Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In the Art Room: Heather Galler Inspired Bouquets with Second Grade

 As we draw toward the end of the school year (okay, I know I'm early BUT in "art teacher years" a couple of months means time for just a handful of projects until the end!), I am thinking about ART.SHOW. Like, 24/7. And my art show isn't until MAY 15TH! I'm trying my hardest NOT to be my usual procrastinating self. So I've been pulling out grade level artwork and seeing what masterpieces we have to hang (we hang everything...if you search "art show" in that search bar on the right, you'll get a taste of our art shows). In doing so, I noticed that my second graders didn't have that one BIG masterpiece. So I pulled out the bingo daubers (yet again) and some huge tagboard and we created these! We did the drawing portion in the first 30 minute art class and we are slowly adding color. These are not finished yet...but the lesson has been so fun that I thought I'd share it with you as we make progress. Here's the lesson video:
For this lesson, we are using our bingo daubers filled with slightly diluted India ink, oil pastels and liquid watercolor. To finish, we'll simply be painting the flowers and the backgrounds...with the option to add color to the vase and table. I rather like the black and white because I find it to be a beautiful balance with all of the color but I'll let the artists decide.
 After our first 30 minutes. It wasn't really a guided drawing...more of a "here's how you can draw some flowers and here's how you can draw some vases and patterns...go to town." We never use pencils first, we just go for it. If they painted something they didn't love, they had to wait until next art class to try again on the back of the paper. This tag board was thick enough for them to do that. The reason I have them wait is because they usually forget about it as they move on. Also...if one kiddo starts over, THEY ALL WANNA START OVER. So, I nip that in the bud.
 Today we began adding color with oil pastels and watercolor paint. It's a big task as the papers are huge. We literally spread all out over the room because only two to three kids can work at a table at a time due to the size. 
 I don't have a favorite liquid watercolor, do you? I find that they are all pretty fantastic. Except the fluorescent ones. They universally stick. 
 I don't dilute my liquid watercolors much...I love how vibrant they are!
I got the great idea from Katie Allain (@mrsallainart on IG) to put my watercolor paint in these color coded cupcake liners to eliminate the guesswork! 
 I'll be sure to do a follow up post on these once complete. I'm so excited! They make my heart happy. 
 Also...this is now my fourth bingo dauber project! The only grade who has not worked with them is fourth and I totally have a project lined up for them using these bad boys. They my fave this year!
Are you a bingo-dauber-aholic like me?! I wanna know what you and your young artists have created!

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

In the Art Room: Rizzi Meets van Gogh Cities (Sub Plans!)

 The other day, I had to take a day from school. I created a sub plan video for my sub to use with my first through fourth grade classes. My younger kids worked on 9" X 12" paper because they have 30 minute art classes. My older students worked on 12" X 18" pieces of paper since they have an hour. I created this video and a simple handout. When I had returned, the students had gotten as far as tracing their designs in Sharpie. They were SO EXCITED to continue working on these that I put their current projects aside to let them finish. Here are a handful of fourth grader's pieces that have been finished and are in process. 
I'm loving each and every one! Since this was such an engaging lesson for the kids, I thought I'd share it with y'all. If you are going to NAEA this coming week and in need of a lesson, you might consider using this!
In addition to the video I created for my sub, I also made these handouts. That way the kiddos would recall a simple breakdown of the lesson. Feel free to reproduce for your art teacherin' world. 
I also had a production of a James Rizzi cityscape as well as some images of the Nashville skyline. The kids were told they could create ANY city they wanted: real or imagined. Many of my students are interested in the buildings of Nashville since we live so close so that's why I included that visual.
My students were also allowed to use my how to draw books which is why you'll see some recognizable cartoon characters on the buildings. Several of them also used my mirrors so they could create self-portrait buildings or simply see how to portray different emotions. 
I did notice that some students got a little lazy when it came time to create doors and windows. So I reproduced a doors and windows idea sheet from line drawings printed from the internet. This really helped encourage more creativity.
So many of them just went wild with this lesson and they really loved it!
 When I returned, I introduced them to Vincent van Gogh and we spent a lot of time learning about him, looking at his paintings and chatting about his brushstrokes. Then we looked at The Starry Night and used that as our inspiration for our skies.
 For that we used both oil pastels and markers. Once our skies were full of dashed lines, we simply added water!
 From there, we used the warm colors (ahem, well, some of us did) to add color to the sides and top of the buildings. Afterward, water was added. This was a super non-mess way to create a vibrant and creative masterpiece. 
 Unfortunately, my kiddos are in various stages of finishing. Why have we not been able to invent a All Finished At The Same Time Machine yet?! Ugh, the worst. So here as some spectacular almost-finished masterpieces.
This is easily a lesson that ALL of my students adored, from first grade all the way up to fourth. 
 And certainly one that a sub, even if not an "art" sub, could handle.
I know a James Rizzi lesson isn't anything new...but I thought this was a fun and SIMPLE take on it that even a sub (or us...when we are nearing spring break and need that easy project that also keeps them engaged!) could use. 
 Speaking of sub days...who is going to NAEA?! I'm so excited, I've never been to Seattle before.
I won't be leading any sessions but I will be doing TWO meet-ups and I'd love to see you. 
You can join me on Friday in the Activa booth where you can make and take one of these cuties! Or just hang out and chat. 
Or come hang out on Saturday with me and the podcastin' gang from AOE! Tim will be there along with the AOE team so it will be super fun. 
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Art Teacherin' 101, Episode 43: QUIET CRITTERS!

