This year’s batch of first graders really knocked it out of the park!
I have done this project with 4th graders for the past few years and every time they turn out better and better! Way to go guys!
These clay penguins were such a hit that I did them with k, 2, and art club! Kids in all grades were intrigued by these awesome little figurines.
We started off by reading the book If You Were a Penguin. Students practiced drawing penguins in their sketchbooks using geometric shapes.
The next day, we build the penguins out of clay. Students were given a piece of clay and they had to give it a couple of gentle rolls in their hands to make a cylinder. Then, they used their thumb to gently create a hollow space inside.
Next, they used extra clay to create a cone for the beak, spheres for the eyes, and smaller cylinders for the flippers. They carefully scratched and attached all of the pieces together.
After a kiln firing, the penguins were painted using tempera paint with glitter. We talked about how the colors of a penguin help it camouflage from predators when it swims in the water.
Once the paint was dry, students got to take their little penguin pals home! With kindergartners, I kept the paint simple with just orange, black, and white. 2nd graders and art club kids have a wider range of motor skills and were able to add details like headphones, hats, and bows to their penguins so they got to use neon colors as well.
These are so precious — every kid was engaged and excited about the project which made it awesome!!
I also want to talk about organization strategies for clay. Doing clay with 500+ kids can be really crazy logistically. It can be really difficult to stay organized and keep track of everything especially because projects are not flat. Finding the space for everything to dry properly can be a challenge. In the past, I did not have a kiln in my classroom which made it even more difficult because I had to cart everything to the other side of the school to be fired in the other art teacher’s classroom!
Now I am fortunate enough to have a glorious kiln room so I wanted to share how I stay organized with clay. First, when kids are finished working on their piece, they have to bring it to the back table and find a slip of paper withe their name on it. They then write their number next to their name. I use this to label all of the clay pieces – I carve the first letter of their name and their number. This makes it really easy to pass back work and it is a lot easier than carving the entire name.
The projects are separated by class and placed into copy paper box lids on a giant cart.
I keep track of whats what by labeling the box with the teacher’s name, grade, and day that they come to art. I also make sure to hold on to the slips of paper until everything is passed out just in case there is a mix up with numbers or names (there inevitably always is with kindergarten).
Towards the top of the cart, I keep some glazes, a hot glue gun (for quick repairs), and paper bags to take the projects home in. I also have a few of my own pottery pieces that “exploded” in the kiln. These come in handy to show students whose projects may have met an unfortunate fate during the kiln firing. I always show them my own bowls and tell them that it even happens to grown up artists and sometimes you just have to have a good attitude and try again.
The rest of the glaze is in the kiln room organized like this:
I got really lucky when I inherited this art classroom its it fully loaded with tons of supplies including a bunch of amazing Amaco glazes!!! They are organized by under glaze, gloss glaze, and crystal/textured glazes. On a teacher workday a few months ago, I made some test tiles for easy reference:
This was super helpful so that I could see which glazes were expired and which were still OK to use. When students glaze, I place one color on each table with a set of paintbrushes and the test tile for reference. It helps students to envision what the color will actually look like since often it is quite different than what the glaze looks like straight out of the bottle.
Recently someone asked me what my favorite thing to teach in art is. The answer has always been and will always be clay. There is something really special when it comes to working with the natural element of dirt. In a world that is moving increasingly towards digital media, it is important for artists – young and old – to maintain a connection to the earth.
And now I’m off to unload a glaze kiln full of animal faces — blog post about that coming soon!
❤ Ms. K
This project was a big hit with 1st graders!
We began by reading the book Iggy Peck: Architect and talking about the job of an architect. Then students practiced drawing different kinds of buildings in their sketchbooks using geometric shapes. The next week, we dipped and stamped various objects in black paint to create big buildings.
The third week, students used crayons to color in their buildings. They also got to visit an enormous scraps box and choose different colors of construction paper scraps to use for their pop-ups. We talked about sculpture and 3D and everyone had to include at least 3 pop-ups on their building.
Creating pop-ups was a challenge, especially having to incorporate them onto the building in a way that made sense and didn’t just look messy. Most of the kiddos god the hang of folding the paper to create a tab on which to put the glue. They really came out great!
This project — inspired by Art With Mrs. Nguyen — is a 10/10. The process was something fun and different for my art club students and the product is absolutely stunning.
On the first day, we looked at Koi fish in traditional and contemporary Asian art. We also watched a relaxing video of koi fish swimming around in a pond. Students used a handout from Mrs. Nguyen’s TpT store to sketch koi in their sketchbook. They were also allowed to put their paper together with their friend’s to create a collaborative design. They were reminded to show depth by overlapping and make their composition more interesting by making some fish go off the page.
Next, each student was given a sheet of 12×18 inch water color paper. They copied their design onto the big paper and traced over their lines with oil pastels. Then, they used liquid water color and salt to paint. I set up a water color station on an extra table so students could get their own paint.
The painting took a couple of weeks because students were very meticulous about their color choices and sprinkling of salt to create a textured effect. In the end, these turned out to be absolutely beautiful.
Awesome job art club!
This art club project was inspired by this step-by-step instructional I found on Pinterest.
To be honest, I really thought these would be easier for the kids to do but the concept of tree branches turned out to be quite challenging.
