Friday, January 30, 2015

Well, That Was Downright Terrible

I had this great idea to combine printmaking and radial symmetry with third grade.  We were talking about Stonehenge, and I have this marker/crayon symmetry lesson that I've done forever, and everyone's successful with it (but for some reason I've never blogged about it).  Because I was tired of it, I decided to branch out and try something new.  It flopped.  Big time.  Here's my example, that I did step-by-step in front of my third graders:

We used leftover 3" x 3" styrofoam and markers on 9"x9" paper.  And this is the work my third graders produced:

I tried so many different suggestions and techniques, and they really didn't get any better:

This is one that I had to put back in the drawer and take a break from.  We're using the Egypt kit from the art museum right now and experimenting with Egypt paste that looks like it's from the year 1980 (more on that to come).  I shared the horrendousness of this marker symmetry printmaking lesson gone wrong with another art teacher and we both agree maybe they'd be ok (but not fabulous) as a background for something.  I've got some ideas, and if/when we get back to them I'll post an update.
Art teacher on, friends.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let's Make a Try for the Gates of Paradise, Shall We?

I teach three fifth grade classes.  Two at my "home" school and one at a different school in my district.  The three classes are not always at the same point (in the curriculum) at the same time, although I try to keep them in the same general theme.  I introduced four artists to my second school group (and I'll do it soon to my own school groups).  We learned about and took notes on Lorenzo Ghiberti, Leonardo da Vinci, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall.  The students at my second school really wanted to learn all about Leonardo, which isn't someone I usually cover because I feel like he's so well known, just google him or something.  But anyway, I gave them info on all four artists and used a quick-and-easy Smart Notebook file that you can get here.  Download the file named "daVinci Ghiberti Matisse Chagall." It's really just one slide per artist with examples of their work and a short video if I could find one.  Warning: the Leonardo video has some full-frontal male nudity via the vitruvian man.  So we spent a day learning and taking notes, and then we made our own versions of Ghiberti's "The Sacrifice of Isaac" that won him the doors commission.  I focused on Ghiberti's "The Gates of Paradise" for this lesson.

Although it's kind of hard to tell from the photos, we used the copper-colored metal tooling and gold brads to attach them to black paper.  I started by giving them a square piece of manilla paper (I think it was 6 x 6) and having them fold it twice (into a smaller square) and drawing a line like this:

After I checked to make sure it was in the right place, they cut it out so they had the correct shape and drew things important to them with pencil:

Her family, including the dog, is important to her, SO SWEET!

This boy really, really, REALLY loves the Beatles.
He tries to incorporate them into every single lesson.

They then put these papers on top of the metal tooling that was on a folded piece of felt (to make some pillow-type squishiness) and traced it with a wooden stylus.

I haven't had a chance to hang them up yet, but I am very happy with how they turned out.

Because I only had enough metal tooling for my class at the "other" school, my students at my regular school will be making stained glass windows with a lesson I learned from my friend Jeanette at conference several years ago.  Fifth graders at both schools will make mini art journals so they can draw all the time like da Vinci, and I'm going to suffer through one point perspective with both groups, then I have some lessons planned (collage for Matisse and a math/art lesson for Chagall).  It seems I'll be posting new fifth grade lessons for a while!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Does Anyone Like This?

I hate filling glue bottles. Like, hhhhhaaaaatttttttteeee it.  Makes me stumble around the room and whine about how much I hate it.  And I really like mundane things mostly (like I enjoy doing laundry, I'd not even mind doing other families laundry, I find it soothing). But I really don't like filling glue bottles.  I've learned to do it while I have students in the room, working on things that don't require much of my attention.  Because if I leave it for plan time or before or after school I flat-out won't do it.  I'll hang art work or email parents or plan for next week, and the glue bottles will stay empty. I filled some today because there's been lots-o-complain' that the glue bottles are [for the most part] empty.  So while first grade was working on cutting and gluing feathers on their owls, I filled the glue bottles you see in the photo. And put them back in the glue bin:

I keep the glue bottles separate from the table caddies.  When I didn't, glue always spilled out making molded crayon blobs.  Also I have some students who like to peel glue off the plastic of the glue bin because lets face it, it's fun to do.  So satisfying!  The glue pictured + 20 some odd bottles (which were in use by first grade) is how much I keep in my classroom at all times because we glue so often and bottles are always clogged or empty or whatever.  This just seems to be the number of bottles that works the best for me. There's also the small fact that I like a bin full of glue bottles, no half-empty green glue bin to look at (it would drive the OCD part of me nuts).
I felt all good about myself that I filled those bottles with very minimal complaining today, and left for the weekend with these sort of hands:

That's a sign of a creative day, friends! Art teachin', there's nothing better!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Art + Math Wins Again

This is one of those successful-for-everyone lessons.  LOOOOVVVVVEEEEE it!

