Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Shooting Line Rocket Ships (15'-16')

This project (inspired by Art with Mr. E's) is officially one of my new favorites for K&1. It was a great review for lines and a super fun exploration of materials!

I Can identify different types of lines.
I Can explore many different materials.

Day 1: Reviewing lines. Line paintings.
Lines are one of the first things we visit in the year so I love doing a refresher project on them at the end of the year. To kick this project off I drew a picture on the SMART Board that contained all the lines they learned previously and they took turns coming up and finding them. Then we did some whole body fun by having groups of students make the different types of lines with their bodies! Just an observation: my classes that were most behaviorally challenging ended up doing the best with this activity.
Dashed and Zig-Zag
Castle and Thick Line
After these activities they went to their seats and drew each type of line with a sharpie. Then they got to explore their first new material--metallic watercolors. Not really a "new" material as far as watercolors go but still VERY exciting for them to see sparkles and shine! I really encouraged them to have their colors touch but it was a little hard of a concept because many just tried to follow the line and not make the bands of color. I also had a glitter tempera paint station set up for them to add MORE sparkles if they wanted. Obviously they wanted it.

Day 2: Building Rocket Ships. Assessment.
Tracers. I always go back and forth on using them or not. But, an old principle (and art department head) once told me that as long as the learning goal isn't creating that specific shape they are ok. So, that's what I did. Each part of the rocket ship had a tracer: the main body, the wings, and the booster. After they watched my demo video on using the tracers and gluing the pieces together I let them run wild with a huge variety of papers with different textures and patterns. This was our second material that they explored.

Because the process of building the rockets was very independent, I used this time to pull students over to me for a verbal assessment to identify the different types of line. I had the lines drawn on a piece of paper and they went through and named as many as possible. Each student took about 30 seconds or less which made a very quick and easy assessment. The one little bump was a student would come over to ask me something while I was assessing another and they would spit out the answer before the kiddo getting assessed could answer.

Day 3: Adding the rocket streams and backgrounds.
 We started the day talking about creating the rocket stream out of their line paintings. Again they watched my demo video and brainstormed the different shapes the stream could be and how it was okay if we cut some of our lines off. Then they added their rocketship to black paper and added some amazing details with our last material exploration -- metallic markers. I pre-punched stars on metallic paper that they could add as well and more tempera glitter paint. One last option for them was adding an astronaut. Again, I provided a tracer. The success rate overall on this project was so high and each was its own beautiful individual work of art with so much personality showing through.

Below are detail pictures...I was so blown away by some of these kiddos!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Radial Paper Relief Sculptures (2015/16)

If you havn't seen Art with Mrs.Nguyens posts on these babies (this is just one of her many posts on it) then you have been seriously missing out. Her TpT lesson for these is worth every penny and worked perfectly for my 4th graders. I did change up the powerpoint a bit to fit my style but other than that I used all of her resources, including the video teaching the folds. 

I Can create a relief sculpture using paper that has radial symmetry.
I Can use color in an organized way.

Before you do anything to start this project, cut about a billion* pieces of 3x3 construction paper in all different colors. After cutting I divided up into ice cream buckets, one for each table.
*There is really no way to know how much of what colors they will use. I started with 4 pieces of 12x18 construction paper of every color that I had and cut more as they used them.

Day 1: Learning and practicing radial symmetry.
Using the awesome powerpoint by Mrs. Nguyen and modified by me, I introduced radial symmetry to my students and then we spent the rest of class with my buckets of "junk" making radial symmetry on big 24x24 sheets of paper. The paper has basic radial symmetry guidelines drawn on them and students work in table teams to create the most interesting radial symmetry.
My only warning with this is sometimes they get carried away with the "junk" and start getting in fights about what table has what and who can borrow and who can't. Squash it fast.

