Tuesday, December 11, 2012

4th Grade Recycled CD Snowflake Mosaics

I've got to say I'm pretty proud of this project. A lot of us bloggers tend to borrow ideas from other teachers (rightfully so), so it is refreshing to write completely original lesson plans from time to time. This lesson came about a couple of years ago after a technology support teacher dropped off a box filled with 90's software CDs that would no longer work with our computer system. I think I had them for at least a year before figuring out what to do with them and writing this lesson. 

The internet is good for a lot of things. Figuring out how to shatter CDs is not one of those things. I tried hammers and other blunt objects to no avail. One site said to freeze the CDs overnight before bludgeoning them into small pieces. Nope. I ended up going back to my trusty paper cutter. It works like a charm. I just cut the CDs into strips. As it cuts them, it creates cracks throughout the strip. They are then easy for kids to snap apart into smaller pieces. 

Check out my full lesson plan here!

Friday, November 16, 2012

3rd Grade Aboriginal Animals

As I find myself with a TINY bit of extra time, I'm going to put up another post from a project that has been done for quite a while. I found that I had so many projects that were finished at about the same time that this one has had to wait its turn to be displayed in the hallways. I like to photograph some of the best examples once I have hung the work and can see everything. 

This is a tried and true project that my students really enjoy. I've done it a few years in a row, so it might be just about time to try something new next year. I think most of us have a limit for how many times we can repeat a project before we get anxious to try something new. 

The big key to this project for me is having my students draw (and color with oil pastel) their animal on one sheet of paper that is later glued onto the background with the dots. I feel as if I have a pretty high success rate doing it this way. Enjoy the examples!

Check out my lesson plan!

Student Teacher Projects

You caught me. I haven't been updating as much as I should be. Here is my lame attempt at an excuse. Over the last several weeks, I have been busy volunteering to help with our school's new running club two days a week. We have 60 4th and 5th graders working on their distance running skills. It has been a great opportunity to get a little more exercise and connect with students outside of the classroom. We are building up to run the 4 mile "Flying Feather" race on Thanksgiving morning. 

I also haven't had many of my own projects to post lately due to the fact that I was working with a student teacher for seven weeks. I'm using this post to show off some of the projects that she did with my students. This is the second year in a row I've had a student teacher and I find that I enjoy it. It is a nice change of pace and it allows me to take a look at my own teaching practices. 

Op Art by 5th Grade - A colored background with a sheet of acetate over the top. The two pieces
are attached with a brad in order to allow the top to spin to create the optical illusion.

Origami Crane Mobile by 4th Grade - A beautiful multi-colored mobile.

Octopus/Chameleon Color Wheels by 3rd Grade - A watercolor picture that includes a color changing
animal. A separate color wheel was made and attached behind the cut out animals using a brad. The
color wheels could be spun to make it look like the animals were actually changing colors!

Multi-Media Fall Scene by 2nd Grade - A fall scene using oil pastel, watercolor, tempera, and chalk pastel.

Cave Art by 1st Grade - Oil pastel animals and tempera hand prints for this one. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blog Recommendation!

Whenever someone comments on my blog, I like to click on their profile to see if they also have a blog. I figure that if they like my posts, they must have good style! Last week, I discovered a new blog this way that I think is incredibly useful. It is called "Ms. Gram's Artopedia." 

Ms. Gram is a first year art teacher who blogs about books that are useful in the elementary art room. The books are all organized by topic and/or the artist is is about. I love to use books with my first and second grade classes and I was thrilled to find this resource. Check out her blog!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Skeletal Fun!

I have a plastic skeleton in my classroom that has been here for years. Last year, I began moving the skeleton around the room from time to time to have a little fun. It started out on top of a cabinet, relaxed and reading a book. Later I moved it to a plastic bottle cap bin and made it look like it had gotten stuck inside. My students get a big kick out of the skeleton, so this year I decided it needed a Halloween costume. I used some fishing line to rig it so it would hang from the ceiling just like the classic Spiderman pose. This is why being the art teacher is the best job in the whole school.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

5th Grade Personal Logos

Each finished piece shows multiple drafts to show how the logo evolved.
Example of the artist statement attached to each piece.
This one goes with the image above it. 
This is a lesson plan I just wrote this fall and I think it has been my favorite to teach so far this year. I'm writing several new plans for 5th grade that are based on careers in art. I'm hoping to show them all of the possibilities that are out there. I don't think that most students (or people in general) are aware of the amount of jobs that are directly related to art.

For this project, each student created a personal logo. We started out by talking about famous logos and discussing similarities between them. We decided that most logos are fairly simple and that sometimes logos evolve over time as people become more familiar with them. 

I was incredibly impressed with the outcome of this project. My students came up with some amazing logos. Students used the design process to help them come up with their final logos. They started with thumbnail sketches before conducting peer reviews, making a second draft, discussing their work in a class critique, and making the final version. I had them include parts of their first and second drafts along with their final logo to show the progression of their idea. I will definitely be doing this project again next year.

Please feel free to use my lesson plan!

Monday, October 8, 2012

4th Grade Totem Poles

I think this project is pretty popular. I see it pop up on Pinterest all the time. My students and I certainly like it. This is the second year I have had my students do their final project using cut paper. It really works 100% better than paint. 

The emphasis of this project is the concept of stylization. The artwork of the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest is very unique. I have found several good resources about specific shapes used in making totem poles that have been very helpful to my students. I tell my students to fill up 95-100% of the paper. I tell them to pretend like their paper is a little glass box that they have to push the animal into. It is a struggle to some students at first, but the concept eventually clicks. 

