Showing posts with label art history for kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art history for kids. Show all posts

Thursday, May 3, 2012

In the Artroom: The Art History Wall

A Rockin' Trip Thru Art History with...Mona Lisa's Masterpieces.
This week in the art room, I thought I'd share with you the backdrop seen in many of my What-I-Wore-This-Week posts. Every school year, I create a theme of study. The year I created the Art History Wall, our theme was Rockin' Thru Art History. I wore this wacky apron and the kids created guitars and rocked their way through the history of art.  I loved the wall too much at the end of the year to take it down. With the exception of a random piece of art falling off the wall, it's held up well through the years and, more importantly, it's proved to be a valuable educational tool in the art room.
Every art room should have a mascot.
I am fortunate in that I have a very large art room. Once upon a time, my art room was the school library. So it is very long with plenty of former book shelves turned cabinets and storage.
The Wall in total. Narrowing down the history of art to fit my wall was the hardest part.
That being said, I have this very large wall space which seemed to be the perfect canvas for a giant display. I began by jotting down the major movements in art history. From there, I rooted through my mountains of visuals: old calendars, postcards, posters -- even cutting up the art history books I'd hoarded since college, to find just the right images.
In the Beginning...we had rock art, no paper, no scissors.
With my art movements and visuals sorted, I began the writing of the Art History Wall. This proved to be difficult as I had to keep it simple and kid friendly. To add a little  three dimensional pop to the wall, I clued a piece of foam to the back of the purple papers as well as some of the visuals.
If you are interested in creating your own wall, feel free to borrow from mine as much as you like. The following are the movements and their simple descriptions:
Rock Painting: The beginning of art...
Ancient Egypt: tombs, pyramids, mummies, OH MY!
Ancient Greece: athletic people that believed in many gods...
Ancient Rome: expanded Greek art ideas (after conquering them)
Middle Ages: Bible stories were told through art
Early Renaissance: Artists learned to paint realistically
High Renaissance: Michelangleo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and sculpted David; Leonardo da Vinci sketched inventions and painted the Mona Lisa

Dutch painting: Dutch artists painted portraits, still lives and genre paintings
Romantics and Realists: wanted to show emotion in their art
Impressionists: group of artists that wanted to show color and light
Famous impressionists were Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Cassatt
Post Impressionist: artists that created after the Impressionists and expanded their ideas: van Gogh, Seurat, Cezanne
Modern Art: In modern art, artists realized that the possibilities are endless!
The bulletin board beside the art history wall.

What's the point in having a mascot when you don't get to wear a silly costume? I got this idea from one of the most amazing and inspirational art teachers I know, Debi West. You can read more about her and her students here.
And there you have it! We put the wall in action when we are learning about an artist or a certain movement in art. I'll ask the kids to follow me to the Art History wall so they can visually grasp important periods in art. Thanks for reading!
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In the Art Room: Mammoth Monet-Inspired Mural

Mammoth Monet-Inspired Mural measuring in at 12' X 9' and well over 10 lbs. This is one mural not to be contented with.
 Hey, guys! I interrupt this blog post to say that my third graders just finished some clay frogs after creating this can see them here.

Well, I learned my lesson. After creating a winter mural with the kids after break (that you can see here: ) and only having a short time to display it before it became passe, I started early on this here spring/summer mural. The kids and I had most of the mural put together before spring break, but I was so excited to see the end result that I sneaked in, glued down the last of the frogs and flowers and, with the help of our awesome custodians, got it hung up. I can't wait for the kids to see it when they return. Here's how we went about our creation.
Our inspiration: Monet's garden and pond at Giverny.
I introduced Monet to the kids with this book. I love this series of books and find that all of my students, kindergarten through fourth, enjoy them too. I know that there are video versions of the books but I don't enjoy showing movies in my room. And, honestly, I love to read aloud.

One of my favorite tricks to get the kids to remember an artists name is this: whenever I say the artist's first name, the kids are to respond with his last name. So, as I read, I'll say, "Claude..." and the kids all respond, "Monet!" It really helps with recall...most of the time. Recently, when we were playing The Smartest Artist (, the question was, "who painted the Mona Lisa?" and I got "Vincent da Vinci!" Oh well.

After reading about Claude Monet, the kids spent a week creating clay projects that were pond-themed. So we had clay frogs, fish, waterlilies, butterflies and snails. I'll share these in an upcoming post as the kids have yet to glaze them. With our knowledge on ponds, the kids began creating the pieces of our mural.
A great rhyming book about a frog that ends up in Monet's garden.
 Here's a run down of who created what:
  • Kindergarten created the textured papers for the grass, flowers, cat tails and bridge. We learned all about mixing the secondary colors. They went on to create the three dimensional flowers too.
  • First grade created the tissue paper meets sparkle Modge Podge pond papers. They also drew the fish and the frogs. 
  • Some of the second grade classes printed the land with sponges, cardboard and empty spools for flowers. These are the background papers behind the kindergarten flowers. One class created the sky sponge paintings with the printed dragon flies. These kids also created the waterlilies on color diffusing paper.
  • The third and fourth graders are up to their eyeballs in weavings. Their task will be add insects once finished with their woven masterpieces.
A sweet little frog has found his home on a tissue paper waterlily.

