Monday, November 19, 2012

Cyber Monday+Tuesday Sale on TeachersPayTeachers

TeachersPayTeachers is running a sale on Cyber Monday + Bonus Tuesday. I'm adding an additional discount  - so you can save up to 28% off of things in our store.

Visit our store - Mrs. and Mr. G Teaching Art and History today to see some great classroom materials.  Along with my Art Ed things are several awesome High School American History PowerPoints. Pass our store's link along to that Social Studies teacher you know who would appreciate presentations that are both informative and keep students attentive.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Claymation with 5th Grade Students Using iMotion HD app

I posted this on my ArtwithMrsG website (my website I share info with my students and families) but thought I should add it here too! It was such a success because the students were so proud of what they had done!

The subject for our movie was a red ball that would roll into a scene, interact with that environment, change and then roll out into another scene. The students brainstormed ideas and then we put them together to flow with whatever color or colors of clay balls that were exciting and entering each scene. I was so proud of how the students worked together in small groups and then as a whole group. Even though no actual art was produced that art class - it was one of my favorites. The creativity and problem solving skills they were using put a huge smile on my face!

Students each created a storyboard for their group's scene and then compared them to come up with what the group wanted to do. I gave each group a 12x18 piece of tagboard to fold to create the backdrop. They glued construction paper onto this, colored on it with various materials, and glued extra things on as needed. We propped these up by taping some metal book stands borrowed from the library to the back.

Students used modeling clay and other items to create things in their scene that the clay ball would interact with.

Once the back drop was done we began filming. We made sure we all had the clay balls that were coming and going from scene to scene all ready before we started filming. We doubled up on these so that many groups could film at the same time. For example if a green ball was leaving one scene and would be entering another, we created 2 identical balls so that both groups could be filming at the same time.

The iPad app iMotion HD made this so easy! This app is free and a must have for the art room! Our iPads have smart covers so they were able to be propped up and worked great to keep the iPad in the same spot. After a group finished filming they exported the movie to the photo library and then put it into my Dropbox file. I could then take all the movies and put them together in iMovie on my computer.

Watch our finished movie here ---> 5th Grade Claymation Project

Saturday, November 3, 2012

2nd Grade Oil Pastels & Watercolor Birch Trees

I loved the beautiful results from this project! 

The students and I discussed the lines we saw in images of Birch trees. They compared the texture and color of Birch tree bark with that of other trees.

The project started by drawing the birch tree trunks using black oil pastel. We talked about the use of overlapping to make some trees look like they were behind others. They colored in the trees with white oil pastel letting the black and white blend a bit into grey.

We had a discussion about how an artist can add interest and uniqueness to their artwork by changing things from how they look in "real life." I introduced the term "Artistic License" to them and told them they each had one to be creative with. I encouraged them to add other colors into the bark of their birch trees if they wish to do so. Many used different colors of oil pastels to blend into the white and black of their trees.

The last step in the project was to use primary colors of watercolor to paint in the background. We were reviewing how the primary colors mix to make secondary colors, so I encouraged them to mix them together as much as they wanted to.

This is one of my favorites! See more student works in our Artsonia gallery -

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Color Wheel Eyes

A upper-elementary project combining Art, Science, 
and even Math!

My 4th and 5th grade students enjoyed this project. They all were quite successful with it!

We spent one art class learning a little about the human eye. Students learned to identify the sclera (the white part of the eye), the iris, and the pupil. We also discussed the lines and shapes of the eye lid, brow, and lashes. We started drawing an enlarged eye by tracing a circle stencil I made from tagboard. Since we were going to do a color wheel on the iris, I wanted students to start with a good circle that was the same for everyone. I guided students in sketching out the rest of the eye.

The next class we spent some time dividing the circle of the iris into 12 sections. We had a bit of a math lesson on fractions during this process. Some of my classes were better at it than others, but all accomplished what they needed to do. We also reviewed how Primary colors mixed to make Secondary and then Intermediate colors. We lightly marked out what color went where on the color wheel and I demonstrated mixing and painting the color wheel in the iris.

The following art class most students were able to complete painting the color wheel and most of the black painting. A few finishing touches were added the first 10-15 minutes of the next class before we started our next project.

Here are a few finished student examples - 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ink-Blown Trees on Warm and Cool Backgrounds

3rd Grade students reviewed Warm and Cool colors as they painted two 6x9 papers with watercolors. We discussed the wet-on-wet watercolor technique to blend colors together. Some students tried this on their background papers.

