Friday, May 27, 2011

Splashes of Color- My Examples

My examples show two different approaches to this project, you can read more about it by checking out the previous post: Splashes of Color.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kindergarten Cats in the Hat

Another lesson that I'm "behind" in posting, Kindergarten students learned how to draw the Cat in the Hat and used their imaginations to make these drawings in honor of Dr.Seuss's birthday.  First, we did a "follow the leader" drawing for the Cat in the Hat (from hat to bow).  I approached it like a game so before we started I asked the students if they would quit playing basketball if they missed a shot.  They said no so I told them if they made a mistake when drawing, they should just try to fix it then keep going.  After the drawings were laid out, I used my stuffed Cat in the Hat to help the students see where the colors go if they wanted to make their drawings look realistic.  I told the students they did not have to use the real colors.  We talked about how Dr.Seuss was not just an author but also an artist who had a great imagination.  With the remaining class time, I asked the students to use their imaginations to add to their drawings.  Some added other Dr.Seuss books or characters, some just made cool designs.  

Here is a sample of some of the projects:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kindergarten Does Dine

I needed a quick project for Kindergarten waaaay back in February.  I wanted to do something with hearts to correlate with Hoops for Heart/Jump Rope for Heart the kids were doing in PE.  I managed to do this whole project without mentioning Valentine's Day, I just reminded the students in February we talk about having healthy hearts!
I have seen lots and lots and lots of lessons on Jim Dine so I tried not to look back at the lessons others have used, I wanted to try to come up with my own version.  I did an image search for Jim Dine hearts and the students and I looked at several examples, focusing on the texture he often creates in his artwork.  After the introduction on the first day, I let the students choose a piece of 6x9 inch construction paper in a cool color.  I put markers and crayons at each table and after introducing cool colors, the tables worked together to separate the cool colored supplies.  (I did double check to make sure they didn't have warm colors mixed in.)

Next, I asked the students to do something that I have never ever asked them to do before.

I asked them to scribble all over their papers!  I showed the students that scribbling was going to create really cool visual texture on their papers.  I didn't expect it but I actually had some students resist scribbling.

"But our moms and dads won't like it!"

I promised the students that scribbling was just going to be one part of the project, to create texture, and that we were going to add to the artwork in the next class.  The students scribbled with markers for a few minutes until I told them to stop and then scribbled with crayons on top of that.  I didn't let students finish the scribbling early, though some told me they were done a few times.  I said that the more layers of scribbles, the more interesting the project would look.

In the second class, I passed out paper cut the same size as the scribble drawings.  This is a great time to use up old, faded construction paper!  I showed the students how to fold the paper "hotdog" style, and then demonstrated drawing a candy cane shape starting on the crease and ending on the crease.  The students drew the candy cane (half a heart) with pencil and I checked it to make sure that 1- it was drawn  on the crease not the open side, and 2- it was big enough.  A lot of my students tend to draw really, really tiny, and I knew they would have a hard time cutting a tiny shape and be sad when their hearts were too small to show up on the finished artwork.  Since the students drew in pencil, I used a sharpie to help them fix the shape, if needed, so they could see the new line to cut on.  We were going to use the paper as a stencil to make a heart.  

After the students cut along their lines, many thought the heart shaped paper was the important part and started to throw away the piece we really needed, the rectangle with the heart-shaped hole in it so I had to really watch them!  I asked them to set the heart aside and put the stencil on top of their scribble paper.  I had placed a tray of red tempera paint at each table and showed the class how to brush the paint in towards the middle of the heart so paint would not end up under the paper.  I think I taped the stencil paper down for a few students who were struggling, but most just held it down with one hand and the brush in the other.  On my example, I pointed out how leaving some brush strokes and letting the scribbles show through created even more texture.  When students finished, they brought their papers to me to put on the drying rack, folded their stencils and threw them away, then I let them decorate the hearts that were cut out with crayons until the other students were finished.

