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ANNUAL PREK-5TH SPRING ART SHOW

13 May

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We recently held our all school Spring Art Show for students and their families. I displayed our latest projects plus a sampling of the wonderful artwork created throughout the year. Every child had at least one piece of artwork on display. The PTA and many of my awesome colleagues helped with an Ice Cream Social that night as well, which really seemed to bring in tons of families. My principal has been really trying to get our families more involved in the school and it was great to see such a huge turnout for our art night. Enjoy some more photos from the big night!

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2ND GRADE COLORFUL CHAMELEON COLLAGES

29 Apr

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Continuing with the literature-based art theme, here are some spectacular chameleons created by my 2nd grade students last spring during our lizard unit. During this unit, we read two great chameleon books:

Chameleon’s Colors by Chisato Tashiro

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni

We also viewed some National Geographic Kids videos of real chameleons changing colors. The kids thought they were pretty much the coolest lizards in all creation.

They prepared their chameleon paper by brushing water over multi-colored bleeding tissue paper squares. They used texture rubbing plates to create a texture for their leaf and branch papers using crayons. These papers were then painted over with watercolor, creating a textured wax resist.

The next class, students practiced their chameleon drawing skills using a step-by-step drawing sheet, a lifesaver for my easily-frustrated students! Yet notice how each chameleon still has its own personality. Once comfortable, students created their final drawing on the prepared colorful paper. After cutting a large branch, leaves, and adding their chameleons to their composition, the masterpieces were complete.

Check back later for the 3D lizards from this unit!

These chameleons were inspired by this drawing lesson found on Art Projects for Kids.

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1ST GRADE THE TINY SEED COLLAGES

24 Apr

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Here is another literature inspired art lesson–a 1st grade flower collage inspired by Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed. Students first created the background collage using various types of blue tissue and crepe paper. Next, they experimented with color mixing, creating painted textured papers in the style often found in Carle’s illustrations. The following class the students created these vibrant, simple flowers using their painted papers. For a final flourish, seeds were glued to the center just like in the story. Looks like spring!

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2ND GRADE ERIC CARLE INSPIRED SEAHORSES & WHY I CONNECT ART + LITERATURE IN THE ART ROOM!

23 Apr

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I’ve mentioned this before, but I really do make an effort to incorporate literature whenever possible into my art curriculum. As a kid of a teacher mom, some of my fondest summer memories are visiting the public library to check out stacks of books every couple of weeks. I loved getting lost in the stories, studying the illustrations that sometimes accompanied the book, or creating the settings and details in my imagination.

As an art teacher in a high poverty school, it’s an important job to promote and encourage a love of reading for our students. I have to admit I am still drawn to children’s books and have a passion for sharing their words and illustrations in my classroom. Introducing a lesson with a book helps to calm my students down and get them excited to start their own inspired projects. In my five years of teaching art, I have built my entire curriculum around quality works of literature. I can connect other subject areas like science, social studies, and art history. It’s the perfect starting point for many lessons and I am on a continuous hunt for more amazing books. Here is my Pinterest board where I keep track of my favorites. I am going to share some more of my favorite literature based lessons this week.

First up, Eric Carle-inspired Seahorses!

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My 2nd grade students read Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle (one of my favorite illustrators to use in the art room!) to start out the lesson. They were fascinated to discover how many sea creature Dads take care of their babies. We also viewed some videos of seahorses swimming as well as many photographs to see how they were shaped. We used bleeding tissue paper the first day to prepare our papers in the style of Carle. Students also painted a wavy background using cool ocean colors. The next class, students cut out their prepared papers into a seahorse shape. You can see some added babies as well. They added floating seaweed to the background then glued their seahorses on top. I think they all turned out so fantastically!

Stay tuned for more beautiful literature-based art.

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4TH GRADE GEORGIA O’KEEFFE FLOWER CLOSE-UPS

12 Apr

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I have done this Georgia O’Keeffe flower lesson the last two years with my 4th grade students. We start out the lesson by viewing a Powerpoint showcasing some of O’Keeffe’s flower paintings as well as interesting facts about her life, including that she was born right here in Wisconsin. We discover how she wanted to paint flowers big so that even busy people would stop to notice their beauty and intricate detail. Some of my favorite books to share about O’Keeffe during this unit are:

My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait by Jeanette Winter

Through Georgia’s Eyes by Rachel Victoria Rodriguez

Georgia Rises: A Day in the Life of Georgia O’Keeffe by Kathryn Lasky

I also laminated a huge stack of flower photographs (recycled junk mail from a seed catalog!) for reference as they began their first sketches. This was a great way to bring in some science. The main goal of the lesson was to zoom in on the flower, making sure to capture each tiny detail as inspired by O’Keeffe’s style. Students drew their final flowers with pencil on black 12 x 12 paper, outlining their drawings with glue. Once the glue dried, we reviewed O’Keeffe’s paintings, noticing how smoothly her colors blended, often using monochromatic tints and shades. Students tried creating this effect by coloring thickly with similar shades of their chosen color using oil pastels. Check out all their details–what a success!

