Thursday, December 18, 2014

1st Grade Rockets in Space

This isn't a new project. I just like it too much to get rid of it. The end results are super cool, it reinforces basic skills with three types of media, and my first graders love it. That's why I teach it year after year. 

Space is one of those topics that almost all kids love. I get into some basic space knowledge with this lesson and also spend some time describing several images of space shuttles/rockets/etc. I then allow the students to get into their own artwork. 

I typically post my full lesson plan, but this one is simple enough that I'll just post the steps right here. Enjoy!

  • Check out cool pictures of planets and spaceships and watch an awesome space shuttle launch. 
  • Each student uses construction paper to create a space ship.
  • On 12x18 paper, students draw at least three planets and color them using crayons or colored pencils. 
  • The "space" part is painted with black tempera. 
  • Stars are painted on using the handle end of a paintbrush.
  • The spaceship is glued on to finish. 
  • Tuesday, December 9, 2014

    3rd Grade Aboriginal Art

    Aboriginal artwork is fascinating to me. As an artist, I have always been fascinated with the process of making art as much as anything. I enjoy printmaking because of the preparation and thought that goes into a piece before final artwork is ever made. When I think about the process that went into the early Aboriginal art, I'm always amazed. Whenever someone makes their own paint simply to create art I'm impressed. 

    I've taught this aboriginal project for several years and have changed it bit by bit every year. Originally, the students drew and painted an animal on one paper, then did a dotted background on the same paper. That later changed to drawing the animal on a separate paper and adding color with oil pastel before attaching that do the dotted background. This year, I went a similar route with the animals, but changed the background. First, I made it smaller. I went from 12x18 to 12x12. Kids get overwhelmed with the amount of dots they used to have to make. I wanted to simplify that. Second, I allowed students to create some decoration on their backgrounds with cut paper. This further reduced the amount of dotting that was required. I really like how the work turned out this year. I cut at least one full day from the project by making the dotting less complicated. I'll add that on to one of the new projects I came up for later this year. 

    Download the lesson plan here!

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    4th Grade Abstract Tint Painting

    Before I do anything else in this post, let me tell you how proud I am of my 4th graders. They absolutely killed this project. When it comes to detailed painting, I never know quite what to expect. These 4th graders once again did some absolutely amazing work. 

    After starting out the year with the totem pole project, 4th grade students were itching to do some painting. This project let them go nuts with just that. We talked about abstract and non-objective artwork and looked at several examples. After that, students used whatever method they wanted to design an abstract composition. I only asked that it have overlapping shapes. 

    The painting portion of the project consisted of using two colors and their tints. Of course we got to break out the mixing trays; this is always a big hit. Kids just love to mix paint. It's simple. 

    The project was finished with some black lines around the original shapes that had been drawn. Students chose between doing this with paint or black crayon. I think the project turned out wonderfully. 

    Download the lesson plan here!