Monday, April 28, 2014

2nd Grade Clay Dinosaurs

 It's that time of year again- CLAY TIME! I like to have a variety of 2D & 3D projects in the art show so I like to wait until spring to do many clay projects. This is the third year for 2nd grade to make clay dinosaurs. I think they've come out wonderful again.

This lesson is a nice step up for the clay skills of young students. In first grade, they make a pinch-pot based sculpture, so in second grade, I focus on attaching clay together by scoring and smoothing. This lesson could be easily adapted for nearly any subject matter and still teach the same skills. 

A cool part of the display for these dinosaurs is the background. Last year, I cut some blank green mountains to fit the display space and laminated them. Kids who finish early can add background elements they make out of scrap construction paper. It adds a little environment to the display that really helps make the dinosaurs pop!

Click here to download my lesson plan!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

4th Grade 8-Bit Portraits

I grew up in the 80's. Everything was neon, there was a lot of hairspray, and it was the golden age of video games. I could usually be found playing outside, but I also enjoyed sitting down with the NES playing video games on cold or rainy days. Since the 80's are apparently cool again (why???), I've noticed quite of design that is inspired by 80's 8-bit video game design. That was the basis for this project. 

I was totally psyched to start this project. I put together a Keynote that not only contained sweet 8-bit game characters, but the theme music from the games as well. Teaching art with the Zelda theme in the background simply makes everything a little more epic. My students discussed the qualities and restrictions of 8-bit style and then used some simple grid paper to create a couple of practice versions of themselves as an 8-bit character. Students could do a more realistic version or they had the option of putting themselves in a video game of their own creation. 

The final version was done on a grid that I photocopied onto card stock. The work was drawn out with pencil, then colored with colored pencils. I just wrote this lesson this year, and I think it turned out really cool. I may think about using a slightly larger grid next year, but I was very happy with the results overall. 

Click here to download my lesson plan!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Art Show 2014 is in the Books!

I've been rather absent from posting over the last several weeks. Why? Two words. ART SHOW. As all of my teacher readers know, organizing and setting up an art show takes many, many, many hours. Every spare moment I had at school went toward making name tags, organizing work, creating signs, etc. The list of things to do is always exceedingly long. 

The 6th annual Thomas Elementary Art Show was last week and went quite well. Over 1000 pieces of artwork were on display and the 5th grade stop motion films premiered. Attendance was spectacular. It is worth all of the work to see my students proudly telling their parents all about their work. 

I must give many thanks to several 5th grade student volunteers who gave up a week's worth of lunch recess to help with anything they were asked to do. I also need to thank my wife who took a vacation day to help set up the show. Finally, thanks to the Thomas PTO for providing cookies as well as volunteers to help take the show down at the end of the evening. Overall, the show was a huge success. Best of all, it's done now!
My daughter loved her second art show!

A fun Pinterest inspired idea for drawing during the show.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Straight From the Art Room

Sometimes teaching elementary students simply makes me laugh. Earlier this week, a 5th grade girl sidled up to me with her hand in her jacket pocket. She gave me a sly look, then took her hand out of her pocket. She was holding a box of Milk Duds (widely known among my students to be my favorite candy) and several photographs of her pets. She proposed a trade. I draw her pets all in one picture and I get the Milk Duds. Ha! I bet none of you have been paid in Milk Duds for your art! I know all of my art school friends from college will be jealous now.
Delicious Milk Dud candies!