Monday, March 31, 2014

1st Grade Royal Self Portraits

I've mentioned before I love teaching portraits.  1st graders do an awesome job with this particular project. The second I mentioned students would be making "royal" self portraits making themselves into a king or queen, the sound of Lorde's "Royals" filled the air. I try to start this project on a day we end a project early and have some time at the end.  The first step of the project really only takes about 15-20 minutes.  Simply start by drawing the face shape, ears, neck, and shoulders.  Using my skin color chart that I talk about here, students pick their number and paint the skin.  They go on the drying rack and are ready for the real work to begin.

We come back on the second day and draw all of our facial features together and outline them all with sharpie.  Some classes start with oil pastels on this day, but all classes finish coloring details on the 3rd day.  Because of time constraints I gave students a precut crown that they were able to decorate. 

This is definitely one of my favorite lessons to teach and I love the final product.  Take a look at last years portraits

Kindergarten Spring Chicks

This funny spring chick lesson really captures the kindergarten attention.  We did the drawing together and outlined with a black oil pastel or sharpie.  Some of the classes used liquid watercolor to paint and other classes used oil pastels for the bird and pan watercolors for the background. I really love using liquid watercolor especially in Kindergarten because the colors are so much more vibrant.  However, the schools I travel from room to room I find difficult to use the liquid watercolors because of set up reasons (never knowing how many sets I will need because of seating arrangements).

Hope these cuties make you laugh, kindergarteners really "awwwwwwwed"at their cuteness.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

4th Grade Owls

For those of you that don't know I travel between 3 different schools one school I have a classroom, the other two I have a cart and go room to room.  I see a lot of kids and not very often (only once every 8 schools days), it's a bummer because I have so many awesome things I want to do, but simply don't have the time.  At one of my schools I have a 4th grade teacher who will often ask me to come up with an art project that they can do in their classroom.  So when coming up with projects I like to come up with something that is very independent so the students can work on them when they finish an assignment early or have free time.

Here is the project I came up with.  

I explained the project briefly to the classroom teacher, I gave her a finished example, a step by step how to draw an owl, and an in progress example for the students to look at.  Here are some of the results.  Aren't they fun?  An independently done project finished with oil pastels.  They are also topped off with liquitex clear gloss varnish which kind of gives the oil pastels a beautiful painted look.  I like to use this rather than fixative if time allows.

This student comes from a Native American background.  In her culture, they see the owl as an omen so she chose to do another animal.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

3rd Grade Coil Pots

I love doing clay projects with students, I just wish I saw them more so it wasn't a rush to finish.  When doing clay projects I generally try to keep the working period to only one class. 

For this lesson we did a basic coil pot using clay tools to slip and score to bond the clay together.  I had a circle for them to trace around for the base and they just started building them up. I let them add some designs if they wanted and we set them up to dry.

Unfortunately I do not have a kiln at any of my buildings so it's only air dry clay for me.  I ordered a different kind this go around, I tried out the Amaco Mexican Pottery self hardening clay in red.  It was super moist which made it great for the students to work with.  I was also really surprised as to how light the clay felt when it was dry.  Also to my surprise I only had a couple of pieces that needed to be fixed.  I usually use the Crayola Air Dry clay, and sometimes with that clay I feel like I am doing clay surgery as it doesn't seem to bond as well together.

Needless to say I loved the clay!  

The next challenge was figuring out how we were going to add some color without totally losing the red clay look.  For the first class I used Liquitex clear gloss varnish with a couple drops of blue acrylic paint and the students just coated the entire thing.   I liked it, but I wasn't crazy about it.

So I took another shot at it.  This time before using the blue gloss mixture students used green and blue oil pastels and heavily coated the outside.  I did not require them to do the inside.  Some students that had a big enough opening went ahead and did that as well.  After it was coated we used the blue gloss over the entire piece.  I really like the way these second ones turned out. 

 It almost looks like floating blue glaze, well at least the best you can do without a kiln!

I send clay projects home in a paper sack. It seems to prevent the throwing it in the backpack and breaking scenario.  It also gives students a sense of pride to take it home and show their parents as if they have a gift.  We finished these around conferences so some of the classroom teachers gave them to the parents as they came!
  (Don't mind the messy book shelf I was running a little low on space.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kindergarten Lupine Blossoms

Well we're just a couple days away from the official beginning of Spring.  Although, here in Nebraska we've had a cold winter we really didn't have a lot of snow (only one snow days worth to be exact).  The temperature is rising and it's been my mission to get anything with that winter feel out of the hallway and replace it with spring!

Here is a one day lesson I did with kindergarten.  I found the idea for this lesson here.  I don't know about you, but for me I love having one day kindergarten lessons.  I find going back for the second day can sometimes be chaotic as the students are always at a different pace and immediately need something to do when they are done.  Kindergarten is certainly a struggle for me.  I'm constantly trying to think of new ideas that are really process driven and not just "doing," but I find myself sometimes just "doing" more then I'd like.  