The next art day I demonstrated how to use a dropper to apply ink to the painting and a straw to blow the ink into tree-like shapes. I love the "Ooos and Ahs" that happens when you demonstrate something the students get excited about!

I set up the tables with small cups of India ink on a paper plate with the dropper. The students placed their papers onto a "placemat" (12x18 contraction paper that we reuse under paintings). When they were set up they got a straw and began to do their trees.

Students were on task and had fun watching the ink roll the direction they blew.

A couple of my classes worked extra well and were finished with their trees early. I had a plan if this happened and I was glad to be able to give it a try. When I saw students were going to finish early I stopped the group and showed how to do an ink monster. I dropped some ink on the center of a 9x12 paper and then blew the ink until it had soaked in and couldn't go anywhere else. This excited the students even more. I told them next class we would add to these ink blobs to create monsters.
Students that had a bit of problems trying to control the ink to create trees were more relaxed and were able to find success at the free-form blown ink blob.

The next art class I helped students glue their warm and cool trees onto a black paper for display. As I worked on this the classes that had time the week before to do an ink blob for a monster began to transform them using googly eyes and colored pencils. 

I honestly think the ink monsters were a huge hit and many came out even better than the trees!

 See some ink monsters here --

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hands Up for Creativity! A handy way to review line quality

I'm about to enter the last week of the first quarter and just now getting around to blogging about one of my first projects of the year! Keeping up with 3 schools can be a bit hectic...but lots of creative fun is happening in my Art Rooms and I get at least one hug a day thanking me for it.

This year I decided to start the year by doing one line project with all my 1st graders and 2nd graders and another project with all of my 3rd - 5th graders instead of my usual different project for each grade. Of course my 3 classes of 2nd/3rd grade splits through a monkey wrench in some 3rd grade students did the younger one.  My goal was to introduce, discuss, or review (depending on the level) line quality to all my students, while keeping the craziness of the first couple weeks of school to a minimum. There always seems to be schedule changes, students moving from one class to another, or waiting on numbers to settle before possibly getting another teacher, splitting a class, or even unsplitting a split class these first couple of weeks. So I thought less planning and prep would come in handy...and it did!

I called the 1st/2nd grade project "Hands Up". I got the idea from a Pinterest post and adapted it to fit what I wanted. After discussing Line as an Element of Art, students traced their hands and arms. We drew as many different kinds of lines as we could think of on the Smartboard (or under my document camera in one of my rooms). Students used crayons to design their hands/arms with lots of lines and colors. I insisted they use white at least once.

The next class we talked about the crayon-resist method. Students had fun painting watercolors over the crayon. When dry they carefully cut the hand and arm out.

At each of my buildings I displayed all of these creative hands together radiating out from a bright orange and yellow spot. The display was quite striking all together!

Monday, September 24, 2012

PInwheels for Peace

At the beginning of the school year I approached one of our wonderful counselors and suggested we collaborate on the Pinwheels for Peace Project. She was excited about it and we began our mission of getting as many pinwheels spinning in our district as we could.
If you are not familiar with this project visit the website - Pinwheels for

Most of our buildings participated in some way. We had rain on Friday so some staff decided to wait until Monday to plant the pinwheels - that meant we celebrated Peace Day on two days in our district!

Click on the picture to the right to see an Animoto video of our pinwheels! -->

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let's Play Checkers!

But First - Let's Make a Checker Set!

This is one of those projects I've had in the back of my mind just waiting to fit it in a good place. I had a fun...but super social...5th grade class at one of my buildings that I knew would enjoy the challenge and fun of making a checker set. So we spent the majority of 4th quarter working on it.

