Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Secret Code Artwork by 2nd Grade

Other bloggers are the best. I really enjoy the fact that there are so many of us that are so willing to take the extra time necessary to share all of the cool things we do in our classrooms. I've found that I closely identify with some bloggers. One in particular is Hope Knight from Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists. I came across this project earlier this school year and had to borrow it. It's just too cool. It's not the first I've borrowed from Mrs. Knight this year!

The project is based on the work of the French painter Auguste Herbin. I hadn't ever heard of him prior to seeing Mrs. Knight's post. He is most famous for his abstract geometric paintings. He used something that he called "Alphabet Plastique," in some of his work. It is almost like a secret code imbedded in his work! 

Students started by picking out a couple of words to use as the title of their work. They gave each letter they used a simple geometric design. They then used their code letters to create the final artwork. We talked a lot about composition and design to make sure the final project was arranged in a cool way. 

I'm not going to post the lesson plan here because it really isn't mine to post. You can see more details over at Mrs. Knight's blog. I really liked how the artwork came out for this project. I was really bummed that I didn't do this until after the art show. It would have been a beautiful addition to the show. It's definitely on my list for next year. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

2015 5th Grade Stop Motion Animation Shorts

Stop motion animation is a yearly favorite for 5th grade. This year's collection of 16 short films was posted on YouTube last week. 

I let students have a lot of freedom with this project. They split into four groups per class and are in charge of creating the entire film. They are responsible for brainstorming, writing, creating backgrounds/sets, creating characters, animating, video editing, and adding voices. It's a pretty extensive list of things to do and the project tends to drag out for a while. 

I'm thinking of changing it around quite a bit for next year. I love the creativity involved, but I don't love how long the project takes and the fact that some groups just don't work well together- especially for a longer amount of time. 

My 4th grade classes didn't wind up having time for flip books this year. Right now, I'm looking at probably combining flip books with the stop motion project. I'm going to still use groups, but the groups will create a longer traditional style animation instead of stop motion. I'm still kicking around theme ideas, but I'm really excited to try something new. Until then, enjoy the video from this year. It's hosted on YouTube, so it may not work on school computers for some of you. 

Download my lesson plan here!

Monday, June 1, 2015

4th Grade Comic Book Covers

Never fear. 4th Grade superheroes are here! I hosted a student teacher earlier this school year and he was really into comics. He invested a lot of himself in this lesson and it was the best lesson he wrote. 

Students started by brainstorming ideas for their superheroes (or villains). They then got to practice some heroic figure drawing using their classmates as models. This really helped students understand proportions better. They then went on to create their final comic book cover using a title and logo for the character. The final work was painted with watercolor. These turned out very nice. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

I hate it when that happens...

Clay projects are always the most exciting for many students. At Thomas, each grade level gets one clay lesson during the school year. 2nd grade classes had been making clay dinosaurs for the last couple of years. I saw that Ted over at Art with Mr. E did dinosaurs hatching out of eggs a year or so ago, so I thought that would be a fun way to change up the lesson. 

4th graders have always done clay castles. It's the only lesson I wrote during my student teaching that I still use. It's a project that kids look forward to from 1st grade all the way up until they're actually rolling out the slabs in order to make their castles in 4th grade. It's a super fun and engaging lesson. 

A funny thing happened this year, though. I nearly completely forgot to take pictures of the artwork for both of these projects. They were both completed right before the art show this spring and I passed them out having never photographed the work. I hate it when that happens. 

Well, here they are. Three images of the elusive bigfoot 2nd and 4th grade clay projects. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

1st Grade Pinch Pot Faces

I had my third ever student teacher earlier this year. This is the first of several of his projects I'll post examples of. Student teachers through Ohio State have to write lesson plans that are typically 12+ pages long. I'm not going to post his whole lesson. I'm literally going to spare you the details. 

On to the art! I've tried many variations of the basic pinch pot project with my 1st graders. I like for them to be able to work with the clay and make something that at least teaches a simple hand building technique. 

My student teacher, Mr. D, wrote a lesson that took the pinch pot form, turned it on its side, and made it into a face. I liked the creativity that this lesson generated. No two faces looked the same. I got a lot of monsters, animals, and many other unique creations. After being bisque fired, the clay was painted with tempera paints. Fun was had by all. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

An Ode to the Art Show

It's been all cricket sound effects around the blog lately. Why? Let's think. What event that typically happens in the spring is an all-consuming vortex of time? Oh, yeah. The art show. 

Pre-staging the show in the AM…on the stage.
The art teacher prior to me didn't do an art show. I'm not really sure why. She was an outstanding and well-loved teacher, but the show just never happened. I'm of the opinion that parents as well as teachers and administrators need to know what is going on in the art room. I feel compelled to show off the work that my students have done all year. I'm driven to display two pieces of artwork for every single student even though my numbers have gone up by 100 students in the time I've been at Thomas. I'd display more...if I could just get more to fit. This year, we had nearly 1,000 individual pieces of artwork in addition to the group stop motion animation film that the entire 5th grade created.

The 7th Annual Thomas Elementary Art Show was a big hit. Several hundred students, parents, and families attended to check out the amazing students work and eat some delicious cookies. The show is just up for one evening. While its time is fleeting, the art show is hugely important to my students. For the rest of the week following the show, students were telling me how fun it was and how they enjoyed showing their work to their families. 
Yes the art show is a LOT of work. Things of great importance typically are.

Monday, April 6, 2015

8-Bit Self Portraits by 4th Grade





If you don't like this project, there may be something wrong with you. (Go get it checked out!) This is just pure fun for me. I originally designed the project to be a throw-back to the 8-bit video games I played while I was growing up. I've noticed quite a bit of 8-bit retro style popping up all over the place lately. Many game apps are created to have an older look to hook all of the nostalgic 30 and 40 somethings out there. 

Of course half of my students are completely obsessed with Minecraft lately. The cubic style of that game plays right into the style of this lesson as well. A lot of my younger students even think that this is a Minecraft project.

I love the results of this lesson, but it does get a little tedious for some my students. There is a lot of very precise coloring. Ideally, I would love to do this project on the computer. Does anyone know of a program that would work for this type of a project? 

Download my lesson plan here!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Underground Lives of Ants by 2nd grade

This blogging community is full of super cool people with amazing ideas and lesson plans. Often times, I'll find an idea that is interesting and change it or add to it to suit my student population. It is beyond rare that I find a lesson that I duplicate outright. I've done just that with this project. 

I take absolutely no credit for this lesson. All the props go to Mrs. Knight at Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists. This post popped up in my Pinterest feed and I immediately repined it to use this year.  

The project is all about the secret underground lives of ants. What goes on in their maze of subterranean tunnels? What if ants were more like us? My students immediately latched on to this project. We initially got all up in the science and talked about ant body parts and habitats. Next, we discussed personification in the illustrations of Beatrix Potter and others. Next, we got to the art. 

My students and I had a blast brainstorming about all of the incredible things that could be happening underground. In the end, my second graders produced some highly creative artwork that we were all proud of. 

Download my version of the lesson plan!