Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH MS K


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Stitching and Pets in Art Club

This Cassie Stephens-inspired project was challenging but fun for my art club kiddos. We began by painting a piece of 12×12 cardboard with tempera paint. I showed students how to create a gradient by blending colors.

Then, students filled out the practice page to kind of get in the mindset of stitching.

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It was a little difficult for them to grasp the concept of creating these 2D lines in 3D space at first but with a little bit of practice, they got the hang of it. The square design was certainly the easiest but I had many students challenge themselves to create one of the more difficult designs. On the back of the cardboard, we traced a plate and created 16 notches.

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There was a lot of peer support that happened especially when I loudly declared that I would not be tying any more knots for anybody. Students could choose any color of yarn they wanted to create their design.

As students completed their stitching, they began a quick and easy pet portrait project. I like to bookend really challenging projects with simple ones sometimes to keep motivation and morale up. The stitching proved to be SUPER challenging for some kids so I figured it was time to take it easy with a simple drawing and painting project based on this lesson.  One of my more observant and sassy 5th graders asked “isn’t that for the little kids?!” But they enjoyed it anyway 😛

Not everyone completed the pet portraits but the nice thing about art club is that the students have the memory and motivation to work on their projects for long stretches of time. They will get a chance to finish as we move into our next project of emoji plushies!

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Collab Crayons

This Cassie Stephens – inspired project was a huge hit with 4th graders. As a matter of fact, even students from other grades were also fascinated by the examples that hung on my sample board!

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We began this project by reading a really funny book called The Day the Crayons Quit. There is also a sequel which we read if there was enough time.

 

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Then, students got into groups of up to 4 people to trace their crayon templates. They used white colored pencils on black construction paper. We talked about how to carefully draw the lines so that the crayons overlap to show depth. Students also got to look at actual crayons to add the details of the wrappers.

I think a lot of the students were shocked to find how difficult it was to work together even with their very best friends. They really had to communicate and cooperate to get the job done! The next week, we talked about how value can show form. Students used oil pastels to color their crayons making sure to add a highlight with white. This was another tricky step because they had to discuss their color choices and compromise with each other to create the composition.

Of course the groups that worked together the best had the most successful works of art in the end. Overall this was a very engaging and challenging project for 4th graders. They did a great job!

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One group that finished early even had the chance to play around with photo editing with iPads. They used filters and effects to change their work and it was super cool!

 

 

 

 

 


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Ceramic Goblets & Turtles

I did 2 different projects with 4th grade this year for their clay unit. Friday classes always fall behind schedule because of random breaks, teacher work days and all kinds of things. So with my Friday class I wanted to do a quick clay project so that their clay wouldn’t dry out in between all the times we will be able to see each other. We made neon clay turtles and they are amazing! Here is my sample:

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On the first day, 4th graders pinched out a pinch pot and created coils for the head and legs of their turtle. They also added details by building or carving. After going through the kiln, the turtles were ready to be painted with neon tempera paints. They are so psychedelic!

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The other 4th grade classes had a bit more time so we took a few weeks to create clay goblets. I really loved doing these with 4th grade because many of the remembered making coil pots in 3rd grade and pinch pots in k-2nd grade so they were able to use prior knowledge in their work.

On the first day, students made coils. They could lay their coils flat on top of each other like snakes or create spiral coils that are upright. I don’t have any pictures of this step because I was rollin’ coils like a madwoman! In order to get the correct circumference of their form, they wrapped their bottom flat coil around a small cup. When class was over, students placed their coil forms (finished or not) in a labeled Ziploc bag to be stored for next time.

On the second day, students carefully removed their coils from the bag. They got a new piece of clay and created a pinch pot. Then they “scratched and attached” their pinch pot to their coils to create a goblet. If there was enough time left, they could add handles or other details. Once they finished, they wrote their name and number on a slip of paper so I could carve it into the bottom.

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After a bisque firing in the kiln, students were able to glaze their pottery. I like to put one color on each table and have the kids carefully move around the room to use the colors of their choice.

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These turned out to be really beautiful. I think the students enjoyed creating someting functional 🙂

 


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Starburst Designs

The idea from this lesson came from Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists and from ilovethatteachingidea.com

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I really love this project because it was pretty open-ended and provided a great opportunity for students to get their doodlin’ on. I have always loved to doodle and find that not only is it a meditative and relaxing process, it can also improve comprehension and creativity. Check out this fab TED Talk about doodling!

We began with a very tedious day of drawing line segments, points, and angles. When I used those terms there was almost a riot in the art room — “WHAT MS KATZIN? WE HAVE TO DO MATH TODAY!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!”

Muahahaha — little did they know it would lead to a beautiful design!

You start with a horizontal line anywhere between 3 and 5 inches. Label the line segment with “A” and “B”

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Next, draw a dot in the top middle.

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Connect the dot to A. . .

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And then to B. Then draw another dot.

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Then connect that dot to A and B.

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After the first couple of dots, there were some students who caught on really quickly. I had those students fill up the rest of their paper on their own. They needed 5-6 dots on the top and bottom of their AB segment. They had to make sure their design was balanced and filled up the space. For the kids who needed a more step by step approach, we went dot by dot together.

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Next, 4th graders got to use colorful permanent markets to trace over their lines. Because our last project was so restrictive with colors, I let students have free choice of the colors they used for their starburst design – the only criteria was to show contrast.

The last couple of days were spent filling in the shapes with patterns and doodly designs. Students used sharpies and colored pencils to fill up their starbursts. Then, they cut them out and glued to colorful construction paper.

This was a really neat project. It was one of those projects that empowers young artists because it had such a high success rate and was so visually pleasing. Great job 4th graders!

❤ Ms. K

 


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Warm & Cool Self Portraits

The idea for this project came from Artsy Artful Amy .com!

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This project took a looooooong time for 4th graders to complete and I still have kids coming to visit in the morning or during lunch to finish. But I must admit it’s totally worth is because these self-portraits are turning out absolutely beautiful.

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On day one, we begin by talking about the proportions of a face. Students use mirrors to practice drawing their self portrait in their sketchbook. They also start brainstorming words that describe themselves. If anyone was having trouble coming up with descriptive words, they could ask their friends and the people at their table to describe them. Thinking of words turned out to be tricky for some, I had to remind students that we are looking for adjectives and descriptive words so no, “potato” is not going to fly.

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The next art day, students used a ruler to create horizontal lines going down a piece of 9×12 paper.

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They drew a simplified version of their self-portrait on top of the lines. Next, they were supposed to fill the rectangle spaces with their descriptive words and trace everything with sharpie. I showed them how to split up the words to make it fit around the face and how to streeeeetch their letters to fill the space horizontally. This was also tricky because some students started doing acrostics or drawing waaayyyy too small. With a bit or practice and patience, most were able to get the hang of it.

The next step was to choose the color schemes. Young artists decided if they wanted their face to be warm or cool and the background had to be the opposite. Then they used water colors to fill in each space with a different color. This step was tricky because many students instinctively wanted to paint their whole hair shape one color but they eventually got the hang of painting each tiny shape different.

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I am SOOOOO excited about these masterpieces, I can tell the kiddos who really put in effort are so proud of their work. I love how personal and expressive these are and it was a great way to get to know my 4th graders. This project is definitely one of those that I will have in my art teacher bag o’ tricks for years to come.

❤ Ms. K!

 


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My First Art Market & Classroom Updates

Well it has certainly been awhile since I have posted! Ever since the school year started, things have been incredibly busy.

I have made a few new paintings and a lot of new ceramic pieces . . .

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I also achieved one of my long time goals to participate in an artist’s market! I have always enjoyed going to art festivals and for the past few years I have been scheming about how to participate in one. A couple of weekends ago, I finally did and it was AWESOME!!

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I was a part of the Indie Craft Experience Made market. If you are from Atlanta you may have heard of this amazing group that hosts pop-up artists markets all over the city. This one was at the Hudgens Center for the Arts. I worked really hard on my booth setup and ended up having an excellent day meeting art-lovers and sharing my work. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to sell my artwork!

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I believe it is so important for art educators to practice creativity in non-school environments. You have probably heard that old saying “those who can’t teach” but I think that the best teaching comes from authentic, hands-on experience. It can be hard to make time to create especially after a long day of managing a classroom but it is truly meaningful development professionally and personally!

So while I have been gallivanting around as an artist I have of course gotten into the full swing of things with my art students! This bulletin board was created and inspired by our school mission statement.

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After the first couple of weeks of easy-going-getting-to-know-ya type activities, we jumped right in to some great projects! Kindergarten is currently working on fingerprint flower pots (I’ll be posting a blog about this process soon.)

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First graders are also learning about mixing primary colors and are using tissue papers to create a background for tissue paper portraits:

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Second graders are creating a lovely landscape with a foreground, middleground, and background.

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Third graders learned all about Georgia O’keeffe and painted beautiful flowers:

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Fourth graders are creating a warm/cool self portrait and they are turning out AMAZING!!!! (Blog post about this one coming soon too!)

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5th graders are drawing and painting a succulent still life. They are so whimsical and fun and there will also be a blog post about these soon as well.

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I am loving my new school and have been completely enchanted and charmed by my incredible students. I am so thankful to be a part of the Northwood community! As we are wrapping up projects, be on the lookout for blog posts of some fun new things in the works 🙂

❤  Ms. K

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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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Printed Neighborhood

This project was inspired by Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artist’s City Prints. I loved the component of students getting to trade their prints!

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The first day, students looked at the artwork of Friedensreich Hundertwasser and used his architecture and designs as inspiration to sketch their own whimsical buildings and houses. After choosing their favorite sketch, students drew it with a ballpoint pen onto styrofoam. They had the opportunity to print as many times as they wanted on any color of paper they wanted. The process was pretty fun!

When all of the prints were dry, the buildings were cut out and students could trade with their friends to create a landscape collage. I am enamored by the talent of these kiddos! 🙂

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They picked out a colorful background and used Art Stix to add details.

 

 


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4th Grade Collaborative Design Projects

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how to make my classroom more constructivist. That is, more student centered and student lead. A true studio is run by the artists and supports creativity through open-endedness. I want my students to think like artists so it is important that they get opportunities to work collaboratively (as artists do) and have a loosely structured task that they can use their imaginations to complete.

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This project is perfect for that philosophy! I did a version of it last year and wanted to push it even farther this year with more materials available for student use. Students worked in groups of 2, 3 or 4 to create a person with garments, details, and accessories. We talked a lot about collaboration, communication, cooperation, and compromise. I believe this experience was invaluable for my students because they were able to practice their teamwork skills and ultimately created some excellent artwork!

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A lot of people ask how I grade a group project and the answer is that students are still graded against a rubric based on standards but with the added component of if they were able to be successful in their team. Success in a team means that they contribute and practice kind behavior and patience as well as all of the elements of group work mentioned above. A group project is not more complicated to grade but it does require vigilance and great observation from the instructor to make sure things are running smoothly and all students are participating correctly.

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Because students were able to choose the colors, materials, teammates, and outcome of their project, they were more engaged throughout the process and excited and motivated to work. While a project like this definitely requires some skillful classroom management, it is worth it to see the pride students have in their work and their deeper understanding of a true artistic process.