I might do this project again next year.  When researching Jim Dine, I was most interested in his drawings of tools.  I decided to do a project with 5th grade inspired by those drawings.  That lesson is coming soon, since "soon" is a relative term!  I still have a bunch of lessons to post so even though after Friday I won't go back to school for approximately 80 days, I will still be blogging this summer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Last Day of School- and is Blogger being weird with anyone else?

Today is the last day with students!  We have the K-3 talent show coming up in about an hour.  I've had most of my classes today so we are doing stations.  At each table I have a different activity and depending on how talkative the students are when I'm giving directions, they have 5-7 minutes at each station.

Orange table- free draw, one piece of paper, anything nice for school.
Blue table- play-doh sculptures
Green table- big piece of paper, every student adds to the collaborative drawing
Yellow table- making pictures out of geometric shape tiles

Also, is Blogger being weird with anyone else?  I'm obviously logged in, I see all the blogs I follow, but when I try to comment, it keeps making me log in (like every time I hit post comment) then shows up that I'm posting as "anonymous".  Then I don't even know if the comment is going through!  It's kind of annoying.  I like to comment when I can to support other bloggers and let them know we are paying attention to what they are writing!  Just curious if anybody else is having this problem.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Splashes of Color

The SCED class at my 4-6th grade school comes to Art separately.  I really enjoy it because there are only 6-8 students so we have the freedom to try some things that might not work as well with a full-size class.

I ordered some droppers for watered down paint last fall and wanted to try them out.  I have 6 tables in the Art room at that school so I put one color of watered down paint at each table (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet).  I put one student at each table and gave them a straw and a 12x18 inch piece of white paper.  I allowed a few minutes at each table for the students to drop paint on their paper and blow it around with the straw.  I showed the students before they started that they can get different results by how they blow the paint around through the straw.  

Both in this class and in 1st grade when we blew branches for the bird nest lesson, I had to teach students how to just blow air through a straw.  Some had a hard time not spitting through it (gross.)  Guess they never learned how to blow bubbles in their drinks!

After a couple minutes, I had the students take their papers and straws and rotate to another table until they had had a chance to use each color.  Even though I KNOW we have talked about color theory a lot, I still had students who were so excited to discover what happens when paint colors mix!  I tried to stay out of what they were saying until I heard something like "yellow and green make orange!" when I felt I had to step in and point out that lots of colors had just gotten mixed together to create that color.  I think I might try this project again some time and only put out the primary colors.

On the 2nd and 3rd days, I told the students we were going to experiment with adding ink to the paintings.  I had tried out two different approaches on my test.  First, I tried using a skinny sharpie to trace around every little change in color and value.  Next, I tried using the sharpie to trace around the negative space.  I liked the results from both approaches so I showed the students both and they picked one or tried a mixture.  By the third class (2nd with ink,) some of the students were ready to quite even though they weren't finished but boy, some could have worked on it all semester!

This student asked if he could cut it out- I said sure, let's try it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

5th Grade Clotheslines

Last year my 5th grade students voted for this project as their favorite of the year!  I decided it was definitely a keeper.  This was a 2-class period project.

Short description: 5th grade students made mixed media pictures of clothes on a clothesline. First, the students learned how to paint a monochromatic (one color) sky and glued on a yarn clothesline about 1/3 of the way down from the top. In the next class, the students learned that clothing designers have careers in art. Then the students cut miniature pieces of clothing from real fabric and glued them to the background. Buttons and yarn were available for embellishment.

On the first day, we talked about careers in Art and how clothing designers think about line, shape, color, and the other elements of art when designing clothes.  We also talked about how your clothes can show your personality, style, interests, and even your career.  I pointed out that our principal usually wears a nice shirt and tie and I usually wear a paint-covered apron.  Police officers, doctors, athletes, servicemen and women and lots of other people where clothes that work for their jobs.  After the discussion, I explained the project: make a clothesline with clothes on it that show your personality and maybe what you want to be when you grow up.  

