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