Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It Takes A Village

I found a project idea in one of the art education professional magazines (School Arts or Arts and Activities, I apologize that I cannot cite which one!).  The project was titled It Takes a Village and I loved the way it combined ideas of collaboration and community with art concepts.  Even though the project was designed for 6th graders, I felt I could adapt it to be a perfect culminating project for my second graders this year.  The project was a class favorite and a huge success!
Students first designed their own cottage on small paper.  They drew inspiration from cultures of focus in the 2nd grade social studies curriculum, and from artists of study in the 2nd grade art curriculum.
Students then created a village by tracing their own cottage on a large paper, and choosing classmates' cottages to trace and add into the scene as well. Students paid careful attention to overlapping and letting their work fall off the edge of the paper.  A horizon line was added at the end of the drawing phase, with plenty of oohs and ahhs!
Students traced their pencil lines with Sharpies before painting with watercolor paints. Here a student is using semi-moist watercolors. These watercolors provide a nice quality pigment, but if enough water is not added they do not fully dry and remain sticky on the paper.  In the future, I would not give 2nd graders the option to use semi-moist watercolor paints and would save them for more mature artists.
Students also added color using standard watercolor trays and tube watercolors were used to mix special colors.
The background was painted using liquid watercolors.  I absolutely love liquid watercolors as they are bright and intense!
These finished pieces are a true testament to the title. It took a village to create the scene. My students had to rely on one another and share their creativity in order to complete each individual project.  What a great way to end the school year! 

See the full class set of paintings on my Flickr page

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lily Ponds inspired by Monet

Art teachers know that elementary students LOVE mixed media.  I only see my first graders once per rotation cycle, which means my time with them is limited.  Mixed media projects enable them to experience a variety of art forms in less time.  This Monet-inspired project included pencil drawing, painting, shading with chalk (both dry and wet chalk), tissue paper collage and cut paper collage.

They did fantastic work in only 4-5 class sessions!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Kindergarten Self-Portraits

I like to do a portrait project with each grade level in the year.  With Kindergartners, my focus is on students including all of the vital parts of a portrait (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, eyebrows, neck).  I remembered Bruce Blitz, the cartoon artist who was on TV when I was younger. He would use little tricks to help build drawings, for example using a letter or number as the base for a portrait.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Elementary Art Exhibition

The elementary art exhibition this year was a huge success!  Artwork from all students in Nursery through 5th grade was on display for two weeks.  We are lucky to have a gallery-like space to display artwork in the atrium of the early childhood building.

Highlights this year included a record number of art pieces (at least two pieces per child), the use of QR codes on artwork for upper elementary students (way to go Ms. Krijt!), collaboration from three elementary art teachers in putting on this event (we did it girls!), and a steady stream of visitors (thank you parents, students, and community members!).

I enjoy taking my 1st and 2nd grade classes to visit the art exhibition.  I design a scavenger hunt to encourage them to visit each display.  They work in small groups to find answers to questions like "Which 5th grade student included a mountain in the background of their landscape?" and "How many 2nd graders used only cool colors in their weavings?"  Students have to find the appropriate display and apply their knowledge of art concepts in answering each question.

Congrats to the young artists who made this art exhibition possible! I am so proud!!!!!

Click HERE to see a gallery of photos from the art exhibition : )

Monday, February 17, 2014

Teacher Samples

In my storage room I have saved teacher samples from past projects.  I don't typically show my students the final product at the beginning of a project. Instead, I demonstrate steps and techniques class-by-class working alongside my students.  This means that I create multiple of each project to use with each class section. Many of them are piled in my storage room, but I have also found that they are a great to give as a "Thank You" to colleagues, administrators, and parent helpers.  All of the artwork that you see on my blog is student made, but for this post I am showing you some of my work.  Enjoy!
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Glitter Hands

When your mom is an art teacher, you don't mind going to her classroom on the weekend while she preps for the week.  The result is almost always glitter hands!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

SmockTip #10- Establish Routines

Establish clear routines in the art room, especially with the youngest learners. My nursery students know to enter the art room and to immediately sit down on the rug. We always begin class by singing two short color songs that include fun motions. This helps get the wiggles and chatter out before a brief lesson. Then the art exploration and creativity begins!
My nursery students singing "Rainbow" to begin art class