Friday, May 27, 2011

5th Grade Tiki Mugs

I think this will be the last official post of the school year!  Today is the last day of the year!  I feel like I've done a pretty good job of posting examples of almost every single project that my students have worked on this year.  This last project was fun, if not a little rushed.  My 5th grade students created mugs in a Tiki style. Some kids decided to add handles, but many just decided to carve their tiki faces into the clay.  This was a fun project and my 5th graders absolutely love the fact that they can actually use their mugs to drink out of.  

I hope everyone has a great summer.  I'm planning a few upgrades to the blog over the summer that I think will be pretty successful.  I'm going to try to actually post my lesson plans for each project along with images.  Hopefully that is helpful to those of you out there who get ideas from this blog.  

What a cool handle!

4th Grade Flip Books

I have found that doing flip books at the end of the year with 4th grade is absolutely perfect.  The kids really love the project and it is something that can be lengthened or shortened based on the crazy schedule at the end of the year.  It is a good introduction to animation and I have found it helps my 5th graders better understand animation concepts when they film their claymation.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thomas Elementary Art Show

The art show!  The event we have been working hard the entire year for!  The art show this year was incredibly successful.  Each student had at least one piece of artwork in the show, but most had 2 or even 3.  The art show is the official unveiling of the new bottle cap mural as well as the premier of the 5th grade claymation film.  I am lucky to have such supportive parents and staff at Thomas.  The show was very well attended and everyone had a great time.  Thanks to PTO parents and volunteers for helping out and providing cookies and punch.  I also want to thank my wife, Heather, for taking a vacation day from work to spend the day helping me out!  

1st Grade Clay Turtles

1st graders recently finished making clay turtles.  This is the first clay project most of them have worked on, so it is relatively simple.  I have kids make them in two days, although it would potentially be possible to finish them in one.  The first day, students make a simple pinch pot.  On day two, they add legs, a head, and a tail.  Once they are fired, the turtles are painted with watercolor.  A few legs and heads tend to fall off, but it isn't something a little hot glue can't fix!

4th Grade Bottle Cap Mural

This project seems to be a favorite among students, parents, and blog readers.  This is the third year in a row the 4th grade has created a bottle cap mural for permanent display in the school.  The previous two have gone in separate stairwells, but this mural will be placed in four side-by-side windows in the library.  This year, students decided to make Dr. Seuss characters and spell out the word 'READ' on the mural.

In the past, I've gotten a many questions about how this process is done, so I'll describe it in more detail this year.  Of course, if anyone has questions, please feel free to post a question in the comments area or email me directly.  The work is all inspired by Michelle Stitzlein, a local artist who works with school groups and has quite an impressive collection of her own fine art work.  She focuses on the use of recycled materials in her art.
First, the boards are primed with a latex primer.  The design is then drawn out with sharpie and the whole mural is painted with either latex or acrylic paints.  This gives the mural a base color and allows for some spaces to stand alone without caps if need be.  Sharpie is again used to clean up edges and define colors.  The next part can be done a couple of different ways.  I know some people like to do all the caps at one time and bring in parent volunteers with cordless drills to help out.  I like working on it gradually.  I just have the kids carefully hot glue the caps on the boards then I put screws into the caps later on.  I use these screws.  To give an idea of how many to buy, I used right around 2000 screws for the mural this year.

4th Grade Chinese Dragons

 This project was a new one for this school year.  We studied dragons and their significance in China.  Students learned that, in China, dragons are not feared.  Chinese people believe that dragons represent wisdom, power, and luck.  Chinese dragons are typically long and thin and do not have wings.  Each student drew their own dragon and painted it with watercolors.  These were then carefully cut out and mounted on a piece of construction paper.  These were then cut out again, leaving a border of the color their dragon was just glued on.  The dragons were then mounted onto another color of construction paper.  The project was finished by students writing descriptions of their dragons in actual Chinese characters.  

