School is finally out, so that means I will have more time to share some spectacular art projects here. I plan on updating at least weekly so keep checking back for more!
My Kindergarteners worked on these fantastic leopards during our African Art unit. Every year, we have a schoolwide Black History program to celebrate the contributions and heritage of African Americans in our world and community. In art class, I choose a relevant theme for each grade level to study and draw inspiration from for an art project. This year, I focused on the rich traditional art forms found in Africa as well as some of the most well-known animals native to the continent. My students absolutely loved learning about the animals.
For Kindergarten, we continued our exploration of simple shapes to create a triangle leopard. We read Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema to start off the lesson. We viewed photos of real leopards and learned some interesting facts. Students then were given a step-by-step drawing sheet to help guide them along. They added all the details with crayons then painted blue watercolor over to create a resist effect. Lastly, green leaves were added to help their leopards appear to be hiding in the trees. They all turned out so great!
Inspired by these tigers found on We Heart Art.
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.
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.
Last winter my preK students worked on these fabulous snowy day tree collages to use their cutting, gluing, printing, and listening skills. We read three great winter books throughout this project to inspire our artworks: It’s Winter by Linda Glaser, Winter Trees by Carole Gerber, and Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams & Jean Stoick.
Students first used pine branches to stamp snowflakes onto their blue papers using white paint. The next class, we studied pictures of evergreen trees in the books and noticed how they had sharp, pointy edges similar to a zig zag. They used green and white crayons to give texture to their two green paper squares, then were amazed to find you can create two triangle shapes just by cutting a square on the diagonal! This part was a little tricky for some of the kids, but their assistant and I helped them to draw a line for a cutting guide if they needed. Lastly they glued down a brown rectangle for the trunk and arranged their snowy green triangles on top of each other to create their evergreen trees. Beautiful!
For my Kindergarten students’ quilt for Black History Month, they created a word quilt with the first letter of their names and an object or two that started with the same letter. We read Cassie’s Word Quilt by Faith Ringgold and the students had to be “word hunters”, finding as many words as they could that started with the same letter as their name. We noticed how the pages were bordered with different patterned quilt squares, so my K students also used the recycled book jacket covers to create their quilt borders.
Some of my students struggled coming up with objects that started with the first letter of their names, but once I gave them some ideas their imaginations took over. Some of their creativity really astounded me–If you look closely at the projects above, you’ll see the monster with a mohawk and a mummy for “M”, and the best one of all (and I didn’t even help him with this!!) a YETI for “Y”.
If I did this project again, I would have them create their letter and pictures on a smaller square, then glue that to the middle of the quilt square border. Some of their pictures ended up getting covered by the squares. Other than that, it was a great project that really got them thinking about their letters.