Sunday, February 12, 2017

Presidents' Day Art & Math with Quarters

Here's a fun way to learn about quarters for both math and art. 

I actually started thinking about this awhile ago when I drove by this wall art in the neighborhood.

The lesson starts out with the kids creating the background so that it can dry by the time they are ready to glue on their coin rubbings. This background is wet on wet watercolor.

Then students get to the real work. Using my favorite PRANG colored pencils, they rub the heads side and the tail side of various quarters, noticing all the details. Working in small groups, and using small magnifying glasses, each group records everything they see on their coins on a record sheet.

Later we record their observations in chart form and discuss them. We actually do this for all coins at another time and have the charts to compare what kids find on them all.

Quarters are such great coins to study since they have started being minted for each state. Depending on the age and skills of your students you can decide how much research to have them do as they discover phrases on some of the state quarters. For example, the Hawaii 2008 coin has Hawaiian words that kids can look up on the computer to find the translation. For those of you who are curious, the Hawaiian translation is "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness." Nice, huh??!!

You can also decide whether to have kids label their rubbings and how detailed to be. Another option is to have students color in each state on a U.S. map to match the color of their rubbing:

I am getting ready to this with 2nd graders and will share some of their art results as they are available. I should mention that I also plan to extend this lesson in math to augment place value/tens and ones work that these students are doing.

Happy Presidents' Day -- hope you enjoy celebrating on your 3 day weekend, too!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pastel Snow People Mural

Here in California we are having our version of a cold weather winter (rainy and in the 50°s). So it seemed a good time to work with 2nd graders on shading spheres to make snowmen!!

You can see how students used pastels to shade the spheres of the their snow people.

After cutting out their people, kids colored and cut out details ( hats, arms, scarves, etc) to glue onto them.

Some students made larger snowmen/women and others made smaller ones. As they went out in the hallway to add their people to the mural, the smaller people were placed to appear further back, giving the landscape the appearance of distance.

The last step was to add snow, which they did by stamping small circles using the handle of a paintbrush and white tempera paint. Of course, we did this on our coldest day of year so far!!
This lesson, like the last one I posted, was based on the book, Snowmen at Night.

As an aside, when I left school after finishing up the mural I went for a quick walk between the thunder showers to share with you. We had a bit of wind the night before, thus the fallen palm fronds.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Pastel Landscapes

For this 2-day project, 3rd Graders started by observing the snowmen in the book, Snowmen in the Night, noticing how the light shining on the spheres of the snowmen created a 3D impression. We also noticed how the snow was shaded in various places. There are many scenes in the book to observe how large snowmen appear closer and are placed near the bottom of the page, and smaller snowmen placed higher on the page give the appearance of distance. We discussed foreground, mid-ground and background in landscapes.

I demonstrated how students could cut a  9" X 12" piece of white drawing paper to create 2 pieces that would be their snow and a center piece that we would use for one of the snowmen. I had some extra smaller pieces of white paper for those who wanted to make a smaller snowman.

Students positioned one of the side pieces above along the bottom of their landscape paper and the other one overlapping it on the other side to create two hills of snow, one behind the other. A few kids had trouble with how to do this spatially. 

They shaded the back hill where it met the front hill. (See examples further down.)

Next we used the center piece of drawing paper to make a snowman, shading one side where the moonlight would not be hitting it. The only tip here is to ask kids to use the side of their pastel and not to press too hard. They blended the pastel with their finger. I had an assortment of blues, purples and grays for them to choose from.

Students used their scraps to color accessories, using plain crayons. I had them use glue stick to affix the snow and snowmen before they started the caps, scarves, etc. They colored and added those as they went. They used pastels to make a moon in the sky.

On Day 2 students used white tempera and pastels to create trees in the distance. They dip the pastel in the paint and, starting at the bottom of the tree, zig zag up and down from left to right. When they no longer see white, it is time to re-dip. They move up the tree making each layer a bit shorter, until they reach the top of the tree. This is a fun technique that can actually be used to make a whole snow scene, people and all!

Of course, kids invariably found their own way to make trees, which is just fine!

The final step was to add snow. We used the white tempera and applied it by stamping with a cotton swab. I cut those in half, since they really only need one side. Might as well conserve when we can!!

Can you find the little guy wearing a sombrero? LOVE IT!!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall Leaf Art - Audition

Fortunately I have some great trees right outside my home that I can visit to collect motivation for this leaf painting project. 
 Last year I used them for this totally different kind of lesson (here).

