Monday, November 29, 2010

are you UP for winter?!

I couldn't wait to start doing winter-ish lessons with my Kindergartners and First Graders. There is such a level of excitement when you make snowmen, snowflakes, reindeer, and Santas. I found this project on Artsonia and added my own little twist on it, incorporating the use of felt and (what was I thinking?!) GLITTER! They've turned out so cute!

You will need:
9x12 turquoise paper
2 6x6" square pieces of white paper
cut felt in various colors
small orange paper
black markers
silver glitter

I also have some foam "stick on" snowflakes that would be fun to use for this project as well. Of course, adding your own little twist on everything makes it that much better! So, happy winter! Things are looking UP!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stained Glass "Y" Trees

One thing I learned in my internship was to break drawings down into a way that the youngest kids can understand them. This is a project I did with my first graders in teaching them to draw trees. On my "No No Board" I tell them that they are not allowed to draw "broccoli trees" but never really give them an alternative to drawing those distasters (until now!)

The great part about teaching the kids to make a bare tree is that they can do it all using the uppercase y (Y) and lowercase y (y). This takes the stress off the kids that are even the MOST intimidated about drawing in the first place (because these trees are ALWAYS successful!!!!)
I did this with a 12x12 sheet of white paper. Using crayon, I had the kids draw a HUGE uppercase Y on their paper. This would be the trunk and the main branches. We thickened them up a bit. Then, using smaller and smaller Y's we filled up the tree branches with sticks and twigs. They LOVED this and of course I did too, but they needed some color.

I showed the kids some examples of stained glass and how the thick black leading between the pieces of glass made the colors pop. I told them that their trees reminded me of some stained glass. Of course then they all wanted to make their project a bit more colorful! We added watercolor paint to each large section and they were amazed at how the crayon created a "fence" and didn't allow the paint to cross over.
This is a great, colorful fall project that the students are proud of!
(Side note- you could also do this for winter, with cool colors of paint between the branches!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spectrum/Contour Line Turkeys

Sometimes I succomb to the Holidays. I cannot help it. I saw someone do a variation of this project on their blog and I thought I'd do it with my first graders. THEY (of course) LOVED it! There just isn't time in the "regular" classroom and with a short week next week (I needed some filler lessons) I decided to teach the kids about contour line (tracing the outside of your hand) and spectrum order (putting the "feathers" in rainbow order).
Sure, putting together the bajillion pages of paper this takes for each kid was time-consuming, but the kids squealed when they found out we were making turkeys. It's all worth it, though, right?!

And I mean, what parent wouldn't be delighted with a twist on the obligatory handprint turkey?!
Gobble Gobble!

Kimmy Cantrell Masks

Kimmy Cantrell is a modern sculptor who creates awesome, almost cubist, masks from clay. Based in College Park, Georgia, he really peeked my interest this summer while looking for modern artists who would also capture the children's attention!

This was a wonderful project for me as I go through this "why-on-earth-have-I-kept-this-junk-all-these-years" classroom cleanout. Why do I have all these pipe cleaners? I've never used pipe cleaners before, yet I have scads of them! Do they rub together and multiply in the cabinet?!

I digress.

You will need a bunch of random things for this project: Cardboard cut into long, strange shapes (I pre-cut mine and even spray-painted them black before I gave them to the kids!), leftover painted matboard pieces, pipe cleaners, small pieces of scrap papers, glitter glue...and your imagination!

I did this project with my fifth graders, though it probably would have even worked from grade 3 up! I think they did a wonderful job, and I cannot wait to enter some of these in our upcoming Venice Art Fest!

My kids inspire me to think creatively every day. Are you inspired?!
Happy creating!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tints and Shades

I'm always dreaming up ideas for teaching BASIC paint-mixing skills to my younger students. Yes, I teach mixing tints and shades with my littlest of students, my Kindergartners! This was a project that I did on the fly with them and I actually really liked how they turned out and put some of them in our "Best of the Best Art Show" at the end of the year last year!
I did this on a 9x12 sheet of paper, and pre-folded it into 6 equal squares for the kids. On their paint palettes I put ROYGBV paints, along with white and black. (I used liquid tempera, it mixes the easier!) The kids drew two parallel wavy lines across the top three squares and again across the bottom three squares. Inside each "wave" they painted the original color ROYGBV in spectrum order.

Above each wave (original color) they mixed a shade of that color, and below each color they mixed a tint of that color. I must say that the hardest part of this project was making sure that all shades didn't turn out pitch black (they dipped just the tippy-top of their brush into the black and mixed).
*Keep in mind that the three examples I have here are pretty darn good. MANY MANY of them weren't able to stay in the lines, of course this is adaptable for probably up to third grade! I didn't focus on that so much as the paint mixing.*
A VOILA! A great lesson on spectrum order, tints, and shades :)
Happy creating!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rouault-style Still Life

George Rouault was a Fauve painter and skilled stained glass artist. He is known for rich, dark colors and thick black lines around his objects.
I set up a still life of fruit for the kids to paint. They were able to add any kind of pattern to the "tablecloth", and any color to the fruit bowl. We used regular watercolor paints (Crayola 16-count Watercolors) for the painting. The painting and drawing took two days.

