Thursday, September 20, 2018

Hall Displays are Up and Running

While I love the "newness" of a new school year, I'm a typical artist/hoarder and dislike the blank blank walls.  I try to get student work up as soon as I can (and I've already taken some things down and replaced with another grade level).  Here's what the halls in my school look like now, on the sixth week of school:

Construction paper 'flips,' fifth grade, Matisse inspired.

Color wheel clowns, first grade.

George Caleb Bingham inspired landscape paintings, fourth grade.

More landscapes, I love the color mixing on the bottom left.

More construction paper flips, and
some kindergarten Mondrian lines further down the hall.

Dairy Delight Dogs, second grade

Lascaux inspired cave paintings, third grade
I've been trying to keep up with kindergarten, and we're doing color scheme giraffes.  When I was gluing them together to get ready to hang, I noticed this:

I don't know that I've ever seen a more prime example of a reason to re-teach  a concept in my life.  Good thing I've got six and half more years with them to get them to understand primary and secondary colors. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Kindergarten Inside Outside Texture Houses

How do I make it through kindergarten every year?  It's mid-September and I'm already wondering what to teach.  Their attention spans are just so short, I feel like I'm always struggling to stay one step ahead of them.  I'd written "Texture Neighborhood" in my planner and had my example out (draw houses and a street with marker, color with crayons and texture boards) but then I went to my other school and the art teacher there started showing me these houses that I had shared with art teachers in my district a few years ago.  Which I'd totally forgotten about, so I just crossed out neighborhood  and wrote "house" instead.

It is a fun one day lesson.  Each student received a folded 12 x 18 manilla paper, then chose a 9 x 12 color for their roof (choices were gray, black or brown).  Students had to fold those themselves, then use marker to draw one line from one corner to another (diagonally).  When they cut the line, they had one large and two small triangles.  They glued the large one on top to be the roof.  Then they used marker to draw things like windows and doors.  They could open their house and draw the inside:

I then explained texture and showed them the magic of texture boards.  It never ceases to amaze the kindergarten crowd!  Here are some more quick photos I took while they were working:

Why do they draw stick people? 
I thought it wasn't a developmental thing at this age.

It's always interesting to me the ones who don't really
understand the inside/outside concept.
While they would've looked amazing up in the hallway, I've already filled my allotted space up.  I let students take them home the same day they made them to brighten up their refrigerators at home.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Faux Stained Glass in Fifth Grade

This is a lesson I blogged about years ago, and you can read that post here.  My fifth graders are looking at/learning about Fauvism right now, and we did two little/quick Matisse lessons.  One was a construction paper "flip," and the other was a stained glass lesson:

Several things were different this time as opposed to years ago.  I learned that the pre-mixed black glue doesn't work for the peel off--it's too brittle.  And, student attention span seems to be shorter than ever.  (Or maybe I didn't give great directions????)
So, in case you didn't read the linked post, I had students do a pencil design on paper in their sketchbooks:

And then we laid overhead transparency film on top and traced the design with Sharpie, then black glue:

I rescued this one from the trash, so that's why it's a little beat up.
Finally, we added colored tissue paper with watered down glue:

This is the side students work on, which is essentially the back.

This student was unhappy that her glue line ran.

I really hope they all made them home in one piece and that they've got them up in their windows!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Student Well Being

Student well being is a rather odd title for a post about a third grade clay project.  Let me give you a little back story: last year, in September (the month we're in right now, as it were) a high school girl in our district committed suicide. With a firearm.  In the school bathroom.  It was shocking to our entire district and made every single one of us stop and think 'do I tell my students I care?' 'Do they all understand how important they are?'  
In my particular building, we had that student's youngest sister in fifth grade.  In the spring of last year, the fifth grade teacher (of the sister) died.  We also had another death last year (of another teacher's husband--it was so quick and unexpected).  It was a rough year, and we all needed extra lovin'.
With all of that backstory, if you're a regular blog reader of mine, you know that I never have a solid third grade clay project, and it's usually mid-May before I hurry up and have them make something out of clay. Last year I was overwhelmed with concern for my students and their emotional well being.  I wanted something tangible for them to know and see that they are great for being themselves. So, we used clay and monofilament to make these wind-chime-like things:

I had students brainstorm three words to describe themselves and write them in their sketchbooks.  We then rolled out clay slabs and cut them into four pieces.  We used those rubber texture things (what are those called???) on one side and alphabet pasta on the other.  They had to have their name on the top piece, then their three words.  I poked the holes as they turned them in, and fired them stacked, with their name on top.

