1.24.2011

1st Grade Snowman Collages

It is the middle of January here in the midwest which mean lots of cold weather and snow.  I took this opportunity to have the students be inspired by the weather and their imagination to make snowmen collage pictures.  First we read two of my favorite snowmen books:  "Snowmen All Year" and "Snowmen at Night" both books are by author Caralyn Buehner.  The students task was to start thinking about their snowmen pictures - what their snowmen were going to do!



After the books I gave a quick demonstration about tearing paper to make a snowy ground and then how to make the snowmen for their pictures!  The main focus of my demonstration was to remind and encourage them that their snowmen will not be perfect circles.  We tore the paper instead of cutting to give it a more snow-like affect.

The second class period the students added all the colored details - scarves, hats, kites, leashes, sleds, fishing poles -- whatever they needed to add to make their picture make sense!
Fishing 

Snowball Fight
Flying a Kite
The range of snowmen activities was both intriguing and humorous.  A project I will repeat!

1.21.2011

3rd and 4th Grade Musical - A Kid's Life

A Kid's Life was one of the most fun shows to prepare for!  The students and I gathered t-shirts for their costume!  They got to pick the font of "A Kid's Life" for their shirt - I ironed it on and off we went designing their costumes.  The creativity and patients they had to make their shirts the best they could was fantastic - they wore them very proudly during their show.

The show story and songs were a blast for the kids to sing to - but also for their backdrop.  The show was all about how the power goes out and the kids have nothing to do - no computers, tvs, all cell phones are dead - all hand held games are dead - they are in distress.  Grandma and Grandpa come over to watch the kids while Mom and Dad are at work.  The grandparents teach the kids how to play board games, card games, tell ghost stories, make silly instruments to play in a band, make paper air planes, jump rope and so much more.  All these activities made designing the background a lot of fun.

I drew it out, the kids painted it, and I outlined it!  It was beyond amazing!

Students Learned/Reviewed:
- Graphic Design
- Typography
- Backdrop (theatre)
- Problem solving
- Planning Ahead
- Patients
- Teamwork
- Ownership


2nd Grade - Paper Sculptures

Abstract Paper sculptures with 2nd grades students:

Students Learn/Review
- Sculpture
- Abstract
- hot/cold colors
- problem solving
- patients

Students use markers to make basic shapes on both sides of their paper - hot on one side and cold on the other.  Next students trace those shapes over and over - almost touching the line before but not quite.  I tell the students to use the side of their marker instead of the tip - making the lines thicker and this part taking less time.  If students mess up - its okay, they are going to cut the paper anyway.

When the whole paper is filled with colors - the students either cut their own paper or I draw a line for them to cut.  The students need to cut a crazy line throughout their whole paper with out making and scraps.  (Most students opt for me drawing the line that they cut)

At this point students pick up different parts of their paper and glue them together or on their tag board.  The goal is to make an interesting sculpture from all sides.  I encourage the the students to bend, fold, twist, loop, and even cut their paper to make it even more interesting!


1.18.2011

2nd Grade - Printmaking Bugs

In collaboration with a 2nd grade science unit the students shared and practiced their knowledge about bugs while they learned how to do printmaking.

Students learned/practiced:
- Parts of an insect body:  head, thorax, abdomen
- brainstorming
- how to transfer a picture using normal pencils
- how to cut a printmaking block safely
- what a brayer is used for
- what printmaking is
- how to label a series of prints

The students did a great job!  I was a little nervous about having 2nd graders using cut tools - but they heeded my warning about them being sharp and kept their fingers out of the way!






The students enjoyed cutting their blocks and printing them!

1.17.2011

4th and 5th Grade Musical - Destination America

The 4th and 5th Grade show created a challenge.  Their show was in our districts brand new concert hall - making a background in the traditional sense, impossible.  The students and I worked together to make banners that greeted our audience in the lobby.  The students learned how to use a grid to redraw pictures - going square by square.  It was a great way to enlarge our design and have everyone participate.  The patchwork feeling really connected to the idea of their show, 'Destination America'.  Their show was about taking a trip around America and learning about different musical styles, musical history... etc.







Since the students were performing on stage and not in the lobby we still needed something to connect the audience with their show on stage.  I had gone a tour of the space a few months before their show and was introduced to a very large projection screen.  I knew that was going to be our best chance of having a backdrop.  I scoured the internet for pictures that represented the time period/type of music the students were singing about in their songs and made an imovie to play behind them.  It was a hit - worked great.

K-1st Grade Musical - Barn Yard MOOsical

While the students were learning all their songs and actions to the Barn Yard MOOsical in the music room, they painted the backdrop for their show in the art room!

For each musical I draw out the backdrop on large paper (33'x8').  I cut or fold the backdrop into four sections - one section for each day of the specials cycle.  Every student that wants to paint part of the backdrop has the chance to paint.











The Barn Yard MOOsical was a blast to paint with the K and 1st grade students.  They painted the whole thing - all I did was outline it in the end.