 I've been teaching for many a year and it's always just been my assumption that kindergarten is loud. Like REALLY loud. It wasn't until recently, when I popped into a kindergarten classroom, that I noticed that they aren't ALWAYS this way. I walked into this room and they were working...calmly. Quietly. Like, frighteningly so. As if they were up to no good or plotting the next time they were coming to art and going to drive me bonkers with their incessant jib-jab. When I asked the teacher why they were so quiet, she was all, "what do you mean? They're working. They always work this way." 

Not long after that, @art_with_mia who I love and follow on Instagram, shared that she recently started using something called Quiet Critters in her art room. Now I've heard of teachers using stuffed animals as quiet incentives before...but these small sparkly pompoms seemed like an easier alternative. With the noise level in my art room with kindergarten on the rise, I was determined to give it a shot. And, you guyz, IT WORKS.
If you read my last post, you know that I've named each of these critters after an artist. Every other art class, I'm introducing that artist to the kids. This one is Andy (Warhol). When a student earns a critter, I simply place them in their table caddy. I do think this would work with slightly older grades...but my older kids already use the clip system (which is what the clothes pins are all about. You can read about that here.) Since it works for them, I'm not about to reinvent the wheel, you know. However, I'm super stoked to find something that works for my wee ones, yay! Finally, I can hear myself think! 

Do you use something like this in your art room? I'd love to hear how it goes!
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Sunday, March 11, 2018

In the Art Room: Your Face Here Famous Paintings!

If you are looking at my blog right before bedtime, lemme just go ahead and apologize for this nightmarishly frightening image. But I had so much fun creating this mess-terpiece from a $1.50 thrift store frame, that I just had to share it with you! Here's the process:
The idea started last week when I introduced my kindergarten to something called "Quiet Critters"...I'll be sharing more about those magical beasts later this week (tomorrow, I hope but we'll see how life goes). The short story is that my Q.C.'s only come to the quietest and hardest working tables in kindergarten. Here's what they look like:
Giant pompoms with eyeballs, feet and antennae glued to the them. I JUST started using this system with my kindergarten as they are my noisiest crew...and, so far, they are working wonders! Each Q.C. is named after a famous artist with the plan being that I'll introduce one of those artists every other art class. Last week, we met Mona Lisa! Here's a short video of that I shared on my IG:
It went over so stinkin' well that this weekend, I knew I'd need to create another Your Face Here painting. This time 'round, I went with van Gogh! We've been talking about him and perseverance a lot lately...so he seemed like the obvious choice. Here's a snippet from our most recent chat:
I've been sharing short clips of myself teaching over on my IG. One of my most favorite things in the world is to watch others teach...I thought I'd share a little glimpse inside.
When creating these frames, here's what I look for: something cheap, without glass and with a heavy card or foam board that I can paint directly on. This allows me to just "gesso" over the painting (and by gesso, I mean just paint it white) and go to town on the new one. It's super fast, super fun and I'm so excited to bring van Gogh to my students. I won't be painting myself a beard as I just don't feel like wearing a beard for several days straight. I am the proud owner of a nice red fake beard that I can easily slide on before introducing van Gogh to the kids. 
I plan to make many more of these. My friend Ashley made a ton for her students' art show and I LOVE that idea! I think I might have to have them out as a photo op for the big night. 

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

In the Art Room: Fourth Grade Pizza Pillows!

This summer, I was challenged with the task of coming up with a fun sewing project for kids. I called them Stuffed Pizzas Plushies and I was so excited to do it with my students. But when it came time to do it...I got this wild hair that these pizza slices should be big. So big that they could act as pillows...hence our HUGE Pizza Pillows!
 If there has ever been a project that my students have been BONKERS over, this.is.it. They have loved learning to sew, coming up with toppings and, of course, using puffy paint. Some even wanted to create faces on their pizzas which I was all for. Here's the video I created this summer. I shared it with my students but just reminded them that their pizzas would be about triple in size.
This project took us three one hour art classes to complete. Here's the break down:
Day One: The kids got their pizza crust fabric and their tissue paper pattern. I created the pattens by simply making a triangle with a curved top for the crust. You can see an example of that in the video. They had to fold their fabric (which was cut into large rectangles), pin the pattern to the fabric an cut it out. From there, they had to remove the pins, remove the pattern and then re-pin the top and bottom crust of the pizza together. Then they learned how to thread a needle and stitch one side for their pizza closed. It was an action packed day.

