Saturday, December 29, 2012

5th Grade Clay Storytellers

I started my 5th graders working with clay very early in the school year. The lesson was learning about and creating Clay Storyteller figures. The 5th grade class curriculum covers American History and I was trying to pace the lesson with the classroom lessons on Native American Cultures.

We did have all clay work made by the time the classroom started their
work in this area, but by the time the clay was dried, glazed and fired a second time the unit was long past...arg! Classroom connections can be tricky but I still like to make the attempt regularly.

The resource I relied on heavily for this lesson is a post from Julie Voigt's Art Blog;
It's a definate "must read" and I really appreciate that you shared it Julie - thank you!

The book I used with my students is;
If you are on the lookout for great book classroom resources, then this is really a must have!

Here is a sampling of completed Clay Storytellers;

Sunday, November 4, 2012

4th Grade Day of the Dead Skeletons

Whew! This lesson took longer than I had expected but fortunately we started early enough and all were completed by Nov.1-2 when the Dia de los Muertos ritual is practised by many people in Mexico and in some parts of the U.S.
Can you see the student's name used in symmetry as the ribs? When I saw this on Pinterest I knew I had to try it - all of my 4th grade students LOVED it! -And me too - it was fun watching all of the details come together on these!

The Pinterest pin original source was from Artsonia: The Kessler School of Dallas Texas. The art teacher listed is Patty Krakowsky. Thank you so much for sharing this!

This lesson took three and a half to four class periods. I ran one of these short videos at the beginning of three of the classes;
1. "The Day of the Dead. Viva Calaca! Day of the Dead."

2. "Mexico's Day of the Dead"

3. Skulliosis
Everyone especially loved this last video... it's a girl that videotaped herself drawing a decorated skull. This really motivated students to try drawing at home just for the pleasure of drawing.

Monday, July 9, 2012

List of Art Supply Catalogues That Have Art Lessons to Share

Did you know that many art supply catalogues have a section of free art lesson plans available online? Each lesson uses the art supplies the company is selling. Pretty handy; if you like the lesson, wa la! -you can order the supplies right there. You probably do know about it, but I remember accidentally stumbling upon it a number of years ago. Just in case you are not aware of it, check out the list below...

Please feel free to add to this list! If you put your info in the comment section of this post I’ll cut and paste it into the blog with credit given to you… add your blog address too for a shout out!

*The first two catalogues below are Sax and School Specialty. Sax is now part of School Specialty. When you web search one catalogue the name of the other one pops up with it.

PFD of Lesson Plans from Sax Catalogue

School Specialty Art Lesson Plans

Dick Blick

United Art & Education


Okay, here is where I run out of ideas. Did I list all of them or did I miss some really good ones?

Um... I'm still trying to figure out how to make a live link so the web addresses posted here will take you to the site... I'm not there yet, sorry!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Adaptive Art Snowmen

Yes it was a balmy 98 degrees yesterday, 91 degrees is expected today and I’m thinking snowmen! My Adaptive Art class made these in January. I knew this was an interesting lesson worth sharing, so I made sure I took pictures before sending them home. The heat has chased me out of the garden and into the house. It’s a good day to think cool thoughts so here we go!

I should probably note here that in the Adaptive Art class I teach with 2 support aides in the class and we work with 4 students.

This year, because of my student’s skill levels I’ve been visiting a lot of early childhood sites. The idea of using “coconut” on artwork came from one of those sites. I apologize that I’m not listing the name of the blog; if I come across it again I’ll post the site address here.
Can you see the coconut flakes glued to the snowman to simulate textured snow? It’s a great look.

Here is what we did;
Day 1:
• Students started by rolling white Crayola Model Magic into two balls. One ball is smaller than the other. The smaller ball is the head, the larger one is the body.
• As students rolled the balls I cut popsicle sticks to fit inside the snowman. The popsicle stick does not have to be pushed into the snowman all the way through, but well over half way is good.
Students stick one end of the popsicle stick into the head so it looked like a lollypop. The bottom half of the popsicle stick was then pushed into the bottom ball of the snowman.
• Have students put effort into standing the snowmen up… balance them if you can, before they leave class.
• At this point the snowmen have to dry until the next class period, but you are going to get some gluing done on them before the next class. I was not expecting this next step and was surprised when I picked one snowman up and found the head loose on the body after it dried. Before your next class with the students you will want to slide the popsicle stick out, coat it with Tacky Glue and reassemble it. You’ll want to do this as its drying or is dried so you do not alter the shapes the students have made. Give it time to dry now.
The next day see if the snowman head and body are loose where they come together in the middle. I’m guessing it will be. Give it a good shot of hot glue just to be sure it’s secure. (I was REALLY surprised that the Model Magic did not stick together by itself, but it could be because of all the handling by the students.)

Day 2:
• The next class period have students use a paint brush to paint glue all over the snowman. You can do the whole thing at once or only paint one section at a time. When you have the thick glue on the snowman, start rolling it in coconut that is poured in a bowl. If you find some bare spots add more glue and do it again. Keep going til the whole thing is covered.
Now the snowman needs to dry again. Stand or lay the snowman on a sheet of plastic and let it dry.

My adaptive students work very fast so at this point I pull out a basket that has supplies ready for another project… for example; paint the background paper for a new project and let it dry, and/or start cutting or ripping out shapes to go on the painted paper (house shapes, large petals for flowers, sailboats, geometric shapes, etc. –whatever the next lesson will be… at the end of class wet paintings go in the drying rack and paper shapes get paper clipped together and I write the student’s name on their paper shapes. )
If only a small amount of class time is left I pull out the Playdoh or get beads and pipe cleaners out, maybe draw with marker and paint the paper with water when they are done... something short but very interesting.

Day 3:
• The snowman gets completely assembled in this class; Have students match two pompoms for earmuffs, and choose a color of pipe cleaner for the top of the earmuffs. Also, students choose the color of the felt scarf they would like. (I had precut a bunch of felt strips before class.) While I am doing a quick hot gluing getting the earmuffs on, students are tying their scarves on, and then start to put their paint details on. Scarf first, paint after. Often if students put the face on first, the scarf covers a lot of it up. Get the scarf on first so they can more clearly define the space they have to work with. The eyes, mouth and buttons of the snowman are tempera paint dots. Students use the handle end of a paintbrush, dip it into black paint and place dots of paint onto their snowman.
• When all is done there is one more visit to the hot glue and we glue the snowman onto a stiff board –in this case I think it was scrap matte board. In this lesson I think I squirted hot glue under the scarf too so it couldn’t be ripped off by the students and put in their mouths.

• The paint completes the snowman. I decided not to add an orange nose or arms with pipe cleaners, etc. because I was worried that it might be something that would pull off the snowman easily and end up in the student’s mouths.

You will probably have a lot of class time left so we continue the project we started at the end of the last class.

*Will I do this lesson again? Yup, BUT I think it needs a fine tuning so the “snowballs” do not come apart when drying. I think I’ve seen popsicle sticks with notches cut out of the sides… I wonder if those notches would hold the Model Magic securely so no extra gluing is needed…?
*When making paper mache snowmen with first graders I have cut the toe area off of a small sock and students use this as the hat…(you can leave it as is or turn the sock tip inside out) a little pompom on the top finishes it off nicely. (That would avoid that hot glue earmuff step…)
*Even using fabric, with several students still working on “grasping and squeezing” their scissors, cutting their own scarf is out of reach. I wonder if there is some sparkly netting material that looks wintery. I think they could cut through netting…

Do you have any suggestions?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Adaptive Art Paper Mache Turtles

Near the end of the school year I busted out the paper mache paste one more time and introduced a turtle lesson to my Adaptive Art class.
• The armature for the turtle is a paper bowl.
• Students taped round stiff paper onto the bottom of the bowl to cover it.
• One additional step you might want is to add dried beans in the bowl before students tape it up, making sure all the edges are sealed. It would make a fun shaker.
• I made up a batch of School Smart Art Paste (see my post on it for more info… the label of the post is “Paper Mache”) and off we went!

When the turtle shell was dry, students used green Do-A-Dot to decorate the turtle shell. The Do-A-Dot comes in more colors than the box shown. We had two greens, a light and a dark, to use on the turtle shells.

The head, tail and legs made up a color mixing lesson. Students poked yellow and blue Crayola markers all over their white Model Magic and squished it together creating a green color.
We flattened the green Model Magic and covered cardboard legs, head and tail shapes. We waited until the Model Magic was dry before hot gluing them onto the turtle shell. I did the hot gluing but students watched.

When I do this lesson again I think it would be better to teach it around midyear. By the end of the school year everybody gets the wiggles. Although the paper mache really held the student’s attention pretty well, attention spans were shorter.