First grade koi fish with a second grade waterlily.

Three-dimensional flowers with kindergarten. Yes, it's as crazy as it sounds. They got it...but it took us a while. Next time, maybe first grade.

For a full flower tutorial, go here:

I had a sweet former student shadow me last week. I asked her to come up with an idea for printing dragon flies as my pre-spring break brain was spent. She used a toilet paper tube she pinched in the middle to create a horizontal 8 and q-tips for the body. The kids loved it.

I borrowed the sun from the winter mural. I'm thinking he'll make an appearance in all of our seasonal murals, what do you think?

I was told that this is a Mrs. Stephens Frog. I do love bows in my hair. Now I just need to get my nails done!

Mammoth Mural in all it's glory. Happy Spring!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In the Art Room: Croc-O-Nile Puppetry

Sweet little first grader with her crocodile puppet.
This is a bitter sweet post for me. Today is Lauren's last day in my art room. Come Monday she'll be off being an incredible art-teacher-to-be somewhere else with some other lucky art teacher and her students. I look forward to seeing what she'll do in her new assignment but certainly wish she could stay. I thought I'd share with you one of the many amazing projects she did with the artists at my school.
Lauren reading a book on crocodiles snagged from the library. Did you know that there are 14 different types? And that they have 3 eyelids? And they carry their newborns around in their mouth? Me neither.
When Lauren began student teaching, my first grade students were beginning a paper weaving unit. And while the kids love weaving and learn so much from it, I'm always at a bit of a loss as to what to do with the completed weavings. One year we turned the weaving into the body of a fish. Another year we used black paper and cut out the negative shape of a butterfly to go over the weaving. This year I knew I wanted to stay in keeping with our Egyptian theme. So when I saw a photo on pinterest where a teacher had used the weaving as the body of a crocodile, I knew that's what I wanted to do.
After Lauren read crocodile facts to the kids, we had Kyle the Crocodile come out and ask the kids questions. The puppet is by folkmanis and is extremely realistic. If they kids answered Kyle's questions correctly, they were able to touch his which point I had him whip around and nip at the kids' nose causing complete crazy fun chaos.
I shared with Lauren the photo on pinterest and my crocodile puppet, she said, "Can the kids make a crocodile puppet?" I kinda thought she was crazy but told her to make a mock up and see how it would work. I swear in a matter of 15 minutes she came back to me with a completed puppet that involved so many different media and learning experiences we just knew it had to happen. If you scroll down to the last photo, you'll see Lauren's example.

So began our crocodile puppet lesson. The first part of the lesson involved the kids creating their looms. We create our looms together on the floor. Using 9" X 12" paper, the kids fold their paper in half "hamburger" style. On the opposite end of the fold, they make a very small fold 1" from the top. That small fold is the "stop line" for their cutting. Using scissors and starting at the bottom fold, they cut a vertical line to the stop line, thus creating what looks like a pair of pants. We take each paint leg and cut from the middle to the stop line creating four equal parts. Finally we cut each one of those creating eight parts. Including math terms like half, fourth and eighth is always a good idea.

For the weaving portion, we had the kids create patterned strips of paper. If you look closely at the weavings, you'll see that the strips of paper (er, wefts) have a smaller paper on top of them. This created a kind of texture for the crocodile's body.
The printing idea for this portion of the lesson came from Cathy Topal's Thinking with a Line.
After the weavings were complete, students began their work on the other parts of the crocodile's body. They learned that the crocodiles use their tail for defense. To create the shape, the kids were shown how to fold their paper "hot dog style" and cut from one angle of the rectangle to another with a diagonal line. Open the paper and viola! triangle.
Yeah, this is pretty much how my tables look. Scissors out, pencils on the table and messy hands. It's the art room, I like to keep it real.
Lauren also spent some time chatting with them the difference between printing (when you press something down and pick it back up) and painting (when you press something down and move it around). They also reviewed their line vocabulary.

After printing, students began creating the pieces of their crocodiles face. They created eyes, a nose, feet and teeth. Crocodile bits were kept in envelopes with students names on them.
Inside the mouth of the crocodile is this little mechanism. The kids folded these without any problem. We used 12" X 18" sheets of cheap manilla paper. Here's how:
  1. Tri-fold the paper
  2. Fold the tri-fold in half creating a "V"
  3. Take the ends of the "V" and fold back creating a "W"
Squeeze the openings and you'll see two pockets. This is here your fingers go. Speaking of fingers, look at my old lady hands, ew! Guess my dreams of begin a hand model are over.

I've used this puppet fold for many puppet-y projects with the kids. They love it and get really creative.
Once the puppet mechanism was created, the kids had to cut out large four triangles from 9" X 12" paper. Two cream colored ones to be glued to the inside of the mouth and two green for the outside.
Gluing on the crocodile bits. Both the eyes and the nostrils were created with a "foot", or a folded end, so that they could be glued down easily.
The expressions on each croc was hilariously unique. This one is waiting for his limbs and his teeth.
The kids cut out four legs with the help of a template. Sadly I didn't get a photo of any with their teeth in. Small white triangles were cut out and glued inside for teeth.

This project took many art classes. As some of you know, I have half an hour classes so we had to take baby steps with this project. But the end result was worth it. It's one of those projects the kids won't soon forget.

In line for the Crocodile Parade.
For the end of the project, Lauren had students go on a crocodile parade. She had come up with a tale to of how a polar bear had stolen their baby crocodiles. The students followed the paw prints of the bear (paper prints that Lauren had strewn throughout the school) until they found their crocodile babies. The kept the babies in their mouths like they had learned crocs do and used their tail to fight off the polar bear. The kids loved every minute of it.
Lauren with her crocodile puppet example.
Sigh. So that was the amazing crocodile puppet project created by this amazing young art teacher. I'm so sad that she's leaving, you don't even know! I'm sure crocodile tears will be flowing at some point today. She's promised to come back...and when she does, I'll be certain to photograph her outfits. Best wishes at your new school placement, Laruen!
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Monday, February 20, 2012

DIY: Shoes

This year's Back-to-School Shoes
Hi, guys! This is just an update...I recently created more DIY shoes, this time Platform Sandals (eep!), that you can read more about here.

I never really thought I had a thing for shoes. But the enormity of 'em in my closet (and under the bed, in the once-linen closet,  and stacked in the bathtub) begs to differ. So apparently I have a weak spot. Some people adopt little lost abandoned animals and give them a home...I like to think that I do the same. Just for shoes.

Now the prob with being a shoe hoarder is that it could easily become a costly venture. I found this out at the beginning of the school year when I saw the cutest pencil shoes at Modcloth...for about one hundred bucks. Being the thrift shopper that I am, I constantly experience sticker shock when shopping retail. After studying the pencil shoes, I realized that I just might be able to recreate them myself.
The kids love these shoes. Most frequently asked question: "How do you sharpen those?"
So off to the thrift store I went in search of a pair of shoes to use as my canvas. With a black pair of slip-ons, I drew out my design in white colored pencil. It was simple enough: a curved line for the lead, a scalloped line for the wooden part, a couple of straight lines for the end of the pencil. I used several coats of acrylic paint and covered the shoes in Modge Podge. 

Now, I'm not so sure acrylic paint is the best bet. I've worn these shoes a half dozen times (turns out pencil shoes don't  go with everything) and they have cracked at the crease of the shoe. I recently read that Martha Stuart makes an all-purpose paint (of course she does) that might have worked better. Any ideas? 
There's a reason I don't have many pairs of pointed shoes in my closet. Because putting my Big Foot-esque feet inside something dainty and small is like forcing my big bump-ited head into a hat: it's just not gonna happen.
After painting the pencil shoes, I was bitten by the shoe-painting bug. My next thrift store/shoe restore purchase was this pair of foot-torturing pointy black shoes. I went about painting them the same way I did the pencils: draw out design in white pencil, add coats of paint, seal in Modge Podge. Bind feet and wear.
My Crayola-inspired outfit: crayon barrette, made by me; thrifted shirt; skirt picked up off of etsy. Most frequently asked question: "Can you color with those?"

A couple of months ago, DIY glitter shoes seemed to be all over the blogs I frequent. And I just knew I had to have a pair for the countless Christmas parties I would attend (which was, like, two). Now, I have this inability to read directions. I see them, I understand their importance, my eyes glance over them and I think "oh, yeah. I got this." Well, before you follow suit, read these directions, friends: 
  1. Spray paint any areas of your shoes (er, outside) that will be unglittered. I used high gloss spray paint over these once-gray thrift store shoes.
  2. Use glitter dust (which I did not do) and Modge Podge
  3. Mix a large amount of glitter with a small amount of 'Podge. Attack shoes with said Glitter Podge.
  4. Allow to dry (duh) and wear.  
Notice the key words: glitter dust. Turns out regular ole glitter is just too big. After several wears, I've had to replace chunks of glitter that have fallen off. Being smaller, glitter dust seems to have a little more give.
My dear P.E. teacher friend had me glitterize her basketball shoes from high school!
I was attached several times while wearing these my cat. The feather boas drove her nuts. And got her permanently placed on the Naughty List.
Okay, these are seriously cheesy. But I teach the littles, so I can get away with it. Using these thrifted never-worn red t-strap shoes, acrylic paint, Modge Podge, felt and boa, I Santa-ized these shoes. Because the design is on the toe of the shoe, these shoes have not had the design-cracking problem like the pencil and crayon shoes.

My favorite thing about these shoes? Being able to say, "Are you making good choices? Because," with a glance down at my feet,"Santa is watching." Worked better than Elf on a Shelf.

My Valentine's Day can read the complete, unabridged how-to here:

My latest, and easiest, DIY involved thrifted shoes, broken clip-on earrings and a hot glue gun. I betcha can guess how I did it.

Not sure what's up next on my shoe DIY list...I contemplated leprechaun shoes for St. Patty's Day...but now I'm leaning more toward bunny shoes for spring. Oh, the thoughts that fill my head. It's like a look inside Einstein's brain, isn't it?
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

DIY: Wishful Winter Wonderland

Let's just forget that it's spring in less than a month, shall we? 'Cuz this winter mural is finally finished! Note to self: start winter mural on first day of school.
Well, Happy Wintery Day to you! And, if you are here in Tennessee, this year's wintery has meant rainy, tornado-y, and weirdly warm. Nothing like our winters of the past two years which managed to produce enough snow to provide us with some delightful snow days. Not that us teachers like snow days. Oh no! We just spend the whole day missing the our front of the t.v. ...with a tub of ice cream...catching up on Jersey Shore. Sigh.

But I digress. I'm here to share with you the mural that the artists at my school just finished! For which I can take little credit. I originally got the idea for a winter mural over at this website; the woven houses were seen on pinterest; and the ice skating figures was a lesson taught by my incredible student teacher. So, basically, I just did what I always do: watched my little artists work and be amazed by the results.
We hung the mural on Monday just knowing that it would bring us the luck of a snow day the weathermen had been predicting. No such luck. Next week we are creating Weatherman Voo Doo Dolls.
The bulk of the work was done by my wee little kindergarten friends. We studied van Gogh and his love of lines and texture. Using the cold colors and water color paint, we created our own night sky. The following art class, we chatted about texture and creating tints of color. They created the ground pieces by painting their colored construction paper white and using a textured comb on the white paint.
Er, is that green smoke coming out of that chimney?
My first grade buds helped by creating the little collaged houses for the background and the snow covered trees. This was no small task for these guys as cutting out small bits and pieces can be a bit tricky for the under-6 set. But just look at 'em! I'd totally live in that pink and yellow casa.
I love the little cat in the window...reminds me of my house! 'Cept the cat looking out my window has a 15 lbs weight advantage.
Second grade was about to begin their circle loom weaving unit. I thought it might be a good review for them to create these little woven houses. Because they had woven before, they were able to whiz right through it. This allowed them to have more time to work on their houses...and it proved to be a great pre-assessment for their circle loom weavings.
Our school has the best P.E. program around with two incredible teachers. These ladies are absolutely devoted to the health of our students. I have learned so much from them...I just cannot say enough good things about them!
This year, our students spent two weeks learning how to roller skate. The students had an absolute blast. I knew I wanted to get my fourth grade artists in the gym to sketch the skaters...I just didn't know how to make it happen. Thankfully, Lauren, my awesome student teacher, created a gesture drawing lesson. The kids spent one half hour class creating drawings of the skaters.
Tiger-striped skating pants? A girl after my own heart.
These drawings were then used as the starting point for their figure drawings. Students learned how to draw a figure in proportion and in action. Ice skater details were added to complete the look. Once the drawings were finished, they traced over their lines in skinny sharpie, added color and cut them out.
I loved watching the kids create gesture drawings. Many of them resembled the gesture drawings I created in college.
Lauren assembled the mural -- thank goodness. I have this terrible habit of starting a project and petering out when the work becomes unfun. And gluing the whole thing together seemed very overwhelming to me. But she dove right in and got it put together. For the ice, she used foil painted with a thin coat of white paint for a frosty, less reflective look.
This would be me on skates. All wobbly limbs and "woah-woah-wooooah!".
Two proud art teachers.
Our last contribution came from our third grade students. They have been studying Wassily Kandinsky with Lauren. They created the miniature concentric circles that you see along the sides of the mural.

FYI, I just checked the extended forecast. The weathermen are predicting thunderstorms and 50 degree temps. I am so looking forward to those Voo Doo Dolls!

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