I love birds! Very much, which is why I was so happy about finding this blog post on pinterest one day!
I decided to do the project with my energetic 2nd graders and just as I imagined, they loved it!
Before the students arrived for class, I cut up a bunch of different sized and shaped pieces of cardboard. There were pieces as big as 18 inches and some as small as 4 inches. I cut out a bunch of organic shapes and a few circles/ovals for eyes.
To begin the project, I showed students a slideshow of some local Asheville folk artists who paint birds and we talked about how the artists simplify the birds into shapes.
After the slideshow, students rummaged through the cardboard pieces and layered them together to create a simplified bird image. Once they came up with a design they were pleased with, they used Elmer's glue-all to attach the pieces.
The next class, after the glue had dried, students began by painting the head one color, the wings one color, the beak one color, the tail one color, etc. The body was painted in thick stripes of color.
To finish this project, students used other colors to paint patterns over the bird.
This project was short and sweet, it only took three classes. The students had a blast and the birds turned out SO cool!
I switch up how I teach color wheels with the Kindergarteners every year because I get bored teaching the same projects over and over. This year I decided to do spider web color wheels as we were approaching Halloween. I came across THIS blog on pinterest which inspired my lesson.
I always start the Kindergarten color wheel project by showing the wonderful OKGO's music video "Three Primary Colors." I take any opportunity I have to show students music videos by OKGO. They are brilliant. This song gets stuck in my head for weeks every time I watch it which hopefully means that it gets stuck in the Kindergartener's heads too!
After watching the OKGO video, we started our spiderwebs by drawing a little dot in the middle of our paper with pencil and drawing six straight lines spread out that started at the dot in the middle and went all the way to the edge of the paper. As they worked, I made sure to walk around and check that each student did exactly 6 lines so that the color wheel would work out.
Next, we used watercolors to paint in the three 'corners' (every other slice) with the three primary colors: red, blue and yellow.
TO fill in the other three slices, we mixed our paints together to create the secondary colors: purple, green and orange.
Our next step was definitely the most tricky for the students, which is why I am super thankful that I thought to have them start with pencil BEFORE painting with black.
I showed them how to draw the spiderweb design by starting with one color slice at a time. Look at the slice so that it is pointing upward and draw about 5 hills that go from one side of the slice to the other. Continue this for each color slice.
Some students figured this out right away but there were quite a few who really struggled with making these hill shapes and making sure they went all the way across each color slice.
After I helped everyone get their hills correct, we used black tempera paint to paint the straight lines that separate each slice and to paint over the hills.
On the last day of this project, I taught them a little bit about spiders bodies and asked them what kinds of spiders they knew of. I was impressed with how many they were able to list. The main thing I focused on was that there are 8 legs on spiders that actually come out of the head region and NOT out of the abdomen.
To create the spiders, they cut out two ovals of brown paper for the head and abdomen and then used markers to draw texture, glued them on the web, and drew their 8 legs. Students could make as many spiders as they wanted. Some students did only 1, while others make like 7 spiders.
They turned out pretty cute overall. If I do this project again though I will come up with a different way to make the spiders probably.
For this project, 4th Grade students learned about bilateral symmetry by doing oil pastel drawings of beetles.
To begin this project, each student got to select an image of a beetle that they liked. I had color printed images of about 20 different beetles for students to choose from.
Once they selected their image, I showed them how to fold the paper on the line of symmetry down their beetle so that once folded, the image was mirrored on each side of the paper. Next they folded the image in half long ways.
One 4th grade class used black paper for the project and the other gray. We used 12"x18" construction paper. After folding the photograph image, students folded their construction paper in the same manner. In half long ways, then short ways to create four quadrants.
To begin the drawing, students kept the beetle image folded so that they were looking at the top right quadrant and I demonstrated how to fill the space on the same quadrant of the construction paper using this grid drawing technique to make the image much larger.
First, 4th graders drew their image with pencil. They did both right hand quadrants then opened the paper up and drew the rest of the beetle.
