Saturday, June 27, 2009

Many thanks to Mysticwind for including my earrings in a bold, fiery treasury!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fifth Grade

Name Cubes

Unfortunately, this is the only project I have nice images for in 5th grade. It is really neat, though. I have posted the template in the largest file format, which was printed on heavy white cardstock. We used our names as a springboard for a nonrepresentational design. Drawing media includes sharpies, fine and extra fine, and crayola markers, as well as some flair pens. To spice things up, we applied different types of mark making: solid, blended, dots, scribbles, hatching, and crosshatching. Each letter of the name represents a personal trait- like quiet, friendly, playful, etc. Legibility is unimportant in this case.The folds are super tight because we used a ruler and bone folder to make them line up- keep them as crisp as you can for a neat cube. DON'T CUT OFF THE TABS! :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fourth Grade
Name Logos
Using a thick sheet of tin, which is similar to foil you might have at home, but more durable, fourth graders create an eye catching logo for a company. We use their initials as the text, including bright colors, striking design, and simple layout in the style of real logos. We etched and engraved into the tin with our pencils, but commercial tin foil would surely get punctured. The one part you can take from this project at home is that sharpies are transparent, and, once dry, won't smudge when drawn on metal. The colors look lovely and vibrant, so try drawing on foil with sharpies!

Clay Shoes

This unit draws from the previous one, including the company and logo aspects into the creation of a prototype shoe. We
first do an observational drawing of our own shoes. Then, paying close attention to details like the sole, tongue, toe, laces, stitching, straps, logos, and embellishments, we design a new shoe to create from clay. We built these shoes from red earthenware, but if you don't happen to have a kiln at home, you could try it with air dry clay. Crayola Model Magic is one example- it's easy to find and may be painted or colored with marker if desired. The marker looks a bit sloppy in my opinion, but if you want to avoid mess I think it's the way you'd want to go. These shoes are close to a toddler shoe size in real life.

Self Portrait Eyes
The eyes as a subject for self portrait make a nice transition into learning to draw realistically without being as intimidating as a whole face.I took pictures of the students' eyes and also provided mirrors to assist. We talked about the different ways our eyes and eybrows change shape when we make facial expressions, and also identified the eyebrow, lash, lid, pupil, iris, sclera, and tear duct so each of those details could be included in the drawings. For a bit of fun, we crafted some glasses from construction paper and glued them onto little bits of corrugated cardboard, to lift them away from the eyes and leave a shadow, like real glasses might.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Third Grade
Aboriginal Prints

We looked at Australian Aboriginal bark paintings, noting the subject of nature and animals, the use of pattern, and the use of symbols to tell us something. Third graders chose an animal to represent them, included some symbols, and transferred their drawings onto a sheet of foam, just like what you might buy your meat on in the grocery store. We then inked it and printed onto construction paper. You could translate this into a smaller-scale home project, inking it on an inkpad, perhaps? You can get a very faint, ghostly image by coloring it with washable marker and quickly pressing it onto paper before it dries.

Hamsa Hands

The Hamsa hand is a traditional good luck charm found in Jewish and Islamic traditions. We discussed pattern and symmetry, and the media, again, is construction paper crayon. You can tell I love them, a lot!

Dinosaur Disaster Movie Poster
These were so funny and melodramatic! I showed the kids some vintage movie posters, like Gozilla and King Kong, pointing out the things the artist added to make people want to go see the movie, like action, danger, exaggeration, onomatopoeia, things like that. Then, we did an observational drawing lesson with dollar store plastic dinosaurs. The creative component is the movie setting,
title, and other propganda.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Second Grade
Color Mixing with Markers
We created fall trees in second grade while learning about color mixing. I made an interesting discovery that I worked into this lesson- washable markers, like crayolas, behave like watercolor when you spread water over them! Do the marker drawing first, then go over it with a paintbrush and water, washing the brush as you would between colors. We did the yellow first to keep the markers fairly clean, then red, then blue. The tree trunk brown was made with a mix of all three.

Porthole Painting
Second graders know lots of facts about undersea life, so I supplied them with some how-to-draw sea creature books and off they went! We first drew in pencil, then outlined in crayon to make a resist, then painted. The idea is that we are looking out a porthole of a submarine at the landscape under the sea. It helps to listen to "Yellow Submarine!"

Castle Pop Ups
Together, we looked at the pop up book, Castle:Medieval Days and Knights, by Kyle Olman, with Robert Sabuda pop ups. We talked about the different parts of a castle and what usually went on in each area. The kids designed their castles on grey construction paper, first in pencil, then sharpie, then construction paper crayon. Next, they designed the background on a 12x18 inch sheet of tagboard that we'd fold in half. The pop up portion was made in this fashion, found on We then glued the castle cut out to the layer. Super simple! Just make sure no glue leaks out the sides, accidentally gluing the pop up shut.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First Grade
Frank Stella Drawings

My first graders learned about Frank Stella, and created drawings similar to his bold, geometric paintings. These drawings were done on grey construction paper with Crayola construction paper crayons. We first drew in pencil, using rulers and plastic lids to trace the circles. I had lids from yogurt containers, butter, baby food jars, whatever you have nearby will do. Then, as we colored, we switched to a new color each time we met a new line or shape. This is neat looking, no matter how ambitious the child wants to be in terms of line quantity.

