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!

4th Grade Chinese Dragons

My school is incredibly diverse. Our student population represents over 30 spoken languages from a wide range of countries. To celebrate our diversity, Thomas Elementary had our first annual Multi-Cultural Day last week. We had a multi-cultural fashion show, many different performances, research posters from each class, and a food tasting. 

In keeping with that theme, many of the projects students created for the art show were representative of different cultures. Fourth graders created a project about Chinese dragons. In China, dragons are considered to be wise creatures that represent power, strength, and luck. Many students are much more familiar with the European idea of a dragon being an evil creature to be afraid of. 

Students each created their own dragon, painted it with watercolors, then cut it out. The dragons were then double mounted on construction paper. The project was finished with descriptive Chinese words. Overall, my students really enjoy this project. It fit nicely with our international theme as well.

Friday, May 18, 2012

1st Grade Pinch Pot Turtles

I really thought about changing this project this year. I was really close. Clay turtles are cool, but is there something cooler? I decided to try to change it around next year. 

My first graders really enjoyed their clay experience. I condensed this project into one day of working with clay and one day to paint. In previous years I gave them two days to work with clay and I feel I got better results doing the clay in one day this year.

Does anyone have any suggestions for other pinch pot oriented projects for 1st? I saw Mr. E do some cool hatching dinosaur eggs and I've seen open mouth monsters. Has anyone had success with anything else? Thanks!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

5th Grade Plush Monsters

Aaah, the joys of Pinterest. I've been faithfully pinning away for nearly a year and I'm constantly excited about the wealth of ideas I can find on the site. It seems like many times I'll pin something and it sits, lonely and ignored, on my board. Other ideas hit me and I immediately begin planning a lesson based on the pin. This is one of those lessons.

By the time my students are in 5th grade, they have definitely hit the stage of being self-conscious about their artwork. They have realized that some kids definitely have more of an aptitude toward art. I try to combat that with projects that are not completely tied to pure drawing and painting skills. Block printing, claymation, sewing, etc. are projects that put more emphasis on creativity and less on technical skills. 

I'm extremely happy with this plush monster project because it is another one of those projects that nearly every single student was really psyched to work on. Each student designed their own monster before making a simple pattern and cutting the main shape out of felt. I hadn't sewn since 8th grade home-ec. That year, I happened to be in a study hall with my mom, who was a 7th grade teacher. After one day, I decided it was too weird and picked up home-ec! I used all of my 8th grade sewing knowledge to show my students how to sew their monsters together, flip the fabric inside out, stuff them, and finish the sewing. They then added details with craft glue. Since this project was TOTALLY new for me, I was a little concerned about how the finished project would come out. Luckily, this was one of the most successful projects of the entire year. I'll definitely be doing this next year!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

5th Grade Claymation

Three posts in three days! This is an absolute flurry of digital activity! I'm still working on getting caught up from the art show. I'll post pictures of the show soon as well.

This 5th grade claymation project has been a favorite ever since I started it four years ago. I don't think the kids would ever let me not do this project. It takes a massive amount of time, but the end result is completely worth it. On top of that, it is chock full of 21st Century Skills! Chock full!

 This year, my 5th grade classes created commercials. Each class created one commercial and I edited them together in iMovie. My students break into groups to write, create characters, and create sets. All students then get to help animate. I pick some of the harder workers to be voice actors later on. This project has actually been finished for a month or two, but I always wait until after the "premier" at the art show before I post it publicly. The video is hosted from YouTube, so you might not all be able to view it at school.

Here is my lesson plan!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2nd Grade Henna Hands

Wow. Absolutely outstanding work from a second grade boy!
This is an absolutely new lesson that I wrote specifically for this school year. My school is incredibly diverse (students from over 30 countries). We are celebrating that diversity this year with a Multi-Cultural Day next week. I decided that my part in that would be writing lessons inspired by various cultures around the world. This one is about India!

It was incredible when I first introduced this project. My Indian students were super excited to create artwork inspired by their culture. Many typically quiet students were sharing during our class discussion of henna art. 

After seeing many examples, my students did a little practice the first day of the project. I made a handout (check out the bottom pictures) and divided it into designs meant for wrists, palms, and fingers. It took a bit of practice, but my students got really good at the plant-based designs popular in henna. 

The final project included two traced hands with henna designs. After tracing the designs with brown sharpie, the hands were cut out and mounted on either green or orange paper. The mounting paper was then cut out to show an outline then glued onto the background paper. I was pretty happy overall with how this project came out. 

Check out the lesson here!

Monday, May 14, 2012

3rd Grade Coil Pots with Plants!

I have great display space just outside my roomfor 3D work!
Whew! It has been a while since I last posted, but I have a good excuse. My art show was last Thursday so I have been a LITTLE busy. The good thing is that the art show went very well. There were probably 400-500 visitors to the show. I'm going to try to get caught up this week and hopefully post a few times. 

I don't truly know the reason, but I seem to change my third grade clay project nearly every year. 4th grade has always done castles, but third grade has had four entirely different clay projects in the five years I have been at Thomas. 

This year, I decided to have my students make coil pots. It was a construction technique that I don't teach to the other grade levels so it made sense. My biggest reason for wanting to have my students create coil pots is because I really wanted to have kids plant seeds and grow something in the pots. After the pots were glazed, I filled each pot with potting soil and gave each student a choice of seeds to plant. I think these turned out really nicely and my students are super excited about their little plants.