Saturday, November 30, 2013

Writing Lesson Plans

I have a professional afternoon on Tuesday and will be missing my Kindergarten students.   It's easy to plan for the older grades, I have them chose a lesson from their sketchbooks but I always feel a bit challenged coming up with plans for a substitute to use with Kinders.  It has to be easy enough for anyone to guide students, challenging enough to last the full class time, and engaging enough so that behaviors won't become a problem.  In a capsule, it's hard to find that perfect lesson.  As I have mentioned before, I always start a Kindergarten lesson with a book.  For this lesson I have chosen "Not a Box" by Antoinette Portis.  I could not find my lesson plan format saved on my computer, how do those things always seem to disappear?  I headed to the Internet for some guidance which is the purpose of this post.  I discovered a really terrific lesson plan generating site that I want to share with  you. The site is here and is called the Lesson Builder.  It is free, easy to use and creates a truly impressive looking lesson plan to leave for a substitute or to turn into an evaluator.

"Not a Box"
Grade Level : K
Subject:  Visual Arts
Topic: Kindergarten Shapes and visual imagery

Objective: Kindergarten students will be able to identify and name shapes and
then make associations to everyday objects that are reflective of those shapes

Prep:  Photo copy pages of shapes, one per student. Collate and staple together into a book. Cut covers in a variety of colored papers for students to chose from. Add student names to back cover of book.

Materials:  Book: "Not a Box" by Antoinette Portis, copies of handouts, construction paper, crayons, Shape activities for "Not a Box" from The Best Children's  I will be using these for the first step of the lesson

Common Core Standards Met:  (This was a drop down menu which I selected from)

Math.K.G.2 Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations
or overall size.
Math.K.G.5 Model shapes in the world by building shapes from
components (e.g., sticks and clay balls) and drawing shapes.

Method: Direct Instruction   (This was a drop down menu which I selected from)
Goal:  Build Understanding   (This was a drop down menu which I selected from)
Students will listen and interact with a reading of "Not a Box" by
Antoinette Portis.

They will be given a set of shape illustrations that they will identify by
appropriate name. Students will color in the shapes using primary and
secondary colors (crayons).
In the style of Portis' book, they will then turn the shape into an
imaginary object or an actual object that incorporates that shape. (ex:
cone - ice cream cone or top of a tower)
Next - Color in drawings.
When finished staple on a cover using constructions paper which students
will illustrate.

I'll let you know how the lesson goes on Tuesday with the substitute.  Until then, be sure to check out the Lesson Builder.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Drawing Turkeys in Kindergarten

What do you do in the days prior to Thanksgiving break when all the kids can think about is a holiday?  It's useless to try to begin a new project because that always ends in disappointment so I decided to incorporate a lesson on shapes and lines into a drawing a turkey with my kinders this year.  After all, if  you can't beat the problem, find a way to make it work for you.  They turned out so darling I had to share the finished products with all of you.  I started by having the students do a "directed drawing".  I borrowed that term from another blogger over at the Tiny Art Room because I really like how official  it sounds.   I've always called these "follow the leader drawings."  Don't you like the Directed Drawing term better?  Students drew a long thin curved line for the head, added a zigzag collar underneath and then drew a circle beginning on one side of the curved line, extending underneath and stopping at the other side.  It was a precursor to the discovery of using space in art which was further practiced as tail feathers made by drawing long skinny curves were added behind the turkey's body and head.  Parallel curved lines with zig zag line feet completed the legs and feet and curved lines added to the sides of the circle created wings.  An angle for the beak and oval, circle, and dot created the eyes.  At this point student's personal creativity kicked in as they completed the backgrounds and added color to their turkey creations.  I love how these came out.  With Kinders it is the constant encouragement to take it one step further and develop a completed composition but I am always thrilled as they take hold of their work and imaginatively create their art.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The only other Thanksgiving project I teach

