Saturday, June 3, 2017

Mini Camouflage Abstracts

Our last project of the year was this little camouflage abstract. 


I say camouflage because each little painting started with a cut-out from a cereal box or catalogue that was glued in the center of the 6" square illustration board. I had a lot of precut recycled cut-outs so kids had quite an assortment to choose from. I tried to have some with several colors and some with only 2 or 3 for kids who wanted something easier.


Then, using Sharpie pens, the kids extended lines from the cut-out to the edge of the board wherever two colors met. You can see what I mean in the above photo. Where the red changes to white, that is the start of one Sharpie line. Kids just moved their finger around the edge of the cut-out, looking for where one color met another.
I also made the rule that one Sharpie line could not cross another.


Then students used water color to try to mix the exact color on the cut-out and extend that color out to the edges of their board. I also said they, as artists, might choose to leave some sections white.


You can see in the first painting in the above photo how this student worked to achieve the variations of blue. These were done by 2nd graders and the concept of making tints using more water instead of adding white was a new skill for many!!


I love the graphic variety in these little gems!! I also told the kids that one of the reasons we were doing them now, was to remind them that they could easily do pictures like these at home during the summer using recycled cut-outs to start them out.

This is one of those absolutely "no fail" projects where everyone is successful. I think they did a GREAT job -- as I look at the photos above I am having a hard time finding some of the camouflaged shapes and I know where they are!!!!

Happy Summer!!





Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Math Doubles to Art Doubles

A little while ago 2nd graders were working on learning their doubles math facts (i.e. 4  + 4 = 8, 6 + 6 = 12. etc.) so we decided to make a mini art project to reinforce the facts that they found the hardest for them to remember. We started with building several equations using Unifix Cubes and Pattern Blocks.



Then I read them the book, Two of Everything, to really cement the idea of doubling a number.



In this book there is a magic pot that doubles anything that falls into it. So this was an opportunity to teach kids how to use oil pastels to make a 3-D looking pot using shading techniques. See here for more directions.





Next, students made two sets of matching objects or people to represent their doubles equation. For people they used paint to print the faces and then crayons and Sharpies for the rest of their drawing.





I had them write the addition equation on a red strip and the matching multiplication equation on green ( just to link the concepts).

Here are a few of the finished projects:





Sunday, February 12, 2017

Presidents' Day Art & Math with Quarters

Here's a fun way to learn about quarters for both math and art. 



I actually started thinking about this awhile ago when I drove by this wall art in the neighborhood.



The lesson starts out with the kids creating the background so that it can dry by the time they are ready to glue on their coin rubbings. This background is wet on wet watercolor.



Then students get to the real work. Using my favorite PRANG colored pencils, they rub the heads side and the tail side of various quarters, noticing all the details. Working in small groups, and using small magnifying glasses, each group records everything they see on their coins on a record sheet.





Later we record their observations in chart form and discuss them. We actually do this for all coins at another time and have the charts to compare what kids find on them all.



Quarters are such great coins to study since they have started being minted for each state. Depending on the age and skills of your students you can decide how much research to have them do as they discover phrases on some of the state quarters. For example, the Hawaii 2008 coin has Hawaiian words that kids can look up on the computer to find the translation. For those of you who are curious, the Hawaiian translation is "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness." Nice, huh??!!



You can also decide whether to have kids label their rubbings and how detailed to be. Another option is to have students color in each state on a U.S. map to match the color of their rubbing:



I am getting ready to this with 2nd graders and will share some of their art results as they are available. I should mention that I also plan to extend this lesson in math to augment place value/tens and ones work that these students are doing.

Happy Presidents' Day -- hope you enjoy celebrating on your 3 day weekend, too!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pastel Snow People Mural

Here in California we are having our version of a cold weather winter (rainy and in the 50°s). So it seemed a good time to work with 2nd graders on shading spheres to make snowmen!!


You can see how students used pastels to shade the spheres of the their snow people.


After cutting out their people, kids colored and cut out details ( hats, arms, scarves, etc) to glue onto them.


Some students made larger snowmen/women and others made smaller ones. As they went out in the hallway to add their people to the mural, the smaller people were placed to appear further back, giving the landscape the appearance of distance.

