Thursday, February 28, 2013

Peacock Parade!

Isn't he adorable?
I will confess to being so obsessed with this lesson the first year I did it, that I saw peacocks (real, live ones) everywhere I went.  I was taking my oldest daughter to her guitar lessons and saw one along the side of the road, and she totally didn't believe me because I'd been talking about peacocks non-stop (on a later trip, along the same stretch of road, she saw it and apologized for her disbelief).  Anyway, this is a lesson I got from a book and adapted for my classroom (I think it was supposed to be in conjunction with a book, but I never found the book as interesting as the actual lesson).

So, first grade has been busy learning all about warm and cool colors, and this is sort of our culmination.  I tell them it's a "test."  We start our painting feathers together on 18 x 24 white paper that we've folded into fourths:

We start painting a U shape near the top of the paper with a warm color (students choose).
Then we fill the U shape with another warm color and circle it, then we circle again
with another/different warm color.  We add a neutral line from the warm circle and then use cool colors
for the lines coming from the neutral line, and cool colors along the top of the circle.

 We spend 1-2 class periods just painting feathers, but I never tell them that we're painting peacock feathers.  I just let them wonder about it for a while. Then, we paint the peacock body all together (this is when they figure out we're painting a peacock):
We also paint the peacock together, but students choose
which cool/warm/neutral color they want to use. 
We start with the eye, then the body, then add beak,
legs and feathers on the head.

 The final step is the cutting and gluing.  They have to work every minute of class to get it all done, and there's too many pieces to finish it next time.  This year, I finally got smart and wrote their names on their peacock bodies in Sharpie as they worked, alleviating me from having to rush and do it while they're putting them in the drying rack at the end. Some peacocks for your enjoyment:

Love how this one is looking back at his tail feathers.

We don't have time to cut around every single part of the feathers,
although this could be cut a little closer.

There's a definate personality here!
See how the feet look like high heels?

This one looks startled!

This lesson really lets everyone do a great job!

I do enjoy how the feathers fan out all around here.

Close up of a cutie face.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today I Feel . . .

Happy!  Second grade listens as I read Jamie Lee Curtis'  book Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day, and then we make self-portraits:

I read the first day, and the students draw with pencil.  The next time, we finish our drawing and trace with black glue (I use india ink mixed with glue in old glue bottles, so paint shirts are a MUST).  Those dry, and this year, I had them paint with biggie tempera blocks:

She feels silly!

I'm not sure--annoyed, maybe?

The final step is the background: bleeding tissue paper squares put on with watered-down glue applied with a sponge brush.  No matter what, these always make me happy and really brighten up our hallways!

Another silly one.

He LOVES tigers, and tries to put them in
whenever he can!

This looks just like her, even down to
the mole on her neck!

I don't know why, but I love the eyes on this one.

Love love LOVE the eyebrows!

Close up of the lovable eyebrow one.

I just think these are a great keepsake for families,
especially for them to remember the second-grade sweetness
when they're kids become teenagers (at least, it helps
some at my house).

I've had this lesson forever, I think I got it from Arts & Activities years ago?  Not sure, but still a great lesson!

This is the cover of Curtis' book.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Adaptive Class Every Day

We're a big school (over 1,000 students) and have a rather large life skills group (19-20ish) and we have them for 30 minutes of adaptive art, music or PE every single day.  That's a lot of lesson planning for that group.  I've had adaptive class my entire career, but I usually had them by themselves once a week, so all my ideas/old plans were used up by October.  This is where some serious googling and pinterest stalking comes in:

Thank you Pinterest!

Thanks again, Pinterest!

I'm not a teacher who does many holiday projects (OK, so I really don't do any holiday projects, I've got too much else to cover).  But for this group, I make an exception.  With Valentines Day (today) we've been working on a few projects, the overlapping tissue hearts (seen above, and also below) and a warm/cool weaving with overlaying hearts.  I will say that the weaving was a bit of a struggle to have the paras understand that the STUDENTS needing to be placing the weft, with para support (ie, holding up the warp). I was gone (to a meeting, I think) one day and came back to Obvious Para Work, or OPW, as I like to call it.

Students drew hearts with warm or cool colored crayons,
then painted over ( two different papers).
I cut the warp, students cut the weft and wove them.

Hearts were pre-cut and students colored with
oil pastel.

These hearts were also pre-cut.  My goal was to see how they overlapped,
 making sure they were gluing correctly, etc.
 A few groups added printing on top with the toilet-paper-roll
turned-into-a-heart trick, but not this group.

We've also done some non-holiday things, like our names (I drew their names, students cut them out and taped them to 12 x 18 paper) and collage faces.  (again, I drew the face, students used stickers, markers and ribbon to add details).  Here are some examples:

Name still on, AFTER student had fingerprint painted all around.

Name half off, just to see how it looks--we just used circles of masking tape for the taping.

Ryan really likes blue a LOT.

