Monday, February 13, 2017

Winter Shape Architecture (2016)

Focusing on shapes while teaching architecture to K&1 seem to be a perfect fit. Around Christmas and during winter adds a whole other creative layer for students!
I Can identify the shapes in my artwork.
I Can tell you what an architect does.

Day 1: Intro to Architecture and Building
If you want a great story for introducing architecture read Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty it is easy to understand and just the right amount of silly.
I started our lesson with that story and then had them watch this StoryBots video to reinforce.
We talked about all the different kinds of buildings they saw in the book and video and afterwards I had them think-pair-share about what they were going to build using shapes. We did this before they saw my example and my demo video so they wouldn't be set on building a house like mine. 
Because identifying and not creating the shapes was the goal of the lesson I provided cardboard tracers of the basic shapes in all different sizes. If they wanted to draw shapes other than those basic ones they were encouraged to do so. They used glue sponges to assemble their buildings.
Day 2: Shape Graphing and Details.
To put the focus back on the shapes, we started this second day with the book Shape Shift by Joyce Hesselberth.
Then using my artwork as an example, together we graphed out on a basic bar graph, the shapes I used to build with.
They were then asked to do the same with their artwork. We did this before adding details with construction paper crayons to avoid the confusion of graphing any shapes they might draw. They could have included those shapes when graphing, but I wanted to keep it consistent and make sure I knew what they were looking at when I graded.
After they finished graphing we met back on the carpet and they watched my demo of adding details with construction paper crayons and brainstormed all the different details they could add. It was close to Christmas when we worked on these so there was a lot of Christmas related ideas. Pokemon is the big thing right now so that inspired a lot of kiddos too. Some decided on a combo of both!
Day 3: Snow and Architecture Centers.
To wrap up this lesson and unit we started with the book Snow by Uri Shulevitz. It has great pictures of a city (architecture!) during a snowfall which was perfect segway into the snow part of the project.
They watched my demo video of adding snow with a small paintbrush and Q-tips and were sent to explore the different architecture centers I had set up for them. Many were building toys like blocks, legos, straws and connectors, and also coloring sheets of different types of buildings. While they were exploring the centers I called them back in small groups to add snow if they wanted to add it. They did not have to.

Just LOVE this lesson and how they put all their awesome individual ideas into them. They are now on display at our district office because I loved them so much :)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Color Mixing Cookies

 Back in December I posted about how I was incorporating more play into my art room especially with K and 1 students, you can read it here.  This lesson with K&1 was another where I loaded on the play. So much so, my students thought I was crazy.
I Can mix primary colors to get secondary colors.
I Can identify primary colors.

Day 1: Baking Cookies
If you aren't ready to make a fool out of yourself then you might not be ready for this. Let me set the stage...Before my students came in, I took flour I brought from home and put smudges of it all over me. As they walked in the room, I had a picture of a kitchen on the SMART board and had an empty mixing bowl that I was stirring with a spatula. Behind me "in my kitchen", a toy oven borrowed from a Kindergarten room. We didn't start with our regular routine as I was too busy mixing my cookies. They thought I was bonkers but the laugher and excitement was contagious.

Once the initial shock was over and they settled, I asked each student to go their table spot with a real rolling pin (that we use for clay) and wait for me to bring them dough. This dough was totally imaginary that I plopped in front of them out of my big mixing bowl. As they were rolling out the imaginary dough, I quickly had their dough "appear" by putting a piece of heavy weight manilla tag at their spot as if the dough became visible when rolled flat.
At this time I fessed up that we were pretending and they came up to the carpet to watch my demo of tracing cookie cutters and cutting them out. Cookie cutters can be a bit tough to trace so I put emphasis on the idea that cookies in real life don't turn out perfect either. This alleviated some of the pressure. And, I told them they didn't need to use the cookie cutters at all if they didn't want to. They were asked to make 4 cookies to make sure they were able to do all the "frosting" next art time. They also watched my demo of decorating a plate and gluing my cookies on it. I showed them some festive plates for inspiration but encouraged them to decorate however they wanted.
When they were done tracing and cutting their cookies out they had an opportunity, if they wanted it, to "bake" their cookies in our play oven on pans I created out of cardboard and tinfoil. I really played into it by making sure they wore my oven mitts from home when taking the pans out because they were "hot". Yes, there were some students who did not want to use the oven but I would say 95% percent did and loved it.
 In my 8 total classes of K& 1 not one section asked to do free art this day.

Day 2: Frosting with Primary Colors
We kicked off the day by reading the beautiful story, Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

Then we got to talking about the color wheel and primary colors and I used these two videos to help out the lesson. The favorite OK GO's Sesame Street primary colors song...
And this claymation (with the sound turned down-not great music) to predict the mixing...
When it was time to paint, to help with the success of the color mixing I printed 24 of the document below in color and had them laminated. Students did their color mixing right on these papers, I did one mix at a time going around the room squeezing out the colors onto their papers. They were asked to use each of their new colors on their cookies and to experiment with the paint for whatever cookies they had left. When they finished they gave the sheets a "shower" (under the running water) in the sink--not a "bath" (submerged) or the sheets don't last as long. The sheets made it through all 8 classes. You would have to reprint and laminate each year but its worth it, they really worked.

Now we did this project/lesson as if they were Christmas cookies but there is no reason you couldn't do it for any other time of year and just switch cookie cutters or do without the cutters. Valentine's Day would be fun!

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.