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Kinder Winter Landscapes (K)

EQ: How can I mix new colors?

After completing our 'Kandisky Color Circles' lesson, we moved onto a winter landscape!
This lesson was very much inspired by an awesome image I found on pinterest from the blog 'Paintbrush Rocket'.
Before beginning our painting, we started by looking at my Kinder'scapes PPT and compared and contrasted examples of seascapes, landscapes, and cityscapes. Then I showed them a variety of images and they helped to sort them into the correct category. Then onto the painting project! :)
My kindergarteners began by painting an apple-size yellow circle on their paper. Once they had it painted, I came around to each table and put a small drop of red into their yellow paint cup. Students predicted what color they would make when they mixed the two together... and then using popsicle sticks, students took turns mixing the colors together until it turned into yellow-orange (one of the "super-secret" colors I told them about earlier that hides between yellow and orange on the color wheel)! They then used this color to paint a ring around their yellow circle. Then I came around and added another drop of red. Once again student's mixed their paint cups until they got the color orange and then painted a ring around their circle. We did this one more time and they painted a red-orange circle.
Then I switched out the cups of paint and gave students a cup of red paint; they used this to paint a red ring around their circle. Then we added some blue paint to the red paint cup, predicted what the mixed outcome would be, then students mixed their paints to create a red-violet color (another super-secret color)! At this point we ran out of time, so we put their paintings up on the drying rack and cleaned up for the day.
The following day I gave students blue paint to finish painting any part of their artwork that was still white. Due to some behavior issues, once they were done painting this blue part, we had to put up their artwork and they were done for the day (boo).
We use the lid - not the palette.
Finally on the last day (with our behavior in check!), we began the printmaking part of our project! This marks my kindergartener's first experience of doing printmaking with me! I pulled out my plastic paint palette lids (the clear lid that you put on top of your palette - not the palette itself), poured some white tempera paint on it and spread it out evenly, then gave students cut-up sponge pieces to 'print' on a snowy foreground over-top of their paintings.
As they were working on their foregrounds, I pulled out some more lids and prepped them the same way except this time I poured black paint on them. Once students were done with their foreground, I passed out the black paint lids along with cut up pieces of corrugated cardboard and showed them how to 'print' some trees onto their landscapes! I did a quick demo of how I would approach it, then let then print them however they'd like (they could follow my example, or do it their own way). The way I did it though, began with me printing a tree trunk, then transforming the "|" into what resembled the letter "Y" by printing a shorter branch onto the trunk. From there, I just began adding more branches to both the trunk itself and onto other branches. I told them since a tree grows up and out of the ground, that they should try printing their branches slanting upward (otherwise they almost always print them all downward). Students then had the option of using their white paint sponge to add some "snow" to their tree branches.
Overall I love how these turned out - PLUS the kids LOVED getting to mix their paint colors and apply it to a more realistic painting (not just our abstract Kandinsky circles). :)

Future Kandinsky? ;)


Kandinsky Color Circles (K)

EQ: How can I mix new colors?

