Saturday, June 1, 2019

First Graders are weaving

4 1/2 x 2 " cardboard
 So, I wanted to transition my first grade students from paper weaving to something a little more functional.  I don't have enough of those big card board looms you purchase from the suppliers that are pre notched but I do have some donated heavy cardboard from a colleague.   I decided to re purpose this into tiny looms for my students.  First, I cut this up into 4 1/2 x 2" rectangles as shown on the left.
Holes punched along each side
 I added small punched holes on each end in an odd number.  To attempt to space them fairly evenly without having to measure, I started with a hole in the center, one on each margin and then attempted to place one in the middle of each of those.  I had marked my punch with a sharpie to attempt to line them up as evenly as possible.
Create slops for the warp threads
 Cutting from the edge, I cut to each hole to create a slot for the warp threads.  I did the warp with some light weigh embroidery weight thread and gave students a plastic needle and yarn for their weaving.  These are small enough that they can easily be completed in two class periods which is all we had left for the school year.  It was a great re purpose of donated materials, an easy transition to traditional weaving and an easy take home to complete if students didn't finish before the end of the year.  They can be taken off by cutting the warp threads on the back or can be left displayed on the loom.
A completed weaving

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Clay Box

Summer is just around the corner.  I know many of you would like to keep your little ones busy with some hands on activities.   Check out my friend, Ruth Post, from The Clay Box.   This is a subscription service that sends all the materials for you to complete a project.   I have used some of the materials as well as the lesson instructions and found them to be easy to follow and work well. 
Ruth is a retired art teacher and this is how she is using her time in retirement.  I don't think you will be disappointed with the program.  I'm not getting any type of kick back for this; I just think it's a great program!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Really Big FlowersOil

Oil pastels on felt

2nd graders recently viewed some of the works of Georgia O'Keefe and discussed how she focused on making small details really big.  We then engaged in making really big flowers that you would have to look at and pay attention to.   Here are a few of the student's completed projects.

Student's work 2nd grade

Student Work 2nd grade

Coil project for Kindergarten

Kindergarten clay snails
Hot glue was used to secure the pipe cleaner and eyes into place
I am totally in love with these with clay coil snails.  I must admit, this is not my original idea and I have no idea where I first spotted it or who I "borrowed" it from.  But kuddos to them because this was a slam dunk project.   My kinders created two coils to form the snails.  One is for the base and head the other is for the body.  After they went through the kiln for a bisque firing, they were completed with liquid watercolors, a pipe cleaner and some googly eyes.  Two class periods for completion but super easy and a great way to experience the process to make a coil.  This will definitely be a repeat lesson.

I used a straw to put holes in the head for the placement
of the pipe cleaners prior to firing

students twisted their own pipe learners.  Some were
more savvy at this than others.

Jim Dine in 2nd grade

I located this project in an old Scholastic's Art magazine recently when looking for a new approach for Jim Dine and decided to give it a go.  The heard was done more as a directed because I was approaching dark and light values for the first time with 2nd grade.  They turned out amazingly well.  The background is tissue paper on card stock.  Drawing was completed with oil pastels.  This was a two week project.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Sculptured Donuts

One of the presentations in the Art of Education Winter Conference was sculpture donuts presented by Sarah Engel.  I immediately knew this was a definitely project to include in my Art club plans this winter.  Sarah suggested referencing Andy Warhol and Pop Art as a historical connection but it really spoke Wayne Thiebault to me.  So that is the approach I used.  This took two 45 minute sessions.  Week one they formed the donuts out of newspaper and covered them with Rigid Wrap.  Students created 2 or 3 donuts.   Week two they were painted with a light brown paint, iced with the glue and shaving cream mixture and covered with art foam sprinkles.  To finish them off, after they had set up a little, we placed each donut on a doily and 6" plastic plate.  The kids were so excited with anticipation of pranking their families into believing they were really donuts!

Add caption

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A winter wonderland

2nd grade Student Work
Pinterest recently led me over to a post on demonstrating how to do evergreen trees with markers and water.  I was drawn to the originality and knew immediately I would switch up my next lesson on the Element, Space and incorporate the trees into the project.  We began with a directed draw for the trees and discussed size and placement to demonstrate the illusion of Space.  Students followed along on day one to draw the trees, a few lines to show hills and the horizon using sharpie markers.  Day two concentrated on diagonal lines to denote the needles of the evergreens using water based markers.  They also added a little blue along the hills and horizon to represent snow shadows.  Those that had time painted with water in the areas of the watercolor markers.  For day three, students personalized their compositions with a emphasis on overlap and size to further demonstrate understanding of space.  I was thrilled with how creative my students became as they planned their compositions. 
Student Work
Student Work

Saturday, February 9, 2019

3D Habitats

Polar Bears and Penguins near icebergs

I'm loving the imagination visible in these 3D Habitats by first graders this past week.

