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.

Abstract Jacks...Same idea, Different Grade Levels

Sometimes the best projects are the result of a last-minute unanticipated change in plans. This lesson turned out to be a good example of this for me!

Abstract Jacks is my fourth grade October project. The idea for using jack-o'-lanterns to teach an oil pastel lesson about abstraction was originally submitted to Incredible @rt Department by Stephanie Corder. This year my students drew their jack-o'-lanterns, then they used one of our homemade viewfinders to choose the most interesting composition. After drawing the enlargement on 90# paper, the students chose a 3-color combination from our color wheel review (primary, secondary, warm, or cool colors) and painted their Abstract Jacks with tempera paints.


About mid-way though the fourth grade project, my eighth graders were getting close to completing a drawing project using one-point perspective. I knew they needed something more relaxing for the next lesson, but still wanted to stay on target with the curriculum. That's when I had that "A-ha!" moment...color theory review, blending colors, altering images...perfectly suited for an up-scaled version of Abstract Jacks!


This is a project that will definitely be done again next year!