This year kids will be using the leaves to experiment with mixing primary colors to make the colors they see in the real fall leaves. Part one of the lesson is to encourage students to keep some colors clear and strong as they paint, rather then ending up with a muddy mess. To do this they start with 4 blobs of yellow in each of 4 quadrants (good math vocabulary) of their newspaper. They have the other 2 primary colors (red and blue) to mix in with the yellow to create their fall colors.
 I like using newspaper for this because a) it provides some texture to the leaf, b) it allows me to reinforce that we can recycle and use found papers at home rather than buying paper to use, and 3) it is really easy for little hands to cut.
On a separate sheet of newspaper kids can experiment with mixing any combination of the three colors, discovering that this is where brown comes from!! Once one discovers it, they all catch on and the muddier the better! Success for everyone.
While these color sheets are drying, each student gets a piece of card stock to experiment with watercolors. This can be done on the same day or a second day, depending on your time constraints. I actually like to do these on two different days, making a whole lesson on the differences between painting with tempera/or acrylics and watercolor. This is also a good time to let kids experiment with what happens when you blot watercolor with plastic wrap, sprinkle salt on it, or spray it with water drops.
When all the painted papers are dry, the composition begins. Kids can trace around the real leaves to make the leaves they will cut out. They can also paint the back of real leaves with various colors (I used white here) and make leaf prints.

When leaves are cut out, students can experiment with composition. I like to talk about size, direction of leaves, and overlapping, depending on the grade level. Sometimes I like to talk about setting one leaf apart (that is why there is only one white leaf in my sample) like Van Gogh had just one white iris in his painting of irises.
I am thinking about having kids cut out around the blue area and gluing the whole thing on another piece of board, like this:
. . . but I haven't quite decided about this step yet:)  That is what auditions are for!!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Pathway of Dots

After reading Peter Reynold's book, The Dot, last week 3rd graders designed dots in a segment that was to become a larger, collaborative "pathway of dots."

 They used a color system of cool colors to create the path and warm colors with a cool center to design their dots. The actual lesson can be found here. The only addition I made to that lesson was to have students use their 4 fingers (not including their thumb) to measure the width of their pathway. That gives the path continuity when putting the segments together.

Kids LOVE seeing how the segments can be attached in different ways! This is fun for them to do on the rug in groups before it actually goes up on the wall!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Another International Dot Day Audition

Am I obsessed with Dot Day or what??!! There are just so many places you can go with dots that I find it hard to decide which ideas to use in the classroom. Here is another project that I am thinking about for this year. It is a collaborative effort I am calling Dot Pathways.

This lesson requires simple materials which you can see in the photo below. I like Crayola watercolor markers.

The pathway starts with two watercolor marker lines creating a "channel" within which students will draw and design their dots, using either warm or cool crayons. 

Notice that the marker lines are either warm or cool and all but the very center of dots are the opposite (warm/cool).

Once the dots are designed, kids use a paintbrush and clear water to draw the watercolor marker into the pathway and the background. This is a good opportunity to talk about using just the tip of the brush and which direction to draw out the water. I like to have them paint the pathway quickly with plain water before drawing the watercolor color into the water.

When all is dry, students can join their pathways to create a whole collaborative network of paths.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Oil Pastel Dots for Dot Day - Art Audition #2

With September just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about International Dot Day to celebrate Peter Reynold's book, The Dot. Each year I get engrossed in thinking about all the wonderful possibilities of tying art lessons to this fabulous little gem of a book, and this year is no exception. You can see previous years' lessons here, and here.

The first idea I am auditioning for this year is this simple (and quick) lesson that will introduce oil pastels and pinch-tearing all at the same time.

The supplies are simple: 9 X 12 construction paper pre-cut into fourths, some oil pastels, and a piece of background paper on which to glue the shapes. Pentel is one of my preferred brands because the pastels are soft and easy for students to use with good results.

The first step is to "pinch tear some dots". I would have kids practice this first using scratch paper. You can see a lesson on this by clicking here.


Once students have a few "dots" torn they start coloring areas using either warm or cool colors, using a color wheel as a guide to their thinking and planning.  I like to have them overlap areas of color just a little to see how the colors interact and what new colors appear. Using white to tint some of their colors makes for some nice experimenting, too. You could have students use any color system, not just warm and cool.

I had intended to use just black construction paper, but decided I liked the variety of using lighter colors of paper, too. I also thought about and tested using baby oil and swabs to blend the pastels slightly, but found that that didn't really add value (except, perhaps the lovely clean aroma of the baby oil in a classroom!) to this project. That is one of the advantages of auditioning a lesson first, before using it in the classroom!

The final step is to glue the dots on a background paper (either plain or painted if I want to get a little messier), overlapping edges just slightly.

I am actually thinking about doing this as a collaborative project that will cover a HUGE area, with hundreds of dots!!!