Monday, January 16, 2017

Australian Aboriginal Dot Art (2016)

This project was a total hit last year so I used it again with 3rd grade. Check out the original post with lesson break down here.
 The only thing I changed was paint distribution. I have 3oz cups with lids and I put one of each color on a tray and a stick for dotting with each. Each table got one tray and it really kept paint from being wasted and DRAMATICALLY helped with cleanup. No washing paint palettes like last year!
Once again, this project was a hit and turned out just beautiful!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Royal Self-Portraits with 1st Grade

 I usually do the same projects for K&1 but for the start of the year I like to do the Ain't Gonna Paint project with my kinders. So, while kindergarten was painting all over themselves, first grade became royal!
I can use details in my self-portrait that make me look royal.
I can paint an organized background.

Day 1: Look and Draw
Read a really fun book called "The Knight Who Was Afraid of the Dark" and did a really fun activity to kick off this lesson--I put a variety of pictures of royal people real and cartoon on the smartboard and paired off kiddos with dry erase boards. They had to work together to draw or write the details they saw that made the people look royal. Then together, we combined our ideas into a big list. After this activity, they watched my demo of drawing my royal portrait and got busy drawing. I had a big stack of books from the library for visual reference for them to use as well.
Day 2: Outline and Color
The next day they spent outlining and coloring but we started with a story out of the book
"A Princess, A Pirate, And One Wild Brother". It has three stories in it, we just read the princess one. When it was work time, there was a little roadblock --I asked them to outline in the color they were going to be coloring things in with--not many were able to do that, or forgot, or just didn't focus enough to accomplish that. Thinking about it now, it wasn't that important to color match, so we will probably just go all black sharpie the next time I do this lesson, especially with painting later on (if they were not super controlled with their paint their water soluble marker lines blurred or smeared).We colored with crayons and I really pushed kids to improve coloring skills.
Day 3: Painting sparkles and metal
We started with a rather interesting TumbleBook--"Princess Justina Albertina"--it's worth the read/watch. After their coloring was finished I put out metallic and sparkle paint in all different colors for them to add details with to their self-portrait. Sparkles and shiny paint are REALLY exciting to first graders so we had a bit of chat about what would actually sparkle or shine in real life. Also chatted about being in control of our choices and really thinking about what we were doing before we did it. Impulse control baby! I only had a few kiddos go really REALLY overboard with the sparkles but there was also behavior issues involved there.
Day 4: Background painting.
Started with another digital story about a King--"The Kiss That Missed" done by Storyline Online.
Then it was time to paint, tempera cakes are one of my favorite materials for background painting. They don't wrecked/ruined easily and they produce really beautiful colors--so just about everything looks good! We talked about making choices in the background that make our background look on purpose and organized.
Another plus of tempera cakes is they dry fast so when they were done painting, I did the unthinkable--GLITTER. They used a glue bottle to draw where they wanted glitter then brought it over to me at the glitter station where we sprinkled glitter and put it on the drying rack.

This might have to be a repeat in the future with just a few changes. Also, there are some great Tumble Books available and books from Storyline Online that you could use for lessons and give your voice a break. Check out all the ones they have!

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Yearbook Covers

Our school district has a tradition of our 4th grade students designing the yearbook cover for the district's joint elementary yearbook that includes our four elementary schools.

All 4th grade students create a cover and then myself and the other elementary art teachers send them up to the middle school to be selected by the middle school art teachers. One gets chosen for the overall cover, four get chosen for the back cover, and a few others get chosen for the start of each school inside the yearbook.
It is a VERY long process that has to be done at the start of the year because covers need to be completed by the end of November. We tried to shorten the time this year but somehow it still look 2 months! 
The bottom left was selected for the back cover.
I started with my students exploring old yearbooks and mapping out why they think the covers got selected. Then they used the sheet below to practice skills and generate ideas/sketches. The themes we selected for them to work from were "Kindness Begins with Me","Dare to Dream", and "Anything But Ordinary".


They conferenced with me after their sheet was done and created a rough draft without coloring, conferenced with me again, and then started on their finals. In the past coloring goes out the window in big areas so to help prevent that I had color sticks by crayola for them to use in large areas. If you haven't used color sticks they are essentially a naked colored pencil. No wood surrounding the color core.

