Thursday, March 29, 2012

Students Get Into Their Monet Paintings!

We are standing on the bridge of our own paintings!

Claude Monet and the Impressionists are my very favorite and I really enjoy sharing that love with my students. This project is a special one. We end up having two works of art when we are finished!

After learning a bit about Monet's life we use acrylic paint to create a painting inspired by one of his Japanese Bridge paintings. Except for part of the water, students use qtips to give the painting that quick Impressionistic feel. I encourage the students to remember to paint like an Impressionist - worry about the impression of the trees, bushes, water, and flowers instead of painting details (the qtips really help with this).

This took a couple class periods. During one of them, I set up a "green screen" (big piece of bulletin paper - next year I'm going to invest in green fabric!) and had the students pose as if they were on the bridge of their painting.

This helped me remove the background using Keynote's Alpha tool. From there I combined the student image with a digital image of their painting. Then students touched up the bridge with paint to make it look as if they were behind the front railings of their bridge. 

In one of my buildings, we wrapped up this fun project by creating a tissue paper water lilly to put up with our paintings.
Draw out a lilly pad on a green paper
Use 8 layers of tissue & accordion fold
Attach a pipe cleaner & spread out layers of flower

Poke into lilly pad & twist in back

 It put a smile on my face listening to the reaction of the other students as they came down the hall to lunch or to the Art Room. "Oh Cool!"

One 5th grader said, "Those are great - are we going to do them?" I told him - sorry that's one of my 3rd grade lessons. He responded with "That's not fair! We didn't have you for 3rd grade!" --Made my day and the aches from going up and down the ladder putting the display up so worth it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Clay Bird Bath Sculptures Part 1

4th Grade students have been working on a very fun clay project! 
Using skills learned in previous grades, they are putting together a bird bath sculpture.

The sculptures are created with two pinch pots - one for the base and one for the top. Designs were pressed or carved into the sculpture and then a small bird was added.
The clay pieces drying on the table created a bunch of ooo's and ahh's from the other students in the school!

Once these are bisque fired, we will glaze them and then put a blue marble or glass chip in them. Students are anxious for this!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recycled CD Weavings

What a Fun Project!
Most of my 4th grade students just finished a very fun weaving project. After learning or reviewing the basics of weaving by doing a paper weaving, students learned how to weave in a circle. Our choice of loom - discarded CD, DVD, and CDROM discs.

I had seen examples of these on Pinterest this past summer and couldn't wait to try it out. So I put out the word to staff and students in my three schools that we needed old discs to use for a project. I had quite a few staff members looking through their old music collections and gladly parting with many. They quietly turned over their Jackson Five, New Kids on the Block, and Flashdance Soundtracks. Before long I had plenty of discs to add to my old AOL discs I had saved for that project down the road. (Art teachers are savers if you didn't know!)

I went back to my Pinterest board where I had pinned the idea months ago. It led me to a great tutorial from Joanne at We Heart Art.   Check out her tutorial before you give it a try! I pulled some yarn together and set to making one myself. Listen to a veteran art teacher - Never do a project without first trying it yourself!! You're just asking for a disaster if you don't. Yes this is from experience! 
I had a blast making my example.

This project took 3-4 art times depending on the class (I did it with 5 different classes) and their abilities. As I figured it took most classes one whole time to watch me demonstrate how to warp the disc and for them to actually do this. I encouraged them to partner up to help each other with tying the knots. Of course I ended up plopping myself down at a table with a long line of students needing help getting the warp string tied tight.
After that first day the rest was easy! Once students got the hang of the weaving it went quickly. Students finishing early help reteach others how to do it. Great for team building!

I loved the way I had seen the finished weavings hanging all together so that is what I intended for displaying these. I've finished putting up the weaving display at one school but still need to do this at the other two. Small colorful paperclips were what I used to link the discs together.

I'm very impressed with how they look and have gotten quite a few compliments!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Head of Man? No...How about Head of Cat or Head of Dog!

Kindergarten Students Explore the Art of Paul Klee
My Kindergarten students had looked at one of Paul Klee's works earlier in the year when they were doing their fish printing. This time we revisited Klee's work to talk about the difference between Realistic and Abstract art work. Students discussed how the shapes and colors used in Head of Man (above) created an abstract portrait.

After our discussion I gave students the challenge of instead of drawing a "head of man" how about they do either a "head of cat" or "head of dog". They were excited by the project. We spent a few minutes discussing what shapes could be used to create these drawings. I drew some examples as they gave shape ideas.  Then they were off drawing their own. I asked them to draw out their picture using a black crayon first and then encouraged them to apply a lot of color using the crayons. I challenged them to mix color on top of color to create interest.

Here are some in progress shots of students drawing. 
I love the creativity the students were showing!

 Here's my example -
The next art class the students used watercolors to paint over their drawings. I had most of my classes just choose one color to paint over their cat or dog. We discussed the crayon-resist technique while doing this. I asked these young students what they thought crayons were made out of. Most of the answers were way off but I did have students in two of my six Kindergarten classes tell me "wax". We talked about how the wax would "resist" or not let the water stick to it.  A quick Art+Science connection made!  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Patterns are Dragon On!

Kindergarten and First Grade Pattern Review

This is a quick project that I do every few years. After working with Kindergarten and First grade students on patterns, it's a fun review and practice.
Draw out a very large dragon on bulletin paper.
Cut up paper plates into 4 sections. Give each student a section and have them use markers or crayons to create a pattern on the paper plate section. These will become the scales of the dragon. As students finish hot glue (fastest and easiest way) the sections overlapping.

I do this with both my Kindergarten and First grade classes so that there are enough "scales" to fill the dragon.

Now most years when I do this I plan for it to fall in February. This year was no different. I do this for two reasons. The first is then I could tie in with Chinese New Year celebrations. The second I have a cutesy saying that I like to put with the dragon - "Winter's DRAGON ON - Hurry Up Spring!"
However, our unusually mild Mid-West winter this year forced me to not put up that saying - it simply didn't apply this year!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

A big thank you to Ilsa from Art Lessons from Belgium for nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award! 

Here's how the Liebster Award works -

  1. Copy and Paste the award on your blog
  2. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award
  3. Pick your favorite 5 blogs with fewer than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award
  4. Hope that the 5 blogs will keep spreading the love and pass the award onto 5 more blogs
Here are my nominations:
  • Art Room with a View - I stumbled upon this little blog one day and love it! And what a creative name. I like to see art education things going on in other countries. Be sure and check out Danielle's blog soon! 
  • BlueMoon Palette  - Jam packed full of art lesson ideas and examples
  • The Fine Arts Studio - Samantha Melvin always has some interesting posts on her Fine Arts Studio
  • New City Arts -  I'm honestly not sure how many followers Shannah has over at New City Arts - I don't see a follower list - but I love her blog. There is always creative projects using different materials.
  • Mrs. Leban's Art Blog -  I love seeing what Jennifer Leban is up to in her Middle School Art Room. She's creative and just so darn cute! Her blog is a place where students and parents can get a  look at what's going on in her classroom.
Be sure and check out these blogs!