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Winter Snowmen (K)

Two years ago I did a cut-and-glue snowman project with my Kindergarteners that was a little meh.
So this year I've revamped it a bit!
On the first day we started by talking about primary colors and secondary colors (this is the first time I've introduced it to them). We read "Mouse Paint" by Ellen Stoll Walsh (of course!) and looked at my color mixing PowerPoint presentation. Then I gave my students a 9"x12" piece of drawing paper and yellow, blue, and magenta tempera paint. I explained to my students that since pink is made by just adding a bit of white to red... that it works very similarly to red. *I find that the magenta I have mixes much more vibrant colors than the red tempera I currently have.
Then they were asked to paint their paper however they wanted to - the only rule was that I didn't want to see any white left on the paper.
Then on the second day when they came in we started by reading "Snowballs" by Lois Ehlert. We talked about how the illustrations in the book were collages and not just drawings or paintings.
Then I told students that they were going to be creating their own snowmen collages!
At each table I put three circle stencils - one that was labeled large, one medium, and one small. I told students that they needed to trace each circle onto a new sheet of white drawing paper. Then I gave them aqua-colored chalk pastels and asked them to trace over HALF of each circle and smudge it inward (that way we could layer them and still be able to make out the separate circles). Once that was done, they cut out their circles and glued them onto their painting from the first day in the correct order (large first, then medium, then small).
Students also got some scrap orange and brown construction paper to create the carrot nose and stick arms and sharpies to draw in any other details.
Students that finished up early were invited to use some extra scrap paper that I've collected from other projects to add anything else to their snowmen.
Overall I'm 80% pleased with this. I think my biggest issue with this project is that most kinders finished painting their paper early on the first day.. and naturally want to keep painting.. so their beautiful bright colorful paintings eventually turn into a brown/green puddle. So I think in my next rotation I might give my students 12"x18" paper so they have more space to paint.. then I'll just cut it down to a 9"x12" when it comes time to make the collage. We'll see!


Crazy Pattern Leaves (1st)

This lesson is 100% inspired by an image I found on Pinterest from 'Art Projects for Kids.'
I started out by talking to my first graders about pattern and how we can create patterns in our artwork using the elements of art! After drawing a few examples on the board, students went back to their seats and we drew the outline of our leaves step-by-step.
First students drew a diagonal line across their paper (not touching the paper's edges) using a black crayon.
Then we stopped drawing for a second to examine a fake leaf I have in my classroom. We looked closely at it's details and noticed little lines inside of the leaf.
Me: What are those lines that you see on the inside of the leaf?
Student: The stem?
Me: No.. not the stem. The stem is at the bottom of the leaf. Remember when we looked at that?
Other Student: It's a stem!
Me: Nope.. still not the stem. :)
**5 minutes later and after MANY answers - most of which are "the stem?!"**
The lines are veins! Do you see those blue/green lines on your arms? Those are your veins! And inside our bodies veins carry blood from our hearts all around our body to keep us alive. Do leaves have blood? Nooooo. But they do need pathways for nutrients to travel!

After our little chat.. I then demonstrate how to draw veins by drawing "V" shapes on top of the diagonal line we already drew. After drawing the first "V" near the top.. we went "at least 3 finger spaces down" and drew another one.. and another.. and so on.
Once the veins were done being drawn I told my students that we needed to draw the outside shape of the leaf.. so we were going to take our crayons "on a walk around the block." I told them that the crayon lives at the point where the last "V" touches the diagonal line (on the bottom). So the crayon starts at that point.. then wanders around our other lines. While drawing my example I pretend to be the crayon walking around the neighborhood.
"Do do do do do... walking around. Wonder what's down here (as we go into the first space between the 2 V's)? Oh nothing.. keep walking." Then we continue on until we finish up and "return home." Naturally in some of the "cul-de-sacs" (the spaces between the V's) there are zombies, ghosts, etc. Pretty much anything that will detour the crayon.
Then I tell students to take their crayons on a walk! The room then fills with silly talk all while my wonderful first graders draw their lines like experts.
If someone were to walk in.. they'd probably think I was crazy.. but when you're in a room with kids less than this many **holding up 10 fingers** all day.. you gotta do something to entertain yourself.
**Funny story.. my principal came in for my formal evaluation during this lesson.** :)
Once my students were done drawing their outlines.. I had them extend their vein lines out to their outline to separate the inside of the leaf into many little shapes. Then I asked my students to draw as many different patterns as they would like inside each section.
Students who finished up their drawings early were given another smaller sheet of paper and asked to draw another pattern leaf for me to keep for my pattern tree display (pictures below).
The next day they came in students painted their leaves with pan watercolor paints. And TADA!

The results I got from their project were pretty mixed. Some kids did an amazing job with their patterns.. but then muddied their artwork with the paint. I'm thinking next time I'd like to try liquid watercolors (which is what Kathy from Art Projects for Kids said she did -- I should have listened).

My hallway display. Slowly but surely adding leaves from all 200 of my first graders!


Color Mixing Pumpkins (K)

Teachers Sample
This lesson is 100% property of the fabulous Patty at Deep Space Sparkle!
The only thing I changed was I gave my students oil pastels to add any details they wanted instead of chalk pastels.

My kindergarteners really enjoyed learning how to draw a pumpkin and how to paint it in using primary colors! I haven't taught my kinders about primary colors specifically yet.. so this was their first time experimenting with color mixing in my class!
Very cute!

No.. my lessons don't always go to plan. :)

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