Thursday, March 16, 2017

Winter Scene

This is one of those happy accidents that I discovered years ago, early in my teaching days.  Someone had accidentally left the laminator rolling.  Yep, the whole roll went through the laminator.  Luckily it wasn't a brand new roll.  But still, we all know how valuable the laminator is and once we run out of lamination for the year...that's it.
I happily took the roll, not knowing what to do with it, and later deciding to do a project with tissue paper, probably months later.  I just cut up squares of colored tissue and made a mix of glue and water. The kids just "painted" a section of glue and laid down the tissue squares overlapping.
We discovered that several layers are best.  Once it is dry, you just peel it away and you have this beautiful sheet of color.  The best part is the beautiful surprise on the back (the side sticking to the plastic).  It comes out shiny and more of a stained glass look.  And if your lucky, some of the colors have bleed together!
That first project, that I probably don't even have a sample for anymore, was a project that I did with Romare Bearden.  We drew instruments that would be used in a Jazz band, and painted them black.  They turned out great, the black was a great contrast to the bright colors.

This time around, I decided to do the tissue paper with a much younger group, 1st grade.  Instead of doing individual stain glass pieces, we worked as a table group to make one large piece that would be cut apart.  
This is where multiple layers is best, cutting into the tissue is much easier if it is thick, especially for the younger grade levels.
The first graders each cut out three trees that were added to their blustery winter scenes.  These pictures don't do them justice, but they really are beautiful.
I wish you could see the shininess to the trees, but you'll just have to trust me.  So, if you find yourself with an offer to take run off from the laminator...take it!  If no one is offering, put an empty box beside the laminator.  The beginning of the year is a great time to get those large pieces that come off the end.
You'll have a fun activity for your kids, you'll have a piece that makes everyone happy (kids, parent, teachers and administration), it's cheap!!, and you will be reusing something that would otherwise be thrown in the trash.  I think that is a win-win.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Insects: Up Close

This was a project that I did with my 2nd graders this year, and was their project for the school art show.  I had done this project before, but was able to utilize the class set of Ipads, which I didn't have access before.
Students were asked to search for an insect they wanted to draw, they searched by classification, until they found the specimen they wanted to draw.  Since they are assigned a tablet, they were able to screen shot a picture and information about the insect they choose.
This helped speed up the process a bit, instead of starting a new search each time they came to class.  They were asked to draw the insects as if under a magnifying glass.  This was the real challenge for my second graders, filling the page with their insect.
Once they had the size down, they moved on to the color portion of the lesson, which was just crayon resist.
These were a great addition to the art show, I loved the variety that it allowed.  Especially when you are displaying so many pieces, 830 art pieces to be exact,  you don't want the cookie cutter look.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Just Keep Swimming

This is a project that I do with 3rd graders.  Years ago when I would do the Original Works program at my last school, this is the piece that I would have done with my 3rd graders.  Of course, it has evolved and changed over the years, but I feel like I get great results from it each time.
It has been about 4 years since I've done this with my kids. I was looking to make some changes in the way we do our Eagle's Art Night, and the art work that would be displayed.  The previous three years, I was working part time with another art teacher and we each did our  own lessons with students.  We also did several different lessons with each class so that we would have a variety of things to hang for the show.  So basically I was teaching a different lesson with each grade level every single day! This was great for the show, but was extremely hard to organize and really made for a stressful environment when it came to the teaching part.
Since I was going to be teaching full time this year, I decided that we needed one good lesson from each grade level that encouraged individuality from these little artist.  So that is when I remembered what great variety there was with this lesson.  I think the framing part of this lesson really helps making the artwork look unique.
We practiced drawing different sea animals for a couple art sessions so that they could be sure and pick something that they could draw well.  One of the most difficult things is having them narrow down what they want to draw.  (Because they would draw it all if I would let them.)  I really tried to get them to focus on one or two animals.
So, putting emphasis on one or two animals, and really doing a good job. This is also a great lesson to talk about underwater landscapes, from mountains to valleys and the coral reef and the ecosystems within these marine biomes.
You can really pack a lot of science into this lesson, and what administrator doesn't like that?  So, if you are looking for a lesson that does it all, this is both a parent pleaser as well as your admin.