Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH MS K


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Eco Summit Quilt & Craftsmanship Poster

I LOVE teacher workdays. There is nothing quite like the peaceful sound of silence which is very conducive to getting work done. I am so thankful that I just got two because I have completed an amazing display and created a cool resource for my classroom. Lets start with the display.

My principal asked me to create an installation where students could reflect what they learned on Eco Summit day. Eco Summit day was a few weeks ago and it was AMAZING. It was basically a conference about the environment and students got to attend different workshops where they learned about fuel, water, animals, and the environment. As the leader of Eco Team I was so thrilled that the entire school would get some schoolin’ about the environment!

The art teacher who was here before me had the students create this really awesome display with cool colors:

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I really wanted to create something that would complement this so I decided that we would use warm colors. I was planning to create the same type of thing but then i was presented with an ENORMOUS vertical bulletin board. I was intimidated about filling it up! So whilst I was perusing through my blog feed, I spotted Art With Mrs. Nguyen’s quilt project. I was INSPIRED and knew it would be the perfect way to display the Eco Summit work.

I showed 2nd-5th graders a PowerPoint about modern quilting artist Libs Elliot. We talked about geometric shapes and negative space and quilts. Students got to choose their colors to create their own quilt square. They got one square, one triangle, and one rectangle. They could fold and cut to create a geometric quilt square.

Those blue booklets in the pictures are what they used to take notes during Eco Summit. They chose their favorite fact that they learned and wrote it on their quilt square.

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With nearly all of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade creating a quilt square, I ended up with several hundred pieces. I measured out my gigantic bulletin board and figured I would be able to have 25 columns and 11 rows. I picked the 242 best squares and created a pattern of colors in Microsoft Word. This felt like doing a really weird crossword or Sudoku and I actually really enjoyed this problem-solving aspect of putting this thing together.

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In the end it didn’t really matter because the colors were so mixed up that I don’t think you can really tell that it is a pattern. It still looks pretty near though! The lighting in the hallway isn’t fantastic so you will just have to take my word that it looks much better in person.

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I can’t wait for the kiddos to see it all put together when they get back from the long weekend!

I also had time to create a resource for my classroom that I have been wanting to make for a while. My art teacher friend Alex made one for her classroom and I finally made one too! This craftsmanship poster will serve as a guide to students showing how to use art materials properly.

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And now I am off to check off a bunch of other things on my to-do list. 🙂 🙂

Mrs. K

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Moana Landscapes by 2nd Grade

The idea for this project comes from the Apex Elementary Art Blog. I wanted to start off the year for 2nd graders with a step-by-step drawing project. I often get the sense that my students are confident painters but when it comes to drawing their hesitation and doubt is very apparent. Drawing is a very difficult skill. You have to use a part of your brain that does not often get exercised to look at something and try and figure out how to remake it on your paper.  Most art media is much more forgiving and mistakes can be hidden or changed. Drawing can be frustrating for elementary kids because it is an art form in which imperfection becomes obvious very quickly.

That being said, I personally find that it is easiest to draw when using a drawing book or a youtube tutorial (lately I am obsessed with Draw with Jazza) so I wanted to bring that same experience to my students so they could gain some confidence. We began by drawing step-by-step together. The drawing was excellent for reviewing different kinds of lines and shapes and parts of a landscape (foreground, middle ground, background). Here is an animation of the steps:

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The kids drew with pencil and then traced over their lines with sharpie. We talked a lot about overlapping and size placement to show depth. A lot of students were wondering why there are flowers floating around in the foreground and I really didn’t have a good answer for them so I finally just turned on the Moana soundtrack and said that it is supposed to be from Moana. This seemed a reasonable enough answer to distract the students from the obvious weirdness of the foreground flowers. We continued the Moana jam sesh as we painted.

I love all of the unique details my students added to these whimsical landscapes like dinosaurs and sheep and houses and trees and all kinds of cutie little things.

Mrs. K


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Glue Resist Hearts

I really love the glue resist on black construction paper. I have done it in some way every year since I began teaching. For a while I had the kids make autumn leaves and even did a few where they made their initials. I can definitely say that this iteration of the project is my absolute favorite. In fact, this might be one of my favorite projects that I have ever taught because the product is just so incredibly beautiful. So how did we do it?

We started off talking about symmetry. We identified symmetrical shapes together.

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Students drew a heart on a piece of black construction paper and filed it up with expressive lines. Then they traced over all of their lines with liquid glue. The trick here is to make sure to keep the glue bottle close to the paper and squeeze and move so it doesn’t get blobby.

The next day, we talked all about warm and cool colors. We sorted out the colors on the board so students could reference while they colored.

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Originally I was going to have the kids use oil pastels but I decided to take the plunge into the ocean of messiness that is chalk pastels. And I am GLAD that I did! These were totally worth the mess which wasn’t even as bad as I thought it would be. The kids did a great job coloring their work using warm and cool colors.

