Friday, September 23, 2011

Scared but Excited

Have you ever tackled a project that scared you?

I saw a neat idea for abstract sculpture on Use your Colored Pencils and instantly connected it to our unit on color. 

Today the students are finishing their abstract color mixing projects...

(We reviewed the color wheel and introduced abstract art.  Last week they created a glue design of white glue on black paper or black glue on white paper.  This week they used chalk pastels to finish their images.  I only gave them the primaries but they were required to use all 6 primary and secondary colors in their image.)

Next week I will introduce a lesson on abstract sculpture with a focus on tints and shades.  We will talk about Alexander Calder and his abstract sculpture.  They will then create an abstract sculpture with a minimum of 5 different sections.  The students will be required to paint each section a different tint or shade of one hue. 

What scares me ...
 Keeping track of  parts.  (5 parts to each sculpture x 279 students)
Finding room to store 279 sculptures while they dry.

Good thing I am so excited to continue our discussion on abstract artwork while studying the idea of tints and shades!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I missed the last 8 weeks of school last year being on maternity leave.  While gone I had an awesome sub who did a great job covering my classes.  However, there were  a few lessons I really wanted to get to teach myself.  And today my 5th graders started my first "re-used" assignment from last spring.  They started their Henri Rousseau Jungle Collages.  They loved the National Gallery of Art's website dedicated to his jungle paintings.  I love that it really helps them see background, middle ground and foreground.  Here are some of their starts... I can't wait to see how they finish them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What have we been up to...

It never fails that once things get rolling I feel like there is always something more to do if I want to keep ahead of the kids.  I had been meaning to post each of these lesson plans but time just doesn't seem to be on my side for that.  So here is a BRIEF recap of what my kiddos have been doing.

  My Wednesday kids have been doing contour line drawings.  We started with practice during class and finished with the assignment of 4 finished drawings as homework.  This was one of my kiddo's homework.  I couldn't find one place where he lifted his pencil!  We are drawing animals in contour line and then adding boots.  I saw a cute project on Kid's Artists so in honor of the new Puss in Boots movie coming out this fall.  (I can't wait as he was my favorite Shrek character and it will be a great date with my 6 year old.)

I have had the book Only One You by Linda Kranz for a few years and have been pondering how to use it for a project.  Thanks to a post by Art Project Girl, I finally got it.  These fish drawings are what my 5th graders are doing this week.  We have maps testing so everyone is coming in a different order.  This project is quick and easy but still reviews line and pattern for the kids.  To finish them they will add some life advice and color only one fish.

This is one of our Awful Alphabet Creatures.  We read the book The Absolutely Awful Alphabet by Mordicai Gerstein.  The students then were assigned a letter to turn into a creature.  We spent a lot of time discussing craftsmanship and how to color the image completely and nicely.  I was so happy to see how creative they could be on their first project.  It really has me happy to see what this year will bring.

My 6th graders are working on their Salvador Dali Surreal Animals.  We looked at the animals in Dali's paintings and then they created their own dream-like animals.  We have some animals with Dali's long, skinny legs, we have some that are combo's of two different animals and we have some that are a combination of almost every animal.  They are finishing them with watercolor.  We are focusing on using light colors (lots fo water) and building up layers. 

It is so nice to have the year up and going.  Hope everyone else is off to a great start to their school year.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Seeing almost 600 kids a week takes some organization... here is what is working for me. 

Each student has a Manila folder in which they store their notes, sketches and small class projects.  They are stored in these plastic milk crates by class code (ex M1 = is Monday, 1st period).  My "handout" table knows to come into the room and hand out their classes folders.

The front of one milk crate also has Free Time Artstuff.  This is where I keep word finds, grid pictures, design coloring worksheets and free draw paper.  When students finish a project early they know they can head here for something extra to do. 
The students large artworks are stored in these flat racks in the back of the room.  They are also sorted by class code.  Students are not allowed to hand in work unless it has their first name, last name and class code on it.  This makes it much easier to hand back art show work ... just divide it up by class code.