Tuesday, April 17, 2012

shape tigers

One of the things I love MOST about my job is when a kid "gets it"...and has an "OMG! THIS IS AWESOME and SOO EASY" moment in Art. There are so many times I hear "I can't draw a tiger, I can't make this, Art is so hard for me" that I start to re-evaluate my teaching(s) and lesson plans.

In Kindergarten, I like to use fool-proof lesson plans, and this was a new one that they LOVED!

This was my inspiration, found on Pinterest. I love the cartoon-y look of the cat!

I started out with the students making a giant X in black crayon on the paper. We went from there filling in facial features, stripes, and watercolor painting the background.

I think if I could teach a grade of Art forever, it'd be Kindergarten. They are just so honest about their artwork and savor and adore every little thing they learn and create!!!

I also love their different interpretations of the exact same set of instructions!

We are making work that reflects their Science curriculum right now, which is HABITAT. We added the leaves along the perimeter to frame out the work and add a habitat.

Aren't these SO sweet?!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

it's the most wonderful time of the year....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

5:30pm - 7pm

Music from the YOUNG AMERICANS

Music from the Gator Band

Artwork by Greater Garden Gators

Hope to see you there!

using digital cameras in your classroom

In my "other" life, I am a photographer...and on our Spring Break Cruise my camera failed me. Luckily, my three year old was snapping away with his inexpensive point and shoot and he captured (the above photo! LOVE!) some great memories from our trip.

I have used throw-away-old-school cameras with my kids on field trips, giving them scavenger hunts to photograph and capture momentos along the way. They love it, and I love seeing what they come up with!

Today's post on our collaborative blog PreK and K Sharing, I write about using cameras in the classroom and giving kids direction as they snap away. Head on over and check it out!

Friday, April 6, 2012

bottlecap snakes

This project was...
...honestly the most fun my Kindergartners have EVER had making a project.
...their "most favoritest project in the world"
...an insane amount of prep for me, but worth every minute
...good for putting a HUGE dent in my stash of soda bottle caps!

A few years ago I asked students to save bottlecaps. I had millions of them, and I stored them. Why? Because I am an art supply hoarder.
I had this brilliant idea to make snakes out of them, so I had my husband painstakingly drill holes in (not kidding, really) about 3,000 of them.
Yes, we are still married. Yes, he still speaks to me.

1 piece floral wire, about 20" long
pre-drilled bottlecaps
various pony beads
various sized buttons
"googly" eyes
wire-cutters (optional---we used scissors)

To start, I had each student tie a knot at the end of their wire. They then used 8 beads to string on and make the tongue.

We then re-examined PATTERN and how we could use pattern to make our snake. Each student had 20 bottlecaps and strung them on in an A,B,A,B pattern. You can see in the picture above, it is important to string them on upside-down. You will see this at the end, as you have to glue the eyes on the top of the lid (it will make sense, I promise!)

When you get to the last bottlecap (#20), you must put it on backwards. This is the back of the snake. Next, it's time to make the "rattler". We do this using buttons! Students choose 8 buttons and sort them from largest to smallest. They then string them on large to small (so it looks like a rattle), tie a knot to end the snake, and clip any remaining wire off.

I gave them some colored Sharpies to color patterns or lines on the white bottlecaps.

See the front of this snake? This is the direction you must string them on so you can glue the eyes on. Not really sure why this student insisted on making black eyes, but whatever!

They named them and played with them. They absolutely LOVED this project, I am NOT kidding! This is the perfect project for Earth Day, or a thematic unit on repurposing products. The kids came in the next week and told me how they had made things at home out of toilet paper rolls and masking tape. I love hearing that kind of stuff, because that tells me they were excited about something we did! You can't hear that enough, right?!

If you are inspired and start asking your students to bring in bottlecaps, BE YE PREPARED! They will come in droves (especially if you make a prototype and show them what they will be making!)

Happy Creating!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Alma Woodsey Thomas Paint Chip Collages

Iris, Tulips, Jonquils, and Crocuses by Alma Woodsey Thomas

Recently I was introduced to the life and work of southern artist Alma Woodsey Thomas. She was a highly-educated former art teacher who used tiny brushstrokes to create exciting works of art that seemed to move in front of you! For more information on her life and work (as well as how her artwork didn't make it into the White House, you can read here).

My fifth graders used cut-up pieces of paint chip samples and I let them make whatever design they wished. This project proved tedious, but it was PERFECT for some antsy fifth graders!

Over at the Clever Feather she had them do replicas of Thomas' Eclipse, which were beautiful!

Not only was this a study of beautiful artwork, it was a study about a beautiful woman. The kids knew she was born and raised at a time when blacks weren't "considered human" (their words, not mine), and were in awe of her perserverence, education, and determination to "make it". This is a story they can't hear enough.

This project has been featured on Red Ted's Art Blog as a part of her feature on teaching children about famous artists post. It is a wonderful resource, please head on over and check it out!


Giant Rafflesia

Did you know? The Rafflesia is the largest flower in the rainforest! It is also VERY stinky. I didn't know this until my first graders told me and I decided to investigate....they're so smart!

First grade does a unit on the Rainforest that coincides with Earth Day each year. I love that they still do thematic units so I usually hop on board and make art with them that matches their curriculum. THEY LOVE IT (and so do the teachers!)

These are simple flowers that use lots of construction paper, and you can pretty much see how they were constructed, so I'm not going to leave a tutorial....

We used a lot fringing techniques for the leaves and centers of the flowers...and crumpled tissue paper for the seeds.

We used 12x18 papers for the flowers and 18x24 black paper to mount them on. This year I've been doing a ton of projects on very large scale and the kids are loving it!

Look for more Rainforest projects soon!