We began by making a grid on 12×18 inch paper with a ruler. Next, students used a protractor or traced circles to create a circle on their paper. We talked about how tree branches are “V”s and students drew branches inside of the circles. They had a variety of media to choose from to color their design in — including sharpies, markers, colored pencils, and crayons. The colors and designs were completely up to the individual artists.
The colorful display in the hallway got lots of complements from students and faculty. Great job art club!
This project was inspired in part by Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists as well as another teacher in my county English Avery. I wanted to kind of re-think the way I have been doing collagraphs with 3rd graders to make it easier to get successful prints. For the past few years, I have been doing a collagraph lesson based on the artwork of Jasper Johns. It is actually one of my most looked at blog posts! While it is a very good lesson, the same issue always pops up when printing. Basically, it is very difficult to get every student to create their artwork backwards on the printing plate because it will print backwards. Inevitably there are always upside-down and topsy-turvy prints that illicit disappointment from students.
So this year I figured we would switch it up and create more abstract prints in order to alleviate some of the confusion. I was inspired to base this project on Matisse because we could include so many concepts like geometric/organic shapes, abstract art, and positive/negative space. On the first day, we looked at artwork by Matisse and talked about these concepts. I even showed students a picture of me in front of giant Matisse works at the Vatican!
Kiddos used card stock and cardboard to create their printing plate. They drew and cut out an organic shape and used a hole puncher to create negative space.
The next week, we talked about complementary colors and created a collage to print on. Students chose their complementary colors for a background and used fancy scrap booking scissors to cut around squares that they glued down. They also glued down any pop-ups on their printing plate so they could be ready to print on the 3rd week.
The third week we printed.
First, students rolled out about a pinky-sized amount of ink onto the phone book with a brayer. Then they rolled the ink onto their plate.
They flipped it over onto the complementary colored collage and used a spoon to press down.
Last, they peeled off their collage very carefully to reveal a print.
I am so pleased with how this project went, I feel like the amount of successful prints was much higher and that students really understood the process and concepts. Way to go 3rd graders!
Thank you Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists for the inspiration for this lesson!
I just finished hanging up these amazing 3rd grade paintings in the hallway — I know they will be a big hit displayed by the cafeteria 🙂
We began this project by viewing and discussing paintings by two contemporary female artists:
The painting on the left is by Japanese artist Miroco Machiko and the painting on the right is by Mexican artist Ana Victoriana Calderon. Students compared and contrasted the styles, composition, and media of these paintings and discussed what they thought about them.
Next, we looked at plastic fruits and veggies and drew from observation in sketchbooks.
Students could also use their memory to draw fruits and veggies that were not available in the classroom. After a sketch day, the next step was to draw the designs onto a big piece of paper. Then students traced over their lines with oil pastels. They painted the inside of their fruits and veggies with water colors from the palette. The background was created with black liquid watercolor and salt – that technique was a hit!
They kind of ended up looking like produce in space!
This was a super fun and successful project. Way to go 3rd graders!
❤ Ms. K
Last week we had Fine Arts Night at school. It was sensational!
We used a company called Artome. They were absolutely phenomenal to work with. Several weeks before the art show they sent out their formatting paper. I had my students pick their favorite project to glue to the paper. Everything got labeled and put in a big box which was then shipped back to Artome. They framed everything in their warehouse and came and set it up in the gym. It was all very professional and super easy!
Parents and students came and strolled through the gallery. They could purchase the artwork and some of the funds come right back into the Northwood art room! We had an exceptional turn out and everyone also enjoyed the chorus concert that happened that night too.
The best part of the night was schmoozing with parents and meeting my student’s families. I heard from so many parents/guardians how much their child is enjoying art and how excited they are to create stuff. It makes my lil’ art teacherin’ heart glow!
I also made a couple of fun backdrops for “selfie stations.” Next year I plan on incorporating more interactive displays/activities.
Special thank-you to all of the staff who stayed to help with money! And of course to my art teacher pal Alex!
❤ Ms. K
This project is the cutest ever! Kindergartners did a great job learning about texture and symmetry with these sweet collages.
On the first week, we talked all about texture. I gave kinders texture challenges and they got to explore the textures of the art room. I would tell them “go find a texture that is smooth” and they scurried around the room to find a smooth surface. The best one was “find a texture that is hairy.” They all looked around bewildered until inevitably one kid would touch the top of their head and shout “I’m hairy!!” The kiddos used texture rubbing mats and watercolor paints to create a background.
The next time we met, we talked about stamping. I set up centers on the tables and stood at a table in the middle for the hand-print center.
I had a table for blocks, a table for fake clay, a table for magnifying glass, Legos, and books. The kids rotated around the room and got to enjoy each center.
At the hand print center, kids wrote their name on the back of a paper and got to choose a color from the tempera cakes for me to paint on their hands. Then they went SPLAT onto the paper to create hand prints!
They wiped their hands off and put their prints onto the drying rack.
The third week, we put it all together. I showed kinders how to draw a “bubble” around their prints to make it easier to cut.
We talked about symmetry and named different shapes and animals that are symmetrical. Each student chose a colorful square paper that they folded in half and drew a curved line on. When they cut it out they were amazed to see a symmetrical heart! The last step was to glue the hands and hearts to the texture background.
How sweet are these?! They are going to be perfect for the art show ❤