Wednesday, December 18, 2013

3D Snowmen Heads!

In the last week of classes before winter break, I come across many students (in grades 1-4) who need a simple catch-up day to wrap up their work.  The rest of the class is always in need of a "filler" project to keep them interested.  The nice thing about this project is that you can dedicate an entire lesson for younger grade levels, or use it as a filler project for older students!

-Strips of white paper cut 1.5" x 18"
-Black paper 
-Orange paper
-Red Paper
-Green Paper

The purpose of this lesson is to have students understand the difference between 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artworks.  Students will create a 3-dimensional sphere using paper, and create 2-dimensional features for the face and top hat.  With the time of year, I chose snowman heads as the subject, which leaves no holiday/seasonal objections with other faiths and cultures.  This lesson is intended for a one day, 40 minute project.

Step 1: Place 4 white strips of paper in a star.  I tell grades 1-2 to make two plus signs, then glue them together.

Step 2: After creating your star, take two opposite ends and connect them together to create an "octopus."  

Step 3: Begin gluing the remaining strips on top of each other until a ball is made.

Step 4: Using the black, orange, green, and red paper, start drawing shapes for the nose, eyes, mouth, and holly.  Cut the shapes out, and glue them down.  Explain to the students to start with the mouth and nose first (this way they have room for the eyes!)

Step 5: String a piece of yarn through the ball to hand the snowman head!

Here are some finished examples!  I created these with my 4th grade class (during a clay catch-up day)

Yay!  We get to take them home!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Joan Miro Monsters with 3rd Grade

Joan Miro was a surrealist painter (1893-1983) from Barcelona, Spain.  Miro was known for his painted creature made from random shapes, and even made his 2-dimensional work into sculptures. Miro's work is imaginative, using geometric and organic shapes to create unusual characters.

What better way to exercise the student's creativity?


2-D Work:
-8 x10 white paper
-12 x 14 colored paper for a frame

3-D Work:
-Crayola Model Magic or similar air dry clay (depending on your project time, you can use primary colored clay or white clay to paint later)
-Pipe cleaners
-Sandwich size ziplock baggies

If using white air dry clay:
-Tempura paint
-Paper plates
-Small brushes
-Water and bowls

The students will create 2 projects. The first project will be a 2-dimensional drawing of a Miro-inspired creature.  The students will read together and use the following worksheet to "exercise their creativity." The point of the activity is to have students use a limited amount of shapes to create elaborate creations.

From the worksheets, students can create their own creatures using the 12 shapes presented!

The drawings should only take one 40 minute class period, fully colored and framed.  I also attach grade sheets on the back for students to see their entire grade of the project.

Day 2 is for 3-dimensional construction of the drawings.  I give students pipe cleaners that match the colors of the antennas, legs, and arms from the drawings.  If students do not finish, I store projects in baggies with students names so clay doesn't dry out.

Day 3 is to complete the construction of the sculpture.  If you are using colored clay, the will be the last day of your project.  If you use white clay, you can use an additional day to paint the creatures any color you wish.

Here are some projects completed with primary colors (students mix secondary themselves) and black model magic!

Here are some completed sculptures with just white model magic and paint!

As a final wrap up, I have students fill out a reflection.  Here is my worksheet, but you can change it up as you wish:

Overall, the project is fun to do on a cart or in an art room, and from my own experience, easy to adapt in any situation.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Paying It Forward

Below is an email I sent out to my entire staff of co-workers this morning.  I work at an elementary/jr. high combined school, and we're showing signs of stress.  It's a general message for everyone who works together in a school environment:

I wanted to share something that happened to me today that brightened my day.  As I was in the Starbucks drive thru this morning, I pulled up to pay for my coffee, and was told the person in front of me had already paid for it!  I was so touched by what that total stranger had done, that I offered to pay for the coffee for the person behind me.  I hope I was able to touch the heart of that stranger, just as I was happy to see someone taking care of me.

The reason why I am sharing this story with everyone today is because we all need a smile.  It’s the last few weeks before winter break and the students are becoming more active.  We have multiple responsibilities before, during, and after school which take up any energy we may have left.  The cart gets too heavy to push.  The art room gets a little more challenging to clean up.

No matter what faith you have or what your traditions may be, this is a season for caring, compassion, and giving.  Don’t think about the responsibilities of cookies to bake, or presents to buy for, or parties to attend, or traffic to sit in when shopping…think about why you do it.

How do you feel when, out of nowhere, someone does something nice for you?  How do you feel when you do something nice for others?  With the last two weeks left before break, consider doing something nice for someone, just out of the blue.  Here are some options to consider that do not take any time out of our busy schedules while at work:

1.     If you see someone’s copies in the copy room (especially if your room is close by), consider bringing them to their room.

2.     Write a small note to a co-worker, telling them how awesome they are.  You don’t need to leave a name.

3.     Leave a random little gift in someone’s mailbox.

4.     Donate any little supplies for the teacher’s lounge (sponges, soaps, sugar, plastic utensils, paper products, air freshener).  Don’t worry about “if someone steals it,” just focus on the kind act you did. 

5.     Bring in some treats to fill our co-worker’s tummies.  Refer to #4 if you’re concerned.

6.     Smile and wave.  Yes, that makes a difference.

7.     Give a hug or a high five.

8.     Donate to the student’s food, clothing, and pet food drives.  Students love to see that you’re helping their events.

What about when you’re out on the road heading home?  Too busy to stop and volunteer anywhere?  Consider the drive-thru option.  It was a pleasant surprise for me, and I bet you’ll make someone else’s day!

This may be a blog for art educators or those interested in teaching art in any setting you have available, but the message is universal.  Be the advocate in your building and spread the word.

And to the stranger who paid for my coffee this morning, thank you for making my day brighter.  The joy and happiness you brought me was shared with my students today.


The Traveling Art Teacher

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kindergarten Poinsettia Paintings

Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, where they flower in the winter. The ancient Aztecs called them 'cuetlaxochitl'.

The poinsettia was made widely known in the states because of a man named Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first Ambassador from the USA to Mexico in 1825.  While visiting the Taco area in 1828, he became very interested in the plants, sending some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began growing the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens in the states.

Although we do not go over religious stories in class, there is a Mexican legend about how Poinsettia's are popular during Christmas, which you can read here.

-8" x 10" white paper
-Cut sponge shapes (flower, petals, and leaves)
-Paper plates
-Red, yellow, and green tempura paint (set up on separate plates)
-Pencils (for name on the paper)

Kindergarten students LOVE to paint...alot.  Unfortunately, it's one of the trickiest materials to manage, even if you're in a classroom or cart and on your own with almost 30 students to manage. The first objective is responsibility with materials.  Students should be instructed to wait their turn for colors, place the sponges in the correct colors, and to not "over paint" their pictures.  If you've seen an entire kindergartener's painting turn brown from sponges, you know what I'm talking about.  The second objective is composition.  Have the students start with the center yellow, then use the red for petals, and finish up with the green leaves.  Done!  Demonstrate to students how to fill their space with the red petals to show a focal point in the painting.

Here are some finished examples!

Managing Clean-up
When students are finished, use wet paper towels or handiwipes to clean hands, which will save on sink disruptions.  I always use winter-based coloring sheets once students are finished.  Paper plates are easy to toss once you're finished, which makes clean-up easier on a cart.

Here are some poinsettia coloring pages I found just with a simple Google search!