5th Grade Claymation

This is the giant, culminating project for 5th graders.  Claymation!  It takes about one third of the year to complete, but the students absolutely love making it.  This year, we chose to animate many of the art room rules.  Feel free to use the video in your classrooms if you'd like.  

My students write the scripts (can you tell?), create the characters, build the sets, and voice the characters.  All students chose one job and then work with their specific group for many art classes in order to get the claymation ready to film.  Once filming is ready, I have one table film each day while the other classes work on a separate project.  Each table gets to film one day.  Once all of the filming is done, I edit it all together in iMovie and have the students do voices for the characters.  I always post the final video on YouTube so the students can watch it at home whenever they want.  Note: If YouTube is blocked at your school, the video will not work.  

1st Grade Dancing Giraffes

 This is one of my favorite first grade projects.  It is based on the book "Giraffes Can't Dance" by Giles Andreae.  After reading the book, each student draws a dancing giraffe.  I had some kids come up with some pretty smooth dance moves this year.  The giraffes are colored with colored pencil.  On another paper, kids paint either a blue or purple night sky with a nice glowing moon (using white for the moon while the sky is still wet).  The grass is first painted entirely yellow.  Once the yellow drys, I have the kids paint green over the yellow.  When I'm demonstrating this step, I get a lot of puzzled looks from the kids.  I then immediately flip the brush over and use the handle to scrape away some of the wet green paint to reveal the "grass."  Finally the giraffe is cut out and glued onto the background.  This is a project that is nearly 100% successful.

For the lesson plan for this project, click here!

5th Grade Self Portraits

During the filming process of claymation, I need another project going on at the same time in order to give the groups who are not filming something to work on.  For this project, we studied the work of Chuck Close.  We discuss Close's portrait work and talk about how his work has changed throughout the course of his career.  I take close-up digital photographs of each student that I then put a grid on in Photoshop and print out in black and white.  Each student creates a grid on a larger piece of paper and, like Close, works box by box in order to draw their face.  Many students are surprised at how realistic their work can be. This year, I gave students the option of shading with a pencil, using colored pencil, or using oil pastel to finish their work.  

2nd Grade Inventions

I have had my third graders do a simple machine brain project for the last several years.  I spoke to a second grade teacher early this school year to find out if I could create some projects that would align with their classroom curriculum.  The first thing she thought of was information about inventions that they never have quite enough time to fully complete at the end of the year.  I immediately thought that creating an invention project would be a great project to get 2nd graders ready for the 3rd grade machine brain project.  

After talking about Ohio inventors and their inventions, we discussed how inventors come up with ideas.  Each student created several sketches of potential inventions.  The best sketch was chosen and drawn on a huge 18"x18" paper.  They were traced with sharpie and painted with watercolors.  This was a fun end of the year project for 2nd grade.  

3rd Grade Recycled Magazine Bowls

This is the second time I have done this project.  It is one that I have seen on other blogs around the internet and I really like it.  I get it started by cutting a bunch of 3/4" strips of chip board.  The kids wrap single pages of recycled magazine pages very tightly around the chip board.  I tried 1/2" strips last year, but it ended up being a little too difficult for some students.  After many strips are rolled, the pages are then connected end to end to make a large disk.  At the end of the project, we pushed out the bottom of the disk to make a bowl and painted over it with Mod Podge.  This is a great way to talk about recycling in the art room and use up some old donated magazines!  

3rd Grade Ceramic Animals and Habitat

Wow.  It has been a while since I have updated the blog.  As many of you who have your art shows in the spring know, it is a busy time of the year.  I'm going to post a massive barrage of projects that have been neglected in the past month.  

The 3rd graders worked on creating clay animals.  They learn about animal adaptations in their classroom curriculum, so it is a great starting point for a project.  We study many kinds of adaptations in animals and look more specifically at camouflage.  Each student studies one animal and creates that animal out of clay.  While the clay is drying and being fired, we spend two classes making habitats for the clay animals.  This is a great time to use up some construction paper scraps and cardboard boxes.