Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kindergarten Aliens!

For this project I used CENTERS in Kindergarten in the fourth week of school and it worked out WELL!!!! Our crop of Kindergartners are very bright this year so it was fun being able to paint with them already! (*I usually wait until about October until I work up the nerve to paint with them! Ha!)
We started out by reading the book "Aliens Love Underpants". Honestly, the kids couldn't stop laughing every time I said "undies, or knickers, or underpants"...easy bathroom humor. Love it. Anyways, I digress. The purpose of this project is to teach students about using multiple media in an artwork.
I have nine tables in my classroom, so I set up 3 sets of 3 centers:
1. 9x12 white paper and markers to create patterned paper to make the alien's knickers. (they just draw the first week, the second week they cut the paper.)

2. Table with 12x18 black paper and white oil pastels. They are making asterisk-type stars for their background of "outer space".
3. 9x12 white papers with some floppy foamy paintbrushes dipped in neon green and yellow tempera. Students used the paintbrushes to stamp some textured-looking paint onto their paper. (stamp on day 1, cut into alien shape on day 2)
*My classes are 55 minutes each, so reading the book, discussing what was happening at each center, demonstrating each center, and allowing for production time took up the entire class period!
The second week I had them flip their papers over to draw the basic template of the alien and knickers. They cut them out, being careful not to cut off antennae or arms! We used some scrap pieces for legs and feet!

As you an see, I didn't have them use any sort of templates...but they did a great job!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Elements of Creativity

A concept that I am trying to hammer into my students' brains this year is this "use it or lose it" mentality...that we need to exercise our brains (just as we exercise our bodies) to be creative. Sure, there are naturally creative students and there are straight-up talented kids in my classes.

I did this lesson with my third graders this week and they LOVED it. I LOVED how everyone was pleased with their work and their OWN ideas. I loved how different they all turned out!

On each table I put a sheet that had a few artistic elements on it (if you'd like a PDF of this sheet, just email me). I told the students they had to use ONLY those elements to create their "creature". (Many of them looked at me like I was crazy because it wasn't going to look "realistic"---they didn't see "eyes" on the paper, or a nose, etc.)
We discussed how many times artwork is evoloving...meaning sometimes artists don't know where their work will take them when they pick up their paintbrush.
For the backgrounds we just used torn sheets of tissue paper painted with plain water and then let them fall off when they dried. I love the "tie dye" effect it gives! *side note- I have the kids make sure they overlap the tissue paper a bit to be sure the colors bleed into each other. This is a great color theory/color mixing lesson in and of itself!
Aren't they seriously adorable?
Again, if you'd like the PDF you can email me at . (I'm sure you could also come up with some of your own elements! If you do this lesson in your class, please come back and link up...I always love to see others' takes on my lessons!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

art room organization

I don't know about you, but half the fun of visiting others' classrooms is seeing how THEY "do things"....what their set-up is like, how they organize and disperse materials, etc. We all have our different ways of handling supplies and organizing projects, let's show those rooms off!

Debbie, my bloggie friend and fellow artist, has organized a classroom link-up on Art Room Organization on her blog, Rainbows Within Reach. You may want to head over there and strut your stuff!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

reggie laurent "shapely" abstractions

Reggie Laurent is a modern art painter who lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area. He often works on black canvas, painting his organic shapes and squiggles first in white and then covering them in colored acrylic.

My fifth graders have viewed the work of Reggie Laurent, and while they would LOVE to emulate his stule of acrylic-on-canvas, it just isn't in our budget! SOOOO, we did the next best thing: cut paper on black. Students used paper from the scrap box and glued it onto a sheet of 12x18 black paper. We then used colored oil pastel to layer and doodle designs on top of the cut paper. A white "thread" of oil pastel was then woven through the remaining negative black spaces to tie the whole project together!

This was really a "no-brainer" for my fifth graders and they liked learning about Laurent and his style of painting! For more about Reggie Laurent, visuals, , and a great interview to share with your students, click over to Art Is Fun to read more!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Grade Family Portraits!

My first graders are finishing up their family portraits...and they are scrumptious!!!! These are large- 12x18 and my main focus is on facial features and drawing from observation.

I did not allow the kids to use pencil first- black crayon only. I do a lot of projects (especially with my younger grades) like this because so much time is spent erasing and I'd much rather have their work honest, real, and fresh.

We also talk about composition (large drawings on large paper) an filing up the paper, even by simply coloring the background one color to fill up the space!!

*I will also add that yes, I DO draw the "heads" for them....I go around the room and ask each student how many people live in their house. This way you avoid heads that are too large or too small...then they do the rest of the work!

Positive/Negative Graphic Name (results!)

Here are some of my third graders' "graphic name" project. Details and directions can be found here!

Monday, September 10, 2012

organic shape monsters 2

This project which focuses on imagination and geometric-vs-organic shape is one of my favorite lessons to teach! I've shared my students' results here before, and today I've featured the lesson over at PreK and K Sharing! It remains my most-viewed lesson on my blog :)

My kindergartners love this project and I am always stunned with their amazing, colorful results! If you do this project with your kiddos, please leave a link to their work in the comment section...I LOVE going back to see what others do with the same lesson!