Friday, October 19, 2012

Kinder Spooky Black Cats

I LOVE this project sooooo much!  Kinder is always begging to paint the minute they walk in the door the first day of school.  I love the confidence of an all knowing Kindergartner! Picasso knew what he was talking about!
  It is always a risk to paint too early with brand new kinders.  If you teach kindergarten, you know what I mean!  :)   I pre-draw the cat's circle head, a rainbow body and the line the cat is standing on.  We practice holding our paintbrushes "straight up towards the ceiling like a rocket", (hense the name "Paintbrush Rocket"), and paint the whole cat WITHOUT paint, practicing perfect paintbrush technique.  Then... I hold my breath and give them paint!  We first paint the fence line, then add another line underneath, dividing the space.  Then add vertical fence posts.  After everyone is caught up, we outline the circle and rainbow line.  Paint the head in solid... add some pointy ears... a SMALL belly... and a fuzzy tail.  They are so pleased with themselves when they are done!  The next week we add details with silver and black sharpie.  Seriously, one of my favorites and the kinders all feel like REAL artists when they are done! And I am a proud art teacher!

1st Grade Day of the Dead Skeletons

These Skeletons have lots of personality!  We printed the background flowers with foam stamps and used up some watercolor paper scraps for the skulls and bones, (a little thicker than drawing paper or tag).  The skulls were decorated like a sugar skull and some extra designing was allowed on the rib cage, hands and feet.  I love seeing my students handwriting on their art, it gives the true essence of their age!

2nd Grade Calacas/Calaveras Portraits

These Calacas/Calaveras Portraits, (dressed up skeleton's for Day of the Dead), are all made with cut paper and a little paint.  The dress sombrero's are painted with silver tempera.  These make me very happy!

3rd Grade Spooky Castles

These castles are painted directly with black tempera and colored with oil pastels.  A little gray chalk for the spooky sky and you have a spooky castle! If you have a Smart Board, I highly recommend the virtual tour of Warwick Castle in Warwick, England. My students LOVED the virtual tour so much, it was difficult to get them in their seats to paint!  They were motivated and inspired!

4th Grade Day of the Dead Skeletons

These skeletons and flowers are made from Cloud Clay.  We painted the backgrounds with tempera and Modge Podge first, then created the skeletons and flower decorations.  Lastly, we painted the whole thing with another layer of Modge Podge.  These skeletons are attached forever!  
Such a fun lesson to teach!!!

Fifth Grade Fall Pumpkins

I love this project for translating 3D forms on a 2D surface.  Highlight and shadow... blending analogous colors... so fun!  I prefer this project on blue and purple construction paper.  Black glue and chalk are so nice together!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Welcome to my classroom!

This summer I worked very hard to get my classroom feeling fresh and new for my students and me.  I am very lucky and grateful to have such a great space for my students... yet, it was in need of a fresh coat of paint and some new colorful bulletin boards and signs. The effort paid off!  The kids love it and I feel reinvigorated in the space!  If you spent hours on Pinterest this summer like I did, you might recognize some of things...

Mona Lisa has become a great icon for teachers.  Several years ago, a former student teacher of mine hung Mona in her classroom and asked her students to "Sit like Mona". She probably borrowed the idea too.  I tell my students that Mona is the perfect student!  She is always sitting quietly looking at me while I teach. I found on Pinterest a few different versions of "How to be MONA-ificent".  The one I pinned gave credit to @Scott Russell.  This description is perfect and my students completely buy into it! They all enjoy being noticed sitting like Mona... perfectly quiet and in student mode.  She is a great art room mascot!  We love Mona!

You might notice the markers around the boarder.  I have a hard time throwing out worn markers, so I up-cycled them into a boarder.  I used packing tape on the back and the velcro hangers to mount them.  I plan to fill it in, just need to wear out more markers!

These crayons are "vintage".  My mother, who was an art teacher for 32 years painted these for her art room when I was 10 years old.  That makes these 30!  They still look great!  When she retired, I insisted on having them for my room.  I have displayed them on and off, but saw someone on Pinterest display some with the paint swatches from the paint store.  I do not know who I borrowed this idea from... I thought I repinned it, but can not find the pin.  If I will do, I will give credit!

This is my classroom theme!  It has been my classroom theme since my 2nd year of teaching.  I had an artist-in-resident come to my school, Steve Fessler. He is a wonderful painter.  Once day, he was working with a student of mine who wanted to paint nothing but Pokemon.  Steve was trying to get the student to think more creatively and said, "I have seen a million Pokemon... Show me something I have never seen before!"  Right away I wrote it down and made a banner with his wise words to hang in my classroom.  In fact, there is a photo of mine circulating on Pinterest that has the quote above a bulletin board with a banner that says, "Create".  Funny... I did not post the photo to Pinterest, but I see it once a week! 

This wooden box used to house some old prints that were donated.  I asked to keep the box and made this plaid design with Duct Tape.  Three of the 4 sides have unique plaids on them.  It now houses all my paint shirts for my students.  It sits in the hall and they grab one on their way into the classroom.  I went a little crazy with Duct Tape this summer.  I also used it on all the rubber base boards in my classroom.  They were looking dingy.  I livened them up with all different colors!

This poster idea came to me from  I borrowed the idea and personalized it to my classroom.  I shared it with all my classes their first day of art.  Kind of like a rules chart, but more fun.  I have this hanging by my paint shirts bin and find the classes who are waiting to come in have something to read to get them ready for art making!

