Closing out our African Art Unit, PreK students helped to make these giant collaborative Kente Cloths over four 30 minute class periods. First, students used their fine motor skills to practice cutting strips of paper in some of the traditional Kente cloth colors. The next class, students took turns gluing the strips to large butcher block sheets of black paper. The third class, they tried out some color mixing on oversized paper. For the grand finale, we watched this great video showing examples of the Kente cloth and artisans weaving them skillfully on large looms. We learned when you weave you have to go over and under like a pattern. Ahead of time I folded and cut the black collaged paper into a huge warp and the painted paper into strips for the weft. Students took turns weaving carefully until each Kente cloth was complete. What a statement they made!
Inspired by this project found on Artsonia.
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!
My youngest students always find our color mixing unit so magical. My favorite book to introduce the concept is Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. They love guessing what colors the mice will mix up next and I find many of my students I had previously in PreK will actually remember the formula for creating new colors! They are amazed that you can create so many new colors out of the three primaries.
After talking about the primary colors, I showed them a Powerpoint of Mondrian paintings, where we noticed that he used lots of rectangles and squares as well as the primary colors. They made a collage with black paper strips, creating different sized rectangles and squares.
The next class we went over the color mixing formulas. I worked with the students in small groups, making sure to only keep two primary colors at each table. So, I had an orange table, a green table, and a purple table. This really helped to give them the full color mixing experience rather than ending up with brown paint all over their papers. They mixed the colors inside each square or rectangle. They all had such a blast and were thrilled to discover they really could make a new color just by mixing two primary colors. Success!
Inspired by this project found on Artsonia.
My PreK students were learning about the different types of shapes. To introduce circles, we read The Dot by Peter Reynolds and students used their cutting skills to trim multi-colored squares into small, medium, and large circle shapes. After pasting the circles down, recycled paper tubes and corks were used to print large and small circles or dots all around their papers. I like how some of the kids figured out they could print a small dot inside a large one.
This simple project gave my preschoolers a chance to continue to hone their fine motor skills while also creating a bright, bold work of art!
Inspired by this art project on Art is Basic.
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.
Last year my 4th graders created these texture collage polar bears inspired by this artwork by artist Ryan Fowler. I liked the variation in texture on his polar bear print and wanted to give my students a chance to explore different collage and painting techniques. After viewing Fowler’s artwork and a Powerpoint with interesting polar bear facts and photos of both the bears and their habitat, students got to work creating their textured papers. On a light blue piece of construction paper, students brushed a glue mixture over ripped and crumpled pieces of white tissue paper to create a rough texture.
The second class, students used a brayer to roll white paint over their textured paper. On a second sheet of turquoise paper, they rolled blue, purple, and light blue paint for the background, to represent the cool colors found in the polar bear habitat. I encouraged them to go with the process of rolling paint, allowing some of the paper to show through to create variation. This especially helped bring out the texture on the prepared light blue paper. Lastly, we reviewed Fowler’s print and discussed how to create a simplified, stylized polar bear. Each one seemed to have a personality as the students added the details. They turned out great!
This Kindergarten project from last year went along the same lines as my PreK’s winter mural. Again we read the book Little Tree by e.e. cummings, which has lovely watercolor illustrations. Students used soft, cool colors to paint a winter sky using a watercolor wash technique. Everyone was so quiet and focused as they painted their papers. Their favorite part was sprinkling on a little salt to give it a sparkly, unique texture. The next class students learned how to cut two triangles from one square shape. After they had a pile of triangles going, they glued on rectangle trunks to their watercolor paintings and built their trees on top. They ripped some white tissue paper pieces for a snowy texture. The last class, we read Snow by Cinthia Rylant, a book with descriptive, poetic verses of all the different types of snow. Students printed snow flakes using a q-tip onto their turquoise papers, the perfect frame for their peaceful winter landscapes. Notice the tiny, cozy cabin one of my kiddos added to hers.