I’d love to make the turtles with the beans inside of them next time and work with the music teacher so the students are able to use them as musical instruments.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Framed Artwork for School

Quite often, at both of my schools I am asked to matt and frame student artwork to be displayed within the school building. It’s a great way to showcase student art. Do you do this at your school(s) too?
The last few years I’ve been reusing the frames holding very dated artwork. I’m not sure if the older artwork was just not picked up by the student, or the art teacher thought the work would hold up to the bright lights within the building so no pickup plan was established. After a number of years hanging on the wall, the color bleaches out of the art and often when I move into a new school I’ll find the artwork stored away. -I’ve found artwork from 1973!
So taking the measurement of a number of frames I headed to a frame shop and ordered new white mattes. (I actually went for white mattes with a black beveled edge -the back of the matt was black.) The new mattes cost $11 each, which includes a 10% discount from the frame shop. Thank you Tradewind Products!
After cleaning up the frame and glass I was delightfully surprised the frames/glass looked like they were in very good shape. (Washing 30 years of dust and grime off of the glass was so dramatic it became fun!)
The picture above is some of the framed art laid out on my couch at home. Can you see Mr.E’s Op Art lesson? ( I did this lesson at both schools. (What a great lesson – Thank You Mr. E!) They came out so beautiful I framed one at each school… same with the dinosaur landscapes. The day after I snapped this picture I brought them into my schools for hanging. It’s a nice end of the year gesture, but next year I’ll start framing sporadically throughout the year to avoid the end of the year crunch.

The above picture is an Adaptive Art student piece framed. It’s a paper plate ladybug glued onto a bubble wrap printed background with glued punched shapes on it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2nd Grade Butterflies

Mother’s Day was approaching and I wanted to do something with my 3rd graders that they could take home as a gift. We had already finished one clay lesson but I thought, “Let’s go for it!” I had the clay, the time and the students were delighted to have more than one clay lesson this year. So Clay Butterflies here we come!

Note: Did you see the typo? I labeled this a 2nd grade lesson but made these with 3rd grade. 3rd grade students had already made a clay sculpture, which is right in line with the skills I wanted to introduce to them. About halfway through these butterflies I realized it would be more in line with the skills I was working on with 2nd grade rather than 3rd grade. Students learned a lot from the whole process, but next year I’ll teach this to 2nd grade.
Next Note: This is an add on from the original post... I was cruising through Pinterest yesterday and came across the original idea for these clay butterflies! It does not have the original source listed so I cannot send you to the site. Sorry. It looks like it was made by adult and doesn't have texture on it, just multiple glaze colors.

• Students drew one side of the butterfly (specifically avoiding making the letter “3” and instead focused on the curves that made up each part of the wing.) I had butterfly visuals up on the overhead projector and had enough images that I placed 4-5 butterfly pictures on each table. (I love my picture file!)
• With one side complete, students drew the opposite side of the butterfly without folding the paper and copying. I asked them to closely observe the lines/curves that they drew on the one side and had them try to repeat it just through observation on the opposite side.
• When the drawing was complete students cut out their butterfly shape.
• I gave a demo on rolling out a slab, placing the butterfly paper shape on the slab of clay and cutting it out.
• Next up was applying texture to our butterflies. I had ordered these texture strips below earlier in the school year and was a little taken aback when I saw how narrow they were. The students were enchanted by all the textures to choose from and tried all different ones on their butterflies.

The texture tools we used on the butterflies came from Sax Arts & Crafts catalogue. Here is the info:

• We had rolled up newspapers into balls and taped them to secure the round shape during an earlier project. I had saved the newspaper balls. When all the texture was applied to the butterfly, we carefully flipped them onto the ball of newspaper, texture side down. We got them all balanced and let them dry. If you look at the "4th Grade Clay Leaves" (see Labels: "4th Grade,") you’ll see the newspaper balls.
• After the clay was bisque fired it was time to glaze. I limited the ability to add detail by not putting out the smaller brushes. (We only had that class period to glaze.) If a student was absent the day of glazing, they were able to paint the butterflies with tempera paint and seal it with Mod Podge.

• When the butterflies came out of the kiln we had one week to spare! We decorated white lunch bags for Moms, Aunts, Grandmothers or a special woman in the student’s life, carefully wrapping the butterflies with newspaper and placing them in the decorated bag. A little ribbon finished off the gift bag.

Do you remember my post on making clay stamps? (It's posted under the label, "Clay Tip.") These butterflies would be a perfect lesson to use your homemade clay stamps on.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Shaving Cream Drawings -All Grades

Shaving Cream Drawings are a fun, creative way to teach students that:
• common everyday items can inspire art
• artists use many different types of tools to create art; in this case, hands and fingers
• using thin and thick lines is one way to clearly express your ideas
Depending on the grade I am working with, I will include one or all of the above concepts.

Did I mention that it was fun?! At first when I started squirting shaving cream on the table in front of students they couldn't seem to believe their eyes, and then slowly, let the drawings begin!

To start this lesson the class and I watched one of the several sand paintings at:
--Make sure you review the videos before showing one; I noticed a stray body part pops up on a couple of the videos.

This particular video seemed just the right length to me, and has great visuals, so it's the one I showed the class:
(Go explore the site; there are a lot of great choices.)

There are a lot of “oooh’s” and “aahhh’s” from students watching the video, and they try to guess what might be coming next. After the video students share their comments and I point out all the parts of her hand the woman drew with.