I showed the students how to paint a simple sky using tempera paints and how to glue yarn down for the clothesline.  We used a really dense cardboard/fiberboard kind of material for the background last year.  This year we used some thin cardboard pieces, about 8x10 inches, that somebody donated.  I gave each table blue and white tempera and showed the students how to mix a little bit of white in the sky and dab white paint to make clouds without over blending.  I used to have a mental block on clouds because I tried to make them look "perfect".  Now that I am more relaxed not only do I enjoy painting clouds more, they look better.  I suggested gluing the yarn for the clotheslines about 1/3 of the way down from the top.  (Yeah for fractions!)  If you were super organized, you could have every student glue the yarn the same distance from the top so it would form one giant clothesline in the hallway.  I had precut yarn in several colors that was a few inches longer than the boards were wide.  (We taped the extra on the back in the second class so that it wouldn't fray and didn't have to be cut the exact right size.)

The boys were obsessed with adding socks and boxers!
 In the second class, the students cut miniature clothes from fabric and glued them to their backgrounds.  The students could choose whether to glue the clothes flat or raised off the surface.

At the end of class, they cut thin strips of brown paper to look like clothespins.  The students tend to cut out really tiny clothes so I had to give several reminders about scale and how it affects the composition.

Some teachers and my wonderful mom donated fabric scraps and I had saved old shirts and jeans to use the fabric.  If you really want to impress your students, make a small cut in the fabric and rip it with your hands.  They said I was like the Hulk!  The boys especially liked when I cut and ripped my husbands old jeans.  I also had some ribbon and buttons that the students could add for embellishment.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Clay Projects

Here is a little recap of the clay projects I did with my K-3rd students in the last couple of weeks.

Kindergarten- Knee Bowls
I got this idea from one of the other Art teachers in my district.  I showed the students how to make slabs then they formed them over their knees to make bowls.

First Grade- Pinch Pot Turtles
I first saw this idea on Deep Space Sparkle done with 4th grade students.  I wanted an animal project for 1st grade since they spend quite a bit of time covering animals in science and I needed it to be a pretty sturdy project to give it a decent shot at making it home in one piece.  This worked pretty well with my students.  We made pinch pots, attached legs and heads using the Three S's: score, slip, squish.  (THANK YOU to whoever posted about this, I'm sorry I can't remember you!)  We also added a 4th S for "smooth."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

1st Grade Tornado Safety

When I was standing in the hallway during a tornado drill (very important here in Kansas) thinking about how my students are fascinated by tornadoes, I decided to try my tornado safety lesson from last spring again, only reworked.  Last year the lesson was strictly collage, this year I went with a mixed media approach.

Day 1: Review tornado safety, read the tips I compiled after viewing kids' weather websites (two good ones: Weather WizKids and FEMA for Kids), tell the students they are going to be making artwork with tornadoes in it, quiet the cheers, continue with the lesson!  On the first day, after reviewing geometric shapes, I remind the students that shapes can be combined to make pictures of other things.  I ask the students to paint squares or rectangles touching the bottom of their gray construction paper and then cut and glue newspaper triangles to make roofs.  

I can't remember where I saw this idea, but we used magazine papers as palettes.  I was able to give each student their own squirt of paint in each of the primary colors so they could mix their own colors to make the houses.  This worked great and I will definitely use the idea again!  I gave everybody a squirt of one color at a time before I started a rotation with the next color.  When they were done, magazine pages were folded in half and thrown away!

Day 2: I reviewed organic shapes and told the students that tornadoes have organic shapes.  I gave each student a 9x6 inch piece of black construction paper and showed them how to tear a tornado shape.  I pointed out that tornadoes are usually wider at the top and skinnier at the bottom.  I tore my tornado and then messed it up on purpose so I could show the students how to fix it if they made a mistake.  I told them not to be afraid of trying something new.  Nobody got a new piece of paper because it was impossible to mess it up!  Lots of chanting (by me and other students) of "If you make a mistake, make it great!)  After the tornado shapes were glued down, I gave each student a preprinted sentence that said one of the safety tips we covered on the first day.  Students cut the words apart and glued down on their tornadoes.  I stressed the importance of reading the sentence before they cut the words apart so it was easy to keep them in the right order.

I didn't have the students write their own tips honestly because I was afraid of them writing safety tips that would not really be good things to do during a tornado.  Next year I will ask the first grade teachers if/when they cover weather in science to see if they could have the kids write a safety tip in the classroom to incorporate in their art projects.  I gave the longer sentences to the students who I thought could handle more words.  After the words were glued down, the students added storm details with crayon.

Our Tornado Safety Tips

  • Stay alert about dangerous weather.
  • Have a plan for what to do in a tornado.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Go to a basement or interior room.
  • If you are in a car, get out and seek shelter.
  • If you can't get inside, find a ditch, lie down, and cover your head.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

4th Grade Shape Paintings

Last year I had all my 4-6th grade students vote on their favorite projects to help me decide which ones were "keepers".  My 4th grade students voted for Geometric Shape Op Art (click on the link to see last year's projects) and landscape paintings that blended watercolors and had salt sprinkled on it to make bright colors with cool texture.  I wasn't totally satisfied with either project.  The landscape idea came from my cooperating teacher during student teaching and though I changed it a little bit and loved the bright, finished paintings, I thought it was lacking.  The Op Art project was very frustrating and didn't turn out the best even though I felt I had good intentions of covering lots of material- shape, complementary colors, math tie in, etc.  I decided to combine the two projects and I am much happier with it!

I got a list of the geometric shapes that are on the 4th grade math assessment to start.  I printed the shapes off on colored card stock, laminated, and cut so that each table would have a set of tracers.  I also had compasses available to make larger circles.  At the beginning of the first class, we reviewed organic and geometric shapes and the students named the geometric shapes as I held them up in the air.  I explained the first step: trace geometric shapes on your paper to create an interesting composition with overlapping.  The students traced with pencil then traced the pencil with fine point sharpies.  I was looking at the drawings and saw something that would become a problem with the next step- the negative space was one giant shape!  I had the students get rulers and use the straight edge to make 3 or 4 lines at different angles go clear across their paper.

On day 2, I introduced analagous colors.  I showed the students the colors that are next to each other on the color wheel are also next to each other in the watercolor paint trays.  I spent a couple minutes quizzing them to check for understanding.
Iif you are only using analgous colors would you ever use red and green?
If you are using orange, what two colors could you combine with it?

I pointed out how new shapes are created when the geometric shapes or lines overlapped.  I told the students that each shape should have two analagous colors in it.  I demonstrated carefully painting in half of a shape and then while the paint was still wet, painting the other half with an analagous color so that they would blend in the middle.  I showed the students how to sprinkle a TINY bit of salt on the wet paint to create a texture.  They always think it's like magic to see the salt soak up the paint.  I suggested that the students skip around their paper instead of painting shapes that were touching for two reasons.  1- That gives the paint a chance to dry so colors don't bleed into other shapes.  2- It's one of my "artist tricks".  If you run out of time and things are balanced, it looks like it's on purpose.  If you run out of time and one half is painted and the other half is empty, it's obvious that you ran out of time!

I was only planning on 2 classes for this project but had to add another one.  Some students achieved a nice balance between the colored and white spaces but most did not and they looked unfinished.  About 2/3 of the students were able to get every shape painted in the 2nd class.  Learned helplessness is a big problem at my school.  We have discussed it as a staff and try things like encouraging the students to see what others are doing bore they ask the teacher for help.  I had lots and lots of students coming up to ask me if two colors were ok to use together after we spent a good amount of time on it.  I didn't want to just say yes or no, I wanted the studnets to figure it out!  I started asking them "Are they next to each other on the color wheel?"  Then they would go look and get to work.

I have one 4th grader who is quite a character. He LOVES Art (last year he asked me every single time he came to class if we were going to do an Art contest!) but is not the best at following directions or using good craftsmanship. Needless to say, he kind of struggled with this project.  I also had a student turn his wet painting totally sideways up in the air to show me.  He learned cause and effect as his paint blurred together and dripped down his paper!