Saturday, December 18, 2010

Keith Haring Action Figures

We used Keith Haring's dancing figures as a way to discuss the Principles of Art. After much discussion, we decided that we were able to hit on every single one through a simple marker composition of two dancing figures! The kids had a great time with this one, and while the monotony of the radiating patterned lines got to some of them, they were proud of their finished product!

We discussed the Principles of Design and when finished, I had students write their "answers" down in groups. You can read what they wrote in quotes at the end of each Principle:

Emphasis in a composition refers to developing points of interest to pull the viewer's eye to important parts of the body of the work. "The emphasis of this work is clearly the dancing figures, which are large and solid-colored. The "hot" color scheme also is brighter than the cool colors, giving a bit more emphasis to that figure and pattern."

Balance is a sense of stability in the body of work. Balance can be created by repeating same shapes and by creating a feeling of equal weight. "We worked to create balance by making our figures the same size on each side of the paper."

Harmony is achieved in a body of work by using similar elements throughout the work, harmony gives an uncomplicated look to your work. "The patterned lines give harmony to this composition. Because there are radiating lines everywhere, the composition is harmonious!"

Variety refers to the differences in the work, You can achieve variety by using difference shapes, textures, colors and values in your work. "Though both figures are the same (dancers) they had to be in different positions, which created variety!"

Movement adds excitement to your work by showing action and directing the viewers eye throughout the picture plane. "The radiating lines around the figures makes them look like they are moving, even though they are not!"

Rhythm is a type of movement in drawing and painting. It is seen in repeating of shapes and colors. Alternating lights and darks also give a sense of rhythm. "There is rhythm that we created by using patterns of hot colors and cool colors".

Proportion or scale refers to the relationships of the size of objects in a body of work. Proportions gives a sense of size seen as a relationship of objects. such as smallness or largeness. "If they head was too large, or the arms were too short or too long, the bodies would not have been in proportion."

Unity is seen in a painting or drawing when all the parts equal a whole. Your work should not appear disjointed or confusing. "The two parts of this drawing are unified because they represent Keith Haring's work and have patterns".

This work was done by my fourth graders, as was the writing.
Happy Creating!

Friday, December 17, 2010

aaaaaaaand we're off!

Today seemed to go by so slowly! The day before winter break and the kids have been wired on candy, hot cocoa, our sing-along play, and holiday parties. I'm thankful for three o'clock.

I'm also thankful for two weeks to enjoy my family and my time off. Our school was hit with a tragedy this morning as we learned that two of our coworkers lost their husbands early this morning. One of the women is on my team and my heart goes out to her family. I will hug my family a little tighter tonight for sure.

I have a post scheduled for tomorrow, and that'll most likely be it for the remainder of 2010. It has amazed me that since I began this blog in September that I've had 54 people "follow" me and the amazing work my kids do. Really, I am nothing without them, and have had a great time blogging for the past 3 months!

Relax, renew, and energize for the next couple of weeks...we deserve it!
Happy Holidays!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gustav Klimt's "Tree of Life"

I've seen this lesson done many times over, and I've loved it. So simple, but they turn out beautifully and the kids are so proud!
For this project Iused black 12x18 paper, gold paint (yes, metallic!) and random shiny sequins and other little bits. First, we talked about Gustav Klimt's "Tree of Life" painting and noted the swirly branches. I had kids duplicate the branches on their own paper using a paintbrush dipped in gold paint (NO PENCILS!) The paint dried fairly quickly, so they were able to glue the sequins on during that same class.

Our classes are 55-minutes. Of course if you have shorter classes, you may want to cut the size down or save the sequins for another day!

This was a fun, quick 1-Day project with stellar results! You can't go wrong!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

American Flag Collage

Our secondary students are "travelling" all over the United States this year, working on art that inspires us from the 50 states. In honor of Veteran's Day and Election Day, we made these American flag collages that were inspired by Faith Ringgold's "Flag" story quilt.
Students used blue and red-colored pieces from magazines (I pre-pulled a ton of stuff out of magazines for them so the temptation of looking through magazines instead of working wasn't there!) and they used the pieces to create the flag.

