Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Serious Camouflage.

Today it rained all day.  I can't complain, I like the dead grass turning a vibrant green and here in Nebraska we need the rain.  Well I was wandering outside today in my green raincoat (probably blending in with the grass) and I saw this bird in a pretty, blossoming tree.  I got a little closer to look at the bird.  I don't even know why I did this, I probably just wanted to see how close I could get to it--ooh ooh, maybe I'd be able to touch it!  Unexpectedly, the bird flew away (who would have thunk it).  But then I looked down and there was a bunny down by the tree! So close to my feet I probably could  have made Thumper my next pet.  Slowly I back away, pull out my camera and capture the picture that is going to make my photographic career.

Is it a bunny or is it a tree?  

Now I'm off to wallow in my sorrow, wondering where this picture was when I was slaving away in the dark room for the one photography class I took in college.  I'm sure it would have gotten me an A+ instead of an A.  

Kindergarten Andy Warhol Pop Art Hands

As the school year is winding down (only 20 more school days, but who's counting???!!) this is a project I like to do with kindergarten.  The neon bright colors just make me think summer.  To start the lesson I have the paper folded for students into thirds and in half again, which makes 6 folded squares on the paper.  Students are instructed to trace the hand they DO NOT write with (this always causes some sort of melt down) 6 times, one in each square.  I did this lesson last year and controlled the color choices a little more, this year I just let them go.  I did stress not to have two neighboring squares the same color, for the most part students do a good job at this.  I told them it was okay to use patterns and they did not have to use all the colors on the paint try.  I like to focus on brush control in this lesson, having students very carefully and slowly paint around their fingers.  They start off by painting the squares first, hands second, and lastly (IF they are following instructions and making the right choices) I allow students to paint their hand to stamp in each square.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

I can't remember a more beautiful Easter than this year.  In recent years it has seemed that Easter has felt a little more like winter.  This year the daffodils are starting to bloom, the tulips are slowly poking up through the dirt, trees are starting to bud, and everything just seems a little greener.  The early evening even brought a little rain, which was truly an Easter Blessing. 

This Easter season I relived a little bit of my childhood, and decided to decorate some eggs.  I can't even remember the last time I did this.  I have to say I think they are the best looking eggs I've ever made.  If this whole Art Teacher thing doesn't work out, maybe I'll take on a profession as a professional egg decorator? 

My brothers a plant guy--this was his gem.

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead.  We are witnessed of this --Acts 3:15

Sunday, April 13, 2014

1st Grade Sunflowers

These are so simple, yet so beautiful.  I LOVE color and I love mixing colors.  1st graders drew their own sunflower by studying images and each had a large sunflower to look from on each table.  We used a q-tip to make the "seeds" in the center using gold, white, yellow, and orange tempera paint.  I then gave students a paint brush to start painting the petals.  They were to use yellow first, then go over with white, and finally orange.  I then gave them green for the stem and leaves and light blue paint mixed with white for the background. 

 I did not allow them to rinse out paintbrushes, and OH MY GOODNESS why does this always get students so worked up?  I'll have kids nearly in tears if the colors start to mix together and they can't wash the paintbrush.  I find it really interesting that students (of all ages) have this reaction.   Do you experience this with your students as well, or is it just me?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

3rd Grade Wanted Self Portraits

This is a really popular project among the students.  It's one of those that every class sees it and wants to do it.  It's really a quite simple lesson.  We draw our portraits together discussing proportion and placement and fill them in with construction paper crayons.  Now the fun part is coming up with a "bandit name."  For this I give them the choice to use their first name or last name, but they must use an alliteration when coming up with a word.  For the most part I want students to think of adjectives, "describing words," but there are always some exceptions. 

Here are last years Wanted students.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

6th Grade Grid Superhero Drawings

Grids. How I dislike them, and am not really wild about teaching them.  I was always that kid in school who struggled with the grid, not being able to make a straight line with a ruler.  It was just easier for me to draw it and not think about it.  That's what makes grid drawings so fun.  Not because of the tedious work of making the grid, but to see those left brained math kids who have struggled along all year do so well on this project.  Whether a student struggles with the grid or not they all seem to be excited about the project because of the content. I've also found it easier for students to first get the concept of the grid down when you break it into simple black and white rather that working with value right away. 

