue nearer to the top of the paper to leave room for a rectangle that will explain the emotion they are depicting.   Students will first share their monsters with classmates to determine if their color and expressions portray the emotion they had hoped.  Then a rectangle of white paper is created to show the word, in bubble letters that expresses their monster.  These are colored to match the emotion and glued into place below the monster.   I am using Kira Wiley's song "Colors" to accompany this lesson.  Here are the words:

State Coin Project

As part of the state curriculum,  students in third grade study our home state.   As a supplement to their work, I developed the state coin project.  This could be adapted to any state.   I encourage students to learn about the coins specially minted for our state and share with them a background of how the coin was developed.  Each student is then challenged to create their own coin to represent themselves.

 LESSON PLAN: State Coin Project
    ART:  Grade 3

            Discover that a state coin is a piece of art and create a meaningful coin using
            symbolism to represent ourselves.
Educational Theory:
            Creative thought, self expression and self discovery in relation to a state symbol

What You Need:
Newsprint, drawing pencil, visuals of several state coins with supplementary information from website: , round lid to use as tracer for coin size (top of cream cheese container), copper or silver art foil and embossing sticks, scissors, black tempera paint, black construction paper, glue, sharpies, old mouse pads (1 per student, donated by a local computer company)

Time: 2 – 3 class periods of  45 minutes each
What You Do: 

 Wk 1:  Using document camera, display a few state coins.  Have students
            speculate as to the meanings of the different symbols on the coin as a group.         
            Students should have a baseline of information as they are usually studying their
            state or origin in 3rd grade.  After discussion where everyone should be permitted
            an opportunity to give ideas and input, actually share the history of the coin, its
            origins and symbols along with supplementary information about the minting
            of coins. 
            Discuss significance of symbols and why symbols might be personally important
            to individual students.  Students ‘brainstorm’ on paper with thumbnail sketches
            of things they would like to include on a personal coin.  (ideas might be favorite
            activities, sport, animal, etc.)
Students are given 9x12 newsprint which they will fold in half and then half
 again.  On each of the 4 sections, they will trace the circle that will define the
shape of their coin.  Incorporate thumbnail sketches into 4 different coin ideas.
Encourage students to experiment freely and to not get bogged down with
perfection at this point in the project.  They should only be focused on symbolism
and ideas for their coin.  Additional paper may be used if necessary.  Final
choice should be clean and precise with moderate detail and fine line.

Wk 2:  Finish drawing from 1st week if needed.  After selection final coin design, teacher
            will assist with applying masking tape to position paper onto art foil for transfer.
            The foil should be precut to slightly larger than coil drawing.  Working on an old mouse pad
            to soften the surface of the table, students transfer their drawing to the
            foil by drawing over their lines with a pencil.  Slight pressure is used for the
            transfer.  Once all lines are visible on the foil, the paper can be removed but
            should be saved for reference.  Using embossing stick, trace over all the lines
           on the coin, applying pressure but not hard enough to cause hand discomfort.  Turn
           coin to back side, using the blunt end of the stick, raise all the areas outside of the
           lines, again pressure that does not cause hand or finger discomfort.  Continue this
           process until coin has achieve desire texture making certain to not lose the
           integrity of the design.  The surface should have a 3D effect of 1/8 – ¼ inch when
           completed.  If time, cut around the circle of the coin to define shape.

Wk 3: Using black tempera paint, cover the coin and then when dry, lightly rub paint
           away from all raised surfaces.  Use sharpies to add color as desired to the design. 
           Glue coin in center of black paper and mat with white to complete for display.  
           On separate sheet of paper, students will write about their coin and explain the 
           symbolism and why they chose what they did.
            Both pieces should be displayed together.

Teacher should be observing and supporting the process throughout the three class periods, encouraging students to be created with thought and medium and monitoring understanding of the process.

Cleanliness of finished project
Consideration given to symbolism
Originality of work exhibiting personal creative endeavor

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wordle is just Fun!

This is probably old to everyone, but I have to say, I love Wordle.  I use it as a filler activity when I need to change things up a little.   First I have the students pick an art subject for their wordle and make a list of words that would apply to the subject.  This can be vocabulary words from a recent lesson, words pertaining to a favorite artist, or more personally words to describe a students strongest interest in art.  We go over the basics of the program which the students catch on to right away and I remind them to repeat words if they want to vary the sizes.  The more times a word is listed, the larger it will appear in the completed wordle.  I did this wordle by connecting to my blog and the program automatically created it.   Use the tabs on the top left to change color choices, fonts, directions, etc.  I do not allow my students to publish their wordle because I do not have written permission for their names to be posted on the website.  We are limited to printing in black and white at my school but these make a striking display if mounted on colored paper.   A title could be added to clarify the theme of the wordle for a bulletin board display. 


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

My students earn "free art" days based on their behaviors during class time.   A well behaved class can earn their first free art in just 9 short weeks.  Today was the earned free art day for one of my first grade classes.  It was their first free art day.  This is a tough class.   As I sat preparing for my day this morning I felt the dread building at the prospect of managing a free art with this class.   Free Art is very loosely structured.  Students have complete choice of what activities they can participate in and this class really needs structure.  
I had prepared a variety of colored papers for the students in 4th and 5th grade who had completed projects as a treat so they could make valentines.   As I cleaned them up, it occurred to me that maybe the first graders had not yet learned to cut out valentines.  The light bulb went off and a creating valentine's activity was born.   I approached the "free art" as a fun new activity for them and only touched on the fact we would be working with symmetry.   I wanted to really stress that we were going to have fun.   Structure and fun so that could be free art, too.  I was really delighted with their creative results so wanted to share them here with you.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Picasso with a 21st century influence

Third grade students tried their hand at creating in the cubistic styling of Pablo Picasso.  First they attempted to imitate the multiple views of a portrait.  Next, they accentuated the shapes that would be found in a face.  Observing classmates and feeling their own faces assisted in this process.   Finally, they added color to their portraits while attempting to identify the shapes located in the portrait. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Engaging the right brain

This is an idea that a fellow art teacher shared with me and I have adopted with all my classes 1 - 5.  When the students come into class, I have pencils and paper all set and ready for them to draw silently for six minutes.   I have told them that during most of their school day they are using the left side of the brain to think analytically and that we need to give the right side of their brain an opportunity to wake up so they can be more creative.  The orange cones on the tables say work zone, that is their non-verbal clue to come in and get right to work using their right brains.  The students can draw anything, realistic or abstract, as long as it is appropriate for school.  The six minutes gives me time to make any materials transitions necessary as my classes come and go back to back.  It also allows me a chance to take a breath before I begin a new lesson.   For the students it is a quiet transition time that seems to settle them better than if I tried to immediately start a lesson after they walk into the door.   This has become one of my favorite parts of each class time because I have the opportunity to see what interest them through their personal drawings.