Friday, March 25, 2016

Art Outline Unit 7

Art Fair Week!

A quick break from all the second grade work! A little project perfect for a pre-K or kinder class. 

Our school hosts an art show in conjunction with Open House each year. For the 2016 art fair I was able to include the pre school in the show with these adorable symmetry monsters! 

-Cut black circles, smaller white circles, and black semi-circles for the monster's eyes and mouth. 
-Gather paints and other supplies. 

In class:
I worked with students in pairs during their rotations. 

Pass the students the eye circles and ask them to glue while you write their names on their page. 

Give them a mini pallete, pre-set with a selected color scheme (unless you don't mind all-brown monsters!) and let them have at it. 

After they've painted a bit, nearly fold the paper in half and ask the student to help you press the paint into one symmetrical shape. 

Carefully unfold to reveal the monster body!

Usually there will be a pretty obvious "eyes" spot. The most fun was asking the kiddos whether they wanted a happy monster or a mad monster. 

They were great fun and all the kids were very proud of their creations being in the show with all the big kids' work. ☺️

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Art Outline Unit 6

Literary tie-ins are some of my all-time favorite art lessons to do with the kids. There's already such a connection to the art style and imagery. So when my daughter's teacher mentioned the class had greatly enjoyed The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin (a folklore version of Cinderella), I knew right away what to do.

Time for a sculpture project!

  • Coffee stir sticks
  • Hot glue
  • Brown paper grocery bags
  • Markers
  • Clear tape

  • At home:
    -About two hours to glue the frames together (we made 30, enough for each student plus extra in case of any breaking).
    -About 30 minutes to prep the paper bags.
  • At school:
    -30 minutes to design, draw, and color.
    -20 minutes to cut and crinkle page.
    -10 minutes to clean up.

Home Prep Steps:

Inspired by the vibrantly decorated wigwam of the invisible being in the story, we began by prepping teepee frames at home, using hot glue. This would have been too many steps/details to try and fit into the school day, though if you're planning a multi-day project, I have seen a really cool version with wrapping the sticks in string or embroidery floss.

I also prepped the paper grocery bags at home. cutting out the bottom and laying the bags out into one long strip, I divided them into 5 even strips, and cut 30. I then traced the template onto the strips so that the children could easily see where there designs would show, and what should be left blank because it would be cut away.

At School:

I passed out only the paper bag strips and hung up a small sign I created to discuss the art terminology of the week, "iconography."

We spent about two minutes discussing the connection to the story, and how the icons chosen were part of how the story communicates meaning to the reader. They were inspired by nature and personally important to the character. We also discussed how iconography is simplified or emboldened versions of ideas, and too many details would muddle the imagery.

I encouraged the students to choose icons important to them and like the invisible being, to boldly color their icons. I also warned them that the top corners might overlap when we wrapped our paper around our wigwam frames, so they should focus mainly on the area toward the front.

They got to work and soon had all designed and colored their strips. We used markers to ensure our designs didn't disappear later.

They cut along the lines given and then came the fun part: crinkling!

The more you crinkle and uncrinkle that paper bag, the softer and more malleable (and more tanned-hide-like!) it becomes. This is necessary if you want it to fit well around the frame. I crinkled a small sample piece so that I could walk around and show the kids just how soft it could (and should) become.

Once finished, all that's needed to secure the designed paper around the frame is a small piece of clear tape. A few students opted to tape directly to the frame as well, for a little more security, which is great but not necessary. The conical design means the paper sits atop the frame quite prettily.

These in particular will be part of the kids' Open House display. How fun!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Art Outline Unit 5

Sometimes you just need a simple, back to the basics, quick project. This was just the thing.

Birds on a Wire; a color theory refresher. 

-Watercolor paper
-Watercolor sets
-Paper Towels
-Water cups

30 minutes, plus 10 for clean up. 
You could easily pad this out by adding steps, which will be listed below with an asterisk.

1. Instruct the students in drawing three lines across their vertically oriented page, leaving plenty of space between lines. I have them a goal of minimum 3 inches of space between their lines. 

2. Draw three large circles floating above each line. 

3. Add two lines below each circle, to connect it to the wire. These are the birds' legs. 

4. Add a few simple bird details. I shows a beak, small wings, eyes, and a little tuft of feathers on top. Some students chose to keep it simple and some chose to add much more. 

5. *Trace all pencil work with a black marker to protect the integrity of the lines and design before adding the watercolors. (If you don't include this step be sure to instruct your students to paint lightly so as not to sacrifice their pencil details.) 

6. The top three birds are for PRIMARY colors. Review the primary colors and fill in the circles. 

7. The second row of three birds is for SECONDARY colors. Review secondary colors. Challenge your students to place the secondary colors in these birds in relation to the birds above. For example, "If the birds just above this circle are red and yellow, which bird down here would be the secondary color created by those? Yes, the orange bird should go there."

8. The third row is for for TERTIARY colors. Review tertiary options and allow the students to choose three of their favorites to practice blending and mixing. 

9. *Time permitting, allow the students to create a fourth line on their page and expressed a second set of tertiary options. Express that each bird on their page should display a unique color. 

10. *Time permitting, paint the surrounding page a soft sky blue of the students' own creation. After all that color mixing practice they will be thrilled to create a perfect sky tone. 

Student examples:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Art Outline Unit 4

This week was kindness week at our school, and this project was the perfect talking point to wrap up kindness themes, and kick off February! 