Here's just a handful of the drawings 6th grader produced.  Most students love to take this project home as homework and usually come back with one of every different superhero!

Here's the same lesson done last year, I decided to go with white paper this time. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2nd Grade Van Gogh Sunflowers

Have I mentioned that Spring is blooming in the hallways? It's pretty awesome between the classroom teachers and the artwork I've done with the students the HALLWAYS are filled.  It's so fun to walk down the hallway (in this particular school there are two forever long WHITE hallways) and see them filled with lots of color.  I also love overhearing students talking about other students artwork, it's fun to hear the Art Criticism they do on their own without even realizing it. 

Here's a lesson I did with 2nd graders.  I found the inspiration for this lesson here.  We started off the lesson by drawing the vase all together and dividing the table from the background.  I gave them different sizes of circles to trace 6 to be used as the center of the flower.  That was all the drawing we did.  I then handed out to each table a copy of Van Gogh's Sunflowers.  Students were to look at the painting to determine what colors to use with oil pastels. The focus here was seeing color. As you can see some students stayed true to the painting and others decided to do their own thing.  It is fun to see how everyone interprets the same image differently and you can clearly see that here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

4th Grade Wayne Thiebaud Cupcakes

The school year is winding down for me (I only will see each group of students 3 more times)  and that time will go quickly.  So as the end of the year goes by I try to keep projects as a two day lesson because with end of year field trips, field days, and assemblies there will be several groups that will miss.  Here's a Wayne Thiebaud lesson that most students were able to finish in two classes.  I did a Theibaud lesson last year with 4th graders and really loved the results as far the variety goes.  For another year I may try to combine the two.   

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

5th Grade Van Gogh Irises

It's the first day of April, and as I sit in my classroom listening to the students yell "April Fools" in the hallway two thoughts come to mind: 

1.  Surprisingly enough it's April and there is a chance of snow later this week.
2. There are only two months left of school! Woo Hoo! (Every teacher loves summer)

Well hopefully the same yields true for April SNOW showers bringing May flowers?
Nonetheless, cold or springtime the hallways are blooming with color.

Here is a lesson done by 5th graders.  I love teaching about artists and art history, but I try not to get carried away or we won't get to any art making.  With this in mind I try to talk about the same artists from year to year, but having our focus be on a different piece then before.  I find this helps with the sequential learning process of students retaining information about the artist and the movement they were part of from year to year.  So we talked a little bit about Vincent Van Gogh, but looked at a painting most students had never seen unlike that of Starry Night.

Our focus was on The Irises.  I showed students how to draw an Iris and required them to have 5-7 on their paper.  Then we went to painting.  For the petals I gave students pinks, blues, purples, and white.  As students painted they were to keep in mind Van Gogh's iconic brushwork.  Next students used white and yellow for the flower centers and move on to green, yellow, and white for the stems and leaves. The ground was painted with yellow, brown, white, and a little bit of gold (I love an excuse to use gold).  I had students use the paints in this order so we didn't have to rinse out brushes and maybe we'd get some of the results of Van Gogh's optical mixing.  I did let students get a new brush or clean it out for the background.  I let students choose the colors they wanted to do on the background, while keeping in mind if there flowers were all blue it wouldn't be a good idea to paint the sky blue.  As you can expect my example was done with oranges and reds so most students went down that road, but not all.

I am very pleased with the results and the students really seemed to enjoy the project.  I think the students liked to have the time to just paint and paint where they wanted.  Our last few projects required a lot of specific thinking and directions, so I think this was a nice break.

Here's to hoping for warm weather of Spring and Summer, but chances are in 3 months I'll be longing for snowy day when I'm sick of the 90 degree heat.  But as my 4th grade teacher would tell me about Nebraska, "If you don't like the weather just wait 15 minutes."