1.11.2011

3rd - 4th Grade Graphic Design (T-shirts for Jump Rope For Heart)

This year I have tried to focus projects towards real life art jobs - more than just drawing and painting pictures in class.  When the PE teacher in my building told me that Jump Rope for Heart was holding a t-shirt design contest for next year - I thought, how perfect!  I immediately started to design a unit around graphic design and typography.

After I introduced the project the students were very excited!  I haven't heard my classroom so quite.  Students first did two rough drafts to get their ideas down on paper.  Their requirements were to have text, typography, that said either 'Jump Rope for Heart' or  'Be a Heart Hero' or something else that goes a long with the theme.  They also needed some type of graphic that makes sense for the project, and last they needed to fill space appropriately.

Next class the students working in partners to share their favorite design and talk about what they liked, what they planned to change and what they wanted their final to look like.  After their discussion they jumped into action and started their final design.

Final Requirements:
-Readable (text needs to be able to be read easily, also all words spelled correctly)
-Graphic that makes sense
-Fill space appropriately
-Colored with quality




1.06.2011

Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade Wrapping Paper

I first did this lesson a few years ago and since then my students ask to do it each year around the holidays.  I cut large pieces of paper from paper rolls that have been donated to my classroom - about 18x24.  The students and I talk about different times we use wrapping paper and how all wrapping paper has a design that repeats.  Next, the students and I brainstorm all sorts of patterns using shapes and lines - the older the kids the more complex the patterns.











I pass out paints, brushes, and paper and let the kids make their own wrapping paper - fantastic!

1st and Kindergarten Kirigami (snowflakes)




When we came back from Thanksgiving break we had our first snow in the Midwest and the students were excited - so I took the opportunity for a 'teaching moment'.  Instead of fighting the snow I taught the students about kirigami, cutting folded paper, and made snowflakes!  The students were very excited and had a great time cutting shapes and being surprised when they opened their creations!

3rd and 4th Grade Books

This was a new project I did this year with my 3rd and 4th grade students - a lot of fun.  The covers were completed in the first class period.  I wanted the students to expand their reasoning/critical thinking skills - so for their covers they had to create a non-recognizable line composition.  The trick with this assignment was that the students needed to tell me why they were done.  Some students needed some guided questions to help them articulate why they were done - many stumbled onto the answer by accident or out of frustration.  Students would try things like, 'I worked hard' or 'I did my best' or 'I filled the whole thing in' -- all great things - but not why they were done.  For many students who still struggled I compared their project to making cookies.  You spend all the time making the cookies and when they are done you take them out of the oven - if you keep cooking them they burn, or get ruined.  At this point many students understood that if they kept working on their project it would be ruined.

The next two classes were spent learning how to use a jig, folding and punch holes in paper and then binding their books!

These books are made in such a way that they are meant to be taken apart if desired.  This way the students could take out pages or add pages after they left the art room!!!

Students Learned/Practiced:
- Compostion
- Critical Thinking
- Patients
- Fine motor skills
- what and how to use a Jig
- Problem solving  


3rd - Before/After Self Portraits

My third graders take the first day of this project to draw the best self portrait they possibly can.  The next time they come to art I take them through a series of pictures on a slide show - each picture I ask them questions and trace different parts on the board.  For example - I put up a picture of my niece when she was a baby - I trace her head and then put a line through her eyes horizontally.  I ask the students where on her head are her eyes - they of course see they are in the middle.  I proceed to do this with her nose, mouth and ears.  The next picture is another picture of my niece at around two.  I start again as I did when she was a baby.  This helps the students understand that the eyes really do belong in the middle of the head and the hair fills up the top of the head.  The last picture I do is of President Obama - I choose him because he has very short hair and the picture is straight on.  I repeat the steps above to really sink in the proportions of the face.

After this exploration the students start a new self portrait using their new knowledge.  I walk around the room and fold heads in half to check for eye placements!  Most students will be really close.




When the project is over the students open their paper and compare their drawings - many students are shocked that they put their eyes so high!

1st Grade Tooth Fairies

The learning target of this lesson is to introduce first graders to profile portraits.  I show a slide show containing only profiles and I ask the students what they notice about all the pictures - most of the time students will say they are all people, they only have one eye...etc.  Next, I pause the slide show and have the students help me observe the picture.  As we explore the picture I trace the profile onto the board.  When we are done I turn off the projector to have a profile left.  I then explain rest of the project.

The project expectations:
- The tooth fairy needs to be sideways along the top - flying
- The face should be a profile (one eye, side of nose, half mouth...etc)
- Tooth fairy needs to be bigger than my hand (they tend to draw small)
- Tooth fairy needs a way to fly! (we brainstorm these and the kids get really excited - cape, jet pack, balloons, wings (fly, dragon, fairy, butterfly....)
- Tooth fairy should be flying over something (houses, park, zoo, forest, mountains...)


Students learn/review:
- profile portrait
- creative choices
- problem solving