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

Eric Carle's Rainbow Fish-Kinder Style

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Without realizing it, I had done 3 lessons in a row involving fish or underwater creatures of some sort. The first, this one, is based on Eric Carle's book 'Hello Mister Seahorse. Basically we brainstormed things you would find under the sea. I showed them how to draw seaweed and let them draw and color in a background for their scene using crayons. We then painted over the backgrounds with watered down tempera paint (creating a resist). After that I had them use various large sponge letter stamps one of the teachers gave me over the summer and each students stamped a piece of tissue paper wit the letters to give it texture. I cut out a bunch of 'fish parts' or cardboard shapes that could be interchanged with one another to create whole fish. I also made a seahorse stencil so the students could trace and cut the the tissue paper from it. They had a really good time with the stamping and most of them were able to trace and cut the tissue paper, which is a pretty challenging thing for their little fingers given how easily it rips. All in all they did a great job. One of my few gripes in retrospect was that I didn't have the foam texture rollers which would have worked better than the stamps for creating texture on the tissue paper and that my stencil shapes were a little too small for the paper size. Next year, I'm going to go bigger and instead of just using pastel colored tissue paper I'll use the bright colors. I think that way, the sea animals will really pop!

3rd Grade Van Gogh Inspired Still-Life

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

The original idea for this lesson was solely based on collage. I loved the way the outcomes looked and so I decided to try it with my 3rd graders. However, I was very skeptical because I had my suspicions that they really didn't have the attention span to collage all the surface area and sure enough, the tediousness of the task left almost all of them not wanting to do the project. They had a really hard time understanding the point of collaging at all and became very frustrated over trying to make the pieces of construction paper 'fit' into the areas they had drawn out. It seemed not matter how much I emphasized them not trying to make it all perfect they were too preoccupied with the image looking 'right' and became very discouraged (and we all know when a class becomes disengaged it equals management problems). So, instead of abandoning the lesson, which I hate doing, I improvised and decided to let them finish up any of the white spaces with oil pastels. To my surprise, they really enjoyed it, and the results came out beautiful. Phew, it was a learning experience for both me and my students!

A Seusstacular Event

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday, which was March 6th, I had my kindergarten class create Dr. Seuss inspired fish after the book 'One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish'. I got the idea for this lesson from a fellow blogger at which had loads of great ideas and loved the results. As a class we discussed what an author and illustrator is and how Dr. Seuss created his fish. My students had some good observations of his illustrative style noting that they fish often had hair, funny facial expressions, were usually the primary colors, and did 'silly' things like ride bikes, juggle, and sleep in beds. I led them in guided practice to draw the fish making sure to emphasize that they draw it as big as the paper (which was 12x18") and then we painted them. We painted the background with red stripes and for those students who needed extra support I drew lines in pencil for them to follow and paint over which helped them quite a bit. Once all was dry, we cut the fish out, added details and glue-sticked them onto the background. Quite adorable I think!

*Note about the details-At the beginning of the year I spend a day and teach a lesson on 'details' in art. The lesson focuses on making meaningful marks instead of 'scribble-scrabble' as my kids call it. I make a poster of everything we discuss and hang it periodically throughout the year for lessons that I want to make sure my students add details to.

2nd Grade Solar Systems

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

This was a really fun lesson for my second-graders. I'm really short on 3D materials, so for the rockets I just used cardboard. I was initially going to prime it white so the metallic paint would show up better but I didn't have the time (or the white paint) to cover 50 students worth of cardboard. They got really creative with their ships and made some look like futuristic star wars-esque fighter planes! As far as the composition goes, I had them make at least 5 planets using at least 3 colors in each. We added black for shadow, emphasizing scale and overlapping. As a finishing touch I had them apply some glitter glue with Q-tips to add a little extra 'umph' to the work. FYI my new favorite way to use glitter is to use glitter glue as an overlay or laminate instead of glitter paint. It's a million times better, has a thicker consistency and looks great over oil pastels without changing the color. The only thing you have to worry about is that you can't use it like paint because its too thick and if you were to try to spread it with a paint brush, because of its sticky texture, it wouldn't spread evenly. But if all you want to do is use it as an accent its really great.