Monday, November 28, 2011

The Coke Bears

My Second graders have been discussing different careers that would require some Art knowledge and they are totally enlightening themselves! They are realizing that MANY, MANY careers out there require some knowledge of color, graphics, design, etc. It's so fun to see their little minds work!

I heard recently that Coke was putting out new Coke cans for the Holiday Season which would be white with polar bears on them, and a portion of the proceeds from these special cans would go toward protecting the polar bears. To my kids, it's just another Coke can. After today, though, I really hope they realized that someone designed that can, probably someone with an artistic bone in their body.

The Coke polar bear campaign has been around since 1922! Over the years the commercials and print ads have really evolved...but this is an ad that my students can relate to! So today, after reading about the lore of the Coke polar bears, we whipped up some of our own. We used 12x18 blue paper and styrofoam printing paper. The kids drew their polar bear onto the styrofoam and printed it. We used the leftover styrofoam to make small nose, eye, and mouth stamps. Lastly, we used fabric scraps to make a scarf. I had a bunch of kids that wanted to "dress them up" even more, so I may just let them go to town next week with the fabric and yarn bins and see what they come up with!

Here is an example of the bears before I give them artistic license next week! I will be sure to post some "after" pictures, too!

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Embracing" Handprint Art

I was recently told on my Artsonia site by an anonymous commenter "If I see another piece of handprint art I'm going to SCREAM"! What are your thoughts? Do you utilize your Kindergartner's (or other levels') handprints to create artwork? Do you feel that sometimes you should forego standards and benchmarks and just make art for "arts sake"?

I have my thoughts spelled out in a post that I write for a blog called PreK and K Sharing ( . Come on over and see what I have to say!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

mixed-media owls

I am on such an owl-kick this year it's not even funny. How many differnt ways can you make an owl? Don't answer that (but if you have an awesome owl lesson, I'd love you to link it in the comments section so we can all see!)

I made these little ditties with my first graders, who needed a quick-fall-ish-fill-in-a-day project before Thanksgiving break.

I've mentioned before my addiction to hoarding everything I rounded up some corrugated paper, some origami paper, pipe cleaners and feathers and the kids went to town!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

back to basics

Florida isn't really known for it's fact our seasons are centered around footwear. We have flip-flop season (aka March-December) and close-toed-shoe season (January and February). Of course half of us crazy Floridians wear sandals all year round!

That being said, I can't tell you how many of my kiddos have never even seen a leaf fall off a tree (or knew that leaves changed colors in the fall). I had a colleage head up to her rental home in New Hampshire and asked her to bring me back a box of leaves. She was perplexed (she never knows what my intentions are half the time! Ha!) but obliged....

Sometimes I like to get creative with art projects, but sometimes the tried-and-true art projects are just as students just LOVED making their leaf rubbings. I didn't give them any color scheme(s) to work with, I just let them explore and they had a GREAT time! I love that sometimes with art it's not necessary to reinvent the wheel, even though we all try to.

Happy Fall, ya'all!

Friday, November 11, 2011

circle, circle, dot, dot weavings

These were some simple weavings with 1" strips and some 1/2" strips glued on every other one.

Yes, I pre-cut their paper looms for them.
Yes, I realize I'm crazy. I've learned my lesson over the years, though, because watching some students cut looms is A.G.O.N.I.Z.I.N.G. It doesn't matter how many different ways I show them, measure them, etc half of them end up being a total disaster.

The result of my labors? 100% perfect results from EVERY.SINGLE.STUDENT, which to a first grader, is what makes the world go 'round. Their beaming faces after completion make my world go 'round!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

luli sanchez dot paintings

I was so inspired by the beautiful fabrics that Luli Sanchez ( makes! They are so simple and understated, but the simple geometric patterns were a great "jumping off point" for some upcycled bottle cap printing done by my fourth graders!

*Recently I was cited by the Fire Marshall for storage in my classroom. I hoard stuff BIG TIME in case my budget doesn't add up, which will probably be the case in the near future! Alas, I decided to dip into my bottlecap stash and that is what we used for the dots (the back sides) and the circles (the bottoms) for this project!

I gave them each 4 colors of paint. They printed the backs (dots) first in rows across and down their papers. On day 2 we printed the circles (rings) in empty spaces and on the tops of the dots in some cases. Sometimes there were distinct rows of circles and dots, and sometimes things got a little confusing. Either way, they turned out GREAT!