During this past week's art rotation, Kindergarteners were learning all about primary colors, secondary colors, and color mixing! We began by reading the book "Mouse Paint" by Ellen Stoll Walsh to get us thinking about mixing together primary colored paint to create secondary colors. Then we looked at my Kinder Color Mixing PPT and reviewed what we learned about color mixing, and looked at some artwork by famous artists. The last image we looked at was Kandinsky's "Squares with Concentric Circles" (1913) and talked about all the colors he used and how he could have made them. Then I sent students back to their seats and gave them a sheet of paper. On one side they were to make a drawing with only primary colors and on the back side only secondary colors.
The next day we began our painting activity! This particular week in painting is very teacher-directed... and I do that for the following reasons: 1. This is the first time I've painted with tempera paints with Kindergarten this year and I need to be able to see where they are at developmentally. 2. I want to ensure that each student is able to successfully create the secondary colors on their paper so that they can experience that feeling of personal success in their artwork (this will help build up their confidence). So after passing out each student a piece of 6"x18" paper which has been folded into thirds, we begin painting together step-by-step (see image to the right).
First I have students paint a large yellow circle in the first square (we do this yellow circle first because at this point the yellow paint is still clean), then while it's still wet, they add a smaller red circle in the middle. Since the paints are still wet, the red and yellow mix together to create the secondary color orange! Ooooohhh!! :)
Next we paint a large blue circle in the next square and add a smaller circle of yellow to the middle - GREEN! Then finally, we paint a large red circle on our last square and add a smaller circle of blue - PURPLE!!
The last step is to paint the background color on each square. Students are instructed to paint the primary color that they have NOT yet used on that square for the background color. I typically verbally work this out with students. For example, "On our first square we have a large yellow circle with an orange circle in the middle. What color did we have to add to yellow to make that orange circle? (Red!!) Right! So what primary color have we not used yet? (Blue!!)"

Once the paintings are dry, I arrange all the circles together to create one large class Kandinsky-inspired composition! Oh it makes such a lovely hall display! :)
The kids are amazed at how cool the final piece looks when it is all pieced together.


Holiday Value Lights (4th)

This lesson is definitely one of my biggest hits (I'll have to come out with a 'Best of Mrs. Nguyen' blog post one day)! :)
Fourth graders began by reviewing what they already knew about value (the element of art). Afterwards they began working on their art projects.
To begin students glued down a piece of olive green yarn to a 12"x18" piece of black paper. The only stipulations I gave them was that it should start from the left end of the paper, reach all the way to the right end, and should make some sort of interesting line (so not just a straight one). Then we put those up in the drying rack.
Next students took a light bulb tracer that I had created from a die-cut I had from last year and traced it onto a piece of 6"x18" black paper (most students traced between 4-6). Once all their bulbs were traced in pencil, they used oil pastels to outline and then color them in. Once they colored them in, they used their fingers to smudge/rub in the oil pastel (this gives is a smoother, more glass-like implied texture). Then using a white oil pastel, they drew in the filament (again they could create any kind of curvy/wavy line they wanted). Once it was drawn in, they used their "tickle finger" to rub the white from their filament back-and-forth slightly into the color of the bulb (this creates a glowing effect). Then they re-outline their filaments with white again. Finally a highlight is added to the tip of their bulb with white oil pastel.
The next step for students is to cut their light bulbs out and arrange them onto their larger black paper with the yarn on it. Once they are happy with the arrangement, they trace the outline of the bulb in pencil onto their black paper. To create a glowing effect on the paper, we used chalk pastel to create an outline (slightly inside the pencil line) with white and then with the color used for the bulb, and then made quick finger-strokes to spread the chalk pastel outwards.
Once they are done creating the glow effect, students use a glue stick to apply glue to the back of their light bulb, and then position it on top of the chalk pastel glow.
The results are simply stunning. :)

My corner of the hallway is getting super ready for the winter holidays! :)

If you are interested in a more descriptive lesson plan with step-by-step visuals and light bulb templates, check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store!


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Winter Value Landscapes! (2nd)

I think out of every project I teach - this one has to be one of my absolute favorites. EVERY child is successful on some level.. and each piece of artwork created is gorgeous. This is one of those projects that hangs up in the hallway and gets "oooohhhs" and "aahhhhs" every time a class and/or teachers walk by! :)

