Monday, May 8, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Week!


In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week I am giving away a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers giftcard!
To enter the giveaway, just go to my Facebook page and comment who you appreciate and why on the contest post! Contest ends at midnight tonight (EST)! The winner will be selected from the entries and will be announced Tuesday morning - just in time for Teachers Pay Teachers sitewide sale (May 9th & 10th)!

My entire store will be 28% off! (Just use promo code: THANKYOU17)

For another opportunity to win, check out the Expressive Monkey facebook page!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Kade Michael Nguyen

Hello fabulous art teachers!
Just wanted to introduce you to Kade Michael Nguyen. Born on March 23rd, 2017.
My pregnancy took me away from my blog quite a bit - and as you can imagine a newborn will likely do the same. :)
I am on maternity leave until the next school year.. so things are probably going to be pretty slow around here for a bit longer.
Hope you guys understand!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Clay Penguins (1st)


FINALLY I get to post about this adorable clay penguin project that I've been doing with my first graders for the past couple months! 
I got the entire idea for this project from the art ed blog, Thomas Elementary Art!

On the first day I had my first graders create a wide shallow pinch-pot that would act as the base for their penguin sculptures. 

Then on the second day I demonstrated how to create the clay penguin to add into their pinch-pots.
First I had my students roll a new piece of clay into a ball and then stick their thumb into it (just like how you would start a pinch-pot), but instead of just making a shallow thumb hole, I had them really push their thumb into the clay. Then using their other hand, they squeezed the clay around their thumb to create the base body for their penguins. After wiggling out their thumb, students then added on the wings and beak by smoothing pieces of clay onto their body base, and then finally used a pencil to poke eye holes. Once their penguin body was finished, they placed their penguin into their pinch-pot from the day before and smoothed the bottom of the penguin's body into the pinch-pot.
Because the penguin's body is hollow (from where their thumb was inside of it), I then had to poke a hole in the bottom of the pinch-pot so air wouldn't get trapped inside.

After bisque firing the penguins, the next step was to add the "water" to the bowls. To do this I just added some colored pebbles of glass (like the kind used in fish tanks) into the pinch-pot and then fired them again at cone 05.
When I took them out of the kiln after being fired, I noticed that the glass began cracking a bunch (I'm assuming because they cooled too quickly - I'm super impatient) so I made sure to put a coating of glossy modge-podge over the glass to protect my little first grader's fingers from any sharp edges. :)

On my teacher's example I used blue
on my pinch-pot base instead.
During their next art rotation, my first graders used tempera paints to add some color to their penguins and a cool sparkly silver tempera paint to add some color to the pinch-pot base.

While this project was a bit more of a time investment for me, I'd say it paid off big time! My kids LOVED this project! Definitely a keeper for next year!!



I mean.. they're adorable whether they're made perfectly or not. ;)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Tessellation Monsters 2.0 (5th)

Pin me because I'm beautiful!
Once upon a time (in my first year of teaching), I taught a tessellation project to my 4th grade students. Just like any good fairy tale, at some point things took a turn for the worse. As great as some of the projects turned out, I was exhausted by the amount of hovering it required me to do as a teacher and left me yearning for a different project. But again, just like any good fairy tale, this story has a happy ending... After taking a 3 year break from tessellations, I have finally made my comeback with an awesome tessellation project for my 5th grade students. Yayyyy!

Written set of directions.
I started this project by showing my students an awesome PowerPoint that I put together that explains exactly what a tessellation is, some famous examples from history, and then differentiates between the 3 major types of tessellations: translations, rotations, and reflections.
After showing them the PowerPoint, I gave each of my tables a basket that contained a few 3"x3" pieces of tagboard, a written set of directions (in case students get confused), scissors, and tape. Then I showed them step-by-step how to create a translation tessellation piece using my document camera (see the directions to the left).
**A trick that I used this time teaching was to have students draw their shape from one corner to the adjacent corner. That way they don't have to worry about lining up the cut-out piece directly across from the original cutout.. you just have to line it up on the side. (This sounds confusing.. just look at my visual below.)