These photos are a few details of my art room space.  I will share more very soon!  Happy sharing!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kindergarten - Winter Landscapes

This is a great first, serious painting for Kindergarten.  First we looked a the difference between Landscapes, Cityscapes, and Seascapes.  Then the difference between the seasonal Landscapes. We began with a container of yellow paint and chip brushes.  Students painted a yellow circle anywhere on the paper.  When finished, I went around with a container of magenta paint and added a small amount.  They stirred it up and discovered yellow-orange! It was an exciting moment! We painted a ring around our sun with the new color.  We repeated the magenta two more times, deepening to orange and then to red-orange.

I collected the brushes and paint and passed out new.   A new plate with turquoise and white.  The students added a blue ring to their sun, (to keep the nice shape they created).  Then, they filled in the rest of the paper with the turquoise/white mixture.

The second week, we printed snow with very large circle sponges, full of texture.  Next, we practiced printing trees on a scrap paper with the side of a piece of cardboard.  We looked at trees and noticed the various lengths of trunks, branches, sticks and twigs.  Each student printed 1-3 trees on their paintings. I framed these with a 1/2" white boarder and a 1" black behind it.  I like to take the time to frame a painted like this for my Kindergarten students.  When these go home, the parents start to see their child's artwork as a valuable masterpiece!

1st Grade - Monster Box Sculptures

This project was inspired from a post on Pinterest originating with Giggles Galore, (  She called these Tattle Monsters.  My 1st Graders loved transforming tissue boxes into these wide mouthed Monsters.  This lesson was taught by my student teacher, who pre-painted all the boxes with acrylic. 

 The first week, students cut zigzag teeth and printed spots with tempera paint and various sponges.

Second week, we used Cloud Clay for the eyes with googlies pressed in. Pipe cleaners for antennas and tangled scrap yarn for crazy hair.  Black paper was used to cut feet.  A crowd pleaser!!!

2nd Grade - Collage Beach Scene

This project was inspired by artist Danny Phillips.  I discovered Danny on  He has a shop full of inspiring beach scenes that remind me of my childhood.  His mixed media collages are unique and make me so happy!  In fact, I purchased a Rainbow Lighthouse for my husband as a wedding gift.  When it arrived, I was even more impressed!  It is stunning!

This project started with a tempera wash for the background.  We used blue, turquoise and white paint with large chip brushes.  We discussed how water and wind flow horizontally and painted our lightened sky and deep water with horizontal brush strokes.  We also painted a piece for sand. Brown, orange and lots of white.  Next, we used scrapbook papers and painted paper scraps to make the beach huts, boats and sun. These 12x12 beach scenes look great on display in a large group!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

3rd Grade - Georia O'Keeffe Flowers

I love Georgia O'Keeffe's large flower paintings.  They are great for teaching ANALOGOUS COLORS and VALUE.  I have the students start with a white 18x18 square. We draw the flower as big as the paper. We start with a circle close to the center, and three petals that stretch towards the corners or side... they have to be spaced apart, not touching. Then we draw a couple more, starting the petals off the sides of the others.

I have 4 classes, so each class works with one analogous color group.  We start with first outlining the pencil lines. Next, mixing the colors three more times and outlining inward until the flower is fully painted.

Next, we paint some leaves by outlining leaf shapes with India ink on green construction or green painted paper.  Also... we give a black outline to the flower.

Lastly, we cut everything out and arrange it on a 18x18 colored background.  We added a little chalk to the background for an added texture. 

This makes for a beautiful display!!!

4th Grade - Sugar Skulls

Dia de los Muertos is a time to remember and honor family members who have passed.  In Mexico it is a national holiday.  Families participate in parades and set up their own offerendas, (offering tables) with food and wine which are adorned with sugar skulls and calacas, (skeletons dressed as loved ones).  All to take time to honor loved ones who have passed.  Here in the states, we do not take time as a nation to stop and remember all family members who have passed.  It is something we do within our own families.  Instead... this time of year we dress up in costumes and play tricks and collect treats.  Still fun and festive.

I love teaching my students about Day of the Dead.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  Halloween... Day of the Dead... I love October! We spend some time comparing and contrasting the two holidays.  I made these Sugar Skulls from molds I purchased from... yes...! The molds are worth the money.  The skulls made with my students were created with Amaco's Cloud Clay. We powdered the molds with a little baby powder first, pressed in the white Cloud Clay.  Every student made their own skull, (I bought one mold for each table).  Then we used the Cloud Clay in colors to decorate the skulls.  I showed my classes many examples of authentic sugar skulls and how they look sitting on offering tables. There are lots of photos on Flickr to borrow for the Smartboard. In fact, I am a member of the group Dia de los Muertos.  LOTS of great ideas for Day of the Dead.

Additionally, we painted colorful backgrounds on cardboard, attached a square piece of scrap painted paper in the center with some marigold like flowers cut from more scrap painted paper.  Jewels were glued in the eyes for a little sparkle and then the skulls were glued on the cardboard backgrounds with tacky glue.  I must do these again this next year. I loved teaching it! Look this fall for a new approach to this favorite!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

5th Grade - The Year of the Dragon

 My fifth graders loved this project this year.  Depending when their birthdays fell,
many of them are dragons according to the Chinese Zodiac. I found some great photos on Flickr of real Chinese New Year celebrations around the world for a Smartboard presentation.  The colors and textures of the REAL Dragon Dances in China were very motivating to my students!
The heads and feet were drawn first with pencil and outlined with black tempera. Then colored with oil pastels.  I encouraged their own COLOR SCHEME and demonstrated BLENDING ANALOGOUS COLORS.  The bodies were made with banner papers painted weeks before to use up some old paint.  I cut them into 9x12 inch pieces.  Students added some swirls of color if desired and painted black fish like scales. Heads and feet were cut out carefully and glued to the bodies.  The final touch was to add some texture with the tissue paper strips.  I displayed these with some 2nd grade Chinese lanterns.  A crowd pleaser!!!