by Cassidy
by Alex
I love this fingerprint book by Ed Emberley.  I've used it on various occasions throughout the year and often pull it out to use the week before Thanksgiving for a quick one day project with my students.  First grade students printed pilgrims, a turkey and a native American this week as a part of the November printing unit.  They have mono-printed with ez cuts, Lego printed and finally fingerprinted for this unit.  I have a copy of the instruction page for each student to follow along and also lead the drawing using my document camera.  Students begin by making fingerprints using skin colored water based markers.  I also give each student a baby wipe to clean their one printing finger when they have completed the fingerprints.  The process reviews the line concepts of horizontal and vertical as prints are made on a piece of card stock.  After the markers are collected, students are given fine point drawing pens to add the details to the fingerprints and create their characters.   Again line is the emphasis here as correct words are given for each stroke.  Example:  draw two diagonal lines for the sides of the hat, add two parallel lines to form the top of the hat and the top of the hat band, etc.  I really view this process with an emphasis on line names and direction of line.  Some students add the words "Happy Thanksgiving" to the bottom of their cards which can be given to family members in honor of the holiday.

by Eva

by Annie
student work

by Julianna
student work

student work

Turkeys and Thanksgiving

I generally stray away from any holiday themed projects in the art room unless I can strongly present them with a focus on an element of art and not a holiday focus.  Many holiday projects tend to be more crafty in nature and I stay away from the crafts to ensure that my colleagues and administrators take my program seriously and don't view it as just a time filler.  With that said, here is a recent project for Kindergarten students.  Many of my students are still working on using scissors correctly so I try to incorporate a little cutting practice.  Also, many have not developed an understanding where cutting should take place and will cut every line on the paper until they have completely dissected their projects.  Practice does improve these skills, so we practice!

I wanted to introduce texture in art to Kinders this week.  We first attempted to define what texture actually was.  This is a new concept for them so it takes awhile to make that connection.  After a knowledge of texture was established, I took out some plastic texture sheets and demonstrated how to  use a crayon sideways to color with the plate and pick up the texture on the paper.  Students were given a brown crayon and a large texture sheet to color the bodies of their turkeys.  Upon completion, those were collected and a variety of texture sheets were place on each table along with a mixture of colors so students could complete the color/texture process in other areas of their turkeys.

A review of cutting on the dotted or broken line of the turkey shape came next as scissors were passed out and the cutting began.   This was not an easy cutting project as there were angles and curves to manipulate around.  Happily, only a few turkeys lost their heads and were easily taped back together.  It looks like those cutting skills are developing well!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

David Wiesner

I made a trip back to the Eric Carle Museum today to listen to David Wiesner share about his new book "Mr. Wuffles".   It's a charming story about a cat who is indifferent to cat toys but intrigued by a space ship that he believes is a very interesting toy.  Wiesner's illustrations are very detailed and his books exemplify the idea of a picture book.  Many of his books do not have words and most only have limited words so much of the story is left for the reader to decipher and create.  He is probably one of my favorite authors primarily when I am trying to instill in my students the concept of a picture telling a story.  I have been using his book "Art and Max" to assist 5th grade students as they create their own picture books.  I was please to be able to have it signed today.   I wish all my students could have joined me to meet Wiesner today.  He shared his illustration process which mirrors what I have been having the students do with their own work.   I think it would have been fabulous for them to be able to relate to him.  The next I want book for my wish list will definitely be "Mr. Wuffles"!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lego robots and machines

Student Work

Student work
 First grade students created a second project from their printing unit today.  Last week they experimented with mono prints and this week they used legos to print robots or machines.I pulled out regular stamp pads for this project but I think I'd rather find some craft stamps for the next time I teach this.  Students began by experimenting with the legos on a small sheet of paper to discover what different shapes would result from the printing.  They were encouraged to experiment with each piece of lego printing the tops, bottoms sides, etc.  After about five minutes of experimental play, a 9 x 12 piece of paper was used to create a printed robot or machine.  Here are some of my favorites from just one of the classes this week.  Interestingly, most of them were completed by the boys. 
Student Work


