Monday, February 8, 2016

Kindergarten Texture Monsters (K)

This lesson began by me asking my kinders what they thought the word "texture" means?
My favorite answer of all time - "Like when your mom sends a message to someone else on the phone?". Nope.. not texting - textURE. :)
After telling them that texture means the way that something feels (which I have them repeat numerous times while rubbing their hands together), I asked my students which of the 5 senses texture would belong to? Taste? No. Hearing? No. Touch? YES!
Then I picked up and touched a few objects around my classroom and had students brainstorm words that would describe how each item felt.
Then we began talking about how artists often have the challenging job of finding ways to add texture to their artwork. Sometimes artists can just use materials with actual texture (like felt, feathers, yarn, etc...), but when an artist is making a drawing they have to know how to draw textures (implied texture - though I don't use this word with them).
Meet Egg Monster!
This led us into a quick drawing activity where I drew an "egg monster" onto my whiteboard (see the lovely illustration). I asked students what texture they thought my egg monster would have if he was real? Smooth? Yes! Because my monster is just one solid color (white)... so we can't see any other textures yet.
Then I asked students to tell me how I could make my monster look sharp and spikey? Triangles or zig-zag lines!
Hairy? A lot of little lines!
Bumpy? Circles!
Slimey? Wavy lines!
After this activity I told students that today we were going to make texture monsters! Each student got to pick out two different colored sheets of 4.5"x6" construction paper, a small piece of white paper and a 9"x12" black paper to glue everything down onto (one of my classes used white instead - but I think the monsters pop more on the black paper).
Students were asked to cut out shapes to make the body of a monster from their construction paper... and once they had a basic body glued down, they could come to the carpet to get some textured materials (I had corrugated cardboard, crimped paper, tinsel, pipe cleaners, yarn, cotton balls, kraft paper, twine, etc...).
After students finished creating their texture monsters, I gave them a sheet of drawing paper and asked them to draw a picture of the monster they created including the textured items.
Below are the results from the first half of this project.
Kinders just make the cutest things. :)

This is what happens when kinders get carried away. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Teachers Pay Teachers Store

It's been a minute since I've posted anything about my TPT store - so here's an update!
Currently in my store I have 199 items! This includes 20+ art lessons/projects, 28 other art education related materials (posters, decor, games, sub plans, etc...), 62 bulletin board letter sets, and lots more!
 If you haven't been in a while check it out! And don't forget to follow! :)

Below is a preview of some of my posted items:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Koi Fish Paintings (5th)

Years ago I found a pin on Pinterest that inspired me to do a Koi fish lesson with my students but I never quite got around to it - until now!
Sorry about the quality!
To begin we looked at a PowerPoint I threw together about Koi fish and their symbolism in Asian art (both Japanese and Chinese). After getting through the background part, I did a step-by-step koi fish drawing demo with my students on a sheet of copy paper.
Once students completed their practice drawing, I gave them a sheet of 9"x12" watercolor paper and they once again drew a koi fish. To help them with their drawings I created a step-by-step worksheet to leave on the table as they worked. I also played a video that I found on YouTube of koi fish swimming (View Pure version here)! That way students could see how their bodies moved in the water, some possible color choices, and other up close details. It is 2 hours worth of relaxing koi fish goodness!

As they were drawing, students were encouraged to look at their overall composition and add lily pads or other elements to help balance the space.
Once their pencil drawing was complete they outlined with fish with crayons and then painted their
work with liquid watercolor paints.
I gotta tell you - many of my 5th graders were hating pretty hard on their pencil drawings in the early stages. I explained to them that drawing is probably the hardest thing to do in art! Our brains see the shapes of things in real life and then when we can't translate that onto paper, we often get really frustrated. Then I went on to ask them if they could talk when they were born? No. Could they walk? No. They couldn't even hold up their own heads because their neck muscles weren't even developed enough!
Drawing takes practice. A LOT of practice.
And besides.. koi fish look super weird anyways. :)

Overall I am really pleased with the results!

This student didn't get a chance to finish his work - but he was off to a great start!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Art of Education: Blog of the Year 2015 Finalist!

