Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SmockTip #3- An eggcellent idea!

At the beginning of the school year, I ask parents to save and donate certain materials to recycle in the art room.  I always ask for cardboard egg cartons.  Color mixing with a classroom full of first graders can get messy.  After several attempts of shared palettes turning into a mush of brown paint, chaotic clean up at the end of class while washing palettes, and many students upset that their partners didn't let them do the mixing, I knew I had to find a better way.

Using egg cartons for color mixing worked wonderfully.  I cut the egg cartons into trays of three wells, and pre-filled them with the colors to mix.  I was able to do this step at the start of the day prior to a string of back-to-back classes.  Each student LOVED having their own paint and the opportunity to try out the magic of mixing independently.  When students were finished, clean up was simple.  They threw away their egg palettes and tossed their paintbrush into the rinse bucket.  So easy!
***Note:  In the photo you might notice that I had my students mixing yellow, magenta, and turquoise instead of yellow, red, and blue.  I have found that with the Crayola washable tempera paints, the primary colors do not mix very attractively.  By substituting magenta and turquoise, the students get shades of orange, purple, and green that really pop eliciting lots of "oohs" and "ahhs" in the art room : ) 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Key to Successful Printmaking

I was feeling frustrated when the prints that my second graders were producing were not turning out nicely. I repeated a demo for the second time while referring to the steps of printmaking that were clearly listed on chart paper.  But while looking through prints after the second session of printing, I was disappointed in the quality once again.  

I had just started printmaking with the Kindergarteners and their prints were perfect. I reflected on what I was doing differently with the two grades, and figured out the key. COLLABORATION.  My Kindergarteners were making prints in small groups. One student worked at a time, with the teacher and peers offering tips and suggestions along the way.  I decided to take a step back with the second graders and have them work in cooperative groups during their next printing session.  The results were phenomenal!!! 

Collaboration is key in the art room!