  • Students spent some time brainstorming and planning what their pieces would look like. They sketched out the designs and discussed color choices. 
  • Two class periods were spent creating the clay pieces. I gave each student a paper with a 1 1/2 inch square drawn on it so they knew what size to make the pieces.
  • While the clay pieces were drying and being bisque fired, students went to work on marking out and painting their boards. I cut white tagboard to 12 inch square. We had a lesson on how to use the ruler to mark off 1 1/2 inch sections and join the lines. I was pleased that this class picked up on this pretty well for not having past experience with it. The classroom teacher and principal happened stopped in at the end of one class and remarked about how great the boards looked. My principal assumed that I had given each student a pre-marked template for the board. With the students in line at the door I proudly announced "No - they did these all by themselves!"
  • Two more classes were spent glazing the clay pieces and finishing up on painting the boards. When the boards were dry, I laminated them so they would be more durable
  • The came Play Day! The last art class of the year was spent playing. Students took turns using their boards and pieces and fun was had by all! It was the perfect way to send off these students(that I had taught since Kindergarten) to the Jr. High. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

An Oldie But Goodie - Kindergarten Symmetrical Drip Butterflies

I've done this project with Kindergarten students and a similar one with 1st graders ever since I can remember. But it's one of those oldies but goodies! I'm sure many of you have done something similar.

This is usually a close to end of year project. The students get excited when I tell them we are going to make a butterfly with paint, but we are not going to use brushes and our fingers will not touch the paint! We review the primary colors and I demonstrate how they will fold the paper - "short side to short side". We open the paper up and I squirt some of the primary colors in lines an drips on one side in the shape of a V.

I refold the paper and show the students how to gently rub in circles on the folded paper. They will feel the paint be squished around. I used to use say "wax on - wax off" with the students...but only the occasional aide in the classroom knows what I mean these days!

After rubbing the paper the student is excited when I tell them to open it up and see what you got. The Oooo's and Ahh's that always follow bring smiles.

While I do this with a couple of students at a time at a table, the students work on making a butterfly body on black paper using construction paper crayons.
Here's my example - 

The next class we will cut out the dried paint wings and glue the body onto it.

I do a similar project with my 1st graders. We do the same process only with one color + black on bottom and white on the top to help teach value tints and shades.  Instead of a butterfly they make a longer body to create a dragonfly.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

1st Grade Fields of Poppies

This lesson was inspired by wonderful art teacher Susan Tiedemann from South Brunswick, NJ. Take a look her 2nd graders working on their poppies!

First graders really were able to understand the concepts of background, middle ground, and foreground along with how to use size to make things look farther away and close up.

We started this lesson by working on the Smartboard. I used Notebook software to create a green field and poppies in a variety of sizes - tiny, small, medium, and large. Each student got to come up and pick a poppy and move it to a spot on the field that made sense to them. We worked as a group to decide if the poppy was put in an appropriate place. The students love interacting with the Smartboard.

After working on the Smartboard students painted green lines for our field on a 18x24 paper. The large size and big brushes excited them! We let these dry until next class.
Next class we reviewed background, middle ground, and foreground along with how size makes things look near and far. They worked on painting small, medium, and large poppies in their field. Once the poppies were painted they were able to dab tiny white and yellow flowers using a qtip.

To finish off our paintings students added some lines in the center of the flowers and some more green field lines using oil pastels.

See more of our field of poppies on Artsonia - Roosevelt  & Washington

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Birdbath Sculptures with Melted Glass Water

I saw this idea posted on smART Class blog a year or so ago and thought it would be a great project for 4th graders.

The original picture is from Mayco's project section on their website. It looked like it could be done using pinch pots - so we gave it a try!

It took us two(45min) class periods to create the sculpture. The first class we used two pinch pots to create the birdbath. Students added designs into the clay using various tools, shells, and found objects. 
 The next class we finished any designs on our sculptures and added a bird and put them out on a table for us to admire and let dry. The reactions of the other students in and out of the Art room - Oooo's and Aww's mixed with some jealousy - created an air of excitement that made the two classes working on these even more anxious to finish them.

After Spring Break our pots had been bisque fired and were ready to glaze! Students used a variety of colors of glazes on their clay pieces. We use low-fire clay and glazes at the elementary level in our district.
We dropped a couple of glass marble pieces into the middle of the piece after the glaze was applied. I had seen this done on other art teacher's blogs, but had never tried it. The students were excited to learn that they would be the first classes to try this. "You mean you've never done this before Mrs. G? How do you know it will work?"  I just shrugged my shoulders and said - "I guess we will find out!"

Here they are ready to go in the kiln for the glaze firing - 

I couldn't wait to take these out of the kiln!  Here are some of the finished pieces. I did notice some of the birdbaths with wider tops needed an extra marble or two, and the color choice of glaze did affect how the blue marbles looked when melted. So I will use this knowledge to guide my two other 4th grade classes who are about to glaze theirs.