Friday, December 19, 2014

Paul Klee Poetry and Art

I wanted to collaborate with a classroom teacher for a writing project recently and found this idea in a book about Klee for children.  Students wrote a five line poem on a subject of choice.  Line one was a noun, line 2 was two colors to describe the noun, line 3 was three words to describe the first word, line 4 was four words to describe the first word and line 5 was one word that reinforced the word in line one.  The ELA teacher worked with students to create the poems and then sent them to me for the art portion of the assignment.  Students began by painting a paper with their two colors using watercolors.  They were to be abstract in nature with students having full control over the look of their painting.  Week two, students visualized their poem and created a line drawing that would  represent their thoughts.  These images were drawn on paper the same size as the painted work.  Using carbon paper, students transferred completed images to the watercolor painting.  Most of my students had not seen carbon paper prior to this experience and found the process to be magical!  The poem was transfer to the image in a like fashion.  I was a bit stress about the outcome of this project after the initial watercolor painting was created but the end results thrilled me.  I think my students did a terrific job matching artistic interpretations to poetic work.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Let all the celebrations begin!!!

Happy Hanukkah everyone!  I just lit the first candle on my menorah but this time I had a little help from my new "friend" Mensch on a Bench!  After watching Shark Tank the other night, I shared that I thought my family needed one of these little guys to add to our family celebration and a friend showed up Saturday night to gift us with one.  Hymie, his name, has visited both of my buildings this week to both delight and curiosity.  Most students wanted to know what he was and if he was an elf.  They immediately connected him to "Elf on a Shelf".  Hymie was a busy guy assisting in the art room in any capacity I would allow him to.  Here are a few photos from his visit.
Testing out my new pencil sharpener 
Measuring up to the Primary Colors

Attempting to gain some attention

Finally, taking some time to participate in a project.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Charley Harper Cardinals in the Evergreens

This year second grades placed their cardinals in evergreens.  Connections were made to science as the discussion was opened up about what an evergreen was and where we might see them.  The birds were drawn with black crayon and the evergreens were made with shades of green.  If you haven't purchased liquid watercolors for your classroom, they are wonderful.  Younger students can use them much more easily that the semi-wet watercolors in a tray.   I can better focus the lesson on technique and brush use rather than concentrating on the water/paint ratio.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

American Artist Charley Harper Bluebirds

Last year I introduced my students to the work of American Artist Charley Harper.  They created some wonderful cardinal paintings.  This year I decided to try his bluebird with second grade students.  First off I need to share, this bluebird was pretty hard.  I only did this lesson with one class and returned to the cardinal for the others.  This was our first day back after Thanksgiving break.  We had a huge snow storm that took down a lot of trees and one of my favorite trees outside of the Art room suffered a huge loss.  I stepped outside the room during my prep and picked up one of the fallen branches and brought it inside of the room.  It is still hanging on my whiteboard.  I decided to have the second graders observe the branch and attept to see it like a scientist.  They started the lesson by first practicing on a small sheet of paper and then they drew a larger second drawing.  To this one they added the Charley Harper bluebird.   All the drawing was done with black crayon and they painted with watercolors.  Students chose to make the night sky a dark purple or to make an orange early morning sky.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Monoprints - City Lights

As a part of my November Month of Printmaking, 2nd grades created these really cool mono prints.  I loved their reactions when they discovered the image appear as if it were reflected in water.  A few students grabbed paper and continued to do their own additional compositions with more of a seasonal theme.  It's so much fun as well as rewarding when a lesson really goes over well.  This one will stay in my list of curriculum regulars.

Printing a winter scene

I found this project on Kid Artist along with several other wonderful winter projects.  I was winding down with printing projects late last month and had one class that was ahead of all the others.  I needed one more lesson to keep this group on track and not too far ahead of everyone else.  My November focus was printmaking and this definitely filled the bill.  The tree is printed using cardboard and the owls were fingerprints.  Week one, students colored in the full moon, printed the tree overlapping and added the fingerprints that would become the owls.  Week two, they added details to the owls using drawing pens and stamped snowflakes using commercial stampers from the dollar store.  Really cute, don't you think???

The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener....GIVE AWAY!

Yep, you read that correct.  I have the pleasure of giving away one of these amazing pencil sharpeners to one lucky follower from the Continental U.S.  But first, a follow-up to my first post.  I've enjoyed the use of this pencil sharpener for a week.  I even bravely mounted it, on a bookcase quite successfully, and allowed a few of my fifth grade students to give it a run.  I wasn't sure I would allow the students to operate it.   It worked great, they loved it.    Everytime I place a pencil into the sharpener, give it 2-3 turns of the handle then remove it, I marvel at that amazingly sharp point.  It's not quite as fast as my trusty electric sharpener BUT that electric sharpener can not create such a fine point and often it eats my pencils.  So,  jump down the page and enter to win.  Don't forget to visit Classroom Friendly Supplies over on Facebook and LIKE to enter to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Quietest Pencil Sharpener and mine is Pink!!!

