Friday, March 28, 2014

In the Art Room: Where the Party Pandas At?

Hey, Kids! I interrupt this post to let you know I'm at the NAEA convention in San Diego! I'd love to see you and have some dates and times we can meet up. Follow this linky-loo and I'll see you there!

Wuz up, Party Pandas, er, People?

I recently had to take a coupla days off and needed some quick -n- easy sub plans. From past experience, I know not to leave out our current projects for a coupla reasons: 

1. It freaks out the "I'M NOT AN ART TEACHER!" sub who seems to think my plans are written in hieroglyphs (which they usually are because I like pictures). Upon my return, I either get the stink eye from 'em which translates to "what in the world did you put me through?! It was like reading the no-words instructions from Ikea!" or the furrowed eyebrow/twitchy-eye face which means "I tried to explain what a "landscape collage" was but we couldn't figure it out. So we resorted to glue eating and sharpie sniffing. And it was AWESOME!" 

2. Because the kids, fully aware that their sub is NOT AN ART TEACHER! and, therefore, easy prey, pretend that they have no idea what the sub is talking about. From there, they use their kid-manipulation tactics to convince el subbo that it's perfectly normal to color our hands in marker and stamp it on their face. Like a Kid-Manipulatin'-the-Sub Boss.

Knowing this, and knowing I needed some sub plans for all grades in a pinch, I decided to leave some  step-by-step panda drawing instructions for the NOT AN ART TEACHER! sub. And, I'm excited to say, everyone loved it. 
I have no idea. Bob? Who are you and why are my 4th graders obsessed with you and mustaches? I can only imagine you are some curly-mustached hipster. In skinny jeans. Which should be banned form the dudes' clothing department. But I digress.

Why a panda, you ask? (okay, so you didn't ask but Ima gonna tell you anyway). Well, my students are currently learning about Asia and our panda friends reside in China. We're gearing up for a clay project/fundraiser (we want to help those pandas!) and I thought this would be a super fun way to get the kids in the mood. 
In my sub notes, I asked the sub to follow my routine of having the children gather on the floor. From there, I asked the sub to talk through and demonstrate drawing a panda with the children. These directions were big enough for the children to see once at their seats. However, just in case they needed a closer view, I did make photos copies of the same directions and had them ready on the tables.

I'm happy to say that each of my subs drew a panda...and was actually thrilled by their own artistic skills! Several left their drawings out for me to admire and hang on my fridge.
Just a couple of reminders from who the students and I have dubbed "SeƱor Roy G. Biv". The children were given only ONE SHEET of paper (make it work, kids! Tim Gunn's watching!) and a black oil pastel. This can be a bit dangerous as those oil pastels can get everywhere (I had one kindergartener unknowingly rubbed his chin and a buddy said, "you look like a hobo!") but I left out oodles of baby wipes and a warning of the danger of smears.
Since the kids were only given one sheet of paper (anyone else cringe at the sound of a paper being crumbled?! "Why you wanna be a tree killer, kids?!"), you can see this student practiced a couple of different ideas before giving it a-go on the front.

Now, one of the reasons I had a sub is because I'd taken my fourth grade on a field trip! When we returned from our trip, I had, like, 10 minutes before my classes started pouring. Since they had drawn the pandas the previous day, I simply had a coupla kids get watercolor paints on the tables and we were good to paint our pandas!

We chatted about a couple different methods for painting our panda backgrounds. My art teacher BFF's (hiya, Mallory!) has recently been doing this patchy wet-on-wet painting process with her students. You can see this in several of the pandas above. To do this, you paint a very small patch of color on your paper. I explain to the kids that a wash is a color light in value. From there, I show them  the wet-on-wet technique of adding those dots of color and watching the dots grow.

These paintings were completed by my fourth grade students. We've actually been doing a lot of watercolor painting lately so they are kind of experts. Many opted out of the wet-on-wet and did their own thing. Which is awesome. For more details on the kind of watercolor paint I use...and the specifics of how I teach those kids not to grind their brushes into their paper, go here.
And there you have it! I hope you'll give these Party Pandas a go...and if you do, please email me some photos, I'd love to see them!


  1. Hi, Cassie......I hope you don't mind but I posted a link to this entry over on my blog, "Art Sub Lessons."

    I love how detailed you get for your subs. I am sure they appreciate that. I am a retired art teacher and when I sub for friends, the more detail they give me, the more helpful it is. Take care. Jan


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