Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Musings about the importance of art and art education

Year End Round-Up-Better late than never!

Here are a whole slew of lessons I didn't have time to post about during the school year.  This post has been sitting on my "to-do" list for a long time!!

 5th Grade Birch Trees

 For this lesson we tried our hands at homemade watercolors. The kids loved the idea of using materials they made from scratch to use in a painting, Unfortunately, the watercolors didn't come out half as vivid as the crayola standard sets so, I gave the kids the option of using them, and some did, but mostly the ended up using the palettes anyways.  At least they had fun making them! For the painting itself, we used masking tape to mask off the "tree's", painted the background first, and then after removing the tape, added thin Sharpie lines and watercolor strokes to give the trees its trademark texture.

5th Grade  Symbol Spoons

My fifth graders seriously blew my mind when making these spoons. The only requirement I gave them was to include at least 3 different symbols that represented themselves or their interests.  What they came up with was AMAZING! We used tempera paint with modge podge instead of glaze so I could give them as many options for color as possible. 

4th Grade Clay Looms and Weavings

 In retrospect I wish I had taken more photo's of these, because they really were beautiful but I was so darn frustrated with this project, by the time I got the case up, I wanted nothing more to do with it! 
If you ever have the kids make their own clay looms, be prepared to use A LOT of clay, and spend LOTS of time with the hot glue gun repairing cracks, chips, and breaks.  Oh and possible a drill and drill bit for all those pesky holes that shrunk too small in the firing process even though though you told the kids 1000 times to make the holes BIG.  OK, rant over!

3rd Grade Stacked Teacups

This was the last project of the school year.  I needed something fun, quick and gave the students enough freedom to stay engaged without giving them so much freedom that their summer jitters would create pandemonium during art!

Fabulous Lil' Froggies

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
My second graders just wrapped up their clay frog project. not one of my favorites, I'll admit....Some frogs ended up looking a little road-kill-ish, all bumpy and squished and such.  There were also quite a few that had excessively long legs and arms which were consequently, broken at some point during the drying/firing/glazing/firing process.  There were enough lost limbs that I couldn't quite keep track! (eek) Thankfully though, the kiddies didn't seem to mind their humorous and somewhat abstract froggies and their excitement stayed pretty consistent despite some setbacks.  Here are a few of the more recognizable ones..

 For the glaze I used Mayco Stroke and Coat in Cottontail (white) and Amaco Lead Free "CTL" or Crystaltex glazes in Fantasia (green), Peacock eyes (white with blue speckles), firecracker (red), and Amaco 'AA-24: Exotic Blue" which by the way, looks much more multi-dimensional in the picture than on the clay. All glaze fired on cone 06 (fast)

1st grade Paul Klee 2d and 3D Fish

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

I just finished a unit on Paul Klee with my first graders.  Both projects were based on the artwork The Golden Fish. 

The first project was a 2-dimensional one.  I had the kids begin with 12x12' white paper folding in half two times to create four rows.  The kids filled in each row with a different pattern in oil pastel and then painted watercolor over the top.  I was hoping the patterns would be a little more dynamic and a little less straightforward, but since I don't teach kindergarten, this was the first project I'd ever done with this group of children.and wasn't sure where they were at developmentally.

After that I used guided drawing at our class carpet to demonstrate how to draw a fish.  Each child got a whiteboard and dry erase marker and followed along with me.  When they felt comfortable enough, they returned to their seat and drew their fish on 9x12" white paper, and again, used oil pastel and then watercolor to fill it in.

The fish and patterned background alone didn't look like it was enough for me. You know when you look at the outcome of a project and it just doesn't look "done"?  That's what I was feeling, and so,  I used 18x18" construction paper, and created some fish stencils from oak tag using the dye cut machine we have on our main office.  The kids first traced the fish with a marker (no pencil), and could overlap or crop the fish as they saw fit. After that, they used chalk pastel to trace and then gently smudge the outline to give a decorative effect. Overall, the border really helped make the project look complete, and gave it some "oomph".

The second project were ceramic pinch pot fish.  I gave the kids large balls of clay and some how they wittled their fish down to the petite size you see below.  They still look adorable, but I kept saying to the kids, "it's o.k. you can use the whole piece of clay!" lol!

I used amaco"crystaltex glaze in Milky Way (the speckled dark blue) and Mayco ''Stroke & Coat" and 'Candy Apple Red, Dandelion, and Blue yonder.  I've also done a few other lessons on Klee:
4th grade Klee Heads

1st Grade Around the Fish

1st Grade Mixed Media Klee Trees

4th Grade Painted Klee Heads

3rd grade Sinbad the Sailor

Square 1 Art Fundraiser

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Every other year I work with the PTO (parent teacher organization) to do a school-wide fundraiser along with the company Square 1 Art.  If you're not familiar with the company, click the link HeRe

They basically put your students work on all different types of objects and a portion of the money comes back to the school. Two years ago I had the students create different animals, fishes, birds, cats, etc, and then fill them in with different patterns. This year I had about 3 weeks to get over 600 forms completed, so I decided to create painted landscapes with everyone.  At first I had a few classes use tissue paper to create a collage and then add a marker landscape over it, but there was too much room for error and I had to be a drill sergeant to make sure the kiddo's really glued the tissue paper flat. Here are a few of the tissue paper samples.  These are the brighter ones, unfortunately some of them ended up coming out really dark

After trying a few classes without the tissue paper, using only paint and then marker over that, I found the results to be pretty much fool proof.  Here's a few samples....I always marvel at the variety of results I get even though I'm teaching the same things to every class!