Arctic Habitat with a Narwal

Seals, Owls and Arctic Hares

Arctic Fox

Saturday, January 26, 2019


PEZ dispensers are a favorite of mine.  I've been collecting them for entirely too long and am in a constant battle with myself not to purchase yet another one.  I think it came out of a need to validate my purchases that I started bringing PEZ to school for my students to draw.  The first experience was in a Warhol lesson so many years ago that I don't even remember.  Students selected a dispenser and drew it large from four different angles.  I wish I had work to share with you but that was in the days prior to this blog and also prior to Artsonia where most images are now stored.  The latest number of years, the dispensers have made their way into my lessons to demonstrate Space in art.  Students have total freedom to select which PEZ they wish to draw with the vision of demonstrating space.  The focus is on overlap, size, placement and linear perspective.  Fourth graders have previously exposed to Space in earlier grades but with this project they take the reins to plan the composition.  Let me just say, it is a home run every year.  Something about those PEZ dispensers that they can hold in their hands and play with as they draw makes this an instant success in popularity.  I'm still working on getting them to see and understand shadow so forgive any striking errors you might note.  It is a work in progress.  What do you love that you can bring into your classroom for an engaging lesson???  Think about it, telling your students you love something seems to really spark interest.  Oh, and the other positive was all the PEZ gifts I received after the fact!

Speaking of Art Club

You might be wondering why any sane Art Teacher would take it upon themselves to do an art club every week when no one expects it from them, no one ask them to, and it's not in the contact.  Let me start my answer by saying that the Art Club is the highlight of my week.  I have the opportunity to be creative and enjoy the company of ten really great kids each week who want to spend some time in my room with me.  For me, that's just a gift with a big red bow on it every Thursday afternoon.  No matter what type of week I am having, I know I will walk out of Art Club feeling relaxed and appreciated.  Ten is the number of little artist I have this year but I have had closer to 20 in years past.  I don't want to go beyond the 20 mark but the range of 10 - 15 is really the cream.  A few of my little artist are behaviorally challenged in their regular day but in the Art Club, they are in their element.  They do have to agree to follow my rules with the understanding that they can be removed from the group if behavior becomes a problem, it seldom does.
Art Club activities range from crafty type activities to painting with everything in between.  This year we have thus far painted with acrylics, done gelli print and collage and created holiday decorations.  Presently, students are creating with clay.  I usually demonstrate an idea each session but they can go with it how they wish.  I'll be certain to post some finished clay projects in the future.  Art Club begins in October and runs through April Break which is generally mid April.  We meet Thursdays after school.  Parents do pay what averages out to about $2.50 per week for students to participate.  The school parent organization collects that money.  It covered the supplies, mostly with a stipend for me when we finish up in April.  No one is getting rich financially but many of us are benefiting from a very rich experience; speaking for myself, I know I am!
Gelli Print Collage 

Original Buttons

Snow man  Christmas Ornaments
Acrylic Painting on Canvas Board

Planning for a new Art Club Project

Back in the summer I ordered way too many packages of white buttons from NAEIR.  I had plans for some cute little snowmen pins for the Art Club to make for their teachers for the holidays.  I think only one of my 10 art-clubbers was into the idea and I have way too many white buttons left over for any human being to own.  So what does one do when faced with this dilemma?  Well of course, you hit up Pinterest for some ideas!!!  I found quite a few ideas but am going to try to shoot this one to the group for approval and hopefully use up a lot of those buttons.   Here are some visual steps for how we are going to put this together

Gather up some supplies.  This is a paint medium that I will use to glue the paper on the canvas panel.  The paper was smaller than the canvas so I plan to tear it into organic/free-form shapes and glue those down for the background.

Acrylic medium underneath the papers and then again on top.  It goes down opaque but dries clear.

It won't need to dry long so while I waited; I pre-arranged how I hoped the buttons would puzzle together to form the heart.  My plans were to avoid any type of symmetry but once I began to place the buttons I soon discovered that symmetry was the best approach.  I grabbed some glue that was handy to put them down but plan to use Tacky Glue for the students to use for the final step.  I'm considering a ribbon glued to the top of the heart or some well placed stenciled or cut out letters.  I guess, students could even use sharpies to add a personal message.  Hopefully, this will be a win!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Kindergarten - mastering cutting skills



         Cutting skills are not a given when my youngest students enter Kindergarten anymore.   Used to be they were experimenting and cutting at home prior to beginning school, however, most incoming Kinders haven't even used a crayon anymore.  The simplest of what were once given skills are now totally absent.  The majority of my Kindergarten curriculum is based on shapes and how to create them.  We draw them, color, them, cut them, well you get the picture.  By December, students are beginning to combine some of the skills we have been practicing to collage this cute little winter penguin.  Matisse is the artist of choice as we share a few stories of his life.  For the project, students start by using stamps to do some basic printing and then practice how to use a glue stick without covering every surface of the table and ourselves and not wasting and breaking the glue stick.  Skill building 101.  I pre-cut rectangles for students to use to then cut and assemble the penguin.  Each shape is their own so development levels are quick to identify.   I love this project because they are making something they can identify and each one quickly develops it's own personality.  Enjoy our Kinder penguins.  I sure do!  Good books for accompaniment are:
   Image result for drawing with scissors