Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH 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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Warm and Cool Landscapes

This project was a great kick-off to the school year for 2nd graders.

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We began by reading this book:

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The illustrations are pretty psychedelic and a great visual of landscapes and color schemes. Students used oil pastels to draw a landscape with warm or cool colors.

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The next week, they used the opposite color scheme to paint with water colors.

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The bright, bold colors really make a big impact in the hallway display!

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Emoji Color Wheel Adjective Flowers

Last year I did a similar version of this project and I really wanted to pump it up with some pop-culture references and common-core connections this year. So, I threw in emojis and adjectives!

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An emoji (I explained to my 2nd graders) is the little smiley face that you send in a text message. This lead to the conversation – how can colors show emotions? We described how different colors make us feel and realized that we were naming adjectives.

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To create the flowers we began by making painted paper and cutting it into circles. We used scraps to create complementary colored petals. (This also tied into the whole feeling thing by talking about how you feel when someone compliments you.)

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Then, students used oil pastels to create emojis and write an adjective to describe the face and the feeling. These turned out hilarious and adorable!

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Faith Ringgold Story Quilts

Check out these fantastic Story Quilts created by 2nd graders. They were inspired bythe book Tar Beach, written and illustrated by Faith Ringgold. For full step-by-step instructions, check out THIS POST.

 

I will fly in the White House. . . . How will I get past the guards? 

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I would fly to Bikini Bottom (From Spongebob Squarepants)

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I would fly to Mexico. . . Hi Mexico

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I would fly to Portugal. . . YES!

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I would fly to Haiti. 

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I would fly to a rose. 

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I would fly to the moon. 

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I would fly to New York. 

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I will fly into the TV. 

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I am Alix and I will fly to the ocean. 

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I will fly to Coca-Cola world.

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I would fly to New York. 

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I would fly to Minecraft. 

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I would fly to Ice Cream Land. 

 

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I would fly to New Orleans. 

 

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I love how imaginative these are, so full of stories and creativity!


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2nd Grade Stamped Self Portraits

Have you always wondered what 2nd graders look like? WELL wonder no more because here they are. . . some truly supurb 2nd-almost-3rd graders:

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Students got to explore their own faces for this self-portrait project. They peered into mirrors (and made quite a few infinity tunnels) to study the shape and proportions of their faces. They used the ol’ Dip n’ Stamp method to get the big bold black outlines.

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Some classes used tempera cakes to paint and others used crayons to color. . .

 

This one reminds me of THIS.

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And this one reminds me of THIS.

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This one actually looks EXACTLY LIKE the student who made it in a really weird and accurate way:

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This girl really does have blue bangs (but not lips or eyes):

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Those teeth. . .

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Wink! 😉

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Spiderman Ninja with a bicycle in the background:

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xoxox bff:

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This one is also super accurate and looks just like the kid:

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Art!<3:

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Frankenstein in a city with bats at night:

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???:

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The shirt says it all. . . hehehe:

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And did you know that a Timenado is a tornado that takes you back in time? This illuminating peice of information was revealed to me by a particularly imaginative 2nd grader. It sparked a great meta-philosophical debate about time travel which is already an interesting topic but hearing 7-year-olds talk about it is a whole ‘nother story. Heres hoping the last 11 days of school are filled with more imagination and randomness!


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Roller Coaster Sculpture Hats

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This year’s group of 2nd graders LOVED making roller coaster hats! We began by watching a video about an awesome coaster: http://viewpure.com/695wtDCwDR8

Students loved the story Roller Coaster too!

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We sketched roller coasters using expressive lines and imaginations. The next week, we created colorful paper by choosing color schemes.

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Students had to look at the “menu” and choose one scheme for their “dinner” on one side of the paper and one scheme for the “dessert” on the other side of the paper.

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We constructed the base of the hat with construction paper. The Crayon Lab Blog has a great tutorial on how to make the base of the hat. Students cut their painted paper into strips and folded and bent to create wacky roller coaster lines. They used hole punchers to create positive and negative space and scrap papers for the car full of people. They are so creative and awesome!

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Oh and who is that with a backwards name tag and inside out dress? That would be yours truly! And no it was not Backwards Day or Weird Clothes Day or anything like that, just your average ran-out-the-door-in-the-nick-of-time Tuesday before spring break. KEEPIN. IT. REAL.