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Van Gogh Sunflowers (2nd)

Teacher Sample
EQ: What is a still-life?

Second graders began this week's lesson by learning a bit about the artist Vincent Van Gogh. First we took a look at arguably his most famous painting "Starry Night" and talked about how he painted (colors, brushstrokes, etc.)... and then moved on to his sunflower still-lifes. We talked about what a still-life was, and how an artist could arrange one -- I dramatically arranged a pile of items from my desk on a table and pretended to ecstatically paint it - the kids love the drama. ;)
Then I had my students fold a sheet of drawing paper in half and on the first half had them draw their own still-life of flowers (just from memory or imagination). After about 5-10 minutes, I placed a vase of fake sunflowers in front of them and asked them to look at exactly what was in front of them and draw that. We talked about the three-dimensional shape of the vase and how all the sunflowers do not point directly towards the viewer (some you can only see from the side or behind!!). The kids drew directly from observation on the second half. It was amazing to see the difference between the two pictures!
The next day the kids came in and made a sheet of painted paper. They painted one part yellow and orange and then added some texture, and painted a small part of it brown by mixing orange and black and added texture.
The following day we began creating the background and flower vase with chalk pastel (ohhhh it's always so messy!). We briefly talked about blending colors (and analogous color schemes) to make items look more interesting (like the flower vase). The vase was then cut out and glued down to the background (we talked about placement before students glued their vases down - that way they wouldn't automatically put it on the edge of the table/horizon line).
The next day students began tearing up their painted paper and arranging their flowers on their background papers. For some students this took a class and a half. After all the gluing was done, students used oil pastel to add in stems, leaves, and other details.

Inspiration for this project came from a pin I saw on Pinterest.

Student Sample
Student Sample
Student Sample

Student Sample

Student Sample

Student Sample

Student Sample



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More Lupines! (K)

EQ: What is texture?

I did the Lupine project with another group of kinders this week - and WOW. I love this project!! :)




Hallway Display :)


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Tree of Life (5th)

Teacher Sample
EQ: What is abstract art?

5th graders viewed the work of Austrailian painter Gustav Klimt this week. We talked about his use of gold leaf in his paintings and his abstract style. I was surprised how many 5th graders still didn't really understand what the term "abstract" refers to.. so I explained it by comparing it to its opposite - realistic. I asked my students to imagine they had a camera and took a photograph of an object with it. The photograph would look EXACTLY like what the camera saw when it took the picture - this is realistic - it is exactly what the object looked like in real life. I explain that "abstract" is like the opposite; it is not realistic like a photograph, but instead, just looks similar to to the object. In abstract art, the artist often cares more about color choices, shape, lines, etc... than about trying to copy the way something looked exactly. Oftentimes they use objects symbolically as well.. so they are only trying to capture the essence or the idea of the object.
Quick tree-drawing demo.
The students who are still confused typically catch on after I show them Klimt's "Tree of Life."

For this project I had students use liquid watercolors to paint a background. Once that dried, they used pencil to draw on their swirling trees and then used sharpie to color them in. Afterwards students had the option of apply colored foil for decoration (just like how Klimt used gold)!

I really like how these turned out.. and the kids really liked their results as well! Nice relaxing project! :)

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Lupines (K/1)


This project was done with both my Kinders and my 1st graders this week.. and I love the results I got from both! Kindergarten was talking a lot about texture this week.. and so we started out by finding textures in the room and doing crayon rubbings of them. This paper was then painted with blues, greens, and yellows - look at how nicely colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel blend! ;) Then the next day we looked at some photos of lupines and even a painting of lupines and talked about the things that we noticed about them (they are tall, they have petals all over them, the colors, etc.). Using green oil pastels we drew stems for our flowers overtop of our painted texture paper. Then I demonstrated how we would use ONE finger (I had them put up their pointer finger while I was explaining this) to make fingerprint marks with tempera to make the flower petals. First they would print either a purple or red dot, then they would print a white dot overtop (red+white=pink?!?! whhhhattttt?!). --It's moments like these that make teaching art so exciting!
First graders essentially did the same process, however we started out their week talking about "variety" and "texture" (this lesson was a 2-day extension of another flower painting project they did).
I absolutely adore all the color and textures they have on their paper - BEAUTIFUL!!










If you'd like a more thorough lesson - check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store!


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Seascapes (4th)


This week my 4th graders were learning about landscapes and seascapes! We began by looking at the work of Winslow Homer and then began from there!
Teacher Sample
On the first day students painted a piece of 6"x12" watercolor paper with liquid watercolors (my favoriteeeeeeeee). When we were looking at the work of Winslow Homer I made it a point to show them that when Homer painted his seascapes, he didn't just use blue.. he used a whole range of colors (blue, white, greens, browns, etc...) - so we blended a few colors as well!
The next day, students used tempera paint (white, light blue, and blue) to paint a sky for the background on a sheet of drawing paper. Once cleaned up, we also folded our origami sailboats using a variety of scrapbooking paper. Students were asked to use different sizes when making their boats to better help create the illusion of depth in their artwork (big boat in the foreground, medium in the middle-ground, and small in the background).


The next day students tore up their watercolor paper into strips and layered and glued them down to their sky backgrounds. Sailboats were arranged and glued on as well.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the results I've gotten with this!
I'm following up this lesson with a 2-day value landscape project - photos to come!


If you're looking for more thorough directions check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store. You'll find this lesson with detailed teacher directions, a simplified step-by-step student instruction sheet, a how to video, and the Powerpoint I used. :)

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