Thank you so much to all of you who nominated my blog for The Art of Education's Blog of the Year contest! It means so much to me that you guys value the content that I post on my blog!
Last year I won 2nd place in the "Rising Star" division and now this year I've been nominated in the "Elementary Art" division. Moving on up! :)

If you are unfamiliar with the Blog of the Year contest, please read the following (taken from The Art of Education website):

"There are many amazing places to find ideas, inspiration, and encouragement on the web, and it's no secret art teacher blogs are some of the best! That's why for the past few years we've been highlighting these talented and generous individuals in our annual Art Ed Blog of the Year contest, the web's only contest that exclusively honors Art Education blogs.
The contest is a way for art teachers across the world to recognize their peers for blogging excellence."

Voting for the contest has just opened and will close at 9pm CST on January 22nd.
You can only vote one time (multiple votes from the same IP address won't be counted) BUT you CAN vote for more than one blog (which is awesome since there are SO many great blogs up there this year)!
If you'd like to cast your ballot, just follow the link below! :)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Working with Clay

Clay. Teachers either love it or hate it.
In the beginning I honestly just feared it. I had some weird deep-rooted fear that if utter chaos was ever to break out in my classroom - it would probably be during a clay lesson. Clay does has the potential to be a really messy material with your kids - but if you know how to handle things... you're golden.
Kids LOVE clay!
1. They get to build something with their hands.
2. Art class is probably the only time they ever get to use it.
3. They treasure their finished piece of artwork. It doesn't get crumpled up in the bottom of their bookbag because they're too busy admiring it and showing it off to their friends!

Clay is also a GREAT motivational tool for misbehaving classes.
"If we can't listen and follow directions then I don't think we're ready to work with CLAY."
**instant silence**

I wish there was a class in college where they taught us how to manage certain materials in your classroom. Wouldn't that have been useful!?
Either way.. this post is dedicated to all those student teachers and first-year teachers - hopefully the things that I've learned over the years will help you out! :)

This year I started showing my students (3rd-5th grade) this PowerPoint before we started working with clay. It's a super brief intro to clay and the 4 basic techniques used (pinch, coil, slab, and wheel). The last slide (The Journey of Clay) helps to explain to students why it takes a while to get their clay projects back. **The images used for this PowerPoint were all just pulled from google searches.

Clay tips you might find useful:

At this point I can easily measure out amounts of clay for certain projects in my fist.

I bought mine at Lowes.
1.  Prep your clay BEFORE class. This way you can make sure that you have enough clay, that the amount of clay you are giving each student is sufficient, and you don't have to waste time carving it out during class. *Although my students are amazed to see how I cut clay with a wire cutter!
Once I prep my clay I store it in a plastic container. This year I even found a large Ziplock container which has helped to keep my clay super fresh!

2.  Keep clay fresh in it's bag by using a binder clip to hold it closed! It's way easier to put on and take off than rubber bands and it will hold your bag closed tightly!

3.  Don't fret over not having legit clay tools - at least at the elementary level. Unfolded paper clip ends, popsicle sticks, and straws will likely suffice for most of your projects.

4.  Have your students stamp their initials into their projects! For YEARS I had my students try to write in their initials with a paperclip and 60% of the time I couldn't read it. Then one day I was wandering around Michael's and saw some alphabet stamps on sale. BOOM. 

5.  Don't work directly on your tables - unless you love spending a ridiculous amount of time cleaning up that streaky residue that clay leaves behind! At my last school I cut up sheets of canvas for my students to work on top of and it was GREAT! This year being at a new school I didn't have room in my budget for canvas.. so I bought a large tarp instead and cut it down into smaller pieces. Each student gets their own tarp to work on top of, then at the end of class student's shake their tarp overtop of the trash can (to get rid of the clay crumbs) and then return the tarp piece to its box.

6.  When firing in the kiln, be sure to write down (I do it on an index card) which class is on which shelf. You'd be surprised how quickly things can get mixed up when you have several classes doing clay at the same time!

Clearly this is not an exhaustive list.. but hopefully these few ideas will help you out. :)