Friday, December 23, 2011

1st Grade Clay Turtles with Habitats

1st grade students created a pinch pot clay turtle one art class. The next class - while the clay was drying and being fired- we discussed environments and habitats and drew a habitat for the turtle to be displayed on. The third class was spent glazing.

The habitats were done just using crayon or oil pastel.

One of my classes didn't have time to do the habitats because of missing a class. We may draw them before students take the turtles home.
This was a simple clay lesson to introduce these young artists to techniques to attach pieces of clay together and introduce the glazing process.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fish Printing (Gyotaku) with Kindergarten

A Lesson in Warm and Cool Colors

Last month I decided things needed to get a little fishy in the Art room! I had done Gyotaku (Japanese fish printing) with older students in years past and thought that my Kindergarten students would love this art form also.
I had two main things that I wanted to accomplish in this Fishy Unit. The first was to teach the students about warm and cool colors. The second was to introduce them to the artwork of Paul Klee. Klee is a target artist for Kindergarten students in my school district. My student teacher and I worked together to develop this fish unit.

The first day of our project, we discussed some things they thought of as warm or hot and things that were cool or cold. Students named things like fire, the sun, lava, and a stove for the warm/hot things and things like snow, water, rain, wind, and grass for the cool/cold things. We then looked at the color wheel and picked out the colors that were warm and cool.

After this warm/cool discussion we pulled out the watercolor paints and a 12x18 piece of newsprint. We told student that we were going to use the cool colors today in an underwater painting and then next art time they would begin printing a fish using the warm colors. We went through each cool color together and decided what kinds of things we could use those colors for in our painting. The blue made great water waves, the green created a variety of seaweed, and the violet was used to paint sea creatures.

The next class began the printing! I have six(yes 6!) Kindergarten classes this year between the three schools I teach at. They are not small classes either - so I knew that printing would take more than one class period. I felt it was better to have the majority of the students working on another artwork while we pulled 3-4 students at a time to a back table to do the fish printing.  The printing table was covered with newspaper and had 3-4 rubber fish, sponge rollers, warm color paint poured onto paper plates, and a small amount of black paint on a plate with a couple q-tips.  Each student picked a warm color to roll onto the fish then dotted the eye with a bit of black using the q-tip. Their painted paper was then placed, painted side down, onto the fish and they rubbed the fish for a minute or so. We reminded them to make sure they felt all the parts of the fish to transfer the paint. When they pulled the paper off and saw the fish a big smile covered their face!

The first printing day students worked on a color sheet that my student teacher created. One side had three fish that were to be colored with cool colors and the other side three fish to be colored with warm colors.
Most classes were able to get over half the students printed the first printing day - except for my 2 classes of 29 students each.
The next class we introduced Paul Klee to the students. 
His The Golden Fish Painting was shown to the students. 
We had a discussion about what they thought was going on in the picture and also examined the lines and colors. Warm and cool colors were again discussed. Students then spent the rest of the art time working on an oil pastel fish picture on black construction paper inspired by Klee's painting. While students did this project the rest of the students were able to print their fish.

Take a look at some of the finished fish prints!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Miro Inspired Geometric & Organic Shapes- Third Grade

I've had a wonderful student teacher, Kim Doubler, these last 8 weeks. I'm sad to say that tomorrow is her last day with me. She has done a great job and I know that there are students out there who will soon benefit from having her as their art teacher. She brings enthusiasm, caring, and great knowledge of her content area to the classroom. I have a feeling I'm going to be caught talking to myself in the next few weeks because I've gotten used to having another adult in the classroom to discuss ideas with!

As part of her student teaching, she had to create a unit that consisted of 2-3 lessons. She decided to target this unit to third grade students.

The first project in this unit was a Joan Miro inspired painting that reviewed geometric and organic shapes as well as primary and secondary colors.
Students were introduced to the artist and his works and discussed the difference between geometric and organic (or free-form) shapes. They drew shapes inspired by Miro's paintings. They were then instructed to paint in the shapes using watercolors. Students also reviewed the primary and secondary colors as Miss Doubler instructed the students to paint the shapes using the three primary colors and just one secondary color. They could repeat any of these colors but were limited to just those four colors.
Once the shapes were painted in the students used black paint to outline the shapes and add some extra lines for interest.

The results were great! There was quite a variety of compositions among the students. Some students attempted to use the shapes to create images of things while others simply enjoyed the randomness of placing shapes any way.

Great project from a great teacher - Good luck in all your endeavors Kim!
I will share the other two lessons in Kim's unit in posts to come.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Complementary Zebras

"Why - I just love your stripes!"

The idea for this project popped into my head one evening when I was looking at some photos I took at at  the St. Louis Zoo this summer. I love zebras and giraffes and wanted to do some projects with them as the subjects. I wanted to make the zebras colorful and first thought of doing a color wheel zebra. But then I saw those great complementary color t-shirts with the colors giving each other compliments. The two ideas meshed and I decided to do complementary zebras who would compliment each other!