We begin by looking at my new and improved 'Value PPT'. I sunk like 2 hours into this baby getting it animated and awesome.
I am always mesmerized by this every
time I go to Wal-Mart. :)
We talk about value referring to the lightness or darkness of a color (and no - when I say value.. I'm not talking about money - the kids ALWAYS answer this when I ask them what 'value' is). We look at a variety of images showing value scales including a wall of paint chips (which the kids love because they have all seen this before). Then we talk about what a "tint" (color + white) is... and what a "shade" (color + black) is.
Then I show them an image showing a paper filled with progressively darker concentric blue circles... and ask them how they think the artist created this. Because the circles appear to get darker.. the kids naturally say "the artist created shades!" Ahhh but this one is a tricky one I tell them... because black was never added to the blue! Instead the color blue was added to the color white until it became a pure blue by the time it reached the final outer circles on the page. Then comes the awesome animated part of my PPT - I created a bunch of slides which demonstrates how to slowly add blue to the color white to paint progressively 'purer' blues; then I demonstrate in real life.
Each set of students gets a paint palette top (the clear plastic circular lids work awesome for holding paint puddles) and a puddle of white and blue tempera paint. Students then begin by painting their pure white moon in the upper part of their page (exactly where is up to them). Then they dip the tip of their paintbrush into their blue puddle and slowly mix the blue paint on their brush into the white puddle (this creates a very light tint of blue). They use this to paint a concentric circle around their white moon. Then they repeat this process until their entire page is filled with progressively darker blues.
Once they are done, our paintings go into the drying rack until the next day!
On day two.. we begin by drawing a horizon line on our papers for our winter scene to take place in. We talk about how the horizon line should be further up the page so that we can show a lot of the foreground and middle ground in our pictures. Then they paint this space in with white tempera. The white tempera doesn't completely cover the blue background opaquely.. which ends up actually being a really nice and desired effect as the various streaks of blue helps to create the illusion of depth.
Once the white ground is painted, we go back to the projector and talk about what silhouette is (the dark shape of someone or something visible against a lighter background). I then ask students to think about a time that they've seen a silhouette. Lots of my students answer with 'trees at sunset' which is a great answer as it leads us into what we are going to paint next - bare tree silhouettes.
Painting bare trees can definitely be a challenge for all students.. but if you break it down for them and show them what not to do.. it helps them to be a bit more successful with their paintings.
I tell them to start with the trunk of their tree... then start adding 'Y' branches onto their trunk (they are just branches that create a 'Y' shape on their trunks. As the branches get higher up on the tree.. they will appear to become skinnier and more sparse. I also remind them that trees grow UPWARD.. so when they are adding branches.. they shouldn't draw upside-down 'Y's and that trees typically do not grow completely symmetrical.. so they want their branches to be somewhat asymmetrical. :)
Students practice painting tree silhouettes on a scrap piece of paper.. and then when they are done practicing.. they start adding trees to their winter landscapes. We do also talk about placement on the ground and how trees that appear closer will look larger and will begin closer to the bottom of our page.. while trees that are farther away will appear smaller and will begin closer to the horizon line on their page.
The following day, we begin class by reading the book "Snowmen at Night" by Caralyn Buehner. The illustrations in this book are a beautiful example of how tints and shades can be used to create highlights and shadows on shapes to help give them the illusion of form (like the spheres that make up a snowman's body).
We also talk about using a light source (like the moon) to position highlights and shadows more accurately and how shadows on shapes are not always created with black (we examine the picture to the right). Students then go back to their tables and use white paint to add the bodies of snowmen to their artwork. A streak of light blue is added for the "shadow" on the backside of the snowman.
Finally, on the last day we begin by talking about cast shadows and details to add to our winter landscapes. We talk once again about directional light.. and how the light from the moon will cause a cast shadow off of the figures in our landscape (like the snowmen and trees). We then also predict where the cast shadow will fall (based on the positioning of the moon on each students paper).
As the students begin adding cast shadows and details to their papers with colored pencils, I read the book "Snowmen at Work" (the sequel to "Snowmen at Night"). This book is filled with more bright colorful decorative pages of snowmen doing various jobs. It's great inspiration for the kids!

If you are interested in a more thoroughly written lesson with step-by-step teacher procedures, a simplified student handout, and a how to video - check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store!!