My new pink sharpener ready for action
A few weeks ago, the teacher from across the hall came into my room with her newest purchase.  She was very pumped to show it to me. She taught abroad last year and had experience the "perfect" pencil sharpener.  The sharpener she was demonstrating, she had found online and immediately ordered.  I was extremely impressed by the quality, ease of use, and the most amazing tip I had ever seen on a pencil.  I went home that evening and began to research, looking for my own amazing pencil sharpener.  My research led me to Classroom Friendly Supplies where I discovered exactly what I had been searching for.  The best part was I did not have to wait for it to arrive by international mail during a busy shipping season.  It arrived in less than a week, right after Thanksgiving.  This is a small company run by a teacher and she was willing to send me a free sharpener to test if I agreed to share with all of you about my experiences.  Let me tell you, my beautiful pink sharpener arrived today.  I was busily sharpening pencils as soon as I took it out of the package and it's true, it is terrific.  It's easy to use, is quiet, and sharpens a drawing pencil to a fine point with only one or two cranks.  I LOVE THIS PENCIL SHARPENER.  Sorry for shouting but I wanted to make sure you truly experienced my enthusiasm.  The only thing I'm not thrilled about is the mount.  I don't think I will be using it but it is equally easy to use without the mount.  I just place the pencil in the sharpener, put my left hand across the top of the sharpener and turn the crank with my right.  I'm not sure if I will share with my students, yet, or keep this all to myself! : }  I had been having trouble with my electric pencil sharpener with my drawing pencils, they would sharpen, break, I'd try again and a break.  Sometimes I feel like I am just sharpening away the pencil.  I sharpened about a dozen with this machine and not one of the pencils broke.  Yes, the same pencils that my electric sharpener keeps eating up.
Pencil in place, ready for a few cranks

Check out these points!!! 
Here is a link to a few videos on the Classroom Friendly Supplies site.  I'll follow-up in a week or so and let you know how its going with my sharpener.    You can replace the blades when they dull so I think I've found a lifetime friend!!!

It's Model Magic Snowmen time!!!

I've posted about these cute model magic snowmen before here.  So I will spare your some of the banter.  But I really felt the urge to share some of this years completed projects.  I think this is one of my favorite projects for Kindergarten.  It extends my shape unit by adding form as students create spheres, cones, and coils.
a terrific specimen

Looking for new snow to fall

There is something endearing about a melting snowman

love all the extra "buttons"
Don't you love when creative individuality shows up?!!

Ready to surf down a hill

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Free Art

What type of behavior management program do you incorporate in your classroom?  Both of my schools incorporate a Positive Behavior System and I tie my management to that program.  In both schools, PBS is based on three focus points.  In my classroom, students are expected to observed the points and as a group can earn three squares on a behavior chart each week.  If all three squares are filled; they earn a free art class in 7 weeks.  My first classes achieved free art this week.  I have several art games, drawing books and old favorite creative toys such as blocks, spiral graph, a felt board, Wild Wooly, and etch-a-sketch for students to use freely during this class period.  I love watching the choices they make when given the opportunity to freely explore.  Here are a few photos from yesterday's creativity.  Regardless of age, the boys are always drawn to the blocks.  Future architects in the making, I predict!

See like a Scientist

If you follow EC Learning Studios you probably saw this on their facebook page.  An area of focus for my students this year is to "see like a scientist".  This is perfect.  I can't wait to share it with all my students.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pout Pout Fish

I won the books over on Mr. E's web site.
I'm really excited to use these with my students.  I especially love the one where Pout Pout fish goes to school.  Thank you Mr. E. for a terrific contest and this great trilogy of books.

Printing and Poppy Flowers

November is printmaking month in the art room.  With the younger grades the projects are usually mono-prints with collographs and relief prints for the older grades.  I am a person that requires experiment and change and am bored teaching the same lesson over and over.  This year was time for change so I began perusing the internet and pinterest for new ideas and ways to teach printmaking.  I found a really cute monster project here that used a marker and coffee filter print.  I like the method but didn't want to do monsters.  With Veteran's Day coming up, I thought of poppy flowers.  In my research, I discovered that poppy flowers are only associated with Memorial Day not Veteran's Day but the project was born regardless.  Here are some visual steps to creating the finished printing and collage project.

Begin by ironing the filters to flatten, then have students add color with yellow and red to the filter.
Spray the filter with water which has been placed on a sheet of white paper.  Place a 2nd paper on top and rub to transfer the inks to the papers.  This is the printing process.  You can iron them to rush the drying process or leave them to dry on your dry rack for week two.  Next the students used some scrap greeting cards to create organic shapes to trace to create the petals of the poppy flowers.  These were traced on the filter and printed papers.
I had students to draw grass and stems on a dampened sheet of 9x12 paper to create a field for the flowers.  I chose to dampen the paper so the watercolors would run to mimic the color patterns of the prints.  Poppy flowers  have 4-6 petals; shapes were chosen to create each flower.  Once flowers were in place, a black water based marker was used to dot in the centers of the flowers, accentuate some of the grass and stems and outline the flower petals.

Color pencils in shades of green can be used to add in a few buds.  This was a very successful and fun-filled lesson!