One hang-up some of my kids had were the imperfections some of the stamps made. Many of them wanted to have complete circles....but after looking at Luli's "professional" work, they embraced their imperfections, too.
I have lots more to photograph and add...I will do another post with a photobomb later!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Recycled CD Fish

Another "recycling" project, this one is pretty self-explanatory...we used old programming CD's and scratched DVD's to create the body of the fish. The fins and other "body" parts are made out of Wonderfoam! Lastly, we added jewels and sequins (if desired) to the CD to make it even more (as one of my kids said) "glitzy".

I will have to take a picture of the display for these guys in our display fun!

Friday, November 4, 2011

circle painting

We were asked to complete a 10-foot panel for a Principal's luncheon with the ACE (Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County) recently which needed to depict the art form of "Media Arts"...of which I do very little. I do not have a bank of computers or iPads (YET!!!) so we needed to get creative with our approach! I decided to do this special project with a group of 6 2nd grade self-contained ESE students. We watched a video on Circle Painting ( and went to town creating our large panel (pictured above). I also added the words "Media Arts", our school name, and the website name. It hung in my classroom for a week or so before I had to surrender it to the ACE.

The logistics of that project were simple, and because I only had 6 kiddos working on it it was even EASIER! I had 12 colors of paint. I assigned each student one color of paint, and they had 2 minutes to paint circles. After 3 minutes they handed the paint to the person to their right until we had gone through all the paint colors!

The following week I gave each of them their own large paper (18x24) and did the same thing with the paints and brushes so they could make their own paintings. These are currently hanging in my room and they look amazing!

While I realize that circle paintings are supposed to be group efforts, I was glad they were able to create a panel of their own. They are SO stinkin' proud of their work (and so am I!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

radial weaving on CD's

I've been doing my best this year to pare back and try to teach kids that art isn't all about expensive supplies from expensive art stores. Sometimes the most beautiful art is made out of things that we have right in front of us! Enter the CD mandalas! I was given a huge stack of iMac CD's a few years ago that I knew I wanted for something.

We used some simple loom string to create the "loom". You tie the end off (around the CD) and just go 'round and 'round and 'round (it is VERY important that you have an odd number of warps! We've found that 11 or 13 warps fit nicely!)

I don't have my students tie ANYTHING, not even the selvedge edges of their weft threads. we just let them hang out and make sure the weaving is nice and tight. At the end of the project we just cut them off.

For this project I made sure that my students had SOME kind of direction as far as color choices. They were: monochromatic, gray scale, hot colors, or cool colors. I hate when kids do beautiful weavings and have the most bizarre color combinations like lime green, red, and periwinkle. Bleck!

The "yucky" part of the CD (the part with the writing on it) is the backside. The shiny part is the front of the loom. Some of my kids did theirs backwards on accident, but since the weaving covers up most of the cd and only shows the edges, they still looked nice.

Not only does this project focus on the creation of a woven mandala, when you put display all the CD's next to each other, it's also a great way to talk about how colors play off of each other, as in Kandinsky's Study of Concentric Circles.

When all of my students are finished with their weavings, we plan to display them as a full unit(yes, all 125 of them!) I sure hope it's as impressive in person as it is in my mind!! You can see more of these beautiful weavings on on "Make it...a Wonderful Life" here

Happy weaving!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

kinder owls

I don't know about you, but I have a really hard time with Kindergarten, so when I see a do-able lesson for my little guys, I pounce on it! I found these cute owls on Pinterest, and I think someone had found them from Mrs. Brown.

I gave each student a 12x18 piece of gray paper, and 3 strips of 1.5"x18" brown(s)---light brown, medium brown, and dark brown. They tore the strips into smaller pieces and put them in piles on their tables. This is a GREAT fine-motor skill! We also practiced using little dabs of glue to hold the feathers in place. Of course with my new tap caps this is working BEAUTIFULLY!!! We also practiced making eyes that were the same size by folding our paper and cutting two pieces at once.

Because I have some pretty speedy kiddos, I had the ones that finished working first practice making stars in their skies. (***GREAT "star" trick---have them make a capital A with a long stick across the middle....then criss-cross, and criss-cross, and you have a perfect STAR!)

I have some more owl projects coming this week---they have such personality!