Kindergarten started out by learning about Claude Monet, and you can get that one simple Smart Notebook file here.  I then passed out a 9 x 12 paper for each student, with their names already written on the back in the middle.  Students drew a lily pad with crayon, making sure to touch each side of the paper. I then gave each table yellow and blue paint and had them mix their own green to paint their lily pad.  

Love the variety of greens!
Once that was done, they brought me their wet painting and paint brush and picked up a 12 x 18 piece of construction paper with their name already on it in the corner.  I then gave them circles to trace with crayon in size order, which is, [apparently] a math concept they need to master in kindergarten.
The next time they came to art, they painted their circles warm colors:

When they were done painting, they handed me their wet painting and paint brush, then went and found their lily pad.  They cut out their lily pad, and their name remained showing because it had been written in the center of the paper.

The next time they came, they received their lily pad, all nicely cut out.  They then cut out one of their largest circles (they had two large ones drawn). They then fringed around the edges, bent the edges up and glued it to their lily pad, like this:

Then they found the next largest circle and did the same thing, gluing the smaller circle to the middle.

They continued adding circle layers until they ended up with these amazing lily pads:

Finally, I used a long-armed stapler to staple them to light blue paper for our pond.  I love every single one, even the ones with tiny lily pads or sloppily cut circles, each one is SPECTACULAR.

I'm pondering adding some koi fish to our ponds, but am currently undecided, what do you think?
I want a whole wall of these for the entry way at my house! Wouldn't that be amazing????

Friday, January 16, 2015

Forgot All About This One

Ever done this one? It was in Arts & Activities a few years ago.  I did it with second grade.  First we read Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella by Tony Johnston and James Warhola, and then we made these quilled bigfoot faces.  We used 2 inch by 18 inch construction paper for the quilling, so they're quiet large.  We glued two together (end-to-end) so the head strip is nearly 36 inches!

Fifth graders were on their way to band when I hung them up and kept saying how great they were.  My biggest problem was how to hang them--I ended up using yarn, as fishing line was too slippery.

Each one has such a distinct personality, and everyone was successful with this project. I think this lesson just got lost in the crowd of second grade lessons.  After 15 years of teaching, there's just too many wonderful ones to fit them all in every year, which is sooooo different from the first few years when I felt like I was scrambling for lessons every week/day/moment.  It's also a quick one, only taking two class periods, so I think I often thought 'we'll get to it later' only to run out of year before we got to it.
At any rate, I'm glad I remembered to pull this one out for second grade this year!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I'm Imagining a Nice Tropical Vacation

It's winter.  And by that, I mean: winter.  Like, below zero windchill here.  Too-cold-to-snow-here winter.  Ugh, ugh, UGH! So what's an art teacher to do?  Make some warm-ocean-tropical-beaches sorts of lessons, of course!  

Disclaimer: this is not my lesson.  This is Cheryl's.  She teaches at St. Paul's Episcopal Day School in Kansas City, Missouri, and she was kind enough to allow me to visit and observe one afternoon not long ago.  She and Shirley (her cohort) write many of their lessons up for Arts & Activities, so this might be one you've seen in that publication, but I saw it in her room.  She does it with kindergarten, I did it with second graders.
I started by having them draw 7-9 fish on a 9 x 12 piece of white paper.  No eyes, just fish.  Then they traced them with black permanent marker and colored them warm colors using neon crayons.  They then did a blue watercolor wash over them (sorry, no photos of this step, but I'm sure you have a vivid imagination).  Next they did their weavings using cool colors of paper.  Then they used construction paper to add sand and seaweed.  

Finally, they cut their warm fish out, added a google eye and bubbles (using the watercolor-painted paper).

In second grade, this was more of a review warm/cool/neutral colors and try our hands at weaving once again sort of lesson.  Beautiful AND educational, that's what I call a WIN! I'm sure I'll get many wish-I-were-there sort of comments when I hang these beauties up in the hall later today!

Pin It