Friday, December 30, 2011

Remember the fabulous texture plates?

Several posts back I talked about texture plates. I have never met a class that doesn't LOVE them. When I demonstrate how to use them I actually get applause, like a magician, it's too funny. Well the next class I bring out all the tops from liquid detergents that I have been begging for in newsletters, super thick cardboard wedges and anything I've saved for interesting printing.  I put out paints that won't turn muddy if mixed and have the students roam the tables experimenting with the stamps on their textures. We review printing techniques and I have the students stand up and HOP like a bunny or frog and then we do the "Twist" as a reminder not to rub or paint with their stamps. I believe my technical word is not to schwizzle.  I think this lesson is perfect for the beginning of the year when the students are so anxious to get back to painting.
This is also a good lesson to bring up how much is TOO much. Know when to stop. Is your artwork becoming overwhelmed with paint? color?

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Dragons! I was so surprised how excited my students were to draw dragons. I printed a few examples and had a powerpoint up to give them inspiration.  We did a draft in pencil, outlined in permanent marker then I'm using up some old watercolors before I open the liquid watercolors. Wow, really excited how these turned out!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cardinals in Trees

I've done this lesson for a few years and tweek it every time.  Last year I ended up with itty bitty birds so I decided to use foam shapes for the students to help with the bodies if they wanted. I think the shape was too big and the birds look a bit fluffy. So, I'll adjust for next year.  This lesson takes 3, 30 minute class periods. Day one we look at the trees outside our classroom. There are several trees that have the Y formation. We  talk about how not all trees look like that (willow trees, evergreen, etc) Hopefully they begin to study tree shapes on their way to soccer or dance? Next we cut brown paper into strips and apply to the blue paper. Second class we create the snowstorm. We talk about how snow falls on a tree and piles up on the ground. The last class we create our cardinals by breaking down images of the bird into simple shapes and adding details with permanent marker. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Evergreen Trees

More cutting for kindergarten! The ideas this time is to cut strips of paper and each pieced is either longer or shorter than the one before it depending on if they start at the top or bottom.  Most students start at the bottom. I have to give them a goal of 15 branches or you'll have the student that shouts they are finished with four branches. The next class we add snow although in Michigan now the ground is brown we hoped for snow. Also this lesson gives me another chance to talk about glue. I introduce Mr. Gluey and how he doesn't like it when his head isn't screwed on when finished and he doesn't like when students bite his head or push scissors in it. We used glue sticks for this project, (not a big fan since the glue doesn't last) but hey, you can't beat it for quick set up.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cool donations

Over the years I have received some very cool donations. TONS of styrofoam, linoleum, and this paper. A dad who worked in printing donated five reams of this paper. It's matte on one side and sticky on the other, kinda like the sticky part of an envelope.  I have used it with 4th and 5th grades to see what team could build the highest tower that had to stay up for at least 30 seconds. It's always neat to see the team that starts out with one huge tube and THEN tries to support it. I think I should read the book the "Rabbit and the Hare" because it's the team that works steady with a strong base that wins every time. 
All they needed was scissors and a damp sponge.
Wednesday I asked the 5th graders to work in teams to build anything they wanted. I saw lots of towers, rockets and people. I only thought to take a couple of pictures but this dog was really cool.

NOT on his Christmas list!

On the LAST day of indoor practice Jack fell and fractured his clavicle. The poor thing is in pieces so we are spending our break recovering. One plate and five screws later... he is doing great. So don't be surprised to see some much needed catch  up on blogging during Jack's recovery!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who Ya Gonna Call?

When I arrive at Pine Knob early in the a.m I often see Andy with his vacumm pack on his back and how can you not start singing the theme to Ghostbusters?  Thanks Andy for keeping my room so clean!

More info on the Cupcakes

A few answers to your questions. Here are the molds I bought at Bed, Bath and Beyond for about .50  If the clay is really soft I have the students place a ball of papertowel in the middle to give support while they decorate the top. You can take it out right before firing or if you don't mind the mess, leave it in and it will burn off. The students place a piece of paper between the top and bottom with their name on it and after about 4 days I pop out the bottom and write their name on the bottom of the cupcake. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cultures of Thinking Routines

Our district has embraced a new approach in learning based on the Project Zero studies. There are several routines that are strongly connected to Visual Literacy.  My classes are 30 minutes long so it is very rare for me to have a chance to spend one of my entire class times on a routine so I held my breath hoping I wouldn't hear as the students left, "Hey we didn't make anything today"
The owls were finished so I set them out, four on a table with a sheet of paper in front of each labeled, See, Think, Wonder. I started the class by having the students observe a mask on the projector and we practiced the routine in small groups, forming questions about the art work. Next, we discussed critique and what that means to critique or LOOK at another person's artwork. We talked about what words are helpful to an artists, what words are hurtful and what are vague.  The students then freely rotated among the tables to write on each piece of paper. The students were very excited to engage in this task as well as read what their peers wrote. 

Ice Cream Cones

This is not exactly the time of year for ice cream cones but a perfect time to work on cutting skills. The idea is to turn a square into a circle by "Giving it a haircut", and cut off the corners. I have always taught the fingers, Thumbkin, Pointer, Tall man, Ring man, and Pinkie. Thumbkin always UP and the rest of the family in the larger hole of the scissors EXCEPT for pointer. I'd love to hear any feedback from other art teachers as to this finger position, seems as it is a hot topic for some teachers. Yes, I've tried their claw idea but I believe the students have more control with Pointer supporting the scissors in the front, NOT in the large hole. What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 5, 2011


I have seen several art teachers do this lesson and I knew I had to try it. I purchased metal molds from Bed,Bath and Beyond. Day one the students push a ball of clay into the mold and cut off the extra clay. Then they form a pinch pot for the top portion adding any details. I have them put their name on a piece of paper to separate the two pieces so I can later add their names to the bottom. One piece of advice, make sure you have at least a 1/4 inch thickness around the mold. It it's too thin it will crack.  Bisque fire then glaze, day two and three.