I love love love LOOOOOVE how these came out and I want to do more chalk pastel amazing vibrant magic artwork with other grades asap.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

-Mrs. K


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Guitars in Grade 2

I have done guitars before and wanted to give em’ a fresh twist this year. The lesson is based on one from Art With Mrs Nguyen . com. We began by looking at guitars and artwork from Mexico. Students looked at the wooden tables and drew what they observes. They traced over their lines with black crayon and painted with brown tempera. This made the paper look like it had a wood texture!

The next week, students used templates and construction paper to cut and glue the shapes. The week after that, we added designs and the yarn strings. I had the kids come up to the example and draw music notes on the doc cam:

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They used crayons or oil pastels to create details:

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I love they way these turned out, it was so much fun for the kids to get to trade colors and shapes with their friends and make connections to music class!

Nice work 2nd graders!

❤ Ms. K

 


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Cakes

Second graders were wild about this fantastic cake project! We began by looking at the artwork of Wayne Thiebaud. Students compared and contrasted his paintings and noticed that most of his work looks realistic and uses bright colors. Inspired by that, they set to work! On the first day, students created a design in their sketchbooks. We did step-by-step drawing to make our cakes look like they have 3D form. It was tricky to get the lines curved just right so that it looked like the cylinders overlap. Students who really got the hang of it could add a piece cut out of the top. The next week, students drew their design onto a big piece of paper. They could add details to really personalize their cake too. They traced over all of their lines with colorful permanent markers.

The next class, students painted their cakes with fluorescent liquid watercolor. I am usually a HUGE fan of Sax brand watercolor but I must say that their neon set is not that great – it is really thick almost like glue and the colors are super transparent. It also feels kind of gummy even after it dries. That being said, these still turned out absolutely beautiful and look delicious enough to eat! The confetti background really brings the party spirit.

Nice work second graders!

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❤ Ms. K


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Self-Portraits

Usually when I hang displays of artwork, the displays are homogeneous and feature the same project from a variety of different classes. I was inspired by a recent conversation about displaying artwork to mix it up a bit for kindergarten, 2nd, and 3rd grade’s self-portraits.

I had an art teacher a long time ago who always said that when displaying artwork you should mix up the projects so that viewers don’t compare the works. Each student’s work should be appreciated on it’s own and that is easier to do when the work is surrounded by a variety of projects.

Since kinder, 2nd, and 3rd grade all finished their self-portraits around the same time, I thought it would be fun to display them all together. They are so colorful and the mixture of media and methods is really awesome to see!

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I love how each one is so unique — even though the students experienced the same demonstrations and used the same materials during the process, their products are all so different!

If you are interested in seeing any of the step-by-step lessons for these self-portraits you can see kindergarten’s here, 2nd grade’s here, and 3rd grade’s here.


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Clay Penguins & Clay Organization

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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

 


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Landscape Paintings

Second Graders completed lovely landscape paintings this week. We began by talking about the parts of a landscape (foreground, middleground, and background) and how to show depth by overlapping. Students sketched their landscape idea from memory, imagination, or a real place they have been.

Next, they created a final draft on 9×12 paper and traced their lines with sharpie. They used watercolor paints to add vibrant colors making their artwork come alive!

The last step was to fill out the Art Reflection Neighborhood. The first house says, “What do you like best about your artwork?” The second house reads, “What did you learn from making your art?” And the last house says, “What would you change to make it better?” This is a great way for young artists to reflect on their design and process. It is also a great literacy connection that reinforces key concepts and vocabulary.

 

Great job second graders! 🙂

 


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Neon Letters

To wrap up the school year I wanted to do a project that would be personal and fun for the kiddos.

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We began by sketching a letter on a 12×18 piece of white paper. Students could choose what letter they wanted to do and I suggested using a letter with some significance like your first name, last name, a name of your family member, etc. I did a demo on the board for how to draw a bubble letter for each kid in the class so they could see how to do it if they had never done it before.

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Students drew their letter on the other side of their paper HUGE and used black glue to trace over their lines. They filled their letter with expressive lines and patterns and shapes. I created the black glue by mixing together approximately 2 parts glue to 1 part black tempera paint. It required a little bit of shaking up before each use.

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Dealing with the black glue took some clever materials management logistics. Some of it got really drippy and if the kids accidentally touched papers it would smear.Also some of the papers tilted on my ancient drying rack and dripped onto others.  I told them to just try their best and if a mistake happened, turn it into a masterpiece! When we added the colorful paint, most students who had a blob or smear were much happier with it.

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The next week, we used fluorescent tempera to paint. I LOVE these paints! They are so bright and vibrant.

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This was the perfect project to end the school year!


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Ceramic Owls

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This past summer in clay camp we did an adorable owl project and I was so excited to try it out with 2nd graders this year! We began by rolling a slab and adding texture.

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The next week, students folded their slab and pinched owl ears. They used extra clay to add details like a beak, eyes, and wings.

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We finished by glazing with shiny, bright colors. 2nd graders are so excited to take their amazing creations home!

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