Saturday, December 27, 2014

Why #ArtMatters in the Community

The reason I have been MIA is because something really awesome has been happening in my buildings....Thanks to this read on the Art of Ed, I decided to do an advocacy and community service project with my students as something to do while everyone was getting caught up on work before break. And let's be real, not a lot of serious things can be accomplished in the days leading up to winter break so might as well utilize their energy for an awesome art experience! All it took was a phone call to a local grocery store and picking up and dropping off bags to make it happen!

About two weeks before I decided to do this project and got the okay from my Art coordinator, I called one of our local grocery stores and asked to talk to a manger. I could barely get out two sentences before he jumped on the idea. However, he was a little shocked when I said 900 bags but I told him I was being optimistic and may return blank ones.

Before students started we talked about community and how these bags were not just a reflection of us but the grocery store. Therefore, we needed to draw things on the bags that everyone would want and that were respectful. We talked about how not everyone celebrates Christmas so we should expand our ideas beyond that.... then they were off to work! I asked that all students working on these do at least two to get through enough bags but many did more! Kindergarten through sixth grade participated which really made for a large variety of art on the bags. All in all 728 bags were returned with Art!!

The advocacy piece was creating labels with a QR code (super easy with Avery label maker online) and attaching them on the bags. The QR code gets scanned by a Smart Phone or Tablet and takes the person to the website attached to the code. In this case the very famous Elliot Eisner 10 reasons...It really wasn't extra work doing the labels because I needed to check all the bags anyways to make sure no inappropriate ones got passed me during class.

I returned the bags on three separate occasions, whenever I had enough to bundle, and enough to go out at each register.... I was so excited to see it even reach social media in our community via was a post that got passed along to me!

"Love this bag from the grocery store. What a happy surprise to find while unpacking the groceries. Thank you, Jenna! ‪#‎ArtMatters"

The feedback on the grocery store end was so great too, that during the last drop off I talked to the manger I organized it with and he cannot wait to do it again in the near future! Here is a look at a few more, wish I would have taken more pictures!

Monday, December 15, 2014


After such a long project to complete these beauties I wanted my 4th graders to have a really fun, stress free, extension for those that were done on our last workday of this project... enter Roll-A-Picasso! I did this last year after my 4th and 5th graders finished up this project. And it was a huge hit, entertained for the entire 45mins!

I made these sheets up ahead of time after finding a not so great version online awhile back and borrowed some dice from a classroom teacher....

Just a few minutes to explain and do examples and then they were hard at work creating these slightly creepy but awesome drawings. They had the option to just draw faces or draw and add on to the faces, and then color if they wanted too...they always get to take extensions home day of so I snapped a ton of pictures!

Try not to pee your pants laughing :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

4th Grade Cubism Inspired Drawings

While I LOVE this project (and the students seem to as well) it isn't by any means a quick one! Believe it or not, this was the project we started the year with for 4th grade and only really finished it two classes ago...All in all with intro, computer lab time for images, and the extension it took EIGHT class periods. But, I don't think I had any student complaints...and you will see why! I actually even had kids asking to take it home to work on!

Not sure where I got this project/idea/inspiration from originally... Maybe fellow Art Teacher Annette Koepke?

I CAN statements for this project:
I can create an artwork inspired by Cubism.
I can color a specific way to create the illusion of cubism

Day 1: Started with an introduction to Picasso and Cubism. Showed them this YouTube video of Picasso working, and while it isn't him creating Cubism it is still pretty damn cool.

So we watched that and explored some of his Cubism paintings and talked about what made cubism cubism and then I introduced them to the project by showing my example and this brainstorming sheet....
What it came down to was that the subject matter could literally be ANYTHING. I knew it had to be something they really cared about or they would get seriously sick of coloring.

Day 2: Computer Lab! Visual references are so important especially when these kids are drawing things like logos, characters from games, or animals. While it seems crazy to "waste" a day in the lab to do this it was well worth it. I would do it the same all over again. UNLESS the kids had devices to look the images up on. *hopeful future*

Day 3-8: The next 6 classes had students all over the place working. Most were drawing on days 3 & 4 and then they outlined everything in black sharpie and drew lines on day 5. Most colored days 5-7. I taught/instructed everything after drawing in small groups who were ready for it as to not overwhelm kids that were still drawing. By the 8th class 85% were done and we did an awesome extension. More on that later ;)

Here is the process via pictures...
1. Draw objects and outline objects in black sharpie

 2. Draw enough lines that at least 5 touch each side of the page

 3. Color objects the correct colors but switch shades each time a line intersects it

4. Color background in one color shades and tints, cool colors, or warm colors

Mind you we did this on 12x18 which played a big role in the time. I think next time I will do these on 9x12 for time sake. Check out the AMAZING work my 4th graders did on these....

Jefferson Elementary...

 McDill Elementary...

What do you think? Not Cubism enough? Just make it a drawing/coloring concept project and scratch the Cubism?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fall Arm Trees

Fall is officially over in Wisconsin but it still decorates the halls in my two buildings!

I was really excited to try my own version of this project I found on Pinterest here via Georgetown Elementary Art Blog. I wanted to stick with the original idea of types of lines but because I knew I wanted to do it with Kindergarten I changed the types of lines to just the tree and the materials to oil pastels and watercolors for their first watercolor resist artwork (my favorite!).

I Can statement: I can draw different types of lines

Day 1: We started the lesson with a book about fall. I really didn't like the one I used (frankly it was a last minute find) so I don't even remember the title. I am on the lookout for a great book about fall thats a quick read for Kinders that show a lot of trees. Then we looked at close up pictures of trees via one of my quick reference PDFs...

We talked about all the lines they saw in the bark and what the names of some of those lines might be. Before they started their own trees with lines we practiced naming and drawing them by tracing them in different colors on this sheet... (made on my iPad could be done in a basic drawing app I used Brushes)

The last step for Day 1 was tracing their hands and filling them with the different lines and going over them with oil pastels. This was the first time using oil pastels for many of them!

Day 2: Watched the leaves changing time lapse I used in many of the other classes for their fall project...

After the video, I did a demo of what happens when watercolor goes over the top of oil pastel. MINDS BLOWN. And what would happen if the blue and brown mixed if they didn't take their time and stay away from the brown while it dried. The rest of the time they painted, again a first time with watercolors for many!

Day 3: A little time at the end of the next class was used to cut leaves and add them to the now dry trees.

I love watching Kinders use something they never have before they get so darn excited!

Jefferson Elementary...hung with second grade project...

McDill Elementary...Hung with second grade project and this third grade project...

So anyone have ideas on a great fall book for Kindergarten? Specifically about trees/leaves? Not a big fan of Louis Elhert's writing (doesn't flow enough for me) but love the pictures...