Friday, December 16, 2011

4th Grade Paper Weaving

For some reason, I never got around to photographing this project while it was hanging in the hallway. The fourth graders have moved on to two different projects since they finished this one. I suppose the images will be strikingly similar to those I have posted from previous years of this project. That isn't a bad thing in this case. This project produces some of the most consistent results of any of the projects I do during the entire year. I find it's pretty rare to have a project that is nearly 100% successful, but this is one of those projects. 

After studying the work of Jackson Pollock and watching a short video of Pollock actually working in his studio, each 4th grader got to make two paintings in his style. Honestly, for me, this is the best and the worst part of this project. My art room is almost obsessively organized. I think that it sets a good precedent for my students if I keep the room clean and organized. Allowing 24 4th graders to make splatter paintings takes me a little out of my comfort zone. The flip side is that the kids absolutely love it. This year I condensed it to just one day of painting. It worked better and was a little less stressful for me!

The paintings were then cut up on the second day and woven together. The results are always very impressive. As always, feel free to use my lesson plans and presentations.

Click here for a link to my lesson plans and presentation files!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

5th Grade Claymation

A basement.
A caveman's home.
Really nice city sidewalk set.
A cave woman and an evil bunny!

A minion!
It's high time for a claymation update! I usually start my claymation project about this time of the year, but we're just a few classes from being finished with it this year. I'm very excited to have my first ever student teacher coming in at the beginning of January, so I moved claymation up to an earlier slot in order to accommodate the change of schedule a little better.

What you see above are several sets and characters from the upcoming claymation. 5th grade students are working on making four commercials this year for their project. Each of my four classes breaks up into smaller groups to complete all of the tasks that are necessary for creating a stop motion animation. The groups include writers/storyboard artists, set designers, and character designers. It allows each student to join a group in which they will be most successful. We have just begun filming this week and I'm excited to see the finished animation. I'll post that with full lesson plans when the project is finished.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Recycled CD Snowflake Mosaics by 4th Grade

Recycling is really important to me. Honestly, I think it would be difficult to find an art teacher who wouldn't feel the same way. I try to incorporate recycling into many of my projects and I'm particularly proud of this one. 

A couple of years ago, I had two big boxes of old computer software CDs. They had been donated over the course of a couple of years and I had no idea what to do with them. Every once in a while I would look for ideas online, but I would usually come away empty handed. In the meantime, I had been doing a project with 4th grade that used paper mosaic pieces to create snowflakes. Last year the light bulb (CFL of course) finally popped on. I would break the CDs and use them to create the mosaics. 

The first problem was how to break them. I tried just about everything including smashing them with a hammer and even freezing them to make them more brittle. Nothing worked the way I wanted it to and I finally went to the old standby- the paper cutter. My paper cutter is probably older than me and that means it's awesome. The new paper cutters always disappoint me. They're just not as heavy or sturdy. I simply slice up the CDs on the paper cutter. From there, the kids can either snap them apart into smaller pieces or cut them with scissors. These pieces are glued onto a snowflake that has been cut out and glued onto a piece of silver chip board. They turn out great and end up making a nice piece to take home before winter break. 

Find my lesson plan here!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

3rd Grade Winter Cardinals

If you live in Ohio or any other Northern state, winter is a pretty big deal. Some people love it and others can't stop complaining about it. I personally enjoy big snows on school nights! 

The music teacher at Thomas always puts on a winter program at the beginning of December. I'm in charge of the set and making sure there is winter themed artwork hanging in the halls around the commons. This is one of those projects this year.

I got the idea for this project from browsing As per usual with blog ideas, I changed it around and added to it to make it work with my students. For this project, we talked about landscapes in art. Students learned about foreground, middleground, and background and where to find each level in a landscape. We took the idea of a landscape and condensed it for this project. Since we are in Ohio, we used the image of the cardinal, our state bird. Cardinals do not migrate. Since they are bright red, they are easy to find during the winter months. Students used step sheets and other visual images to draw a cardinal sitting on a branch. Other overlapping branches of varying thickness were added to show multiple levels of depth in the picture. The final product is a multi-media piece that includes tempera and oil pastel. These turned out very well and I've gotten a plethora of compliments from the staff here at Thomas. Feel free to download the lesson plan below!

Find my lesson plan here!