Monday, January 26, 2015

A 5th Grade Frenzy of Art Lessons

I seem to be talking a lot about weather lately, but it seems a little odd to be posting these on a day in January when it is 60 degrees!  I made a quick trip to Alabama this weekend, looking forward to a little warmer weather.  Naturally, it was warmer in Nebraska then in Alabama.  With the Blizzard of 2015 (whats up Juno) hitting the Northeast I thought it appropriate to share these.  

As I was doing this project with 4th grade, I decided to give the 5th graders a shot at it too.  Since I already had everything set up it made it pretty easy.  So while 5th graders were waiting to make their print with me, they created their own snowflake stencil.  Eventually, students used the snowflake stencil they made and created a focal point.  I also had some giant foam snowflake stamps that students could add to their print To finish them off students added more detail to their stencil created snowflake with oil pastels and some even used a little glitter glue to accent it.  

I love the layers and layers of snowflakes these projects have, it gives the eye so much to look at!

5th Graders also completed these winter Ice Skating Rinks.  Not all of the classes did this one, it started out as a very independent sub lesson.  I love the variety of characters and winter villages.

Here is a Picasso lesson that got lost within my posts and I forgot happens right? It didn't seem to be as successful of a lesson compared to this one from a few years ago.  I'll have to work out the kinks for next time. 

Also, a huge thank you to those that voted for me.  1st Place in the Rising Star category, feels pretty awesome.  So thank you all for reading with me!  You're all an awesome community of educators.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Art Ed Blog of the Year

It's certainly nice to know that my mom isn't the only one who likes to check out my blog.  A big thank you to those of you that nominated me.  Welcome to those who just discovered me, I look forward to learning and exploring together.  

I've got to keep this short because I have pencils to sharpen (which by the way...I'm a little freaked out because I found a cockroach in my unsharpened pencil container this afternoon, so if my typing starts to look like this, difhsjkad, that's because I feel like bugs are crawling all over me and I'm trying to shake them off).  

To check out the competition, hop on over to the Art of Education.
There's a lot of awesome blogs to check out there.

If you feel so inclined (which I hope you do) feel free to cast a vote for me.  You can find me under the Rising Star Category here, just mark Exploring Art: Elementary Art.  You can vote once a day, until the deadline which is Friday, January 23 at 5pm. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's a Winter Wonderland


This winter (starting in November) has really brought in some cool temperatures for us.  The little snow that we've had is long gone because of a couple of 60 degree January days--weather man when is the next big snow storm?  But really when I was a kid growing up in the 90s snow forts, sledding, and snowmen were a regular phenomenon.  And when I say snow I MEAN SNOW. Nebraska hasn't seen a real snow fall (over a foot) since 2009.  I wear my snow boots with pride, even without snow, but every once in awhile they like to meet up with an old friend too (so bring back that 90s snow).   

Anywho, here are a few of the winter themed projects done by the primary grade students throughout the season.  

This is a lesson I did last year with kindergarten.  But instead of just using blue construction paper students made some painted paper to use instead. And WOWSER I love this version! There is just something about that added texture and dimension the background gives.

And who doesn't love a good snowman massacre?  I also had another one that I didn't get a picture of, but let's just stay my buddy P got a little heavy handed with the red oil pastel--there was quite a scene.

Kindergarteners made these fun little penguins too:

1st graders had a lot going in.  It seemed like whenever there was an early out, "cold day," assembly, or I had a sub a 1st grade was hit.  So each class had about a zillion things going on and ALL OF THEM were different.  

With this lesson, that most started, we explored how you could create space.

The idea for this lesson was sparked by another elementary art teacher in the district.  Using the primary colors students mixed colors to create a rainbow.  The teacher I got the lesson from then had her students draw snowmen on top of the background, I wasn't really feeling the snowmen vibes so I went with a polar bear instead.

and to finish it off this group was just out of wack with our schedule so why not draw OLAF????
But really 1st graders drew these.  Are you amazed? Because I am

Here's another lesson I did last year and again this year with 2nd grade, it's quite popular in the Pinterest community and brings a lot of traffic my way.  I really enjoy doing this lesson, it gives a fresh take to the snowman or as I like to call him the SNOWcone.  

Maybe one day I'll have so much free time on my hands that I'll be able to illustrate and write a children's book--I think this guy would be my main character.  Have any good character names?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lemons, Limes, and Oranges--OH MY!