As we continue to discuss I start squirting shaving cream at each student’s spot and they start working up a foam and drawing on the tabletop.

It is a delight throughout the room. I haven’t run into a tactile defensive student doing this project yet, but keep my plastic gloves within reach just in case.

As students work the foam, it slowly starts to disappear and they reluctantly pick up the sponge from a bucket I have placed on each table. Often I’ll stop and model what squeezing out a sponge and rinsing the table looks like, (yes, even on the last day of school! -oh those "teachable moments!") and we end up with freshly cleaned tabletops and lots of stories about what they drew.

This is the final lesson I did on the last day of school, but I’ll pick one grade per year and stagger the times during the year each class does it.

The Magic of "Mr. Clean Eraser Magic"

The last month of school I did a slow and steady clean up and reorganizing in my art room.
Unlike my house, (I've been told I am one box away from being a hoarder... arg!) my classroom(s) need to be put away clean and orderly so I don't waist time in the fall trying to get ready for the new school year. (Again this summer there will be a lot of construction within the school so I probably will not be able to get in to set up my room until about a week before school starts. Having two schools to set up, time gets tight.) On the cleaning end of things, I am just loving the "Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, Extra Power." I brought some into school in the spring and found they work fantastic getting permanent marker off the table tops. (-All those tiny dots that soaked through the newspaper we had down on the table...)
The spray the custodian gives me smells nasty so I've been on the hunt for a good solution. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Pads! (The Extra Power ended up the winner for me.)
Just get one wet -no soap- and give a small amount of pressure and poof! black eraser marks are off the tabletops!
So as I did my slow clean, I dumped out all my colored pencils, crayons and Crayola markers and cleaned all the trays they were in. It worked so much faster and with less effort than taking a scrubbie and a gritty cleanser to them. I gave a good once-over to the student chairs and countertops too.
Since spring I've kept a Magic Eraser under the sink for quick clean ups, and plan on continuing this in the fall.
Here is my "Before and After"...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

4th Grade 3D Snowflakes

There are quite a few tutorials on YouTube that show how to make these. Search "How to make a 3D Snowflake" and you'll find lots of them. I was surprised looking through a few of them; people tape the first fold in each flake...? I use a dab of Tacky Glue instead. You can see the tape, but not the glue.

I first saw these snowflakes years ago at one of my schools. The music teacher made them for a winter concert and I was dazzled. He sent me the directions; written and with NO pictures. Yikes! With the help of Lynn, the aide in my building, we hammered out the visuals of what the words were describing. -Didn't Rousseau draw and paint animals he never saw and were only described to him through letters from a friend? Yup, it was like that. :)

BTW: I'm trying out some watermarks on my pictures. There are so many fonts and colors I'm not sure yet what I'll finally settle on. If you have some feedback I'd love to hear from you. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adaptive Art Valentine Frames

A week before Valentine's Day I found some great wooden picture frames for ONE DOLLAR at Michael's Crafts! My Adaptive classes are very small this year so it didn't break my budget to pick a few frames up.

Day one we used rather small blown up balloons to stamp red, magenta and white tempera paint onto the wooden picture frames. When we cleaned up this part of the lesson one class rolled pink, white and purple painted marbles around on a paper and let it dry. In my other adaptive class Jason made a beautiful drawing of his mother.

Day two everyone once again LOVED peeling the backing off of sticky hearts and placed them wherever they wanted on their frames. In the marble painted paper class students cut thin strips of marble painted paper out and randomly glued them onto paper that was trimmed down and placed in the frame window. Jason's portrait was trimmed down and placed into his frame window. That is Jason's frame above. Mom is beautiful!

Adaptive Paper Plate Fish

I stumbled upon Paper Plate Fish picture and loved the simplicity of it, so I gave it a different look and changed it to meet the needs of my Adaptive Art students. I think they turned out great and there was a lot of interesting art experiences along the way.
So this is the simple fish we started with. We cut a triange out of a paper plate. The space left from the missing triangle became the fish mouth and the triangle itself was stapled opposite the mouth and became the fish tail. We got out blue and green liquid watercolors (made by recycling crayola markers -love that tip!) Students dipped their paintbrush into one color and moved it around on their paper plate then cleaned their brush and dipped into the second color. All mixing happened on the fish itself.

When the fish was painted students ripped paper for the sand in the water, green paper for plant life and shiny silver paper (which they all loved peeling the paper back off of!) as the sparkle in the water. -A bit like rainbow fish but the students loved sticking the silver paper on so much just a couple of little shiny spots wouldn't do...

Of course glitter finished the picture off. Some added a lot of glitter glue and some chose to add very little. A little painting, a little ripping and dot gluing, and a little silver paper peeling made a very engaging lesson.