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1ST GRADE UPSIDE-DOWN UMBRELLAS

31 Mar

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1st grade students read two books to get us ready for our rainy day collages: Rain Rain Rivers by Uri Shulevitz and vintage children’s book The Wet Walk by Carol Woodard. Students used their pattern skills to create designs for their U-shaped umbrellas using a black crayon. Bleeding tissue paper was placed over their umbrellas and painted over with water to create a watercolor effect. 

The next class, students cut out their umbrellas and made a handle. We assembled our umbrellas upside down to catch the rain! For the finishing touch, students painted raindrops using shiny, metallic paint. A great project for the start of spring!

1ST GRADE JAPANESE CHERRY BLOSSOMS

26 Mar

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Last spring my 1st graders had the chance to learn about the importance of cherry blossoms in Japanese culture. They viewed a National Geographic video telling the history of the cherry trees and saw how picnics are still held during the short blooming season to honor the beauty and wonder of the pink and white blossoms. Students also had the chance to see a Powerpoint showing examples of both painted and printed cherry blossoms. We talked about the shape of the branches and flowers to get them ready for their own prints.

Students used recycled cardboard to print the branches and a q-tip for the blossoms. They all turned out so unique and cheery.

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5TH GRADE TED HARRISON INSPIRED LANDSCAPES

18 Mar

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My 5th grade students studied the vibrant, stylized landscape paintings of Canadian artist Ted Harrison. They discovered he fell in love with the sweeping, layered vistas in the Canadian Yukon and made it his life’s work to capture their majesty in his bold paintings. After viewing a Powerpoint showing examples of his work, learning about his life, and studying real photographs of the Yukon landscape, students were ready to get to work.

We imagined how it would feel looking out across the mountains, noticing how the layers in each painting help to give each work depth and show perspective. They also saw how Harrison used stylized wavy lines to give the illusion of space.

Students used pencils to sketch out their wavy landscape designs, which were then traced over with white glue and left to dry. The next class, chalk pastels were dipped into starch to give a brighter look and cut down on the dust. The students were very proud of their bright, bold landscapes and their success at using varied lines to create depth. Check out some more colorful examples!

Inspired by this lesson from the Crayola website.

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1ST GRADE PATTERN OWLS

3 Mar

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My 1st grade students began this lesson by reading Good-Night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins. We zoomed in on my document camera to take a closer look at the patterns Hutchins uses to illustrate her owl. Students were eager to share some of their own pattern ideas as they had been learning about patterns in their classroom. They practiced drawing their owls using a step-by-step drawing sheet I had created.

Sidenote: The use of these drawing sheets have worked wonders in helping my kiddos find success in art. Previously during drawing lessons, my students would become frustrated when it came time for them to draw on their own. I would clearly demonstrate beforehand, but many students would forgot by the time they started drawing. Since most of my students have not had any art experience outside of school, they need extra encouragement and guidance. I was amazed the first time I used these how confident my students became while drawing. The best part is that each student’s drawing always has its own unique look even though they had the same directions.

Back to the project–after drawing their owls with a black crayon, they filled them in with different patterns and painted over them with brown, earthy owl colors. The next class, students drew stars on their blue papers for nighttime and made a bright, collage full moon for the sky. They also created a texture rubbing on brown paper and cut it into a branch shape. Lastly, their owls were cut out and glued onto the branch. They sure loved making their owls!

3RD GRADE OWL MOON LANDSCAPES

3 Mar

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Last year my 3rd graders created winter landscapes inspired by Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon. This quiet, simple story filled with descriptive language and metaphors, as well as the muted watercolor illustrations, alludes to the stillness of a winter’s night and the magical feeling a child gets when going on a special adventure for the first time. The story always gives me goosebumps. We watched the video version of the book as an introduction for the lesson.

Afterwards, students created a watercolor wash for the background, using the cool winter colors found in the story. After painting, salt was sprinkled over the paper to create additional texture. The next class, students viewed photos of winter tree silhouettes and used recycled cardboard to print a winter tree and snow. Q-tips were used to create falling snow and the owls sitting on the branches. We used white tempera paint but I would recommend acrylic if available as it would be more opaque. Each student’s winter landscape looked as quiet and peaceful as the story.

Inspired by this project found on Kids Artists.

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