Monday, November 11, 2013

Kindergarten color mixing and cutting practice

A good example of the orange, green and brown from mixing the colors
 Color mixing and cutting skills are a big focus for Kindergarten students.  Although many come to Kindergarten having developed skills in the use of scissors, many have never used them and must be taught even the most basic of skills, like how to hold them correctly to even manipulate them to work.  I few years ago, I created this simple pumpkin shape to use for a color mixing lesson.  Any medium can be used for completion but I prefer to use a pressed crayon or art stick that will blend easily.  I have used this lesson in October and turned the pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern or often save it for November for a
This student didn't quite color enough to produce a rich color finish
Thanksgiving pumpkin.  Students begin by coloring the entire thing with a yellow color.  I pick that up and hand them a blue one which is used to color the leaves and stem only.   Finally they trade the blue for a red which is used to color the stem and the pumpkin body while avoiding the leaf areas.  Using the colors sideways to make a broad stroke increases the opportunity for the colors to blend well.  Finally, is cutting practice as students cut only on the dotted line to produce the finished pumpkin shape.  

Mono Printing

Have you ever tried mono-printing with the EZ cuts?  I used them several years ago and decided to drag them back out this year to use with 1st graders.  The focus was on shape and layering the prints to create an abstract product.

 I encourage students to try to create a composition, not only a series of shapes.

 Some students were much more successful than others.  This project always elicits oohs and ahhs as students are surprised by their initial success.  I wasn't quite as pleased with the transfers so for the next class I layered damp paper towel between the pieces of white construction paper to try to keep them a bit more damp.  Since my set up was a few hours prior to the actual class time, the paper was pleasingly damp and not too wet.  Much to my surprise the students began to print on the damp paper towel.  The colors were very vibrant and both the paper towel and construction paper went home as the finished project.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"I can be an Art teacher!"

My daughter just gifted me with the Barbie "I can be an Art Teacher" doll for my classroom.  Of course, I promised I would take it to school for a room decoration.  She can create three different paintings using cold water.  I haven't taken her out of the package and I'm not sure I will because all those little pieces would be lost if I did, I am sure.  It is cute for any of you that are into collecting art related toys.

Other pieces in my collection are a lego artist, balloon sculptures and the ever popular real artist portrayals through finger puppets and doll collectables.  I guess we all are really just kids at heart!
one of my students introduced me to this guy.
Not a Koons but has that look
Often are introduced when studying the artist.
I just visit their website and there are many new ones.
I'll be saving my pennies for those!

Becoming Children's Book Authors and Illustrators

Fifth grade students have been busy research and analyzing children's illustrated books over the last several week.  As the books have been read, they have looked for messages in the illustrations that further the story and also studied the different ways the manuscript is paced through emphasis and punctuation to assist in the delivery of the story.  After choosing a subject for their own story, they have broken into cooperative groups to begin writing manuscripts and developing characters.  The next few weeks will  involve practice, practice, practice to create characters who can demonstrate emotions and illustrations that enhance the story line.  The goal is to create an illustrated book with the target audience of PK - 2nd grade and complete it prior to holiday break in late December.

Here are a few students in breakout groups developing ideas and drawings as they progress with their work. This is a strong cooperative endeavor.  Students are demonstrating mature choices and sensitivity to one another's personal preferences.  I am enthusiastic for the end products!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Organic Shapes are really monsters!

After reading the book "Jeremy Draws a Monster" by Peter McCarty, students tore an organic shape out of lightweight paper.  I used some donated paper, the type with the pin feeds once used in printers.  Students were instructed to tear their paper by keeping thumbs close together to control the tear and by not looking so as to not plan the finished shape.  Students actively participated in making a list of what characteristics might determine the aspects of a monster.  From this list they began to plan ideas for their personal monster. Instead of beginning to create the monster immediately, they were encouraged to turn the shape around and over to visualize what might be hidden in their organic shape.  Monsters were created using markers with a focus for vivid color and detail.  When completed they were set aside as students designed a habitat for the monster.  These were drawn with crayon for added contrast to the colors of the markers.  Thought was given to the practices of the monster as the habitats were created.  Finally students answered a series of questions while reflecting on their monster to write an Artist Statement for their Artsonia exhibit.  Here are a few completed works.
Student Work

student work

student work

student work