Rock Star Collage
To create this collage, we first made the background by collecting faces from kid-appropriate magazines and gluing them with glue sticks to alleviate wrinkling. We added details like lights and decorations, and perhaps including arms waving wildly within the audience in their enthusiasm for the rock star. Then, we talked about building the human body using simple shapes. The kids traced pre-cut ovals to make the body and appendages, then colored the figure, adding instruments or other equipment. Lots of children love Guitar Hero, so many of them had some really fun guitars in their collages. We then glued the human figure, or the foreground, onto the stage background.

Monet's Garden
We bagan this unit by reading Linnea in Monet's Garden, by Cristina Bjork. This gives a nice tour of the place. We then created a tissue paper collage on green or blue paper, adding the tissue for the sky, water, and land, and identifying the horizon line. The following class, we added details like the lilies, koi fish, trees, grasses, birds, and other living things in construction paper crayon.

Spring Flower Resist
I placed a still life setup of silk flowers at each table. We identified the parts of a flower and created a drawing in pencil from observation. The vases were unique to each child since I only had random food containers to place the flowers in. The first graders included a pattern either on the vase or table cloth. Once the pencil drawing was done, we traced the lines in crayon, and then painted in watercolor. I love a resist for a young painter because it keeps the colors from bleeding into each other so much, and adds clarity to the image.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Been working very hard at my day job these days, getting everything taken down, handed back, cleaned up, and put away for the summer in the art room. Had a thought- maybe you readers would be interested in some of the projects I taught my kids this year, since the summer will be long, and there is bound to be rain. So, here you have a treasure trove of rainy day activities! I will do one grade at a time.


For this project, we read The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System, by Joanna Cole. This really helped them elaborate on the planets in their drawings. We first glued down shapes I had precut in construction paper. The shiny thing is silver posterboard. I showed them how to draw fire, with the blue first, then red, then orange, and they really dug that. The wonderful crayon you see is none other than Crayola Construction paper crayons, which are extra opaque and designed for writing on dark colored paper. For the life of me, I don't understand why Crayola makes these things so hard to find, but the only spot I could locate them is here on Amazon. I could sing praises of these crayons for ages! They have a limited palette such that the colors look adorable together regardless of how you combine them. Glitter crayons will work, too.

Giant Flower
We read Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed, about a giant flower. Then, we identified the parts of a flower, and drew a silk flower (I have allergies in a big way) from observation. I always begin in pencil so that we can erase mistakes. We then outlined in sharpie, and colored in with crayon.

Paper Batik
I showed the kids some real Batiks a friend brought back from vacation, and talked about where Batik comes from and how it's made. We discussed patterns and drew them in construction paper crayon. We then painted over them with watercolor, creating a resist.

Types of Lines Painting

Here, we talked about different types of lines- first drawing them in the air, then in pencil, then in black paint. We mentioned horizontal, vertical, diagonal, straight, curved, zigzag, and curlicue. The second class, after the black paint had dried, we filled in the spaces with warm and cool colors. The same concept can easily work in pretty much any media, if you are concerned about mess. This was done early in the year, and on 24x36 inch paper, with oversize brushes. Good for little hands' dexterity!

Pollack Painting
It may seem crazy to teach a Pollack lesson, but I have a great technique that keeps things pretty tidy. We first read Action Jackson, by Jan Greenberg. The prep went like this- save some wide, flat boxes, just like the kind large quantities of soda come in at BJ's or Costco. Cut some paper to the size of the box and lay it inside. Have a few bowls, one for each color of paint. Place spoons and marbles in each bowl along with the paint. The child carries the painting in the box, never touching or removing it. When he reaches the color he wants, he uses the spoon to scoop up the marble covered in paint, gently drops the marble into the box, and then tilts the box back and forth-no jumping, only rolling. The marble leaves a trail of paint wherever it rolls! If all goes according to plan, the fingers don't hit the paint. I took great care in explaining and demonstrating this process, and the kids were super responsible!

Castle Accordion Books

I precut the front and back panel in grey construction paper. The middle pages are one long paper, about 12 x 36 inches, folded back and forth, fan style, forming equal panels. First, we glued on the castle panels. Then, we drew in pencil, so we can erase if we need to, then outlined in a color sharpie marker, and colored construction paper crayons. Once the covers are through, you can write and illustrate the inside.

Fall Trees
We made these trees with watercolor and straws! Just make sure it's exhale only. They don't have to be Fall only, you could easily do flowering cherry trees, or green summer trees. I find it helps to talk about the separate parts of a tree, like roots, branches, trunk, and leaves, before beginning so that kids can include all of those in their artwork.

Texture Puppets

We read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and created monsters of our own with white paper bags, marker, and a variety of things with different textures (fabric, yarn, cotton balls, shiny tagboard, burlap, foil, etc.) If you have the time, why not stage a performance, as well?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Thanks to KnotOriginal for including my earrings in her elegant treasury!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thanks again to Sedgeworks, for including my work in her adorable treasury! Your kind support is much appreciated, Sedge!