5th Graders were my target group for this project.
You can find a PowerPoint that I created for this lesson on my website -> PowerPoints

This project took 3-4 (45min) class periods.  The first class period was spent introducing the project, complementary colors, and drawing zebras. I really wanted the students to draw from observation - paying attention to what basic shapes were the foundation of the zebra. I had several reference pictures for them to look at in different poses. From the basic shapes, we (my wonderful student teacher and I) had them pay attention to the inside and outside contour lines of the zebra.

The next classes were spent painting zebras and outlining with a black sharpie. I wanted to have a variety of zebras so instead of having students chose their complementary color pair, I had slips of paper with the pairs typed out on. Before students painted they pulled a slip from a basket and that would be the color pair they would be working with. I really didn't care if they traded slips with each other before the started - I just wanted to have each pair represented equally.

The last class day of the project - the "wrap-up" day - was started by discussing the homophones: complement and compliment. I had students write a compliment that the zebras could be giving to another zebra.

I posted many of these compliments with the zebras when I displayed them in the hallway. What Fun!

Now...I'm considering what to do with giraffes! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jackson Pollock Cats

Second Graders used their marbles to create fun Pollock-like paintings!

Students were introduced to artist Jackson Pollock with the book Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. Then they created Pollock-like paintings using marbles dipped in paint that were rolled around in shallow boxes. Each student had time to do two paintings.

The next class students were read another book - Vincent Van Gogh's Cat. This book was written and illustrated by second grade students from East Washington Academy, Muncie, IN. This book shows a cat jumping out of famous paintings.
Using images of cat silhouettes as reference, we discussed the shapes and lines that made up cats in different poses. Students picked one of their marble paintings from the previous class and drew a cat on the back of it. They then cut out the cat and glued it to a black piece of paper to help the image stand out.

While students were working on the cat drawings, each table of students were invited up to the front of the room to squirt and drip paint onto a large paper to create a class pollock-like mural.

The finished cats were cut out leaving a thin border of black and then displayed on the large class mural.

Here are some of the finished cats:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What a Delicious Project!

Tints and Shades with a Cherry on Top
This project has made it's way around Pinterest and I can see why! Immediately when I saw this I knew I was going to do it with my 4th graders. It's an excellent and fun way to teach about tints and shades.

We did a fairly large ice cream cone using 2 12x18 papers to paint on. This could be done by using only one 12x18 paper with smaller painted sections - but I liked the large finished cones and so did the kids!

We spent the first class period discussing what tints and shades were. I had students divide a 12x18 paper into 4 sections. We painting one section with the pure hue they had chosen. Then I demonstrated how to create 3 different tints in the other sections.

The next class was spent doing the shades. This time we divided the paper into 3 sections - 2 just like the tints and 1 twice that size for the cone. I demonstrated how to create a shade by adding a little black to the color and then another one with a little more black. The last section - the largest one - was for a very dark shade of the color.
As students waited for the paper to dry they were given a piece of tagboard to create a stencil for the ice cream scoops. This was important so that all the scoops would be similar in size. If time remained students used the stencil to trace and cut out scoops of ice cream from the first painted paper.

The last class was spent finishing cutting the scoops of ice cream, creating the cone, putting it all together in order, and adding a cherry and sprinkles. Students used black marker to draw the cone outline and lines before they cut them out. We, (my wonderful student teacher and myself) had students pick sequins that matched the color they had chosen.
Students finished the project by developing a flavor name for their ice cream. They were encouraged to create a unique flavor and were not to discuss it so that students would "borrow" other's ideas. I posted the flavor under the ice cream.
They are all so great!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Voice Level Chart for Art Room

I've been trying to teach my students to use appropriate voice levels during art. One of my schools uses the voice level terms school-wide. Another school has a few teachers who use it and I never hear it mentioned from teachers at my 3rd school.
So...I made up a voice level chart for each of my schools to post in the Art Room and I'm going to work on students understanding what I mean when I ask for "voice level 0 - or voice-level 1...".

You can get a digital file of this Poster Here

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Moon & Trees with Tints and Shades

5th Grade students worked with tints and shades while creating these beautiful paintings.

This was another idea found on Pinterest....yes, I know - I'm a thief! This was a quick 2 day art lesson - but may have even been done in less. After doing our color wheel worksheet and then discussing tints and shades, student were given blue and white paint. They began by painting a white moon towards the center of the painting. Then gradually created tints by adding a touch of blue to the white, then a bit more, and so on until the sky was completely painted. 
The second class we discussed what a winter or late fall tree would look like after the leaves have fallen off. We also discussed atmospheric perspective. Students were given blue and black this time. They painted the trees using different shades of blue - the darkest one large so it looked up close and smaller ones with lighter shades to look farther back.

