Monday, January 31, 2011

the cutest owls you've ever seen!

At Christmastime I saw these fabulous felt owls on That Artist Woman's Blog. I swore to myself that we'd make some owls...and then..well, time got away from me and missed that opportunity!

Fast forward to January--second graders do a HUGE unit on Audubon in Science and most of the time I piggy-back on their lessons. This year I wanted to do something super-fun for them and decided it was time to rock the owls! The prep for this project is not toooo bad (it's half origami, half drawing) but there are quite a few pieces involved.

You will need:
1 5" or 6" circle tracer for each child
4 colored pieces of paper for each child (I used 6"x9")
1 large 12x18 sheet of black paper
4 strips of scrapbooking paper (appx. 1.5"x4")
various pieces for beaks and eyes
feathers (optional)

I had each student make 4 owls. This way they could pick out their "favorite" three to use on the project. This works out well because inevitably a second grader will ruin one of them and will cry!
This project took two days, using the following steps:
Trace and cut out 4 5" or 6" circles on bright paper (you could use browns, whites, and grays, I suppose as well!). Glue the scrapbook paper on (put only a dot on the very bottom of the strip, the part that is closest to the bottom of the circle--this is VERY important!)
Fold the top of the circle down, right above the scrapbook paper. You will actually fold the flap over the scrapbook paper.
Fold in the "wings" diagonally---from the bottom corners of the scrapbook paper to the corners of the top flap.
Pull your scrapbook paper through the fold(s) and glue it to the front of the top flap. Glue the wings down and the top flap down as well!
Add layered eyes, beaks, and feathers! *(Note: to make the eyes out of layered papers, start with the black circle first. Glue the black circle onto the white paper, cut out the white paper, and glue the white onto a colorful piece of paper! This insures that your eyes are layered and EVEN!)
Use oil pastel (or paint?!) to create a branch for your owl family to sit on. Glue the owls down and you've got a beautiful mixed-media work of art!
*My second graders are finishing these this week. This is MY example, I will be sure to post a second-grade gallery of owls later this week!

Friday, January 28, 2011

mood painting

I introduced my Kindergarten and First Graders to the artwork of Wassily Kandinsky this week, as well as his series of Compostions. In a round-about way, this was thier first taste of abstract art.
"What is THAT?"
"I wouldn't pay a penny for THAT!"
"He's FAMOUS?"
"I could do better than THAT!"
(gotta love that brutal honesty of a Kindergartner, right?!)
The week prior I cranked up the rock music. We tore tissue paper while we rocked out. We used glue water to affix our tissue papers onto our white paper. We watched as the pieces overlapped and colors ran together. We felt better working out our frustration!!!
This week I cranked up Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata in C". I gave them black paint. I let them have 5 minutes to show me (without pictures) what they felt like when they listened to this music. While the painting varied, for the most part, paint strokes were long, shapes were organic, and the mood was somber.

In the end, they were proud of their work and the two different moods they felt while making them. I wish I had a gallery to hang all 250 pieces...they're awesome!

Monday, January 24, 2011

o'keeffe update (again)

I'm about to go set up one heck of a bulletin board...
Sadly, one that I am probably more excited about than my administration...

But with beauties like this, how can I resist?
I could do twenty blog posts about my fifth graders and their O'Keeffe flowers
(or so)...
I don't think there was a bad one in the bunch...
and I wish I had twenty bulletin boards!
This one is worth putting in the vault and saving for next year...

Friday, January 21, 2011

o'keeffe update!

I am just so excited about how these "viewfinder" projects turned out! If you missed how my fifth graders started this lesson on O'Keeffe, just check out their beginning stages right here.

This was a small assortment of MANY that I could speak of. Good thing I've dedicated two bulletin boards for their display!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

o'keeffe shells

My third, fourth, and fifth graders have examined the life and artwork of famed American artist Georgia O'Keeffe for the last two weeks. I wanted something natural that the kids were able to relate to...and"non-floral"?! I have had some shells in my cupboard that have been begging to be used for something, and this was the perfect project for my fourth graders!

It truly was a test of patience on my part...teaching shading to 9 year olds who call it "coloring". Oy. In the end I think we all learned a little something, and their artwork definitely shows the beginning stages of VALUE! Score!
If you live in an area where shells are NOT readily available, I've seen some shell packs in Sax Arts catalog. In fact, I think some of the shells we used were from that catalog! Each was assigned a shell and we drew in contour on day 1. On day 2 we made a 5-shade value scale and then used that to parallel into our lesson on shading and value.
I entered one of these at the last minute into a community art show over the weekend and it won a first place ribbon! I love it when things work out like that!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

happy feet!

I saw these on ARTolazzi's website and knew it was the perfect lesson for my first graders and Kindergartners! After all was said and done, they learned a LOT about geometric forms (circles, right triangles, etc) as well as collage!
For the snowflake "frame" they used pieces of cardboard dipped in white paint. They loved it, though some of them got VERY messy. First grade is doing a huge unit on penguins in their classrooms right now, so their teachers want these for writing prompts and for decoration. I love when teachers take a work of art one step further, or extend the lesson into their classes. It truly shows that art can run the course of all subject matters.
Speaking of that, I was reading in People Magazine this past weekend (on their last page- the "Top Five") about actor Ricky Gervaise. The question was for the actor to mention a "hidden or secret talent". He said he's gotten into painting lately. Abstract mostly. He also mentioned that he considered Art to be man's greatest achievement.
My little art heart melted. In this great time of educational uncertainty...some folks get it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

o'keeffe beginnings

My fifth graders are doing a great O'Keeffe project right now and I wanted to share (their yet unfinished) projects! First, I had them create a "viewfinder" from a piece of white paper to place atop a magazine or calendar picture of a flower. They were to find an interesting view of the flower and tape it on. They drew the enlarged version on a piece of black paper, making sure that whatever was seen in the viewfinder was showing on their black paper.
We're working on blending with the oil pastels. This is a great project for them to really concentrate on a small area of a picture and to look and see how many "versions" of a color are really in that red flower!
So far, so good! I will definitely post some of the results. I like what I see so far, and so do they!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rousseau's Tigers

I saw these terrific tigers in an ad in Sax Arts Magazines. They were advertising crayons, I think. Far be it from me to get inspiration from anywhere, I thought they were interesting...and taught the students about implied line, perspective, distance, habitat, and composition. Who knew you could get all of that out of a little drawing of a tiger?! Well, to make them even more marketable, I tossed in a lesson on Henri Rousseau's love of jungle animals and composition, and I had a pretty well-rounded lesson.

I did this lesson with kindergarten and first grade. With both levels I did a step-by-step drawing, breaking the tiger down into smaller pieces and parts. I love teaching this way; the kids are able to take a complex image and piece it together. The smiles on their faces when the entire drawing comes to fruition is priceless. I live for those moments!

With my kindergartners, we stuck to using crayon. This made my life much easier. With first grade we used watercolor paints, which worked quite nicely, and we learned to use one color first (and do everything we needed to paint in that color before switching to the next). This also made my life much easier!

I did this lesson last year with my kids and definitely plan to do it again this year!