Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday art material pick and art project examples slide show premier!

Slide Show Premier

I have finally after so much trial and error figured out how to show art examples the best way on the this blog site. I debated about inserting them directly into the text, but decided that a slide show along the side would be the best. That way you can see all of them instead of digging through the archives of text later.

Friday Art Material Pick

One of my favorite and most versatile art material I use in my room is the old cheap watercolors, my two favorite are refill strips and Prang regular and if you want to get the kids excited glitter and metallic. I use the refill strip regularly in class they are cheap and effective. The Prang I use for specific lessons they are more expensive but they have a rich color. This week I had the first grade class paint flowers using watercolor (some examples on the slideshow). I have loads of fake flowers they chose the ones they liked sketched them out and then painted using watercolors. A very simple but the flowers they paint are childlike but colorful and beautiful!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Madness with a tip!

It is spring and that means spring play scenery. I will stop there because I will scream if I have to talk about all the issues surrounding the SCENERY!

If you want to read my E-mail gripe just CLICK!


But I will give you a tip!

Brown paper from Home Depot or Lowes $10.00 and a cheap classroom colored chalk box, and few talented kids or you sketching it out and having them color it in. You have a scene in few days, good bye and out of your hair! CHEAP, FAST and FORGIVING, and that is how I like it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend project

Well it is still a little too cold out for much gardening. I have been fertilizing my garden and getting it ready to plant seeds and plants. Now I know you are thinking how this goes with art or education. Well I'll tell you I am going to start many flower and spring pictures with my students in class soon. I start as soon as the forsythia blooms because on the way to school the students pass a long forsythia hedge. Kindergarten learns to draw a star and creates a forsythia vase of flowers.

I am using great artist paintings as inspiration for my gardens this year, Van Gogh Sunflowers, a Monet style wildflower garden, and a cosmos garden. Did you ever look at a painting and try to figure out what flowers they are painting. I just found out recently what flower Andy Warhol did in his Flowers print if you want to find out click the link! Some are obvious other not so obvious. I am really into hobby farming, agriculture, horses, chickens, ducks, and goats. One lesson I love for 4-H programs is the Vincent Van Gogh flower beds.

Some artists I love to introduce in spring are:

Monet paintings especially showing the Unknown Monet slide show.

Von Gogh paintings not just the sunflowers, he did many flower vases and landscapes.

Georgia O'Keeffe and her close up flowers are a favorite for the younger students.

Andy Warhol is a favorite for my middle school students they love the video Getting to Know the Artists Andy Warhol and doing a Flowers block print.




Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday art idea of the week!

What do you do when 1/3 the class is done but did not rush and the piece looks good, the rest of the class is still working and you still have 15 minutes of class left?

Once in awhile I have this happen. Usually with projects that carry over two classes some students are good at art and are done. I use to say we have X minutes left see what else you can do. The next thing I see is a ruined piece that looked really good a few minutes ago. Sometimes when a student is done, they are done, and if the project sit in front of them for too long they overwork it. So now after they get approval from me to put it away they can use the DONE section I got a shelf of books how to draw books, age appropriate art books and magazines. I have a few file folder games, card games, and artist fact sheets. Sometimes I put modeling clay, legos, and manipulatives on the shelves as well to keep it interesting. I sometimes will put a themed quick craft activity as well.

The quick monthly activity I am about to put on the shelf for spring is tissue paper flowers. I have chenille stems, colored tissue paper, and a direction sheet on how to make the flowers with examples in a vase.

Step 1 Use four to six pieces of colored tissue paper in a 5- by 3- inch rectangle for each flower and chenille stems.

Step 2 Fold the stack of paper on the long side in an accordion fold. Each fold should be approximately an inch wide

Step 3 Place a chenille stem in the middle of the folded tissue paper and tightly wrap about two inches of the stem around the paper.

Step 4 Pull each layer of tissue paper out around the chenille stem, separating each layer until you have a flower.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How Can You Wake Up Your Monday Classes?

My first class Monday morning is Kindergarten, sometimes they are tired, other times hyper, or sometimes just cranky. It is the only class I never know how they are going to be until they get there. I always have one lesson plan and then a back up just in case. I once had a pinch pot clay lesson planned and most of the boys had a little league game that Sunday they were all tired and bickering with each other. So I swapped the real clay for my practice clay, non-drying clay, and had them sculpt their favorite thing that happened this weekend. It took 5 minutes and all of a sudden they were all ready and in the mood to work. So I had the class ball up the practice clay sculpture and practice how to make pinch pots out of the practice clay. After that I handed out the real clay and away we went with a great project. I know if I had handed out the real clay and just began the lesson it would not have been a successful. So my Monday motto be FLEXIBLE and ADAPT your lessons to fit the mood of your class. Play music, get some modeling clay, have legos, pattern blocks, and other manipulative handy ready to pass out introduce a lesson idea and collect that can open up a lesson in five minutes. If the class just doesn't seem in the art mood when they come in, just a little 5 minute pre-lesson is all it takes to save a lot of headache and wasted materials.