The last step was to add snow, which they did by stamping small circles using the handle of a paintbrush and white tempera paint. Of course, we did this on our coldest day of year so far!!
This lesson, like the last one I posted, was based on the book, Snowmen at Night.



As an aside, when I left school after finishing up the mural I went for a quick walk between the thunder showers to share with you. We had a bit of wind the night before, thus the fallen palm fronds.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Pastel Landscapes


For this 2-day project, 3rd Graders started by observing the snowmen in the book, Snowmen in the Night, noticing how the light shining on the spheres of the snowmen created a 3D impression. We also noticed how the snow was shaded in various places. There are many scenes in the book to observe how large snowmen appear closer and are placed near the bottom of the page, and smaller snowmen placed higher on the page give the appearance of distance. We discussed foreground, mid-ground and background in landscapes.

I demonstrated how students could cut a  9" X 12" piece of white drawing paper to create 2 pieces that would be their snow and a center piece that we would use for one of the snowmen. I had some extra smaller pieces of white paper for those who wanted to make a smaller snowman.


Students positioned one of the side pieces above along the bottom of their landscape paper and the other one overlapping it on the other side to create two hills of snow, one behind the other. A few kids had trouble with how to do this spatially. 



They shaded the back hill where it met the front hill. (See examples further down.)



Next we used the center piece of drawing paper to make a snowman, shading one side where the moonlight would not be hitting it. The only tip here is to ask kids to use the side of their pastel and not to press too hard. They blended the pastel with their finger. I had an assortment of blues, purples and grays for them to choose from.


Students used their scraps to color accessories, using plain crayons. I had them use glue stick to affix the snow and snowmen before they started the caps, scarves, etc. They colored and added those as they went. They used pastels to make a moon in the sky.


On Day 2 students used white tempera and pastels to create trees in the distance. They dip the pastel in the paint and, starting at the bottom of the tree, zig zag up and down from left to right. When they no longer see white, it is time to re-dip. They move up the tree making each layer a bit shorter, until they reach the top of the tree. This is a fun technique that can actually be used to make a whole snow scene, people and all!



Of course, kids invariably found their own way to make trees, which is just fine!



The final step was to add snow. We used the white tempera and applied it by stamping with a cotton swab. I cut those in half, since they really only need one side. Might as well conserve when we can!!




Can you find the little guy wearing a sombrero? LOVE IT!!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall Leaf Art - Audition

Fortunately I have some great trees right outside my home that I can visit to collect motivation for this leaf painting project. 
 Last year I used them for this totally different kind of lesson (here).

This year kids will be using the leaves to experiment with mixing primary colors to make the colors they see in the real fall leaves. Part one of the lesson is to encourage students to keep some colors clear and strong as they paint, rather then ending up with a muddy mess. To do this they start with 4 blobs of yellow in each of 4 quadrants (good math vocabulary) of their newspaper. They have the other 2 primary colors (red and blue) to mix in with the yellow to create their fall colors.
 I like using newspaper for this because a) it provides some texture to the leaf, b) it allows me to reinforce that we can recycle and use found papers at home rather than buying paper to use, and 3) it is really easy for little hands to cut.
On a separate sheet of newspaper kids can experiment with mixing any combination of the three colors, discovering that this is where brown comes from!! Once one discovers it, they all catch on and the muddier the better! Success for everyone.
While these color sheets are drying, each student gets a piece of card stock to experiment with watercolors. This can be done on the same day or a second day, depending on your time constraints. I actually like to do these on two different days, making a whole lesson on the differences between painting with tempera/or acrylics and watercolor. This is also a good time to let kids experiment with what happens when you blot watercolor with plastic wrap, sprinkle salt on it, or spray it with water drops.
When all the painted papers are dry, the composition begins. Kids can trace around the real leaves to make the leaves they will cut out. They can also paint the back of real leaves with various colors (I used white here) and make leaf prints.



When leaves are cut out, students can experiment with composition. I like to talk about size, direction of leaves, and overlapping, depending on the grade level. Sometimes I like to talk about setting one leaf apart (that is why there is only one white leaf in my sample) like Van Gogh had just one white iris in his painting of irises.
I am thinking about having kids cut out around the blue area and gluing the whole thing on another piece of board, like this:
. . . but I haven't quite decided about this step yet:)  That is what auditions are for!!