These babies are a lot of work but when students reflected with our 3-2-1 sheet many were proud of the work they did and enjoyed the process and project.

Here is last years post and covers.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Observational Leaf Drawings and Play in the Art Room

I'll admit it, the title of this post sounds a little contradicting but I've been inspired to try a new way of teaching with my kindergarteners and first graders and hopefully I'll inspire you to try the same!
I Can draw leaves that look realistic.

Day 1: Drawing the leaves.
We started with the beautiful video below of a timelapse of fall.
 After the video both Kindergarten and First grade did a "I Know, I Wonder, I Noticed" activity looking at real leaves that I brought in from my back yard. The activity went like this: They turned and told the people around them what they knew about leaves, I paraphrased conversations I heard; they turned and told the people around them what they wondered about leaves, I paraphrased conversations I head; I sent them to their tables to look at variety of leaves with a magnifying glass, and I paraphrased the things I was hearing them notice. After this activity we came back to the carpet to watch my demo video of drawing the leaves with black oil pastel. Because observational drawing is a more difficult concept for K and 1, I found it helpful to use my document camera and "think out-loud" what I was seeing as I was drawing. We had a conversation about not drawing what our brain told us a leaf looked like but what our eyes told us. Then I sent them on their way to draw. Check out the Boomerang of drawing in action.
FYI, Boomerang is my new favorite thing to do for videos so expect to see a lot of those in the future.
Now I have to warn you, this was a CHALLENGE (for the kinders especially). There was a few tears here and there but it was SO worth it, and to see the end result be successful nonetheless!
Day 2: Wind, Color "scavenger hunt", and Painting.
I LOVE surprises and when my students get excited, so when they came to art next, I read them a story about a windy day and had them draw wind lines on their leaf artwork with white crayons. They looked at me like I was nuts but I told them to trust me and that it would be a surprise. After this, I had students come back to the carpet. I wanted to give them a little time to forget about the wind they just drew.
 This next part is where some of the new way of teaching for me starts to come into the lesson. This summer I attended a PLC conference that had a lot of sessions on engagement. I went to one session with a huge take-away--make sure my students don't have a choice but to be engaged 100% of the time. That seemed like an incredibly hard task to accomplish, however, slowly but surely I am figuring out how to make that happen.
I showed a variety of artworks where each notable artist was inspired by fall. I had crayon buckets scattered on the carpet and gave them the direction to pull out the three most important colors that they saw in each artwork. We did this at least 10 times until they noticed a trend in the colors we were pulling out. Tada! Our fall color scheme and the colors we were going to use to paint the leaves. And guess what, EVERY kiddo was pulling out crayons and in on the lesson. Not one kid was crawling around on the floor, making animal noises, or distracting their peers. IT. WAS. AWESOME. And all I did was use crayons and not even for their actual purpose.
 After this engaging activity, I showed them my demo video and gave each table a set of liquid watercolors with red, orange, yellow, brown, and a little green. They could paint any way they wanted--a messy wash across the entire painting, filling in some leaves, filling in all the leaves, it was up to them. When they started painting the "oooos" and "ahhhhs" 'MY WINDs"and "OH MY GOSHes" started to happen when they noticed their wind was there after all and I wasn't crazy. Again, an awesome Boomerang of painting in action.

Day 3: Raking time.
In October I attended a different conference, the Wisconsin Art Ed conference and attended a session on play in the Art Room. Below are two slides directly from the presentation that summarize why play is so stinkin' important and why I did what I did next.
Meri Lau (K-2 Midvale Elementary)
Mary Hoefferle (UW-Madison)

Meri Lau (K-2 Midvale Elementary)
Mary Hoefferle (UW-Madison)