The project was done on a 12x18 sheet of white paper, the blue section measures 8"x6" and each stripe was made by tracing the edges (thickness) of the ruler. This worked pretty well without having to measure each line!
I just love the way these turned out! I was going to have the kids write a story in the white spaces (like Ringgold did) but I decided the more simplistic they were, the better.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Snowglobes

Art With Mrs. Smith is where I got the inspiration from. My kids just adored this project and I hope to make it a "regular" holiday project in coming years!
I used 12x18 black paper and gave the kids each a sheet of 12x18 newsprint. They drew the LARGEST oval they could on their newsprint and cut it out. This was used as the masking area as the students drew the "rays" and smudged them radiating from the snowglobe.

I forgot to mention we used white oil pastel. My first group I used white chalk and we had fingerprints. Everywhere. Yuck. The kids drew simple evergreens in the globe and topped the whole baby off with some glue dots for glitter. This was the "snow" in their globe. Glitter does make the world go 'round, ya know...
...well, not my world. Probably my custodian's world, but not mine.
I digress.
They're lovely, and the kids love them. Glitter and all!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowflake Snowmen

Even though most of my kids have never seen snow, making snowflakes with them is super-fun! I love the uniqueness of each cut the students make, and they are THRILLED when they have a "really fantastically awesome" snowflake they can show-off to the class! We start with a winter wonderland background on Day 1, and they pretty much think this is the entire project. We do a crayon resist of evergreen trees, snowflakes, and snowy hills.
On Day 2 I give them all 3 different sizes of copy paper (6", 4", and 3") I show them how to cut snowflakes and then we glue them on in a snowman shape! The "snow" that the snowman sits on is a torn piece of paper.
We use scraps to make the hat, scarf, and arms, and markers to make the button eyes, coal mouth, and carrot nose. I've used real buttons before, but they just slide off and make a big mess. I've also done this project where we actually wove a scarf on a chipboard loom (so obviously that project took a wee bit longer than the 2 days you see here!) but it was very nice. I can't seem to find pictures of that one anywhere...

Each snowman is unique, and each one says a little about the child that made this one...did he forget to drink his V8?!

I just love them. I hope this inspires you to make your own with your kiddos!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rudolph the Handprint Reindeer

As a mom, I'm kind of a sucker for "all things handprint". What parent isn't?! As a teacher of 7 classes a day, and a needer-of-lesson-ideas, sometimes I have to just do a "cute" project that the kids love. I agree "the handprint" can be a bit overdone sometimes, but these reindeer were just too adorable not to make with my kindergartners! They created the background (snowflakes and snow) and used their handprint for their cut-out rudolph. Some added other trees, sleighs, etc with scrap papers if they had time.
Love them!

Friday, December 10, 2010

keith haring wrap-up

American artist Keith Haring has reached a special place amongst my third and fourth graders this year. I love teaching the kids about his work, they seem to respond with wonder and child-like excitement over his cartoonish dancing figures.

I went to an arts symposium last week and the keynote speaker gave us a challenge to use her activity (which mainly tied to language arts, but was adaptable to ANY subject, showing how the arts can be infused with ALL other academia). I wanted to use it, and this was the perfect lesson.

First, recalling on all the facts, information, and personal history I have told them about artist Keith Haring for the past few weeks they were to (individually) come up with a sentence about him. Every other person was to start their sentence with "Keith Haring" and the subsequent people were to start their sentence with "and he/his".

They had two minutes to work. I broke them up into groups of three. They had 10 seconds to figure out who was going to be the "sculptor" and who were going to be the "two pieces of clay". Then they (silently) go to work, you know, cause clay can't talk! The sculptor had to mould their clay to represent their 1/2 of the sentence.

So, for example, here in the green shirt is the "sculptor". His "clay" is beside him.

The "clay's" sentence was "Keith Haring died in 1998" okay, yes, they got the date wrong. But check her out. She is clearly dead."...and he made a lot of random dancing figures". This was third grade, they were stuck on the dancing figures and his death.

"Keith Haring did a piece of work on the highway" (referring to his "Crack is Wack" mural on a New York exit ramp.

" ...and he had a shop called the Pop Shop."
When the lesson was over, the kids told me they really enjoyed it. NOT ONLY could they give me some facts about Keith Haring, but we (silently) learned about compound sentences. Recalling information, writing it down, and acting it out....will allow them to retain it for an unspeakable amount of time!
Thus infusing the arts with language arts....aaaaaah, there's a concept.