And Kyra always chooses pink if given the choice. 
The black is either earrings or hearing aides :-)

Love the nose on hers!

I'm sure there will be future posts on Adaptive ideas (mostly stolen off the internet) because there are never enough good ideas to go around.  I try to have cutting often, along with other fine-motor activities like gluing and painting, because it's something they all need to work on.
Oh! And ours are divided into three groups: high abilities, medium abilities and intense needs.  All of these photos are from the intense needs and medium abilities groups.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Magic Snowmen

Unlike some other areas of the country, we have gotten nearly NO snow this year.  Or last year.  The year before, we got lots.  All this no snow puts quite a damper on our snowman painting.  Thank goodness for this book: Snowmen All Year by Caralyn Buehner.

Snowmen All Year

I read this book to kindergarten one class period, and had them draw their snowman large on their paper.  The premise of the book is What if it were magic snow and the snowman could stay with you all year?  You could play in the yard with him! You could teach him to swim! You could go trick-or-treating together! You might know the author for one of her other books, Snowmen At Night.  

The first day, I have them draw JUST the three circles (like they've built the snowman but haven't added all the "extras" yet).  Then they trace it with glue:

Sorry for how hard it is to see--it's hard to photograph
white glue on white paper!
The next time they came to art they drew with pencil all the details of their snowman, as well as themselves and the background (I wanted them to be creative with where they were with their snowmen and what they were doing):

The final day or two was spent painting (with tempera blocks) all the beautiful colors on their papers.  I had to remind them over and over that snow is WHITE, so that part should be left unpainted.  Here are some of my favorites:

This snowman is in the water on a warm summer day.
The student is on the floaty on the right.

Snowman in the yard with the child on
a nice warm day.

This one might be at school with the student?  Sometimes
it's hard to tell, but that doesn't make it any less adorable.

Another outside-on-a-warm-summer-day one.

There were many more cute ones, but so often they decided to paint their snowmen green or red and then they got "lost" in the painting.  One of my favorites was a snowman at the movies with the child!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Paper Molas in Fourth Grade

My fourth graders have been deep in a Mexican crafts unit.  Many things we made I didn't get around to photographing (ceramic Oaxaca creatures, tinwork, Papel Amate) but I did take the time to photograph our latest work: molas.  Based on the molas of the Kuna people of the San Blas islands, we really work to make them colorful:

Each student makes two.  They're given two 9 x 12 black papers and choose THREE 6 x 9 different colors of constuction paper.  They glue two of their 6 x 9 papers, and keep one loose. They then draw the outline or shadow of an animal/creature on the loose paper and cut it our all in one piece:

This is a student who was sick and absent a lot, so hers is unfinished.
 They then put the positive image on one paper, and the negative on the other one.  Then they use a variety of colored paper to add shapes and details.  I tell them to "cheat" and cut two different colors of paper at once, so they get twice as many shapes for their work.

A close-up of her zebra.

Here you can really see that he cut the green and blue
grass shapes at the same time.
These are always so successful for students, (as the whole Mexican craft unit is, I'll really have to remember to photograph their other crafts next year).  Now, we're moving on to George Catlin and Native America.

One final one, (I couldn't resist!) he's a truly delightful
special needs student who makes us all smile every day.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ceramic Garden Project

So, this isn't something I did with students.  Although, I suppose you could.  See, my husband and I go to support group.  It's a group NO ONE wants to be in: a group for those of us who've lost a baby through stillbirth (check), miscarriage (check), or infant death (thank God, no check). And every year we have a holiday or post-holiday party.  We all bring something for everyone else to remember their babies (a Christmas ornament, little memento for the house, etc).  This year, I decided to make garden ornaments:

Most of them turned out exactly as I wanted.  The metal piece is some sort of roofing/tressle thing from Home Depot.  They cost 53 cents each.  I used leftover clay, rolling into slabs, then pressed pasta letters in and rolled a teeny bit more.  I then used a straw to make the holes, let them dry under books (to prevent warping while drying).  Fired, dipped in glaze, re-fired and wired to the metal (which already has the holes).  More photos:

I wrapped them all in simple brown craft paper and wrote who they were to with marker.  Unfortunately, Bad Kitty ripped several of them open overnight (we have Good Kitty, Old Kitty and Bad Kitty--good thing they're all cute).  Our party is tonight, so I'll be doing some re-wrapping this afternoon.
I was in a bit of a time-crunch waiting for people to RSVP, so I have NO TIME for re-dos, but I don't really like how the green glaze was so thick it pooled and didn't fill in the letters:
Oh, well, it's the thought that counts, I guess.  And there's nothing but warm thoughts and prayers for healing behind them.
I do think I'd make more of these.  They were fun, and easy and there's so many possibilities: for my vegetable garden, memorials for others (maybe in my Etsy shop?!), adding stamps (I thought I had a butterfly stamp for these, but I couldn't find it).  I'm sure all you creative art teachers could come up with so many other ideas around this.

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