Saturday, July 27, 2019

In the Art Room: First Day of Art Projects!

BIG NEWS! My podcast is now available on Apple Podcasts! I'm so excited. If you want to keep up with me, be sure and subscribe. Also, a rating and a review would be super duper. Thank you, friends!

I have been talking A LOT here lately, both here and on my podcast, about heading back to school. It's right around the corner for me (next week, ACK!) so it's all I've been thinking (and nightmaring) about. In case you've missed it, I've been sharing about my rules and routines for my art room. Next week, I'll be talking about the three consequences I use in my art room, why students might misbehave in our room and the one classroom management tool I use like crazy. But today...I thought I'd share my very favorite art projects to do on the very first day (follow this link for videos and more)!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I try VERY HARD on those first days to do the SAME project with ALL of my grade level kids. Why? For my sanity, y'all! I gotta work up that stamina again. AND because my focus is rules and routines. Doing the same and simple lesson with my students allows me to focus on the rules and routines...while they are creating. So what I'm sharing with you here today are projects that can be done with 1st-4th (and sometimes kindergarten too but I usually start here for them). The exception to this is when I've done Dot Day projects at the start of the year, where each grade does something different. You can find my fave Dot Day lessons below.
Last year, this lesson I created was a HUGE hit, both with my students and fellow art teachers. I know the link for the sheets has been broken forever but GUESS WHO FIXED IT! That's right...finally. Follow this link for both FREE downloadable PDFs. You and your kids will love this first day activity!
While storage was a little tricky, once these guys were finished and up they made for quite the beautiful display. You can see how we displayed them here. 
Who's to say kids can't paint in art class on the very first day?! I created these Welcome Back banners for my students to paint at the END of last I could hang next week. But you could make them now, let the kids paint them and hang them up for Open House or just to brighten the halls. More details on how these were created here and here (with video!). 
I'm a big fan of having my students create collaborative pieces at the start of the school year. Why? Because they can help establish a culture of community! And they are so pretty. We created this piece a couple of years ago and it was so well received that we have since painted a bunch more for our school library. More details here and here!
Of course, you cannot go wrong starting off your school year with The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. I have done a BAZILLION different Dot Day projects, many complete with instructional video. I put 'em all into one big blog post right here. So, need some Dot Day? I got you covered!
This here is an oldie that I've brought back a couple of times now...three times to be exact! I've created a popular video that you are welcome to share in your art room. You can find the lesson details and video here. 
Having done this lesson a couple of times, I've found different ways to display them. Here's one and then here's one where we took our faces and created a world!
This lesson has been a HUGE hit on my blog with so many folks bringing wings into their school. It's a super way to start the year. I've got a video just for you (that's free!) right here. 
Big ole collaborative murals are my fave thing for my kids to create! This one really sends home a message that I want my kids to receive.
And this big ole beast, inspired by the author Todd Parr, makes me so happy that I've yet to take it down!
There are truly so many ways to start your school year...but I would encourage you to START SIMPLE. I know these projects may not seem to be simple. That's because you are just seeing the final results. On that first day, it should be RULES AND ROUTINE city, okay? With some creating mixed in. If you do the same lesson with everyone, then you are making your life a little easier. And when your life is a little easier, then you can focus on rules, routines and getting to know your kiddos (my favorite part). So find what works, have fun, enjoy those first few days by keeping your life easy. Remember, a happy person makes for a happy art teacher. Go easy on yourself and have a wonderful start to your school year. 

More details on these trees here!

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  1. such joy in your work, I admire your passion...a fellow educator, retired. May you always, always have the impact you desire

  2. Maybe a silly question: do you pay for a lot of the materials in your room? I was looking at some of the links for supplies (i.e. the bingo daubers!) that I really want to get. Just curious how much you usually spend on your room a year out of your own pocket. If that's a really invasive question feel free to ignore!


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