Student work stacked and drying.

Pulled out of the kiln and ready to hand back.

I think I even strung them together before I gave them back to the students.  Then they used construction paper crayons and black cake tempera to add color.

This is a project I hope they have hanging somewhere in their home to see.  I do love them all (even the behavior challenges) and I don't ever want them to have tragic life endings.  
Say good things to yourselves, friends, that positive self talk is important!  And tell people good things too, the world can always use more niceness.

One final view of the back of the first one.

Monday, September 10, 2018

I've Become The Glue Nazi

Last year, I wrote about my upside down glue.  I love it and am never going back! Upside down glue is the way to go! 
I am way over the slime craze.  I can't even deal. I had several glue bottles taken last year (I'm sure to make slime), and I'm over it.  I wanted an organizational system so I could--at a glance--see what was missing.  I decided to paint my glue bottles to match my tables:

This summer, I did some research and experiments and found that if I sanded the glue bottles with 150 grit sandpaper, then taped and painted them, I could use my E6000 glue to add the magnets.

Painters tape applied at exactly the same spot on each bottle.
Pushed into an old foam cushion.
Painting in progress

After painting

I left them outside for an hour or so to fully dry.

Peeling the tape off.

Here they are hanging (I added color signs in rainbow order):

 I won't say it's perfect, here's how it looked after kindergarten the other day:

But it's so easy to snap back into place, and it's a system I'm loving.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Dairy Delight Dogs

This is a book that I've loved forever, ever since I bought it for my oldest daughter from a book order:

It's a sweet little story about a dog who decides an ice cream parlor should be his home.  I've wanted to use it in my art classroom for years, and decided this is the year!  Reviewing neutral colors is part of our second grade curriculum, so it fit in nicely.
To begin, students used their sketchbooks to draw things (with crayon) that were neutral in color.  They brainstormed and shared and drew.  Then I gave each student a 12 x 18 white paper and had them write their name in the corner with crayon.  While they were writing, I gave each student a single half-sheet of newspaper.  We drew large bumps with our crayon on our newspaper (for a dog body), cut them out and glued them onto our white paper.  Next we drew large rounded edged triangles on our newspaper (for the head) and cut them out and glued them on.  Finally, we drew small rounded-edge triangles (two of them, for ears), cut them out and glued them on.  Once everything was glued down, it was time to paint the background.  Students got paint shirts on and we reviewed correct painting techniques.  I gave each table yellow, turquoise and pink, giving students the choice of mixing colors for the background or painting one solid color straight from the bottle. Two classes had enough time to read Lisa Campbell Ernst's charming book at this point, before art was over for the day.
The next time students came to art, they got paint shirts on immediately and reviewed correct painting techniques again before painting their dogs:

This student wasn't there for the background painting day,
but it's still adorable.

 At this point, the personality of their painting style and dogs really started coming through!  The last class got to read the book at this point (and laughed at all the appropriate places).
The only thing left to do was to use oil pastel for details and give each one of our dogs their own ice cream cones.  For the past few years my sixth graders have made their own sketchbooks using cereal boxes, and I had lots of leftover pieces I put to use for making the ice cream cone.  Students used patterns I made to trace cone shapes on the brown side of the old cereal boxes and used oil pastel to add details:

Finally, students used Model Magic and Cloud Clay to make the "famous vanilla-chocolate swirl." I don't know what happens with Cloud Clay sometimes, but this is what my light brown looked like when I opened it:

It's super sticky and is reminiscent of baby poop.

I decided to open another package, and believe it or not, it was even worse.  I really tried and showed it to my classes, and students decided vanilla was just fine for their dog:

This student added marker to make it a 'swirl'.

I love this dog so much!

It's a blueberry flavored cone with a double ice cream!

This dog has such a personality!

These are going to look ah-mazing in the hall!
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