Fall Leaf Rubbings (K)

Who can get through the season of autumn without wanting to do crayon rubbings?! Yeah.. I don't know either. :)

Friday morning before my classes started, I went searching around my school building trying to find some good leaves to use for texture rubbings with kindergarten. After scouring the parking lots for a while, I returned to my classroom with a big ziploc baggie full of beautiful fall leaves!
When picking leaves for texture rubbing it is important to get them at the right moment. You want to get the ones that very recently fell off the tree, because the ones that have been sitting there for a while are probably too dried out to get good rubbings off of (instead you'll just get a dirty crumbly mess).
Once my kindergarten babies came in for class, I demonstrated how to lay the leaf (bumpy side up - **back side) underneath a piece of paper, and then using the SIDE of a crayon, rub the paper over top. For the most part every student was very successful on their own... but there were a few who tried rolling their crayons over their paper instead of rubbing them. Ohhh they were so frustrated that it was working for everyone else except them!! But once I came over and showed them how to rub the crayon instead... their faces lit up like a Christmas tree. :)
After we did some crayon rubbings I took out some warm-colored watercolor paints and let them go to town. The results are stunning. LOVE LOVE LOVE!! One of the greatest parts of the lesson - we got an entire piece of gorgeous artwork done in only one class period (which is foreign to me)!!


Teachers Pay Teachers Update

It was literally just a few days ago when I wrote a post describing my negative feelings towards 'Teachers pay Teachers'. Since then however (and after much debate), I've been convinced to post some of my original "products" on the site.
Please let me be clear... it is still very much my belief that all teachers should share their very best ideas and resources because in the end, it is the children we teach who benefit; and because of this belief, I am still more than happy to share my resources free-of-charge if you email me asking for them (just like I've always done).
Posting my resources on Teachers pay Teachers simply casts a wider net and captures those teachers who solely use that website (and does financially benefit me as well I suppose).

I know this sounds a little odd because I'm offering the same resources for sale and for free -- but that's kinda just what I'm going to try out for a bit. If you google something that pertains to my lessons and it takes you here... you'll see that you can get it for free. If you search on Teachers pay Teachers.. I'm just going to assume you think it's worth buying.
Sooooo we'll see how that works out. :)

This may just end up being a huge waste of time. hahaha

Make-a-Ten Mosaic (2nd)

Every morning at my school, all support staff and specials teachers go to their assigned "Mighty Minds" classroom for 30 minutes. Mighty Minds is an additional math program at my school where two teachers work together to help student's improve their math skills and knowledge. This year I was paired up with a 2nd grade teacher and this past week we've been working on "make-a-ten" addition. Students are expected to become fluent in the make-a-ten math sentences.. (1+9=10, 2+8=10, 3+7=10... and so on) by the end of the week. Unfortunately many of the kids in our class were not quite there yet by the end of week one.. so we rolled make-a-ten math into a second week. This is when I got the idea of doing an arts integrated math lesson!
I really wanted the more visual students to be able to really see the problems they were solving.. so I came up with the idea of a "Make-a-Ten Mosaic".
Make-a-Ten Mosaic worksheet I made :)
Students were given the make-a-ten mosaic worksheet I created specifically for this lesson (which has a 100-square 1" grid on it), a deck of playing cards (with the Jacks, Queens, and Kings removed), an assortment of 1"x1" square pieces of colored construction paper, and a glue stick.
The first thing the kids had to do was draw a card from the deck. Whatever number they drew was the number they wrote in for their first addend in their math sentence. Students then selected one color of construction paper squares to represent this number on the corresponding row. Once these squares were glued in, students had to figure out how many more they needed to be able to make a full row of ten (which was visually very easy to see). Once they wrote the second addend in their number sentence, students then picked a different color to use to represent this number.
Students were told they could pick whatever colors they wanted to but there should only be 2 different colors per row (since it is only a 2 addend math problem). I also told them that they could glue down their colored squares however they wanted to on the corresponding row (they could even make a pattern) because regardless of their order, the sum would still be the same!
Overall it turned out really nicely! The kids were super engaged and the results were bright and colorful! Win-win! :)

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