THIS was the absolute best part of the lesson. THIS is what I was waiting for since the day I went to that session. THIS very awesome third day of the project they made rakes, cut up their leaf paintings, threw the leaves, raked them, collected them and took them home. It was awesome to watch them play with their art and be engaged in their art making and not ONE kid was stressed or complained about cutting up their artwork. Below is my rake, I had a demo video like usual for creating the rake and cutting the leaves in a very stress free, on-lines-don't-matter kind of way.
 I asked local hardware stores to donate paint sticks for the handles and used white tag board for the rake part. I did draw tick marks of where to cut the diagonal for both grades and squares to cut for kinders to make the teeth. I tried not having the squares for the first class of kinders and it was about 100000000 times harder for them, but 1st had no issues. We did do the diagonal cutting together on the carpet in both grades to ensure the highest number of success. They decorated their leaves while I went around and masking taped the paintstick handles on. Enjoy the short little Boomerang of them raking.
MAN OH MAN am I excited to keep teaching this way for the rest of the year with this bunch. They're not the only ones who will be having fun. And just in case it needs to be said, and I don't think it does. THIS is why professional development opportunities are so important for Art Teachers.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2nd Grade Artist Books, Updated!

Here is a look at the "Artist Book" I created for my second graders to use each time they are introduced to a new artist. Second grade curriculum is all focused on artists so this is a great way to track what they learned.
The two updates on this are when they fill out the 1st side of the page, and what is written on the second page for them to fill out when they finish their work. 

When we start the year with our first artist they get the cover page and their first empty page. They fill out just the front of the page the 2nd day that we talk about the artist as a review. It seems to be just the right amount of writing for second grade. We fill out most of it together on the SMART Board and they are responsible for doing only the last question entirely their own. 

When they finish their project they fill out the 2nd page and fill out the rubric for the project independently .
The pages are pre-3-hole punched and the books are held together with brad fasteners. Each page gets added as we go. As a side note, if students are behind on projects I do the writing for them, they dictate to me to save time.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"Ain't Gonna Paint No More" Self-Portraits (2016)

I've done this project quite a few times now and it's still my favorite way to start the year with Kindergarten. Check out lots of posts on this project via this post.

The portraits are inspired by one of my favorite books "I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!" written by Karen Beaumont, Illustrated by David Catrow, an Art Teacher book must have!

There are a lot of different versions of projects based on this book out there, I love doing it this way because they really get to play with the watercolors, and it is a great intake of drawing and writing skills.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Matisse Paper Cutouts (2016)

This is a favorite project for me that will probably be a repeat every year---it's a good way to get my 2nd graders to just relax! Check out my previous posts for this project here and here.

Made a few big changes to the project including a pretty big emphasis on geometric and organic shapes and using glue sponges.

I Can tell you something about the artist Henri Matisse.
I Can cut organic and geometric shapes.
I Can identify and sort organic and geometric shapes.

Day 1:
Introduced Matisse with this great video!

Then we looked at his artwork and discovered that he used a lot of shapes and dived into organic vs geometric. After we talked about organic and geometric shapes, they paired up with dry erase boards and I put different shapes up on the SMART board and they had to identify them as organic or geometric. After a few rounds of that,  I showed them my example and told them to start cutting (without much instruction) and gave them a large envelope to keep pieces in.

Day 2:
Reviewed organic and geometric shapes using Plickers (USE IT, you only need 1 device!). As a review of Matisse they filled out their artist book pages,which have gotten a little revamp from last year. I'll update on those soon. After their page was filled out I showed them my demo of cutting a variety of shapes and sizes in different ways to get their wheels turning. They spent the rest of the time cutting away and adding to what they already had cut last time with reminders to be cutting both organic and geometric.

Day 3:
Reviewed the shapes with a little shape sorting as a whole class using laminated shapes. Then they heard a Matisse book that I highly reccommend. Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter, found here on Amazon.

After the story we watched my demo video of arranging and gluing and talked about composition. "Bad" examples are always important during this step for my kiddos to really understand what makes a composition work (and not work). 

The second big change for the project was using glue sponges to assemble their artworks. It made a HUGE difference in craftsmanship and glue amounts...i'll NEVER go back for this project.  Not everyone finished gluing so I had them toss out or take with their extra paper that they weren't using on their projects and only had them put the pieces they were using on their projects back into their envelopes. 
Love this little section--started off as a gun (a no go!) and transformed into a spigot! 

Day 4:
Students who didn't finish last time had time to finish and we wrapped up by filling out part 2 of our artist book page and filling out a rubric for the project that included a shape assessment. Check it out, let me know what you think. My elementary art team has been working super hard on developing rubrics this year...

Love love love love LOVE this project. The color! The shapes! The movement! They just can't go wrong...