Day Two: We learned how to stuff our pizza, pin it closed and then stitch across the top. Some kids didn't want their stitching to show, so they flipped their pizzas inside out. We also began cutting out the toppings for our pizzas. We kept these in an envelope until next time.
 Day Three: Using good ole Aleene's Tacky Glue, we stared gluing down our toppings. We did use a pattern for the sauce (the same pattern for the pizza, just smaller) and added toppings to that. The kids loved this...but having good fabric scissors is key. Nothing is more frustrating for the kids than having scissors that won't cut felt. These are special scissors we only use when working with fabric. Those who finished and wanted to add puffy paint were allowed to go to Puffy Paint Town. 
 Now let's talk supplies for a hot minute:

* Felt for the Crust: I know what you are thinking: that must have cost a fortune! Actually, it was cheaper to purchase a bolt of light brown felt than it was to buy the individual sheets. I bought the bolt at Joann's and it was on sale for $2.99 a yard. With my teacher discount the total was just under $20! I already had a ton of felt so that was really the only cost.

* Chenille Needles: These are the best for teaching kids to sew as they have a large eye and are sharp on the ends.

* Pins and a Magnetic Wand: Magnetic wands are my jam, y'all. You can find them at the craft stores and they are the best at keeping up with pins. I also love the pins for quilting, with the ball on the end. You can keep up with them so much easier.

* The Thinnest of Crochet Thread: I HATE embroidery floss for stitching as it's got all those extra strands. Crochet thread is the way to go because it's strong and is only one strand (or is it two strands, twisted?). I only buy white to save some cash.
 All of my students were highly engaged. So much so that I have several who have now been making plushies at home and bringing them in to share! It's been such a joy to teach my most favorite thing: sewing!
If you give this a go, let me know. I cannot wait to display these in pizza pie form at the art show in May! Now to find some giant pizza boxes to put them in! 
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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

In the Art Room: Second Grade Kindness Prints!

I have been oversharing this lesson so much on my Instagram because I LOVE IT! My second graders learned so much in the making of these kindness prints: how to create a printing plate, make marker prints, pull ink prints, burnish their printing plate with spray paint, steel wool and aluminum, use Model Magic to mix colors and create a heart and...last but not least, pick a word of kindness that best resonates with them. DID I MENTION THAT THIS LESSON PACKED A PUNCH?! Holy cats! But, y'all. I'm in LOVE.
 So, how did we create these masterpieces? I created a video to share the process. I thought I'd break it down class-by-class what we worked on. Keep in mind that I have 30 minute art classes with my 2nd graders...so I'll be breaking down my lesson in baby bites for those of you that have hour long classes. Just combine my two days and you'll know what you can accomplish in one class of an hour.
Day One: Chatted about Robert Indiana, looked at his LOVE sculpture. From there, we switched gears and began drawing the designs on our printing plate. First with one color ink pin and then a different color to insure that we made the lines deep enough.

Day Two: Continued tracing and then started coloring our designs with water soluble markers. Early finishers pulled the first of the marker prints.
 Day Three (week two): We spent the class pulling marker prints. Once you print one, you simply recolor and print another! 
Day Four: EVERY ONE'S FAVORITE: INK PRINTING! These kids loved ink printing...and pulled a million amazing prints. The key is having a tray that is rectangular (so the kids only roll up and down; I'm using the lid from my tempera cakes) and using ink. Sorry, no skimping here, paint just won't cut it.
Every two kiddos shared an ink tray and a brayer. I used the same ink and brayer for two classes, back to back. No issues with the ink drying...prints pulled were still beautiful!
 Day Five (week three): I've had the idea of the kids doing something with their printing plates for some time now...and I really thought they would be great embossed. Here's the key: the prep is a little on the heavy side. I laid all of the plates on a large sheet of paper, gave them a shot of 3M spray glue and covered them with inexpensive foil. Then I sprayed them all with the $1 a can matte black spray paint from Home Depot (this is the ONLY paint to use when doing this kind of project, it burnishes off the easiest!). Then the the kids burnished off the spray paint and they were amazed with the results. Some even wanted to add color:
 While pretty, I would recommend skipping this step. It just about killed my Sharpies as the tip of the marker was ruined by the spray paint particles. 
Day Six: We made Model Magic hearts! The kids could pick any two primary colors and white. They rolled them, twisted them until they got their desired color/design. Then they shaped them into hearts. They had to also decide upon their word of choice...so they would know where to place their heart. Their heart would act as the dot to the I or the O.
Day Seven: LAST DAY! We used strips of 4.5" X 1" pieces of paper to create our words. They were glued down. Then the kids picked a construction paper frame and decorated it with sparkle tape I found at the Dollar Tree!

A long project? YES. Did they learn a lot of new styles, methods and techniques? YES-YES! I would definitely do this again...I can't wait to hang these in the hall!

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