If you are new to my blog, you're in for a treat. I post all of the lesson plans I write. For free! Feel free to use them in your classroom. Check out the lesson plan for this project here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

2nd Grade Expanded Images

Another round for this project. I think I may replace this project next year. It is one that the kids really enjoy, but I don't get the overall results that I'd really like to see. 

Essentially, I use this as a warm-up project for the year. Each student gets to select an image from a magazine. They cut it out, then glue it on a large piece of paper. Next, they use their imagination to decide what else is going on in the picture. I tend to get a lot of aliens and monsters. They paint using watercolors and I have them focus on trying to make sure their colors don't mix. 

I really enjoy what the kids come up with in their drawings. It's really cool to see how their brains work when they have a very open-ended assignment. Again, I'm not going to post a full lesson plan for this project due to the fact that it's pretty simple to figure out. Look out for more posts next week. I have several projects that will be finished throughout this week! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

1st Grade Texture Caterpillars

Well hello there! I'm back for another year of amazing elementary art! Projects will be going up as they are finished. At the beginning of the year, I always feel like I'm not posting enough because everything was just started and I don't have any finished work. Luckily, there is always first grade. 

I've debated about changing this project for the last couple of years, but I haven't done it yet. My students enjoy this one and it is a wonderful introduction to the art room. The first few weeks with first grade is as much about establishing routines and expectations in the art room as it is art concepts and practices. 

This caterpillar project is an easy one day project that allows students to dive right into a project. It involves following multiple step instructions and uses crayons, pencils, scissors, and glue. I typically post a lesson plan with my posts, but this project is so simple that I'll just explain it. 

Start with blank 9x12 paper. Give each student paper, pencil, and a paper plate. Students draw a circle using the plate as a template. Next, using pre-made plastic textures and crayons, students will do texture rubbings on the circle they have drawn. I let my students use multiple textures and colors to make interesting designs. Finally, cut the circle out and add a leg. Make sure to have one student make eyes, mouth, etc. for the face. I usually choose someone who is doing a nice job of following directions and is finishing a little early. Good luck!

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm Back!

It's that time of year again. I think my district must be starting later than usual because so many of the bloggers I follow have been back to work for a little while already. Teachers started last week, but today is the first official day with kids. It's fun to see faces I haven't seen in three months and daunting to see the amount of first grade names I need to learn!

My room is set up very similarly to how it has been the past few years. During my first work day, I spent an hour trying to re-arrange my tables to give my room a new look. Even though I played a ton of Tetris as a kid, I wasn't able to figure out a better way to set up my tables. I've put up a few pictures of how my room looks, if for no other reason than to remember how shiny they floors are right now. 

I've got a lot of cool things planned for this year. I'll be doing a bunch of new projects and I will have another student teacher as well. As I did last year, I will be posting my lessons plans for other teachers to use. Good luck to everyone in the new school year!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Time!

And now, something completely different. SUMMER! This year, I started my summer out right. Two days in a windowless room as part of a curriculum committee! The fine state of Ohio has revised the state visual arts standards and, as a district, we were working to adapt our curriculum to the state standards in order to adopt it for this coming school year. I am actually really excited about the new standards because they are much more reflective of what I already teach. They can be seen here. Just click on the link that reads "Visual Art." School ended last Thursday, the 31st. The committee met on Friday and this past Monday. I was really happy to get that work out of the way early in the summer. 

On Tuesday, I really got my summer started. I figured if I wasn't going to be in a windowless room, I would take advantage of my freedom by building a retaining wall for a raised flower bed. Why not? What more fun could I have on my first real day of summer than excavating and leveling a trench, then single-handedly moving one ton (literally one full ton) of limestone into place to form the wall? This was my first attempt at doing anything like this and I was pretty happy with how it turned out. Now I need to get soil to fill it in, plant something cool, then reseed the grass around it.
Before and after with a shot of the stone thrown in for good measure.
 My next project will be to build an outdoor sectional seating area for the deck I built last summer. I may post some plans once I've got them drawn up. Happy summer!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

4th Grade Flip Books

I ramped up the stakes on the flip book project this year. I told my students that not only would I post some of the best animations on this blog, but they would be on YouTube as well. That was the magic word. I personally like BAZINGA, but YouTube works for 4th graders. This is another great end of the year project. I really like that it can be extended for kids who either have an extra class or just work quicker. It can just as easily be shorter. 

For this project, I just cut standard white copy paper (I have a parent who donates tons!) into quarters. I try to be pretty exact with my cutting so the papers line up better. The kids just think of an idea and start drawing. The paper is thin enough to be able to see the previous page. It helps to make sure the drawings are lining up properly. If a student finishes early, they can always trace their drawings with sharpie, add color, or add more animation.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2nd Grade Inventions

The shoe that does everything!
Drink Maker 2012

Snowball Powered Clock
Grow/Shrink Ray 3000 / Freeze Ray 3000
Chuck Robot (Cooking Robot)
The Flying Wings!
The Cleaner Upper 3000
2nd grade is full of inventors. We just finished a project in which all 2nd grade students came up with their own unique inventions. This was kind of an end of the year time filler in a way. There were varied levels of finishing with this project due to the fact that the schedule at end of the year is crazy. Between Multi-Cultural day, May Day, Super Games, and everything else, some classes had quite a bit more time than others on this project. This is a good project for me to do at the end of the year because the 2nd grade teachers touch on inventors at the same time. I always enjoy seeing what my students come up with. I see some future engineers in my classes!