After completing the pencil drawings, students used oil pastels to create these colorful beetle beauties.
The first step with oil pastels was to pick a color that would show up well on the construction paper and outline the beetle.
Next, I really emphasized that the students be observational artists and try to mimic the colors that they saw in the photographs. This meant that students had really think about WHERE they were using WHAT colors. This also meant that students had to layer colors and blend colors.
The last step of this project was to create a fun colorful border. Not every one had a chance to do this because they took longer on their beetle drawing, but most had time.
We used 18"x24" construction paper to make the borders. Students used oil pastel to make colorful repeating patterns to go around their beetle drawings. I love how they turned out with the beetles.
I was super proud of the 4th graders on this project! The beetles turned out great and it was really neat watching the students really focus on replicating detail that they saw in the photographs! Fun project!
To begin the school year, every student Pre-K thru 5th grade (and even some teachers) did a 5.5"x 8.5" self-portrait using Sharpie and colored pencils. I cut them all out and put them together on a bulletin board asking "What makes you unique?"
I never want to take this down. It has brought so much joy to students, teachers and parents. I love coming out in the hall and seeing people of all ages adoring all of the different self-portraits. I just LOVE it!
At the beginning of the school year, the 5th grade teacher wanted to collaborate to help 5th grade students create journals in my art class that they would use throughout the year in English class with her as reflection journals.
I thought it was a great idea and that it would be a nice way to transition into the school year. One of the last projects that they did at the end of the year last year as 4th graders dealt with exploring watercolor techniques so I thought watercolor would be the perfect medium for the journals!
Students used thick white paper and began by folding it in half so that they knew where the front and back of the journal would be. I was very open with students about what their designs could be. The only stipulations were that the journal had to have their name on the front top side very clearly. The design also could not have any words/numbers and should really be focused on pattern and design.
They did their drawings with Sharpies (of course some used pencil first). To add color, the students blended together watercolors. This was a simple project that turned out really awesome. It took 3 classes for most students (a handful needed an extra day) and their teacher was really happy with the results. I will probably continue to do this in the years to come. Great way to start off the school year.
For our end of the year project, 5th graders created double-image designs inspired by playing card face cards. This group of students was especially interested in drawing, so I thought this would be a fun way to end the school year.
I showed the students examples of a lot of different types of playing cards, from classic designs to the bizarre.
To begin, students each did three sketches of ideas for their cards. After the selected their favorite, students used pencil to draw their design onto tagboard. Their image had to have a border, a suit (spade, heart, diamond, club, or imaginary) and must be King, Queen or Jack. Their design must also have an animal, creature, or person and have patterns. The image must be mirrored and flipped to resemble the playing card designs.
After the designs were drawn in pencil, students finished the project with Sharpie. This project took about 5-6 class periods.
At CDS, Kindergarten students spend a lot of time studying different countries and cultures around the world. To accompany their study of Europe and castles, in art class we created these fun stained glass collages. We looked at pictures of a bunch of different stained glass in Europe. Most were in cathedrals and churches and others in castles. We talked about how the sunlight coming through the window is what makes it look so colorful and how stained glass windows were often used to tell stories.
Students began this project by using watered down glue to collage colored tissue paper squares to a piece of wax paper. Students spent 2 1/2 class periods doing this. Some students used all of the colors available, while others used only two or three colors. This was a messy process and it was neat watching the different techniques that different students used.
I taught them to use their paintbrush to put glue on just a small area of the wax paper, apply tissue paper, then brush more glue overtop of the tissue paper. Some students did so and applied the tissue paper totally random while others created patterns with the pieces.
For the next part of the project, students cut out a black frame with construction paper.
** I hit a very small bump with teaching this project when I realized that not only would it be quite difficult for the students to successfully glue the construction paper onto their finished tissue paper collages, but that the glue stick glue didn't stick very well. So, as any teacher would, I decided to have the students do all of the cutting, but I ended up glueing all of the construction paper cut outs down myself. I still used glue sticks, but I realized that once glued down, they needed to be weighted, so I stacked books on top until they were fully dry.**
We also spent one day practicing folding paper into 4's and cutting out shapes from the sides and corners. We practiced making 'snowflakes' as well. After practicing, I gave students the black construction paper and had them cut out a symmetrical, fun design. To be honest, students got a bit frazzled because the construction paper was hard to cut through but once they finished and opened up their 'snowflake,' they were full of joy!
I ended up having to glue all of these pieces on too which was fine.
The end result of this project is beautiful. Especially when hung in a window so that the sun can shine through.
I will definitely teach this project again next year but I have to figure out a few things to make it go a bit more smooth.
((To see last year's post of this project, click here.))
One of our cross divisional Arts team two year goals is to have every grade level from K-12 create some sort of a collaborative visual arts project. I haven't done this quite yet with every grade yet, but am excited about this abstract collaborative project done for the second year with 2nd grade.
We looked at images of Kandinsky's artwork and together as a team, students spent four class periods creating these large abstract paintings. For more information about the process, click the link above.
I've been wanting to teach a Notan art project for years and finally did. It was hard work, the students worked through it slowly and thoughtfully and with much practice. I am very, very proud of the outcomes.
Notan basically means the balance of lightness and darkness. It is traditionally a Japanese art done with 2-D mediums such as painting, ink, printmaking or paper cutting.
The 4th graders created these beautiful Notans by blending the art of watercolor painting and paper cutting. To begin, each student had a very large sheet of white paper and we spent two class periods experieenting with different techniques of using watercolor paints. We tried splatter painting, we sprinkled salt on wet paint and let it dry before rubbing it off, and we put crinkled plastic wrap over wet paint and let it dry. These techniques each create a different effect. Students could use any color palette they wanted. Some used all cool colors, others went for rainbow colors and others more of a woodsy camouflage palette.
After the paintings were finished, we spent two entire class periods learning about Notans and doing practice Notans before actually doing the final Notan on our watercolor paintings. I have had quite a few teachers ask me how I was able to get such great results from the 4th graders on this project and the key is practice, practice, practice.
The first day or practicing Notans, I really pushed students to work slowly and follow my directions very closely. I will try my best to describe the process that we used here.
1. Beginning with one 8"x10" piece of white paper and another 5"x7" piece of black paper, center the black paper in the middle of the white paper.
2. Using a pencil, draw corner tab marks around all four corners of black paper.
3. Draw an X on the back side of the black paper, this is to know that the side with the X is always the back side, the side facing down.
4. Along the edge of the black paper (side with NO X) draw a very simple shape (a half circle is a great start) and draw a small X on it.
5. Cut out the shape.
6. Line the black sheet of paper up with corner tabs, the X should be facing down.
7. Using a glue stick, put glue on the cut out shape. Make sure that you glue the side that you drew the X on. If you glue the wrong side, this does not work.
8. With the black sheet lined up with tabs, put your cut out shape back into it's original place (like a puzzle). Now the X on the cut out shape should be facing up and have glue on it. Flip the cut out shape over like a door hinge.
9. Repeat steps 1-8 along all edges of black paper.
10. When all edges have shapes cut out and glued down, take large black sheet of paper, turn over and cover the side with the X on it with glue. Flip over so X is facing down and line up with corner tabs and glue down.
The next class period, we did another practice Notan using the same steps above except I had students try this with more complex shapes and cutting shapes inside of their shapes. I gave some specific instruction to those who needed it but mostly let students figure it out on their own the second practice day.
Finally, we spent the next two class periods doing their final piece. We used a large sheet of black paper and students followed all of these steps to create a Notan on top of their watercolor paintings.
The most important steps for having success:
-practice, practice, practice
-drawing the X on back side of black paper to remember that that was the back side.
-drawing the corner tabs
These Notans turned out amazing and I was blown away by the amount of attention to detail that students put into this project. These 4th graders should really be proud of themselves!