On the third day I had the students outline everything in black ink (washable black India ink) and I didn't even mind the inconsistencies in the thick/thin black lines around their fruit! I had them add a "cracked" stained-glass look to the background.
How beautiful would this bowl of fruit be hanging in Mom's kitchen? I just love them!
Happy Creating!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Assembly

Happy Veteran's Day from our school to yours! Yesterday was our annual Veteran's Day assembly and I thought I'd share with you a few of the highlights!Our Music Teacher, Carol Tausan, had rehearsed with the students for months, and one of their favorites was "God Bless the USA" which included a beautiful slide show. I love these shots of her directing the kiddos.

The conductor of the Venice Civic Band wanted the students to clap along to the music...
...of course they obliged! Anything to squirm and make more noise!

Were you wondering if any of the kindergartners were "playing along" to the piccolo solo during "Stars and Stripes Forever"? Yes, of course...!

Students holding the individual state flags, American flags and candles during "The Lights of Freedom" were very moving!
Each Veteran was presented with a flag from our choir with sincere gratitude for their service to our country.
The "Young Americans", our fourth and fifth grade vocal ensemble performed a song with the student body called "Thank You".

Lt. Col. Miller (Mrs. Tausan's father) spoke of his service in the Air Force and had the kids imagine what it would be like to refuel a bomber in mid-air.

This land was made for you and ME!

Celebrating all things American, one of our parents (Mrs. Scheyhing) became an American citizen just this week!

It was a wonderful day! Thank you to our Music Teacher, Mrs. Tausan, for preparing the students so well. I know it was a day they will never forget!

Happy Veteran's Day

Honoring our Veterans is something we take seriously here at Garden Elementary School. This year's event was bigger than ever, including the Venice Civic Band, several Veterans, whole-school sing-alongs, and a great slide show to "God Bless the USA". The kids are prepped for about a month in music and this year we decided to do a giant American Flag as a backdrop for the stage.
The pictures don't really do this thing justice- it's about 50 feet long and 10 feet tall. It is made up of self-portraits made by about 1/3 of our school (done during the whole "I'm what?" stage of art class over the past month or so).
I just LOVE the way it turned out, and we have decided to keep it hanging on the stage for a bit before it retires into the Art/Music hallway for the rest of the year.
Happy Veteran's Day to all!

Wrap-Around Snakes

This is a great project I did with my fourth graders to teach them about overlapping. It is also a great project to teach kids about the power of MISTAKES while making art. As you can see on some of my examples here, some of these snakes have Some of the students didn't realize they made a mistake until after they were through tracing in Sharpie and started some cases, tears flowed. The great news is, though, that you probably wouldn't have even noticed they had made mistakes unless I pointed them out, right?! It gave me a perfect starting-off-point to focus on take the viewer's eyes off the mistake and onto another part of their painting! In most of their cases, they added some extra-snazzy designs to the snake's body and used brighter, bolder colors.

In the end, I wouldn't have traded their mistakes for the world, they made for a great teachable moment! We used Crayola Watercolors (the 16-color set) and a 12x18 sheet of white watercolor paper. Of course this can be adapted to any size :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Alphabet Birds

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I have this great ability to break things down so kids will understand them. I think this is the trick to being a great Art Teacher, in be able to dissect a piece of artwork so kids understand WHAT to do, HOW to do it, and WHY it will be beautiful in the end. I have so many kid who come to me and tell me they're not good artists. It kills me. Why do they feel this way? Because their work doesn't look like anyone else's? Because they can't draw?

I did these multi-media birds with my Kindergartners. We started with drawing with white crayon on black paper. They knew there were only two chances to get it right...the front and the back of the paper. If they "messed up" on both, they had to figure out how to "dress up their mess-up" and make it work.

I told them we'd be making a bird out of some letters in the alphabet. Really?! They know how to make the letters of the alphabet!

To start, make a large D laying on it's side in the middle of the paper. A smaller D inside will make the wing. A letter O will make the head, and another O inside will make an eye. A sideways letter V will make the beak and an upside-down letter v will make the wing peeking out from the other side. Two upside-down letter Y's will make the feet. Draw a branch and some leaves...and a moon in the sky :)

I used tempera paints with a little white mixed in it. This really popped on the black paper!

On day two we added the feathers for the wings and tail. If I did this project again I think i would also give them some sequins for a more folk-sy look, almost like Mexican folk art birds.

Here are some Kindergarten examples!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Under the Sea Scrap Collage

I've mentioned before that I'm an art supply hoarder. People bring me stuff all the time and I put it away for "safe keeping" (read: in some unmarked bin somewhere in my classroom and I come across it 2 years later).

I did this project at the end of the year when I found a bunch of foil, patterned papers, and pieces of foam. What was I saving this for?! I must have been envisioning a project like this :)

We used some floppy foam paintbrushes to paint the "water" in the background. We used tissue paper as an overlay for the seaweed and sand. I had the kids use leftover foam pieces for coral and some fish, we drew on foil with colored sharpies for other sea creatures. I let them go nuts in my random bins for buttons, beads, ribbons, pearls, yarn, pom-poms, etc for other sea creatures. They had a blast, and I love the creativity that came through!

My students amaze me on a regular basis with their ideas and creativity, sometimes it's like pulling teeth. I know you know what I mean!