Tuesday, May 28, 2013

3rd Grade Artist Inspired Guitars

Inspired by Roy Lichtenstein.
Inspired by Victor Vasarely.
Inspired by Keith Haring.
Inspired by Vincent VanGogh.
Inspired by Salvador Dali.
Inspired by Vincent VanGogh.
It was a month before the art show and I realized I needed another good third grade project. I came across a few ideas on Pinterest that inspired this project. My students really enjoyed it, so I'll probably use the lesson again next year.

What I really liked about this lesson was that it was almost completely open. I hung a ton of different prints that represented a pretty wide range of artwork, then had each student choose one piece to be inspired by. Each student drew a guitar, then designed it to reflect the famous artwork he or she chose. Students had a completely open choice of what art media they wanted to use. Most ended up choosing more than one. I think they turned out pretty sweet!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Clay Castles with Coat of Arms by 4th Grade

Every art teacher has projects that are yearly favorites. Students would go absolutely nuts if they didn't get to do "that project." This is one of those projects for me; kids start talking about wanting to make castles in 1st grade. I actually wrote this lesson way back when I was student teaching and have continued using it for 4th grade every year since. 

Castles are a topic that kids always seem to be interested in. I show my students examples from all over the world as inspiration, then let them loose with sketch paper. I have them each draw at least a front and top view of their castle. I found that the top view really helps them understand how they will actually make it out of clay. 

After that, it's just basic slab building. This project takes about 4 days of working with wet clay. I know some people have problems with projects drying out, so I'll share my method of keeping ceramic work wet. 

Mr. Stoller's Tried and True Method for Keeping Clay Moist
  • I use old cafeteria trays for storage. Most classes use 3-4 trays.
  • Place the work on the trays at the end of class. I do this because I was good at Tetris and can fit more castles per tray than my kids can.
  • Cover the entire tray with damp paper towels. I assign this job to a couple of responsible students per class.
  • Place the entire tray into a large trash bag. Push out as much air as possible and fold the open end under the tray.
  • I write the teacher's name on a piece of masking tape and put the tape on the bag so I don't mix up the work.
  • I just open up the bags the next time that group has art, and the clay is still perfectly moist. Use new paper towels when putting the clay away at the end of class.
  • If a class misses or there is an extended break, I will open up the bags and squirt a little water into them.
Hopefully those tips are helpful. I have my students create a coat of arms in between when they finish their castle and when they glaze it. I always give clay projects a couple of weeks to dry out before the bisque fire. It is longer than they really need, but I've never had a clay project explode!

2nd Grade Eric Carle Butterflies

Getting caught up on blogging requires a lot of posts sometimes. Today may be a three post day! 

This is a project that was hung in the art show a couple of weeks ago. It wound up being a crowd favorite. The project was based on the artistic style of Eric Carle. My 2nd grade students copied Carle's style by making textured/patterned papers. Each student created two textured pieces using tempera paint and a wide variety of non-traditional painting tools. 

After the papers were created, one was folded and a basic butterfly shape cut out of it. Students used their other textured page along with construction paper scraps to make symmetrical designs on their butterfly wings. The final product was mounted on black or white construction paper and cut out a final time to give the butterfly a nice border. 

Pinch Pot Bugs by 1st Grade

For many years, my first grade clay project has been the pinch pot turtle. It was simple, fun, and turned out pretty well every year. It just had one problem. Those turtle legs/heads/tails broke off so easily that I felt like I was running a turtle vet clinic toward the end of the project. 

This year, I was contemplating doing something a little different and found this little project on Pinterest. The concept is the same as with the turtles. Kids start with a pinch pot, invert it, then add details on the pot to turn it into a ladybug. I had each student poke six holes into the clay on the bottom to later use for the legs. After the work has been bisque fired, I hot glue little bits of wire into the holes to make the legs. Finally, the bugs are painted with watercolor paints. This is a pretty successful and simple two day project for 1st grade. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Coil Pots by 3rd Grade

Blistering hot, but beautiful!

Coil pot madness! We have about 100 freshly made coil pots on display here at Thomas. This is our third grade clay project this year. It builds on the skill of attaching pieces of clay together that was introduced last year.

The cool thing about this project is that we don't just make and glaze a few coil pots, but we actually use them as small planters. Students could choose from tomato, marigold, or sunflower seeds to plant in their pots after they were finished. Students last year ended up with some viable flowers and vegetables, so I hope the students this year are equally successful with their plants. 

No lesson plan this time because it is pretty straightforward. I gave each class three art periods to finish building their pots and one day to glaze. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

1st Grade Wayne Thiebaud Ice Cream

Back to bloggin'. My art show was last week and, as the teachers who are reading this know, putting on an elementary art show is no small amount of work. I'm going to try to post several projects over the next few days to get caught up with my blogging. 

This is a project that hung in the show that was finished about a month ago. My first graders learned about the work of Wayne Thiebaud. If you want to get a group of first graders excited (not that it takes that much), show them Thiebaud's work. Who doesn't love desserts? 

Each first grader thought about their three favorite kinds of ice cream and created a textured paintings to represent each flavor. For the paintings, students used all kinds of paint scrapers, plastic forks, etc. with tempera paint in order to create more interest in their painting. Each painting was then cut into a circle and glued onto a large background paper with a cone. This was a pretty quick (3 classes) project, but the students loved it and it was a big hit at the art show. 

See my full lesson plan here!