Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What do you do?

What do you do when you don't have one single class that day, but need to be at school? Today is field day so no classes.

My list:

#1 Clean my room it is starting to pile up.

#2 Sort art work

#3 Start mounting art work for the all too soon art show

That is my top #3 things to do today.


Since I missed last week's favorite art material pick I am going to give you one today: Tissue paper

It is fun to use and cheap to get. I buy mine at the dollar store. I get pastel, bright and the student favorite glitter. One great lesson is Eric Carle style painted paper and collage. I have the students create their own book.

Here is a list of several projects I use tissue paper with:

One hint I use liquid starch as glue for most projects and if I want it more durable modge podge is the glue I use

  • Mask Making
  • Collage
  • Jewelry making
  • Sculpture
  • Mock Stained glass
  • Holiday Christmas ornaments
  • Spring Butterflies

    These are just a few.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Try using regular art materials in a different way.

I have always experimented with using art materials in other ways. Watercolor on fabric, wax paper, sand paper, aluminum foil, and over laminating scraps after trimming. Today I have students doing a batik style flower drawing on scrap cotton fabric and then painting over it with water color. Another class is creating sun catchers by coloring designs on scrap laminating pieces with crayon and then I run it through the laminator again. Color oil pastel on aluminum foil and then use scratching sticks to draw revealing the silver aluminum. I have done days were I just place a bunch of art materials and see what they create. I have had some surprising creations and some disasters. One of my seventh graders while using a low temp glue gun decided to goof off by swirling it in the sink full of water. It creates such a wonderful swirl mixing with the watercolor in the water. He started to deliberately creating designs, they came out awesome and now instead of goofing he tries different things out a complete turnaround in attitude.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ack… Almost summer

I am brain storming this weekend the classes were crazy last week. We had sunny days of 70 and other days of rain and even had to scrape the wind shield one morning. The kids where acting just as wacky as the weather was here, so I have decided I need to rev up a little more interesting projects starting next week for the classes.

A few ideas that I am toying with:

Clay sculpting, tie dying and fabric batiks all projects I love doing outdoors so I need predictable nice weather. One the custodians won't kill me and the principal may not have a heart attack. The grass area outside my room becomes a disaster area, but after a few weeks it goes back to looking normal. I look like a disaster for that week, I call it my black week because I wear black all week due to the high concentration of messy projects. My arms have fabric dye all over them and my hair usually has bits of clay all in it. The students don't look to nice either. I think I will make mess week the first week of May, unless it is bad weather.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How many Mondays are left?

At our school counting today we have eight Mondays left. That is not much time, but I think I am ready for summer vacation. Now if you are familiar with a teacher we really don't have "off" all summer. I am contracted for so many days, but the pay is spread over the year. So I am doing a lot of extra free work for the school over the summer. Now I have fun doing it, I test out new lesson plans homemade play dough, clay, painting, plaster and other art materials. I like to outline my lesson plan goals for the next school year, by looking at the calendar and penciling in seasonal and holiday ideas. Now these change depending on days off, assemblies, and snow delays/cancelations. But it keeps me on track when figuring out lesson plans during the extra busy holiday season, when Christmas sneaks up. In our state we have act 48 hours to acquire so some summers I take college courses and/or workshops. So summer is not really a vacation I have lots of work to do. One of my goals this summer is to make new art games. I have several different file folder games. I have decided that today after looking at mine and realizing it has been 3 years since I remade them so they are looking a little too worn. One of the favorites for the little ones is draw off. I have a folder with sticky notes and cards with a word and a picture example. You need a group of 3 at least one person pulls a card and draws the object. The others need to guess as they draw the first to guess gets to go next. I also have artist bingo games, artist puzzles, and file folder games for elements of art that need a little TLC.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday favorite art material: Chalk has a come back

Today I went to an awards ceremony for a poster contest one of my art students won. So I missed my first grade morning class. So I combined both first grades in the afternoon. Yes I am crazy! However it was such a nice spring day I decided to take them outside for art. I had them divide into groups of two and pick a rectangle (parking space) to work in. Using sidewalk chalk I had then trace each other then decorate starting with eyes, hair, then onto clothing and la loved it and lastly what are could you be doing. I had skateboarders, and even a mummy.     

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday Art project of the Week, well at least art class OUTSIDE!

I don't know about your art room but my art supplies are low, all the "cool" stuff scented markers, glitter paints, and even the prized chalk is getting boring for my students. It is time to break out the messy stuff and take art class OUTSIDE into the spring air. I do Clay, sand casting with plaster, and tie dyeing. The stuff if I did it inside I think my custodians and principal would have a heart attack. Here is a few of my favorite nature walk projects for spring.

  1. The Ants view of grass. I have the students lie down in the grass and draw it from that view using colored pencils. I have a photo attached of what it looks like from that view.

  2. Nature Journals just walking around and drawing in pen what they see then go inside and do a watercolor wash over the drawing.

  3. Paint made from nature, I have the students collect or bring in different leaves, vegetables, fruits, and vegetation. Then boil it in water and use the colors like watercolors. Especially since I am low on paints by this time of year. I have also tie dyed with this homemade dye as well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

George, oh George!