Day 2: Review radial symmetry and learn the folds. Talk about organized color.
After a review of radial symmetry I show them the handouts that teach the folds and we watch the video of learning the folds (both by Mrs. Nguyen) together. Then they grab one piece of 3x3 paper for each fold and go back to their seats. We watch the video again, pausing where needed to follow along making the folds. This process worked really well because those that got it right away kept going and those that didn't followed slowly with the video.

 After we finished all the folds they went nuts folding whatever they wanted to use for their project and put them in a big envelope with their name on it for next class. Students that had more difficulty with the folds met me at the carpet and we went through the video again (maybe 1 or 2 kiddos per class). A little ways through I brought them all back up front to talk about our I Can statement of using color in an organized way. They had a choice of either using color symmetrically or using patterns and balance with color. I showed a lot of examples from Mrs. Nguyen's powerpoint.

Day 2: Another review, folding the background.
We reviewed radial symmetry again by looking at a variety of pictures and they had to use plickers to tell me if the image had radial symmetry or not. Check out the video below to see how plickers works. Its seriously the best. AND FREE. AND students LOVE it.

 After that they grabbed the black paper (12x12 square) and we walked through the folds together as a class to get the folded guidelines for their paper relief sculptures.

At this point the workflow became different for different students. Some wanted to fold everything before gluing and some folded and glued at the same time. It didn't matter to me as long as I could see them making smart choices in their art.

I highly recommend using glue sponges for this project. It allowed for such clean and beautiful work. We used popsicle sticks to rub down the paper that was in a tight space if their fingers wouldn't fit.

Days 3-6: Workdays and extensions.
Give them a lot of time on these, it is so very worth it and hopefully they will love this project as much as mine did. Towards the end when some were finished and some weren't, I had two follow up activities they could do. Make a radial symmetry drawing out of their favorite things, or make a group radial symmetry paper relief sculpture on 24X24 paper.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Painted Paper Shape Bird Houses

There was so many great birdhouse lessons floating around Pinterest this year that I was inspired to try a version of my own. Just to name a few, inspiration came from these posts from these blogs: For the Love of Art, Kids Artsits, Art with Mrs. Nguyen, and Painted Paper Art.

I Can Statements:
I Can create a birdhouse using 5 or more shapes.
I Can identify the shapes I use in my birdhouse.

Day 1: Painted Paper!
I recently just got to the painted paper party so we had to take an incredibly fun week in Kindergarten and First to make a lot of painted paper. Each day in the rotation was in charge of one color. Each student got to make a 18x24 piece of paper that got cut down into 4 smaller ones when dried.

Day 2: Birds!
They did a bird draw along with me straight with sharpie. While drawing, we talked about all the ways they could make them different and give them different personalities even though they were all following the same basic drawing. For painting, they used smaller brushes and all colors were made available. I wasn't planning on the birds being more than three colors, the plan was body one color, wings and tail another color. However, I forgot to say that and it naturally took off to paint them in any way possible! Some ended up with stripes, some with polka dots, and some with every color. They turned out more beautiful than I imagined, after all, this year was really about letting go and this proved to me the magic that happens when I do.

Day 3: Assemble the houses!
At the start of this class we had a really great time looking at a LOT of different birdhouses. I tried to find the greatest variety of colors, sizes, shapes, designs, and themes and after looking at the images we made a list of what a bird house had to have.
Here is what they came up with:
1. Hole for the birds to get in
2. Roof
3. Main house
4. Walls
We also came to the really excited conclusion that they could look like ANYTHING!

After this amazing discussion took place I talked about creating our bird houses using shapes and all the shapes they know and can use. Then they watched my demo video of constructing my house. The big take away of the demo video was drawing on the white side of the paper. I did provide circle tracers but all the rest of the shapes were drawn free hand.
(Assembled birdhouses without oil pastels or birds)

Day 4: Put a bird on it!
On this last day we started with a brief shape assessment, I handed back houses and gave them the assessment you see below and they counted up their shapes, wrote them down, and handed it back to me with their name on it.