A few of my good old standbys are:

Songs: I have a good collection of the Putumayo World Music series which has African, Reggae, Celtic, Paris, Latino, Arabia and more which can go with almost any lesson, the kids love it and it just puts you in a good mood. If you just want to get one I recommend the One World Many Cultures, World Hits or World Lounge they all have a nice mix

Nasco sketchbooks they come for 1st - 5th grades These little books are great lesson starters

Non-drying modeling clay

Dollar Store generic legos and building manipulative

Math manipulatives I use to borrow the tessellation and pattern blocks off the classroom teachers but now I have my own set and these are great for color, shape, mosaic, and other geometric lessons.

  • Color lessons
  • Geometric shape and mosaic lessons
  • Love having the kids create a pattern and then draw different math manipulative on example: Giant links clips
  • Over head math manipulative are great for showing color mixing
  • Pattern block pictures I love using these and then having students create drawing using just shapes a favorite for the little kids K-2, they can create some of the weirdest animals and creatures using just shapes.
  • I have had students come to the board and see who can create a cat, dog, frog, tree using magnetic pattern blocks.

These are a few I also use many dollar store finds!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday favorite art material Pick

Scratch Art paper one of my favorite art materials to give any age kid. just check out this site for all the different types from their line. I also like to get scratch art die cut papers from Then you can make your own also, I'll talk more about that later.

I did two projects this week with my 1st and 2nd grade.

  • The 1st grade learned about Paul Klee and looked at two paintings Cat and Bird and The Goldfish. They first practiced drawing a fish on paper using only lines no coloring in. Then continued the activity using a fish bowl shaped scratch art paper. By recreating the drawing by scratching off the ink layer. One thing you may consider if the class has never used scratch paper you may want to get some scratch art note cards and practice. I do this with my Kindergarten.
  • The 2nd grade learned about Molas. The final project they will have a scratch art turtle mounted onto a designed background in mola style. The first step is I give them a plain paper turtle that I have traced around the scratch art turtle and cut out. They complete the design they want in pencil and hand it to me to approve, and then they begin the turtle scratch art design. The second step is using Crayola Construction Paper Crayons draw a mola style design back ground on black paper for the turtle to be mounted on.

The other type of scratch art I do with my older middle school students is creating their own. In my classes they have done different lessons using a variety of scratch art papers. One project I do with 8th grade is a self portrait designed scratch art.

  1. Have the students create an oil pastel or crayon drawn colorful portrait. I have gone over Goya, Piccasso, and other colorful portraits. I do not want ordinary colored skin. I stress that every inch of the paper must be colored no white paper if they want white use white crayon/oil pastel because the ink will stick and not scratch off regular paper..
  2. Have the students paint two layers allowing each layer to dry of black ink. Let dry.
  3. Have student divide the paper into several sections by scratching off lines across the paper curved, straight or wavy doesn't matter.
  4. Scratch cross hatch lines, parallel wavy and straight lines one in each section.

What happens is the art piece looks like you are looking at a person though blinds. Just test it out it looks fantastic and the middle school students love it.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Thursday Art Project Idea

If you go to and go to the 2008 handouts and click embossing you can print out the handout and do the project I am doing this week, a Celtic embossing in honor of Saint Patrick Day.

1. Create Foil paper by using a glue stick and gluing the dull side of aluminum foil to the construction paper. A TIP: Make sure the glue is evenly spread!
2. Glue the paper side of the foil to desired material. I myself like insulation foam board, but you can use foam plates, cardboard etc. then be sure to fold corners neatly, have no bulges and completely glued.
3. Choose a clip art design this time of the year I do Celtic designs and tape to the flat top of the board. Then trace the design with a ball point pen.
4. When finished tracing go back over the design using a ball point pen directly on the foil.
Options: use regular ball point pen, and for more color gel pens
5. For the Celtic design I want burnished antiqued silver. So I paint over with black watercolor then burnish or rub off. You can also use any color of watercolor, shoe polish and water based marker.
6. Optional is the decoration I mount on matt board, use green silk ribbon and gold colored thumbtacks to decorate since it is Celtic.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lesson with my art classes this past week

Right now I am working on weaving and other cultural art projects in class. I decided to do weaving with several grades starting with 3rd. They are just are doing a basic flat paper weave, but then are going to turn it into a basket, they are very excited about it. The 5th grade is weaving a raffia basket I think I maybe should have done that with 6th grade instead, but we will see. I usually do God's eyes but I wanted to try something different. The 8th grade is going a wrapped yarn coil basket they are looking really good! The other classes are finishing great artist recreated masterpieces and they look really good. 2nd grade has practiced doing scratch art on small pieces of scratch art paper. I do not think they got the concept of positive negative space yet so I am going to need to go over that again before they start the final turtle mola style scratch art project.


I am really trying to get my classes to like the pieces they are working on. So many of my older students 6th -8th really do not appreciate the art pieces they create. They become disposable and I start to wonder why I have them create these projects if they are just going to throw them out and not really care what they look like. I know I didn't keep all of mine form middle school. But a few do stand out as ones I really enjoyed doing. So I am revamping my middle school lessons and trying to come up with projects that they will enjoy creating and if they don't keep them I hope the memory of the process will be present later in life.