Sunday, December 8, 2013

Is it December already?

It's hard to believe the it's December 7! Thanksgiving came and went in a blur of travel to visit family in upstate New York, which was great fun for me and my husband since we had not seen our two grandsons since midsummer. Aiden, the oldest who is three and a half, presented me with a mini collection of his preschool art cute! This past Friday we had enough snow to get one of those wonderful snow days, which was great for me, but now I am going to be playing some frantic "catch up" to get my first and second grade projects finished and out the door before Christmas break begins.

Aiden's preschool art
My first graders were first introduced to the paper cut works of Henri Matisse, then used the Art Doodles app on their iPads to create some digital work in the style of this popular French artist. The app is somewhat limited in scope, but it provided the students with a nice introduction to the idea of creating a picture entirely out of shapes. The following class period, the students used colored construction paper to create their own Christmas collages using some precut Accu-Cut shapes, tracing stencils, and their own cut outs. I'm in the process of photographing the students and their work to create an art room Christmas video greeting for our school's digital newsletter next week. Here are a few of my favorites so far:
We talked about overlapping shapes...I think she's got it!

The only precut used by this student was the Christmas tree.

Here's another with only one precut, the donkey.

This student took a lot of time coordinating colors.

This one has some pop outs!

After two class sessions, this creative little guy told me he still needs more time.
I can't wait to see what he adds next!
This resourceful student taped three sheets of paper together
to create his heavenly choir!
Two first grade classes finished, two more to work with tomorrow, then on to second grade and clay Christmas ornaments! Although I love those snow days, I'm hoping for smooth sailing until December 20!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Third Grade Leaf Prints

This year the leaves have been especially lovely in my neighborhood, so I decided to revisit a printmaking project that I hadn't done for several years. For a brief moment, I thought I would ask the students to bring in leaves for us to press and prepare in class, but the insanity of that idea quickly passed and I collected leaves on my evening walks for several nights instead. Much easier since I only see each class once a week and that's more than enough time to forget an assignment!

The week before the printmaking, each student prepared his or her frame using oil pastels and pan tempera.

 The following week, my room set up required coming in a little early in the morning, but the prep was well worth it. The students moved smoothly through the stations, choosing their leaves and ink colors and having a great time creating their leaf prints.

Clean up proved to be a breeze, too. I have the students place the brayers and trays in dish pans, one in each sink, and add liquid dish detergent. We just let them soak until the end of the day, then all I have to do is rinse them off and set them on towels to dry until morning. Paper and leaves are put in the trash and the plastic table cloths are rolled up and put away for another day.

And here are some of the colorful results!

This determined students found the perfect leaves
 to create her little yellow bunny!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Navaho Rug Paintings in First Grade

Now that Dot Day is long past, my first grade artists have been learning about line and pattern. We're using the same materials, oil pastels and pan tempera, but with a new set of learning objectives. I am fortunate that my parents were collectors of Native American art, so I have a treasure trove of resources to use for my autumn lessons. For this lesson on line and pattern, I brought a Navaho rug for the students to study up close.

We observed lines, patterns, and colors and touched the rug to feel it's texture.

The students also learned how the rug was made and
how the fringe was the warp on the loom.

Once everyone had a chance to study the Navaho rug, they returned to their tables to create their own lines and patterns with oil pastel on 90# paper. Pan tempera was used to add more color to the patterns. The final touch was the addition of some very simple fringe, made from precut strips of colored construction paper.
 My sample

A few students decided to make a double layer of that!

This was a successful introduction to line and pattern. During the coming weeks, the students will be using these same concepts for printmaking and simple weaving.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's Not Halloween Without Pumpkins!

My third graders had a blast creating their clay jack-o'-lanterns the past few weeks! I originally saw the idea in either Arts and Activities or School Arts about seven or eight years ago and have been doing variations on the project ever since. I skip the glazes and instead we use tempera and Mod Podge. Quicker and a lot less expensive!

I love the little Mini-Me in this Jack's hand!

Cute little bows on this Jack...or is it Jackie?

Look closely to see the teeth in Dracu-Jack!

Not to be outdone, my sixth, seventh, and eighth grade Muse Club students came up with some creative interpretations of old Jack at our club's Halloween Breakfast Club Meeting during Halloween week. I put out foam pumpkins from JoAnn Fabrics, pieces of foam, colored permanent markers, yarn, glue, and glitter and let the creative juices flow along with the fruit juice and doughnuts!
Yes, those are Elvis-style sideburns!

I love it when a student applies something learned in class...
in this case, Zentangles!

Love this artistic interpretation!

Brings to mind Phantom of the Opera for me!

Of course, the kitty cats are always crowd-pleasers!

Look closely for this Jack's's there!

My second, third, and fourth grade students voted for their favorite pumpkins and of course, prizes were awarded.