Monday, December 20, 2010

5th Grade Adinkra Printmaking

This is my third year at Thomas and I'm gradually purchasing more tools and materials to use in the art room.  This fall, I bought gauges and "soft-cut" linoleum to use for printmaking.  5th grade was excited to get to do a printmaking project and be the first group to use the new tools.

This particular project was inspired by Adinkra symbols.  Each of the symbols have a unique meaning and are used by the Asante people of Ghana.  Each student chose one symbol that they felt represented their own personality.  The symbol was drawn in both a positive and negative form.  Next, the symbols were drawn on 3"x3" squares of the soft-cut linoleum.  Gauges were used to carve away the linoleum.  The positive image was carved on one side and the negative image was carved on the other side.  When carving was finished, students printed using black block printing ink.  Borders were done using oil pastels.  I'm really happy with how these came out.  I'm definitely keeping them for the art show this spring!  Thanks to my friend and colleague Drew Jones over at for the lesson idea!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Eric Style Collage by 2nd Grade

2nd graders are in the middle of a two project series that focuses on illustration.  This project is inspired by the work of Eric Carle.  The kids get to first make random designs and textures on colorful paper using all sorts of creative mark making tools.  They absolutely loved this part.  Next, they drew an illustration of an animal.  Using their textured papers, the students then created a collage version of their illustration.  I had done this project with first graders a couple of years ago and then decided it would work better with an older age group.  This is one of those projects that can grow increasingly complex if done by older kids.  The results are really cool either way.  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter Landscapes by 3rd Grade

3rd grade just finished a project in which they learned all about landscapes. We started out by stating that a landscape in art has nothing to do with planting bushes and trees around a house! We studied photographs and paintings of various landscape artists. 3rd graders learned that there are three distinct levels of distance in landscapes. Those include the foreground, middleground, and background. We then talked about the horizon line and the use of overlapping to make a landscape look like it has more depth. Students also learned about the use of size variation to help add even more depth. Finally, each student drew and painted a winter landscape that included a bear. The bears were special landscape guests this year because the artwork hung as decoration for the 2nd grade musical, A Beary Merry Holiday.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Amazed by a Stapler!

As an elementary art teacher, I spend a pretty fair amount of time hanging artwork in the hallways. It is pretty time consuming, but is worth it. One day after school, I was hanging a project. I have what I considered to be a pretty good stapler. It was a Swingline after all. Even with a nice quality stapler, it would jam relatively often. As I was fumbling with trying to get a jammed and bent staple out of the stapler, a teacher walked by and mentioned that a colleague had a new kind of stapler that was stronger and didn't jam.

After doing a bit of research, I found that it was a Paper Pro stapler. I immediately ordered one and have loved having it. It staples easily into cork boards as well as directly into walls. It also doesn't jam! The mechanism is designed differently than ordinary staplers and almost feels like a staple gun. I thought I'd share with everyone. Here is a link to the stapler on Amazon -->