Once students finished creating their own pieces, I passed out large sheets of scrap paper and had them practice making tessellations with their piece. This was their opportunity to make sure that their piece was properly crafted and that it would work. This was also a great opportunity for me to be able to walk around and assist those that found that their piece wasn't working.
Add some details to transform the shape!
Once they verified that their pattern piece would work, I asked them to turn their piece around and see if they could see something that they could make their shape into (some type of character or monster). Monsters are honestly the easiest to do because, as I explained to my students, you can take any type of blob shape and slap some eyes on it and call it a monster (just being real). :) Once my students knew what they were going to make their shape into, I gave them a sheet of 9"x9" white drawing paper to use for their final project.
Use the edges to align your shape.
I advised my students to use the original edges of their tessellation piece to help them to line up their shape on their sheet of paper. Even though this cuts off part of the piece, it really does help to make sure that everything stays properly aligned. I also explained to them that just because you can't see the whole shape, doesn't mean that they shouldn't add the additional details they were planning to add for their character - they just need to add what they can see.
Once their pencil drawing was done (including adding details), students were asked to outline everything with a sharpie marker, and then add color with either crayons or color sticks.

Many of my students decided to take their tessellation patterns and make each shape into its own character in a series (instead of just repeating the same thing over and over). Doing that really helped to keep more of my kids engaged in finishing their project because it made it a little more creative and a little less repetitive.











If you are interested in this lesson, I have an incredibly awesome package posted up on my TPT store page. Seriously.. it has EVERYTHING.
Included in the package:
1. Tessellation PowerPoint: An introduction to what tessellations are, a brief history, M.C. Escher (with a link to a interview he did), his influences, his artwork, and the three main types of transformations used in making tessellations – translation, rotation, and reflections. This PowerPoint includes animated slides, which make it easier for students to visualize the shape’s movements.
2. Color Your Own Worksheets: Grid-filled pages that students can demonstrate how to draw translation, rotation, and reflection tessellations on.
3. Practicing Transformations Worksheet: Worksheet asks students to reflect specific shapes over horizontal and vertical axes, translate shapes, and rotate shapes.
4. Step-by-Step Direction Sheets: Three step-by-step instruction sheets with visuals showing how to create stencils for all three transformations. These instructions also match up with the included videos, which also demonstrate how to create them step-by-step.
5. Practice Tessellation Sheet: This page includes the base stencil for all three transformations shown in the videos and step-by-step sheets.
6. Transformation Videos: 3 videos demonstrating how to create a reflection tessellation, translation tessellation, and rotation tessellation (including how to do a graphite transfer or light table/window transfer for complex details).

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Winter Pine Tree Paintings (2nd)

It's beginning to feel like the most wonderful time of the year again.. and you know what that means - WINTER-THEMED ART PROJECTS!

Guys.. this is what I live for! There is something about working on winter art projects that just puts me in a better mood. It takes me to my happy place - a place filled with scarfs, Starbucks coffee, Christmas lights, family time, and 2 weeks off of work! And while all these things might still be a little while off.. it sure doesn't feel like that in my classroom! :)

This whole project came about as I was trying to find a quick 2-day replacement project for my 2nd grade students this rotation. I'm taking two days off to take a trip to the mountains with my hubby.. so I knew there was not enough time to do my usual Winter Value Landscapes project during this rotation. So I hoped onto Pinterest and found this inspiration.

I began this project by reviewing color mixing with my 2nd graders. We talked about how primary colors can be mixed together to create secondary colors.. but wait... did you know that you can mix primary and secondary colors to create super awesome tertiary colors!? Well I know you guys know that.. but these darlings haven't been taught about that yet. ;)

After discussing that for a bit, we moved onto working on painting the background for our winter trees. Students were given a palette with the 3 primary and 3 secondary colors in rainbow order and were asked to use 3-4 of them to create concentric circles on their paper that also included tertiary colors. Some students listened.. others went color crazy and used all of them.. but can I blame them? I'd probably do the same thing too. :)

On day 2 we began by talking about evergreen trees and how to paint them. I put up a PPT slide showing a variety of different pine tree paintings.. then showed them how I would approach it.
I painted a black line going up my page (from bottom to top), then used a dry brush technique to "dab the black paint onto the paper" to create some texture for the needles.
To which my students responded with:


Every. Time. I said it. **shaking my head**

Then my kids went back to their seats and got started on their paintings.
After a while I called them back to the carpet and showed them how I could use the same dry brush technique with white paint to add snow to my painting. Then I flipped my brush around and used the handle to print white dots for falling snow.

I gotta say.. I LOVE the results. I came up with how I was going to teach this lesson literally 5 minutes before they walked into my classroom.. so I was super elated when I saw their finished pieces. Success!