Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1st Grade Rockets in Space

This rocket has a built-in space broom and
sweeper to help keep space clean. Obviously.
 I typically do this project earlier in the year, but it ended up getting pushed back a bit this year due to having a student teacher this fall. I like to work with first grade in a very sequential manner in order to try to build concept knowledge, skill level, and familiarity with art tools and techniques. 

I usually use this as one of my first painting lessons in order to give kids practice with filling in areas and painting around others. I suppose it would be WAY easier to just use a black piece of construction paper for the background. It would also be WAY less fun for my students. First graders love to paint. Of course you know that already.

This is a project that ends up being pretty successful all around. I love integrating science curriculum into my projects so it's a bonus for everyone. 

I don't want to take full credit for this lesson. I think I may have originally found a similar lesson on Deep Space Sparkle or another blog, but I don't remember which. I wrote up my own plans for it and you can check them out here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2nd Grade Egyptian Cats and Dogs

Kids love ancient Egypt. Don't even try to argue about that one. You know it's true. Of course they do. Pyramids, mummies, history, that cool 80's song by The Bangles. What's not to love? 

Of course this project is based on all things Egyptian. We start out by watching a little Reading Rainbow video about ancient Egyptian practices and culture. It's fun to have a discussion after to talk about all of the cool things we just learned. Next, it is just a matter of making some art. This project is split up into several steps. I have my students use rulers to make the border, then the draw their cat or dog. They also write their names using a simplified form of hieroglyphics. Next, they sponge paint over the entire paper to emulate the texture of stone in a pyramid. 

In the past, I've had the students paint their animals, but I had pretty mixed results. This year I tried oil pastels in an effort to cut the length of the project and also get better results overall. I found that they tend to rush with pastels, so I'm not sure if the change in media was entirely successful. Overall the kids really enjoy the project and that makes me pretty happy as well. 

The lesson plan is here!

Friday, January 18, 2013

A little reorganization!

Today was a teacher work day. No meetings, no obligations, no students. It is purely a day to work in the classroom and get things done. I love these days. They allow me to take time to do some things that I wouldn't ordinarily have time to do during the regular school day. Today, I graded work, hung a couple new projects in the hallway, and got to a little project I found on Pinterest. 
The pile of scraps before.
Witness the sheer size and uselessness!
I ORGANIZED MY CONSTRUCTION PAPER SCRAPS. Take a bit of time to let that sink in. It was a pretty massive undertaking. I use the scraps all of the time with all kinds of projects. My scraps were starting to overflow in one bin and they were in complete disarray. Too many kids throw useless scraps into the bin which makes it harder for the next class to find good paper. 

I simply went through all of the scraps, got rid of the tiny pieces, and set the useful ones aside into piles of warm colors and cool colors. I then cut all of the pieces into rectangles with the paper cutter. No more dangly parts, rough edges, or random cut-outs. These pieces are all begging to be used. The new rule with my students will be to trim all scraps into rectangles and make sure they are placed in the proper bin. Hopefully this was time well spent!
I made signs (two for each bin) showing which colors are allowed in each bin.
The signs are laminated and taped down with packing tape. (Just try to peel that off...)
I went from a single overflowing bin to two fairly empty ones.
Between splitting up the scraps and getting rid of the useless ones,
my stock is pretty depleted. I'm sure my supply will grow soon.
The bins magically fit PERFECTLY under the table.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

3rd Grade Winter Cardinal Landscapes

Two posts in two days! Woohoo! It's something of a record this year. I'm back at school now and am very excited to get back to working with students. 

As art teachers, we all know that teaching is not all we do. What? You need a new set for the music program? Can I make a certificate for an award that will be given out this afternoon? Can I make sure it looks "wintery" in the halls? Yeah. Sure. I'm really not complaining about these things at all. I work with a wonderful staff that is very supportive of the arts. I always try to work in winter projects right before break to help support my music teacher who puts on a winter program as well as the PTO that organizes a weekend event right before winter break. This particular project was designed to, of course, be educational as well as set the wintery mood. 

This is the second year I've done this particular project. I took the idea of a landscape and had my students create a kind of condensed version that includes layers of branches with a cardinal (Ohio's state bird!) positioned in the foreground. My students really get into this project and it is very successful overall. 

I will admit that I'm thinking of overhauling this project for next school year. I've always admired the work of Charley Harper and I'm thinking of using his artwork as inspiration for future "wintery" projects. 

Check out the lesson plan here!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Little Artist!!!!!

I think some of my regular readers may be a little disappointed with my number of posts this year. This blog is VERY important to me, but I will admit that I haven't been keeping up with it the way I should be. I promise that I have been doing all kinds of cool stuff and I will be updating more soon. 

I think I have a pretty good reason for not posting as much lately. On December 13th, my wife and I welcomed our first child, Olivia, into the world! She is amazing and adorable and awesome and all of the things that new dads always say about their kids. After being off for a month for paternity leave and winter break, I'll be going back to school tomorrow. I'll be posting more projects, including several brand new lessons, very soon. For now, try not to say, "Awwwwwwwwwww," when you look at this picture!