For this lesson I wanted 4th graders to think about radial balance differently than in years past.  In starting this lesson and discussing radial balance students were asked to think about what kind of objects do we see throughout our day that show this?  Some of the common answers: flowers, clocks, bicycle wheel, ferris wheel, ceiling fan, a spinner in a board game, the color wheel and the list continues.

In discussing these objects I went around the room and placed a sliced lemon, lime, and orange for students to observed the radial balance found within the objects.  Not only did the room smell so fresh and clean for once but I also think by having the tangible example they were able to understand it much better.  

As students sat a their tables and drew the citrus fruits I called three students up at a time to create a 12 in by 12 in monoprint using the gelli plate method.  Unfortunately, gelli plates are not in my budget so I made my own using the recipe found here.  THE kids loved it and so did I.  

We used the print as a background for the completed citrus drawings, I think the contrast is quite stunning.  What do you they absolutely delicious?

Monday, January 12, 2015

PEEEEE YEWWW--Do you smell that?

Kindergartners had their first taste (not literally, yuck!) of clay.  Kids always love clay especially when you trick them into thinking it's this super awesome magical stuff.  For kindergarteners I like to start out some sort of project using a pinch pot, just to keep it simple.  The past few years we made ladybugs, and yeah they were cute, but I was sick of those.  I was perusing the interwebs and ran across this project over at ARTventurous and adapted it to my needs. 

Especially with my kindergarteners, I like to start a project with some sort of literature.  This seemed like a no brainer, I'm going to read a story about a skunk.  I set upon the task of searching the school library using the keyword "skunk" and only one book came up, Move Over Rover.  Well this book is actually about a dog and the skunk has a short guest appearance of about 10 seconds, it was the best I could do.  Someone needs to write more books about skunks ASAP, kids love the grossness and smelliness of a skunk...think of all the art project possibilities. 

We started out with a simple pinch pot body, pinched up a couple ears, and pinched out a little nose.  Lastly we took a back of a pencil to poke a little hole in the back for the tail.  In one class I had the students attempt to use the pipe cleaners to make the tails.  Even with my superb step by step instructions only 2 students successfully made a tail, so I made the executive decision to just make the rest for the other classes.

The next class students placed a piece of masking tape down the back of the skunk and simply painted it black.  Since the air dry clay dries white I peeled the tape off to reveal a white stripe.  To finish it all off I hot glued on the tails and the eyes. 

I love these little guys.  I think they are super cute and funny.  One of the kindergarten teachers used her classes as a Christmas gift for the parents.  For the girls, they added a little bow to the head, and the boys added a little bow tie under the nose.  She then took a picture of each of her students holding a sign that read "Merry Christmas from your little stinker."  Pretty clever, right?  I wish I had some pictures of them, but what a great idea!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Going Under the Sea in 3rd Grade

Because 2 weeks of vacation isn't enough, with the -30 degree wind chills (BRRRRRR) today, luckily we had a COLD DAY! Snow day, cold day, what have you..I'll take either one.  So on this frigid day I thought I'd share something a little more tropical-esque to warm your innards.  

I've found the best way to teach intermediate colors is not simply just talking and looking at the color wheel, but by doing.  So to create these lovely sea creatures 3rd graders first had to paint loads of intermediate colored paper!  I'm all about texture, so we got the forks and texture tools going.

Students had a choice between creating an octopus or a seahorse.  I guess kids don't really like octopi because EVERYONE chose a seahorse, I would even try to persuade bribe  them into making an octopus for the variety, but that didn't even work!

But still, they are quite beautiful.  Something about the combination of colors and the textured paper is just stunning! What do you think?

Stay warm! I'll be hanging out in my snowflake covered pj's all is rough.

Monday, January 5, 2015

So is it Summer yet?

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Today was the day when my alarm went off super early and I realized I in fact was not dreaming, but my Holiday vacation was officially over.  Every night I go to bed hoping for snow 1) because I LOVE IT and 2) the selfish part inside of me always wants a snow day--hopefully 2015 will bring me lots of snow...on the weekdays.

Over the break I was nominated by Heather over at Art Intertwine & Melinda at Art with Ms. Gram for the Liebster award.  (Check out their blogs they have some super awesome stuff happening over there!)

Here's the ten questions I was to answer:

1.  Why did you start your blog? I started my blog 3 years ago during my first year of teaching.  In my unique teaching environment I go to 3 different elementary schools (2 in which I do art on a cart, and 1 where I have my classroom).  I remember sitting at my desk in 2012 during one of my plan times thinking, "wow I don't really have a lot to do."  A first year teacher saying this? I must be crazy right!  In the 1,000 students that I see I am on an eight day schedule, which means I only see a class once every two weeks or more.  As I am a huge planner in my teaching practice, seeing students on a limited schedule teaching the same lesson 7 times in each grade does not call for a need to extensively plan out a new lesson every time I see a group, giving me a little extra time in that regard.  So the original plan for my blog was to 1) use it as a resource for me 2) share what was happening in the art room with all of the students families and 3) give me something to do!  

2.  What excites you about being an art educator?

I LOVE giving the students a crazy, cool experience that they can only get in the art room.  I experiment A LOT, sometimes it fails miserably, but I'm constantly trying new things that I think most students wouldn't have the opportunity to do without me.  I want to make learning exciting so teaching becomes exciting in turn.  And I mean really, who wouldn't want to get paid to create and make the thing that you are passionate about?

3.  What do you talk about on your blog?

The main content on my blog is my experiences in the classroom and the projects student create.  But, sometimes I give the reader a little glimpse of me sharing some events in my personal life as I tend to do a lot of weird/random things that I find fun to talk about.  

4.  Why do you think connecting with other bloggers is important?

In my current school district there are only 6 other elementary teachers that I have the opportunity to work and collaborate with.  Which is awesome, but sometimes it's nice to see a fresh different perspective on things.  Connecting with other art educators via blogs allows me to step outside my little circle and explore art room experiences all across the country--which is pretty rad when you think about it. 

5.  Have you met any other bloggers in person?

Other than bloggers in Nebraska I have not, but I really want to.  It's weird because sometimes you really feel like you know someone...but you don't.  Unfortunately, since I've begun teaching (only when I was in college) I haven't been able to attend NAEA--2016 should be the year!

6.  Where do you think your blog will be in 2 years?

Well, it will probably be where it is now.  I'll just be a couple years older and wiser I'm sure--so my wealth of knowledge will be priceless...just kidding, well kind of.  

7.  What do you do best (in reference to art education)?

I'm an innovator, learner, and creator.  I'm so good at just making things up on the's scary (and my students probably think I'm a little crazy for it or maybe that's why some of the kindergarten boys continue to propose).  I find it difficult to divide my time between my three buildings, so at times I have some struggle there.  But I'm a big advocate for arts in the community and museum education.  The Joslyn Art Museum holds these awesome "Thursdays for Teachers" workshops which enables art educators to get together and be artsy and stuff, ya know?...and sometimes they even let me present to everybody.  Another really important thing to me is to still create artwork for me--and for fun.  Sometimes I need it to be sane to just do what I want to do.  I used to strictly only be an oil painter, but it's kind of fun to see how teaching has influenced and inspired me to sometimes push myself and not just create what I'm most comfortable with.  It's weird to think that something I teach in a 3rd grade class inspires me in my own work.  This year has been quite a whirlwind as I took the plunge, and by that I mean I finally enrolled in a graduate program (it's the end as we know it...I'm getting old).  I've embarked on the pathway of Information Technology, I'm super techie, so it's fun to see how it as well is influencing my teaching.    

8.  How much time do you devote to your blog?

Probably at most about 4-5 hours a week.  This includes checking out others blogs as well as writing and adding pictures (the time killer) to mine.  Grad school has really taken a toll on this, there just isn't enough time in the day!  But I mean if I ever catch a glimpse of color anywhere...I become easily distracted. 

9.  How do you create your posts?

Sometimes I do themes like post different grade levels that all did portraits or all of the winter projects, or sometimes I just take it grade level by grade level.  However, sometimes it's just totally random and I plaster the page with pictures so they say "LOOK AT HOW PRETTY I AM."

10.  What wishes do you have for your readers?

First off, all of my readers MUST know that I actually do have an apron for every season/holiday/mediocre event--for some students it's become a game *eye roll* "what in the world will Ms. Schukei be wearing today?"
But really, I hope you keep reading along as I will with you.  I love communication and feedback with all of you out there, so don't be shy and stop back often!

And now...for my nomination (as a pull the name out of the envelope) the winner is:

Lauren over at Cornwell Fam.  She'll share with you some of the awesome artwork her middle schoolers create, as well as a little fashion, and other rad life events.

I hope your holidays were full of friends, family, and fun!