George Seurat the artist that uses tiny dots of color to paint with. I did two projects based on this artist this year one with 1st grade and one with 7th grade. First grade I introduced the basic concept of an artist using a different style of painting than with just regular brush strokes. I give each student a porcupine ring to paint with. Some painting turn out great and others well they had fun doing it! The 7th grade has more of an art history lesson about the artist. Using fine tip markers they create a 3x7 card of any design landscape they want using only dots of color, these pictures come out awesome. I keep the paper small because, yes they are older students, they get bored easily and some mess up the picture before totally complete.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

YouTube in the classroom

Spring is now rolling on. I worked on my garden these past few days, ordered some plants from the garden catalogs and mulched. I decided that this is the season to introduce Cezanne . I am going to discuss and I use the YouTube videos for classes, and web museums to present artists a lot. Many art colleges have students put together videos about artists and post them on youtube. Just reminder never use a video without previewing it first. A few of my favorites are:

Cezanne: fruit still life, a real fun video about cubism and Cezanne does have one nude painting but fairly tame, and Mountains part one & two very, very good.

Frida Kahlo: awesome morphing of self portraits montage the kids love it!

VanGogh: Morphed self portrait another favorite, tribute montage,

Edvard Munch: The scream, the scream spoofed I do this with my 8th grade recreate The Scream,

The whistler's Mother with Mr. Bean part 1 and part 2 I use this for introducing art preservation, and critiquing art with my 7th grade just a fun last class activity. I use a spoofing video for the lesson how can you recreate Whistler's Mother painting.

Cultures: Egypt,

Arts world videos great video series Qatar Islamic art museum, Underwater art, Glass blowing

YouTube is a wonderful tool for the classroom.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Monday Special

It is 2 days before Easter vacation at my school, so I have excited kids and need to keep their attention and get something done. Here are a few of my Easter lessons:

Kindergarten: using the finger scissor to tear out shapes to create a bunny. I love this lesson they start by tearing out large white ovals and then a little smaller pink ovals for the ears. And large oval for the head and then use crayon to draw the features for the eyes, nose and mouth. The ripped texture makes this bunny look great.

2nd: I get the doctors to donate the paper that covers the patient tables that nice heavy tissue like paper. The doctors throw out unused rolls when the big medicine providers change the logos. They get these free from the companies only drawback is along the edge is some medications logo that I trim before using. I give the students a big rectangle 18x24 and have them fold it in half, then discuss symmetry

Saturday, April 4, 2009

DVD Weekend warrior

That's what I am this week I haven't went through any of my new videos since last summer so that is my project. I love to use special features and making of segments during art class in the last few classes of the year. I am cleaning the room and packing up supplies, so I need easy reliable mess free lessons that keep the students attention. All feature films on the extended DVDs usually have a lot of behind the scenes art, scenery, and costume segments. Make sure you check the links they have great websites.

My tried and true movie lessons:

  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, how to draw Spirit colored pencil lesson. Click the link and check out games and activities the cel creator to learn how they create a cel for a movie, another great lesson.
  • Treasure Planet making of the rule they used was 70/30%, which means 70% real and 30% imagination. This is a favorite for the boys in class especially it gets them really into wacky world creations. They don't always stick to the exact 70/30 rule but it gives them an idea of how to meld real world things but tweak it a little to create something new.
  • Finding Nemo, I have two lessons the color pencil drawing and the modeling clay lesson I bring in small feeder gold fish and set them in little plastic fish bowls along the tables
    • The color pencil is I have the students draw a real moving fish.
    • The modeling clay is I have them model from clay the fish they observe.
      • At the end of the lesson if the kid has a parent note they make take a fish home, it is open to the class that had the lesson first, then the rest of the school. This is by far the most looked forward to lesson. I have them asking me already.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday favorite art material pick

Chalk, my students of all ages love to use chalk. I have done several projects using just regular paper chalk, side walk chalk and the better quality chalk pastel. They love the ability to blend and swirl. One of the favorites of my students is freestyle art. They get to choose the art material they want to use and sometimes I give a broad topic other times I just leave them create. Chalk is one picked most often. Beautiful skies, flowers, space scenes have been created.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


No I am not talking about my administration, students of coworkers. I am talking an Easter project I do with the 8th grade. I really get to gross them out and really get back at them in a loving but disgusting way. I have the students blow out the insides of the eggs. This is not pretty to watch, but amusing to all. Then I have the students draw in pencil their facial features on the egg and then use crayon and watercolor to color it. Now you will need to check to make sure you have no egg allergies, but usually an egg allergy is for ingestion so check with the school nurse and parents if an allergy comes up. I also recommend having 2 -3 eggs per student many get broken, dropped or explode.

Blowing out the egg:

  1. Poke a hole in the bottom (the wide diameter of the egg) then the top. SHAKE for several seconds.
  2. Blow contents of the egg into a container, trash, or plate. You may need to shake to break the yoke a few times.
  3. Wash and dry egg.


I have done Faberge eggs, Russian/Ukrainian eggs, batik eggs also with blown eggs. But I really like with the middle school kids to do self portraits on them since 8th graders are so into themselves they like it as well.