Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Birch BaRk BasKets

Inspired by the Ojibwa, the fourth graders created their own "birch bark" basket. First step is to develop paper with a similar texture to birch bark through the use of chalk and tempera paint on tag board. Next, practice measuring and cutting a basket shape (I had many examples- which some students used to create their template, but others came up with their own basket shape.) Practicing with a separate piece of paper helped my students work out the kinks in their designs before they started cutting and gluing their final piece of birch bark. The last step of the basket is to add decorative elements such as stitching, feathers, fabric cut designs, beads and painted symbols.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Soft Sculpture Fish

Painting with both hands?! We painted each side, stapled, stuffed with news paper and collaged on "fish textures"

A blowfish!
Inspired by Lois Ehlert's story Fish Eyes, the second graders have been busy creating gigantic fish sculptures. Focusing on Symmetrical designs, transferring sketched ideas into finished works of art, painting and collaging techniques. My room looks like a giant aquarium with the fish suspended from the ceiling. Again,  I thought this project was a success, however it has taken us many class periods already, and I still have a few students that need more time. So, before I do this project again I think it could use some refining- maybe line design/texture with ink or marker and possibly replicating a specific fish or sea creature... hmmm?! Suggestions?

Saturday, December 10, 2011


The things you learn your first year of teaching! For some reason, blue painted pieces have paper (just blue?) have begun to pile up in my Kindergarten storage area. We started to make our own scratch art with crayon and deluded blue tempera (which I've done before and it's works well...) but this time it was too challenging for the kindergartners to scratch off, and it flaked off too easily in some areas- FAIL. We also started a one day watercolor snowflake project, but then did not have a chance to finish that project before we moved onto our next unit. We also created collage paper with these awesome textured foam rollers (and blue paint of course!) and we ended up with a lot of extra pieces from that... so we threw a blue party. I got out all of the blue painted paper, white paper & blue paint (wash), blue yarn, blue tape, hole punches...and let them go to town creating snow flake mobile, head dresses, necklaces, wall hangings, capes and other creations that involved " ohhh punch, punch, punch, tape, tie, paint, wrap, staple!" It turned out to be a lot of fun and I'd say fairly productive class period, ha! I love days with limited instruction and maximum moments of creativity.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nature inSpired BlocK prInts!

Fourth Grade was busy last month working developing prints inspired by objects from nature such as plants, animals, bugs, and trees. We focused on specific shapes, textures and lines that represent nature. Day 1- I had the students draw four "blocks" on 4x4 inch paper, and then we did one on one critiques to pick the best design. This  was fun/educational for both the students and myself to understand...their understanding of art, design, craft, and so forth a bit better. Day 2- Students began to engrave their chosen design onto a Styrofoam block, also 4x4 by tracing over their design, and then actually engraving with a carving tool.  Day 3/Day 4 Practice printing days- very experimental with LOTS of encouragement to be "neat printers, because printers are known for that." This was a big challenge during our practice printing times, but it was well worth two days to develop printing skills! Day 5/Day 6- Final Printing and framing days. I gave the students the option to work in partners to help one another (one with dirty "inking" hands, and one with clean "printing" hands) This helped, and was a great opportunity for them to work together. I set up six inking stations throughout the room, allowing students to experiment with rainbow rolls near the end of the class period, I wouldn't have done any more than six. I've also taught this on fabric,  focusing more on culture instead of nature based designs.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Giraffes Eat Leaves!

 WOW, Giraffes eat leaves! Nearly every kindergartner had this pre-knowledge to share with us as we began our giraffe discussion. Day 1- we talked about giraffes and their environment, body structure and quirky characteristics, like the number of vertebrae in their neck, and the speed at which they can run. We looked at a small collection of giraffe images to gain a better understanding of their body structure, then embarked on our attempt to draw giraffes! We used brown tempera and cut up sponges to give the giraffes their unique coat or "finger print." Day 2- We watched giraffes in their environment through Nat. Geo. and talked about their environment. Then we gave our giraffe an environment with trees full of leaves to eat. The kindergartners each made up a story for the giraffe environment. Overall, a successful learning experience for them and a good starting point for me to build on next time!

Shop Local

Ceramic Bead Pendant wraps with vintage chain and beads... at Patricia's!

Wire wrapped bangles with variety of vintage beads.. at Patricia's!
Shop local this holiday season, like Patricia's shoppe in Whitefish Bay, WI.  Spread the love from your local small business and local artists to your loved ones! Check out Patricia's Shoppe: Enjoy, Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Color zoO!

Inspired by our artist of the month, Lois Ehlert the first graders created collaged animals from their imagination. First we read both Color Zoo and Color Farm by Lois Ehlert, and then we talked about collaging, how to create lines and shapes without drawing them. I did a quick demonstration and then I put out heaps of construction paper pieces (great way to use up odds and ends!) and boxes full of shapes (recycled this, that, and the other!) These are the best days in art class, I love listening to their imaginations run wild while digging through the recycled objects-- ear, a paw, or a pair of wings with every new shape they discovered. The biggest challenge for the first graders was not drawing any details, rather finding an object that resembled what they had in mind. Cheers to collaged paper- it's a great medium.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Polka Dot Painting

As we begin "Pretty Polka-Dotted Pigs on Parade," the first graders spent their time in art class today painting polka dots using a variety of corks (small, large, various textures) and tempera paint on large sheets of colored construction paper. We talked about rhythm, movement, shapes and patterns before I let them go wild with the corks. As I talked with students and listened to conversation throughout the room, it was interesting to hear what they were seeing in the simple cork designs! One student discovered "roots" produced by the cork's printed texture in the paint.  Some saw globes, clouds, and rivers as the paint mixed on the paper, and others created objects in dots such as cats and castles. Polka dotting will continue during their next art class as many students didn't finish today, experiementation and converstation was a great use of our time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Starry Night Interpretations

Second Grade interpretations of Van Gogh's Starry night. My students really enjoyed this video, Van Gogh Starry Night which we viewed prior to starting the lesson. Day one, we talked about landscapes and sketched a mountain range, and sky scape. Day 2, we went in with oil pastel and outlined and added our own version of "mark making" to create rhythm after learning about Van Gogh's style of painting.  Day 3: We added textured swirls in the sky scape using glitter gel and tiny sequins. We also added a collaged element in the sky (swirls) and the foreground (plants and village buildings.) This lesson took between 4 and 5 class periods to finish, I set up centers in the room to allow my students to work at their own pace. This is something I hope to do more and more of, self directed, self paced, creative experiences.