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?

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