 After we got that out of the way it became the best day ever! They got their birds back, still on the white paper, and they watched my demo of decorating my house and adding my birds. I highly encouraged them to use all the lines we focused on a bunch throughout the year as well as patterns and themes. All the decorating was done with oil pastels and black sharpies. I did put the paper back out this day for them to add more shapes if they needed/wanted to add more.

 My favorite part was them attaching their birds. Most kiddos painted two birds so I gave them the option of using both or just one. They attached them using one of the coolest art supplies ever--3D-Os. Sold here by Dick Blick or School Specialty. They are a foam circle with adhesive on both sides, they give a subtle 3D effect by hovering about a 1/4 inch off the paper.

In the bottom left birdhouse above the student accidentally cut off the bird's legs and this was his problem solving solution! YES!

Bottom right and top above, Lots of "love birds" appeared in first grade...

This lesson/project was SO FUN and colorful and the students loved it as well.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


A seriously silly and fun activity my students did at the end of the year-- I am also going to add it to my drawing activity binder for this upcoming school year.

 All of my grade levels were able to do this, including Kindergarten with just a little extra step by step how-to for them.

I'm sure you have seen other versions of these "Roll-A-whatever" drawing activities, I created a blank "Roll-A" template on the computer so I can type titles and categories and then hand draw the rolls. Then I scan the finished one back into the computer and upload/print away! (My monster version was inspired by one created by Expressive Monkey)

I HIGHLY recommend investing in foam dice. Makes a world of difference!

FYI, one of my kindergarteners did the black and white drawing on top.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Japanese Koi Fish with 3rd Grade

200th post! Woohoo!

Inspiration for this project came from this post via pinterest...

I Can statements: I Can tell you something about Japan. I Can draw and paint two or more koi fish in an environment. I Can use watercolors correctly.

As i've mentioned in other 3rd grade "travels" my goal is to give my students the biggest picture of a culture or country as I can in a one project time frame. I would love to spend months on one culture/part of the world but with our curriculum as is--this is the best way that I have found to frame the lesson. To help my students track their new found knowledge, each time we "travel" to a new place I have them fill out a passport page. You can read more about this process from this post.

Day 1: Intro to Japan, passport, and practice.

We started by looking at the Japanese flag, looking at Japan on a map, and then 5 facts about Japan!

1. Japan consists of over 3,000 islands
2. There are more pets than children in Japan (this BY FAR was their favorite fact)
3. Around 24 billion pairs of chopsticks are used in Japan each year
4. Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan, is also an active volcano
5. Koi fish are symbols in Japanese culture for good fortune, success, courage, and perseverance. They appear often in Japanese art.

Students shared experiences where they have seen koi fish before and what they looked like and made them feel.

Then the first part of their passports were filled out and it was time to start working. I provided them with the handout I created below and they practiced 4 times (or more) drawing the fish.

 I put a really big emphasis on this sketching process because their final painting was going to be on watercolor paper and they were only going to get one piece (front and back) so they really needed to be prepared and practiced in drawing koi fish. When they had it down I gave them their piece of watercolor paper (only a few students got to this on the first day).

Day 2: Final drawings, crayon outlines.

During the next class everyone moved on to the watercolor paper and to help control their watercolors they outlined everything they drew with pencil in black or white crayon. 
I found some really great and LONG youtube videos of koi fish ponds to play during work time this day and on their painting days...they also were great inspiration for when it came time to choose colors to paint their fish.

Day 3: Painting and salt demo, painting work day!

We kicked off with a demo of painting using watercolors and how to apply salt for the best results in creating one of my favorite watercolor effects. Once students started using the salt I swear it was all over my room for the next month. I put up the image below for students to look at while deciding on colors for their fish. They were also allowed/encouraged to make up their own breed of koi fish ;)

Day 4: Last workday and wrapping up Japan passport entry.

The last full class workday was spent painting and adding tissue paper flowers.

I am SO PROUD of the quality of work that came out of my students on this project. I think I have to thank the watercolor paper for that-- which really encouraged them to focus, slow down, and take their time working.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Abstract Paintings with 4th Grade

I've been MIA for a few weeks taking a break from anything school/work related to enjoy the first few weeks of break, but now I'm back in action ready to share more projects from last year!

First up, these super fun abstract paintings I did with my 4th graders...

I Can Statements:
I Can talk about abstract art. I Can create an abstract artwork using my name. I can make shades and tints to paint monochromatically.

Day 1: Started this lesson in a really fun way with my students, I had them partner up and find a spot in the room and I put up an abstract painting or sculpture on the SMARTboard. I had given them a list of a variety things to talk/think about with their partner during this activity... "How does this make you feel?" "Do you see anything in this artwork or does it remind you of anything?" "Do you think this is art?"...and other questions that would spark the conversation. After a minute or two they changed partners and I switched the artwork. This went on for 15 minutes or so and then we came back together to talk about what we heard others say and what we thought. Eventually getting to the conclusion that we were looking at abstract art. I was also a participant in this activity with my partnering up with my students.

Because the 4th grade curriculum is centered on the 4th graders themselves, I wanted to find a way to connect back to that...ergo to set up their paintings they started by writing their names (and I don't just mean writing their names on the back to identify their work). They could write their first, middle, last or any combination of their name and they had to write it in a way that created a variety of interesting shapes and spaces that could be filled in with paint. I encouraged capital letters and stretching and rotating them to create the most interesting composition and then repeating the name over and over. Check out my demo video below (sorry no sound, I narrate live to my students).

Day 2: We reviewed abstract art and then started our discussion on value and monochromatic colors. My favorite part was showing them monochromatic photography and paintings. We got busy practicing by painting a strip of paper from light to dark of their chosen color. Once I saw the strip they were free to get busy on their final artwork. I encouraged them to mix in the best way for them (I love to do my mixing right on my paper) and made sure they knew they would be in charge of cleaning their paint pallette (which we almost never use because i'm a big fan of the disposable route).

Day 3 & 4: A lot more paint and painting.

Day 5: When a good chunk of students were done painting we did my favorite part. CUTTING!!!!!! There wasn't really any guidelines for this part of the project other than changing the edge and using every little piece of their painting, no tossing scraps! The size of the pieces that they cut was up to them. For this project, I introduced them to glue sponges which really kept these looking incredible and not full of loads and loads of glue. My helpful hint was really really really holding the pieces down after gluing. I even encouraged sitting on their artwork just to make sure they were nice and flat ;) I had them keep the monochromatic theme for their background paper but I think complementary colors for their background would be a great extra pop to these next time around.

Mixing paint always keeps students engaged and I chalked this one up to a really successful project especially during our critique where they could barely sit still and keep from coming up and pointing out all the things they "saw" in each other's paintings. One more bonus--if they get behind they can skip the cutting up part!

Monday, May 30, 2016

End of the Year Paper Sculptures

The last few weeks of the school year are in full swing. All 400ish portfolios are handed back which means one day-no grade-"Take it with you please!"-projects are happening all over the place.

THIS is my favorite. Any class that was caught up and had a day or so left with me are making these wicked awesome paper sculptures. HUGE thanks to the ever brilliant shine brite zamorano for the inspiration via this post from pinterest.

These were done with a variety of K-4 classes and were incredibly open ended. I made the video below (Sorry I don't do sound!) to show them some of the basics and just "required" them to do two pieces of paper as the base. The two paper rule was to give it a little weight so they wouldn't lift when they started gluing. Everything else they did was up to them. Most students went abstract but I had a few do playgrounds, roller coasters, houses, and masks.

The only two negatives were the prep of cutting all the paper and having K & 1-ers wanting to do the cylinder and having difficulty gluing it down with enough glue to keep it on. There was a lot of end of the world tears when that happened.

My FAVORITE thing that happened was no one asking to do free art in my 3 & 4 classes because they were so completely engaged (which says a lot for the last 3 weeks of school).

HIGHLY recommend this as an end of the year project, if you have any paper left that is!