With that being said here was a fun one day lesson that was nice and springy and the kids LOVED it.  I first started out with my classes only using orange paper, but decided to switch it up and throw in some yellow and blue.  I think the blue is my favorite, what do you think?  I went around and gave everybody a little bit of gold paint and put it right on their paper. They spread it around as much as they could (most did not  cover the entire page) then they went in with a texture scraper or a fork. Kindergartners watched me paint two green stems and a few leaves and they followed suit.

The next and finals steps were a little scary.  As I have never embarked in "finger painting," we talked about what we can and cannot do.  When all of that was said and done I went around and gave each table a little purple paint.  When I saw that most students had a decent amount of purple dots on the paper I added some pink paint and finally finished with white.  I found that it was easier for students to make the blossom dots by using 2 or 3 fingers at the same time rather than just one.

If we had time at the end of the class I read "Miss Rumphius" by Barbara Cooney.  There are also a couple of good readings of the book on YouTube.

Friday, March 7, 2014

4th Grade Van Gogh Sunflowers

Spring has sprung (in the art room). Flowers and colors are filling the drying racks and shelves.  Well, I mean there are always plenty of colors in here as you can usually see the color of my pants illuminating through the hallway. BUT I think we are all ready for a little green to start showing through.  

This is a lesson I did with 4th graders last year.  I LOVED it so I tried it again this year.  We talked about Vincent Van Gogh and looked at his "Sunflowers" painting.  The first day of the lesson was dedicated to drawing.  Students went ahead and drew a vase and 5-6 flowers using a white oil pastel.  I then gave students yellow paint to fill in the flowers.  I came around with some white to put on top of the yellow.  WITHOUT rinsing out paintbrushes I gave them some green paint for the stems and leaves and finally some brown paint for the centers.

On the second day we reviewed Warm and Cool colors. Using oil pastels (in the short brushstroke way like Van Gogh used) students filled in the vase, table, and background with oil pastels.  Most of the students finish in two days some needed a little more time at the beginning of the next class. 

They all turned out beautifully.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

1st Grade Rockin' Dinosaurs

As part of the 3rd quarter curriculum 1st graders are to do a dinosaur project.  I kept this lesson simple, but students were able to use loads of color to make up for that simplicity.  This lesson panned out to be a 2 and a half to three day lesson depending on the group.  On the first day we drew the dinosaur.  I gave them two choices of dinosaurs to draw and we simultaneously drew them step by step together. At the end of day one students finished by outlying everything with a sharpie marker.

 On the second day we painted the dinosaur and drew in some background details.  I gave students fluorescent paints to choose from to paint the skin and any details.  

Day 3 varied from class to class I couldn't decide which color combination I liked best.  For the first few classes I stuck with the neon colors, but I think students had too many choices and some of them got a little wild and the dinosaurs were lost.  The next time around I limited the paints I handed out to only 3 colors and using the regular paints instead of fluorescent colors.  The last thing I tried was liquid watercolor on the background limiting to only three color choices as well.  I'm still not sure which combination I like best.  It was amazing to me how frustrated students were getting if I did not give them blue, green, or brown (which I tried not to do for the background).  BUT HOW ARE WERE SUPPOSED TO PAINT THE SKY IF THERE ISN'T ANY BLUE, OR THE GROUND WITHOUT GREEN, OR THE TREE TRUNK WITHOUT BROWN?????  I had a lot of upset 1st graders.  So I had to make it a point to talk about how we didn't paint our dinosaurs typical colors that they might have been in real life, isn't it okay if we do the same thing with our sky, background, etc.? 

Nonetheless here are some of our 1st grade Dinos.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kindergarten Self Portraits

Tis the season for Self Portraits?  It just so happens that almost every class is/will be starting on a self portrait project.  In my personal work I enjoy creating portraits and I find it fun to teach students to make their own.  I will have to say I love the way the kindergarten self portraits turn out. They are so fun and funny and it amazes me how some of them actually look like the students and their character starts to show through.  I did the same lesson last year with a few changes.  Click here to see those changes.

In kindergarten I give them an oval face shape to trace otherwise all of the drawings end up teeny tiny.  On the first day of the lesson we trace the face shape and draw all of the features on the face, hair, and clothing.  We finish the first day by tracing with sharpie.

On the second day students first colored with crayon the eyes, mouth, hair, eyebrows, and tshirt. Then we paint the skin color using the Crayola Multicultural paints.  This is really the most difficult part, choosing the paint color.  I have a chart with the skin colors correlated with numbers.  I like the students to think about the paints as numbers rather than colors.  It's very interesting to see the students struggle to pick out their "number." We talk about how I might not have the same number as my neighbor and that's okay because we are all special and different.  I try to help the students pick their number if they are having a difficult time doing so, but I always have students that pick the number they like the "best" or what they think they should be.  It's an interesting eye opener to see the awareness students have at such a young age. 
 I'd love to hear ways you go about discussing skin color when dealing with portraits  especially with the younger students.

To finish the backgrounds I give each table a "mystery color" and they fill in the rest of the white spaces.

I always love the results, they certainly make me smile.