Perspective Snowmen

This was a super-cute project which focused on different "views" of the same snowman! I gave each student 3 5"x5" pieces of watercolor paper and a Sharpie. On the first piece, they were to draw a frontal view of a snowman, on the second a profile view, and on the third it had to be a close-up.

We used watercolor paints to paint these in, blending cool colors for the background. They were then mounted as a triptych on a sheet of 6"x18" black paper.

A great project with a "cool" effect!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quilled Christmas Trees

In First Grade we made these great quilled Christmas trees! It's definitely a twist on the old "tree with ornaments"---and really challenges fine motor skills, too! I had plates of 1/2" paper strips on the tables and after they cut out their respective trees, quilled (rolled) the papers around a crayon to get the desired shape. They used a small "puddle" of glue (my worse nightmare, mind you!!!) and stuck the ornaments in place.
Some had quite a few that unraveled, but that kind of added to the "primary-ness" of it all...overall they did a wonderful job and this was a great activity!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Cardinals

I've mentioned it several times before when we do seasonal projects that our school is located in southwest Florida. We are really at a loss for seasons here, and most of our kids have never seen snow. For many it's hard for them to visualize what snow is like, or to conceptualize winter in general! Ha!

For my second graders, this is a great (and valuable...and ON CURRICULUM lesson! Go figure!). They do a unit on Audubon first thing when we come back from Winter break. I just love the simplicity of this lesson, the simplicity of the supplies (tempera paint on blue paper!) and the gorgeous results! We're able to talk about Audubon, his birds, winter, composition, and nature all in one! And who says we're not team players?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

...and we have a winner!

For the third time in 8 years I have a student who has taken the "Best of Show" honors at the Sarasota Airport Art Show. Only 50 pieces are chosen, matted, and framed from all of Sarasota County to hang (grades K-12). One wins Best of Show, and that student is fourth grader Giavanna Bassi!
Congratulations, Gia! Your family (and twin Gabby!) are very proud of you! Gia's winning entry was a Batiki Totem and was just gorgeous! Totally deserving of the honors!
For her efforts, Gia won $200. She tells me she is going to put it in the bank and save it for college. Wise choice, girl! Congratulations (again!) on your accomplishment!

Monday, December 6, 2010

EZPZ Colorful Snowflake Collage

This is another sweet lesson for second or third graders that I used for a one-day-fix lesson due to the schedule being off. The kids did this right before Winter break and the results were great! We used 12x18 black paper, thin computer paper to make snowflakes, and used oil pastels to fill in the negative space with colorful snowflakes. An easy project with GREAT results!

Friday, December 3, 2010

EZPZ Gingerbread Houses

Right before the Winter break I'm always in the need for an emergency one-day-filler lesson here or there. With our schedule and rotation and field trips and assemblies and and and and...sometimes I just need a quick lesson so we can start fresh in January. These were simple projects for Kindergartners and First Graders, they taught simple perspective, observation, and imagination! They were so cute!

*I made and brought in a gingerbread house for them to look at, quickly taught them how to draw a house in simple perspective, and then had them decorate with crayons. No pencils-all crayons on dark brown paper. I just LOVE how they turned out!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"shadowbox" snowman ornaments

These are a favorite Holiday craft for my students...and for ME! They're inexpensive to make, they all turn out GREAT, and they're a one-day project, which is a PLUS!

You will need:
Several 2-piece acrylic globe ornaments (I purchased mine at, but I've seen them in craft stores!)
Blue acrylic paint
glitter (optional)
Crayola Model Magic clay (white)
Pipe cleaners, ribbon, sharpie (for details on snowman)

Paint the inside of one half of the globe with blue acrylic paint. Add glitter for more fun! (optional)
Use the Model Magic to create a snowman with a base. The base is very important and will be what holds the snowman steady at the end of the project. Decorate the snowman with ribbon, pipe cleaners, and sharpie.
**Very important**- allow the Model Magic to completely dry out. If you try and glue it into your globe while still pliable, it will crack!!! Patience, my friends!!!

I like to use hot glue to glue this baby in there.

Add the "other" half of the acrylic globe and there you have it! A fun (professional-looking!!) "shadowbox" snowman ornament!
Happy Holidays!