The results were great! Definitely a keeper lesson!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Warm & Cool/Sun & Moon

I love the feeling that comes with a successful project. 
One that the process excites the students and the results are amazing looking!

This was one of those projects and again I have to thank and all the innovative art teachers who pin their own projects and those they find all over the web. I came across this blog post pinned on Pinterest The project peaked my interest and I immediately thought it would be great using chalk pastels and metallic paint. I was reviewing the color wheel with 3rd graders and discussing warm and cool colors - so this was perfect. 

We spent an art class discussing profile view versus front facing view and drawing out our sun and moon.
We reviewed the color wheel and warm and cool colors. 

The next class was spent learning how to use the  soft pastels and adding warm colors on the sun side and cool on the moon side. As students finished or after class I sprayed the drawings with hair spray (be sure
to do this in a well ventilated area).  

The last class was spent adding additional interest using metallic paint - gold on the warm side and silver on the cool side.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Inspiration from Pinterest - Spider Collage

I think that one of the greatest part of being an art teacher during this point in time is the availability of collaboration with other art educators from around the world. On a daily basis I connect with a great number of very talented people using Twitter, Facebook, Art Ed 2.0, Google +, and other social networks. We bounce ideas off of each other, solve problems, share lesson ideas, collaborate on projects together and just inspire each other to be the best teachers we can be.
My new favorite place to be inspired by is If you have not looked into this site you need to now - but be warned it can be addictive! Pinterest allows you to pin things you see online onto boards that you can organize. I've developed quite a wide range of boards and I pin usually at least a little every day. It's a great way to gather and share ideas and organize them into sections.
I've pinned so many great art project ideas already this school year. I've just completed a couple projects with my student inspired by ones I've seen on Pinterest.

Spider Collage
I usually do an Eric Carle lesson with my first graders. In the past this has been a caterpillar collage inspired by the Hungry Caterpillar. This year I saw some great spider collages using painted papers on Pinterest. I incorporated the art of Eric Carle, using different painting techniques, collage techniques, and how primary colors mix to create secondary colors.
After introducing them to Eric Carle through his books and a great movie - Picture Writer, we were ready to begin to paint our papers. The painting was done in one class period. I prepped the room with three stations since I wanted students to have three different colored papers to use on their spiders.

Here's a view of one of my art rooms before the students came into class.

At one station sponges were used by the students to create a violet paper.

A green paper was painted and the end of the paint brush was used to scratch lines into the paint.

Students used cardboard or rubber painting tools to scrap textures into the orange paint.

The next class students began to put together their spider collage.

This project combined a lot of different concepts and skills and was enjoyed by the students.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kindergarten Self-Portrait Collage

One of my favorite self-portrait projects

I've done a whole lot of self-portraits over the years, but this is one of my favorites! The students have a fun time using all the collage materials to create themselves.

I start the students out with ovals cut from different skin tones of construction paper. We talk about how a self-portrait should represent the artist. I lay out the oval papers on a table and have them pick a skin tone by placing their hands next to each color to find the one that is closest to their own skin color. I also have the scraps from cutting out the ovals out for the students to use for a neck.

Once they have the head and neck glued down, they are able to pick from buttons, sequins, pompoms, yarn, feathers, fabric, paper scraps, beans, packing peanuts...and whatever else I dig up.

By the end of class we have some wonderful collage portraits. Of course the art room looks like a tornado hit it - collage materials everywhere! But that's the price we pay for Creativity!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Painting Lines with Cardboard

First graders have a blast using cardboard to create lines and designs!

This project was inspired by a project I came across on my latest addiction - Pinterest. If you have yet to join Pinterest you might want to check it out. But BEWARE - it is extremely addicting.

You can find the lesson that inspired me here.

After discussing different types of lines used in art, the students were given a large 12x18 paper, trays of black tempera, and a box of various cardboard pieces.
I use flat boxes to hold the cardboard pieces in the middle of the table.

After a quick demonstration of how to dip the cardboard in the paint and "print" it on the paper the students were let free to create. I did give them some ideas and encouragement to try and come up with a design or image of something instead of just stamping everywhere on the paper.

I showed how to create curves using strips of tagboard that they could curve to get something different than a straight line.

The students had a blast creating. I did have a handful of students among my first grade classes that scraped across the paper with the cardboard or stamped so much that no lines were left showing - just black blobs, but most had very successful images.

Students found that when using the cardboard tube a bubble often formed and sometimes would pop on their paper. Of course that was fun for them and they didn't seem to mind the splat of paint it left behind. Happy mistakes!

I love the creativity of first graders! Not sure what this little guy was creating but it sure is interesting!

The next class I gave students back their papers and showed them how to use oil pastels. For many of them it was their first experience with this art medium. Their enthusiasm continued as they colored in and around their stamped black lines!