-Plain white copy paper trimmed to 8 1/2 by 8 1/2, or 8 by 8. 
-pencil for sketching
-coloring medium (crayons, colored pencils, markers, and highlighters were all utilized here). 

50-65 minutes 
You can shave a bit off by prepping a bit ahead but by and large, the students will definitely need help getting the hand shape right, and if you've got a large room, you'll need to assitst almost each one of them. An extra couple of adults helping wouldn't hurt at all. 

So by now, 2nd graders have done about a thousand handprint projects in their lives, and I always like to expound on previous skills. Today we used our tracing-our-own-hand skills as a model for how we could get a rough idea of the right proportion, then sketch the version that looked right, even if it wasn't a direct trace. 

1. I showed the kids two ways to make a heart shape with their hands and instructed and helped them trace/sketch their heart hands of choice. 

2. Trace your finished hands (the parts you want to stand out) in black marker or crayon. 

3. Gently draw (in pencil) a grid over your hand shapes. (This is assuming you have not provided them with grids pre-drawn. I wanted their own variations so I left mine blank, but some students struggled with time on this one, so if I had to do it over, I would give them paper I had already applied grids to, and eliminate the draw-your-own grid step.)

4. Apply warm colors to the boxes inside the hands and cool colors to the surrounding boxes. If this is too simplistic for some of your more enthused art participants, offer alternatives. Leaving the hands empty and only filling in the surrounding areas is one example, as one student did here. 

It's another great exercise in contrasts, and a handprint with a twist. 

This student opted for the "closed fingers" heart shape. 

This one reminds me of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. So vibrant! 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Art Supplement: How To Cut a 6-Point Snowflake

In nature, snowflakes always come in 6 "points" (share pictures with your students if you like!), and teaching kiddos how to emulate this in their paper crafting is great fun. They love opening their folded and cut "triangles" to discover what kind of pattern they've created.

Here's how to do it!

If you're starting with plain old printer paper, cut the rectangle down to an even square. You can do this without measuring! Just fold one corner down flush with the edge. The bit that's still sticking out is what you need to cut off and set aside. 
(Sometimes I pre-cut the starting page into the needed square for the kids, depending on the size of the group and the time constraints.)

That fold we did to mark our square was coincidentally also the first step! 

If you are giving your students square pieces to start with, instruct them to fold their page in half to create the first triangle. 

Step two is to fold our triangle into a second, smaller triangle. 

Now here comes the tricky part. Most students will need to go over this several times before they remember how this should look. 

Bring the triangle to an upside-down pyramid. 

Fold one corner up to meet near the center, keeping the bottom point in that pointy shape. 

Then cross the other side over the top. We call this stage the "fox face."

Hardest part is over! Nearly there!

Cut off the "ears" of the top; this we refer to as the ice cream cone stage. 

I followed a kind of semi-circle line here but straight across works as well. 

Once you have your cone shape, start cutting! Random little bits removed from the bottom, either side, and top all make your snowflake more interesting. Play with large vs small sections. Nothing is off limits! Just don't let cuts intersect: they'll end up cutting your snowflake in half. 

Carefully unfold to unveil your one-of-a-kind design - just like a real snowflake!


Remember that strip we set aside? Now you can make three tiny ones to accompany your big one. Waste not! 

For the little guys it's best to stick with super simple shapes. 

Now all these need is a little tape and they make a window look winter-ready. Or, you can apply them to a number of other projects, like our snowman collages

Let it snow! 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Art Outline Unit 3

This week we started on some festivity!

The classic cutting snowflakes activity takes on a little twist when you use your creations to form snowmen. 

-Background paper (construction thickness at least). I chose a grayish blue.
-Printer paper. Plain white sheets are best. Trying to cut through anything thicker, once folded, is too challenging for student scissors. (Some people use coffee filters for this and they work well.)
-Small scraps of accent papers. I supplied black for hats and coal, red for scarves, and orange for a carrot nose. 

45-60 minutes. 
Once the students get rolling this goes very smoothly, but they usually need help with the folding directions quite a bit at first. 

(Instructions for a true to nature 6-point snowflake can be found here!)

By now most of the students have done some kind of snowflake project in their elementary careers. I just gave them guidelines and they went to town! 

I gave them the option of using a cut snowflake for their snowman's head, or a solid circle they cut. Most chose a snowflake head because once you get going they are really irresistible!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Art Outline Unit 2

This week's second grade project included several art vocabulary talking points, including warm and cool colors, unusual shapes, and how we can mix mediums to get the unique benefits from different materials.

-pencil to sketch 
-watercolor paper
-watercolor paint and brush set
-black crayon 
-small cups of water/paper towels, for wetting and dabbing the brush. 

35-50 minutes (some students like to take their time and be more meticulous; others like to rush and be done. This gave a good range for both kinds). 
Plus 5-10 minutes of cleanup. 

I love seasonal studies, so I drew several examples of autumn leaf shapes on the white board. The students either copied mine (in pencil) or felt free to follow their own imagination and memory. 

Next we traced our leaves in thick markings with our black crayon. We discussed how the waxy crayons would resist watercolor paint and show boldly even after we added our colors. 

Finally the students added paint. Warm colors for inside the leaves and cool colors to surround. I explained how to use more water to diminish the tone of the background, so the saturated leaves would really stand out. Some of the students used this option and some chose to match the intensity of the leaves with their background. 

A few samples from today: