Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH MS K


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Clay Animals with First Grade

Last year, I made clay animals with kindergarten for their PBL unit. This year I did the same thing with 1st graders. Students got to choose from a lion, a turtle, an owl, or a komodo dragon. They researched the animal in their home rooms ad came to art to build their animal out of clay.

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My Teacher Samples

The day that we constructed the animals was crazy. It was a huge logistical challenge to teach 4 different clay forms with details in 45 minutes AND help every kid AND clean up the mess. It helped to have the students sit in groups so they could help each other. Nevertheless, everyone was able to create a clay creature. Once they went through the bisque kiln, first graders used tempera paints to paint their creations.

They turned out spectacular!

When they took them back to their classrooms, they built a habitat diorama. I was thrilled to see that they incorporated some of the skills they have learned in the art room to create their projects!

They even made 2D versions for a display:

This project was awesome. The connection with their classroom learning made the students very engaged in the work and excited to create. I always appreciate the opportunity to collaborate!

❤ Ms. K


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Symmetrical Butterflies

Kindergartners worked hard to make these fabulous florescent butterflies! We began by watching a BrainPop about butterflies so students could get an idea of the body parts and designs.  Then, we folded a piece of paper and did step-by-step drawing of a butterfly. We started with a semi-circle for the head:

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Then added curved lines for the thorax and abdomen:

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Next we drew a big number 3 for the wings:

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And filled them in with zigzags:

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We added antennae too:

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After the drawing was completed, students painted over their lines with black paint. Then, they folded their paper and gently pressed and rubbed to create a “print.”

Sometimes the paint had dried a little and didn’t transfer over all the way. So students problem solved by painting over their hard-to-see lines.

Off they went to the drying rack to dry.

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The next week, we used neon Versatemp paint to fill in the shapes. Students were encouraged to try and paint their shapes symmetrically.

I love how these turned out! They are bright and beautiful but also a little strange in a Rorschach kind of way.  🙂

❤ Ms. K


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Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes

All year long my kindergartners have been obsessed with Pete the Cat. And I honestly can’t blame them because Pete the Cat is awesome!!!! I love all of the Pete the Cat books but I was especially excited when I saw this on in the book store:

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Not only are the illustrations amazing, but the story is super cute too and includes counting and subtracting which is perfecto for kinders. We created these paintings with step-by-step drawing and looking at pictures of cupcakes. Now normally I try and steer away from projects that are this prescribed because I do not want all of the products to look the same but this method of creating actually ended up empowering students and making them feel proud of their work. We began by reading the story and drawing Pete the Cat. We drew a wide letter “V” with a curved line and triangles at the top. Then, students looked at pictures of cupcakes to copy or they could use their memory or imagination. They had to show overlapping with the cupcakes in front of their Pete the Cat. After drawing, they traced all of their lines with sharpies, then they colored in the cupcakes with Crayola Twistables.

The next class, kinders used tempera cakes to paint their designs. How adorable are these!?

As Pete the Cat would say:

“Keep walking along and singing your song, because its all good”

❤ 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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Pattern Pets

This project is based on a lesson from Mini Matisse. My 1st and 3rd graders loved creating pattern pet sculptures! We began with a piece of 6×4 card stock paper, colored pencils, and permanent markers. Students drew patterns with the markers and colored with the colored pencils.

The next week, each student got a handy handout that showed how to draw different animal’s heads and tails. Students did not have to choose from the handout, they could create their own pattern pet too. The handout was useful to get them started though.

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Students used another little piece of card stock to draw, trace and color their pet’s head and tail. Then they cut and glued it to the body. They created a 3D pop up body by cutting an arch shape in the folded paper.

They are sooooooooo stinkin’ cute!!! All of the kids were really into this project and they turned out great. This will definitely be one that I come back to again and again — some 2nd graders even requested to make these sometime this year so you might see them again!

❤ 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Ceramic Animal Faces

This project is amazing!!!!! I love giving students the opportunity to have their own choice and voice in art and this one was supper successful with that. On the first day, students used handouts, drawing books, and iPads to sketch an animal face.

On the second day, 3rd graders cut out the shape of their animal’s face and scratched and attached to add details. They could choose any animal the wanted and had to work really hard to identify and utilize the shapes that make up that animal’s face.

After a bisque firing in the kiln, the animal faces were ready to be glazed. Third graders really blew me away with their creativity and problem solving with this project. They came up with some really neat creatures!

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Horse / Mouse / Dog

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Bear / Unicorn / Lion

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Elephant / Pig

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White Tiger / Owl

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Cat / Cat / Cat (They are all so different!)

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Dolphin / Turtle / Jellyfish

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Pug / Pig / Pug

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Monster / Pig / Pig

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Giraffe / Dog

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Koala / Pug / Pig

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Mouse / Unicorn

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Cat / Deer

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Cat / Cat / Cat

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Cat / Cat / Cat

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Horse / Mad Cat

🙂 🙂 🙂


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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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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