Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH MS K


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Stitched Mandalas

When I found a bunch of burlap in my supply closet, I knew I wanted to do a stitching project with it. I have really enjoyed the challenge of teaching stitching and textiles this year to my art club. The kids were really engaged and excited about the projects and it made me want to teach the skills to my regular classes. At first I looked around on Pinterest to find ideas of what I could have the kids stitch. I saw all kinds of cute things like animals and flowers. While those were all really cool, I wanted to do something ore abstract so that new stitchers could feel more confident with their skills, especially when their work doesn’t “look like” anything. So when I saw a stitched mandala, I knew it would be the perfect inspiration.

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Teacher Sample

We began with a PowerPoint about mandalas and radial symmetry in nature, culture, design, and architecture. It was very inspiring and many students had personal connections.

We talked about how the mandala is symbolic of space and time and even watched a Tibetan Monk mandala ceremony.  Their minds were blown when they saw the monks sweep away the sand at the end which prompted a lively discussion about what it means to make art. With that, we began to create. Students started off by tracing circled onto a piece of burlap.

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Then, I did a needle-threading-and-knot-tying demo. This was really tricky for some kids who had never done this before but there were enough kids who had some prior experience so they became helpers.

 

I taught students how to use the “Paper Taco” to more easily thread their needle. Then we talked about how when you stitch, you have to go straight up and straight back down. The most common mistake that anyone made was that they tried to loop their thread around the side of their burlap. This resulted in a big tangled mess more often than (k)not. (Pun intended!)

There really was a tremendous amount of dexterous problem solving with this project. I constantly reminded the kids to be patient with themselves and with me.  They also had to be patient with each other when getting yarn because only so many kids could crowd around the yarn boxes at once. These boxes are the coolest ever – you put the yarn cone in the compartment inside and just pull the end through the slit at the top. I always have trouble with spools of yarn getting tangled up and messy so these boxes were the perfect solution!

After a few class days of stitching on the circles, we moved on to creating designs in between the circles. I showed students artwork by Elizabeth Pawle so they could get ideas for other types of stitches and designs to create.

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Textile by Elizabeth Pawle

Students were challenged to create more designs other than the regular stitch. They also chose buttons to sew or hot glue into the center. The process of stitching was very motivating for students. I had groups of 4th graders come visit me in the morning to work ore on their projects. It is now the second to last day of school and I still have kids coming in asking to work on these! But as you can see, they are absolutely phenomenal – great job 4th graders!

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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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Ojos de Dios

Weaving is not my favorite skill to teach. I have talked before about how I think it is kind of boring and not that creative because they are all pretty much the same. HOWEVER I am now a believer after doing this project.

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I was inspired by the delightfully colorful blog Art, Eat, Tie Dye, Repeat for this lesson. We began with a PowerPoint featuring examples of Ojos de Dios and some background info about the native art form. On that first day, students created a painted paper that was supposed to be used for their background (more on that later).

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I did a demo on how to paint a galaxy and that seemed to be a very popular option! The next week when we met, each student received an X made out of popsicle sticks that they labeled with their initials and the numbers 1-4. I used regular school glue to create the Xs to give to the students but hot glue would probably work too.

Now, before I go any further I must disclaim the extreme challenge that this project was for both myself and my students. This one is kinda complicated. I had watched a couple of youtube videos to see how to do it (this is a good one even though I have no idea what she is saying this must be what my ESOL kids feel like).  I even used my specials team as guinea pigs and practiced teaching it to them (thanks guys!). One teacher pointed out that it was a lot easier to do from the underside and after  lot of trial and error, the students agreed! I taught students how to do both ways and they could choose the easier method that worked for them. There was certainly some frustration getting started but in the end, most students were incredibly proud and even asked to make another one! Anyways, back to that X –

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Some kids needed help tying the string to the middle but most had the hang of it.So the first step is to tie the string in the middle and it doesnt really matter which numbers it is in between.

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The pattern for weaving is “over – under – under.” Start by placing the string over one of the sticks(2).

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Next bring it underneath that stick(2):

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Put it under the stick next to that one as well:

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Then place it over that same stick (1) to create a line:

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Next, go under 1 and 4 and over 4:

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Continue the pattern of “over – under – under.” Lines will start stacking up along the popsicle sticks.

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The other side will look like a square or diamond:

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I told students to leave about a finger’s length of string to tie on the next color.

 

Then continue the pattern. You can also weave from the front by alternating diagonals. Wrap the string around one stick then go diagonally across, then under, then across.

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Each color added will create more lines on the back and more diamonds on the front.

 

To finish it off, tape the end of the string to the back of the popsicle stick.

 

The kids really enjoyed getting to choose their favorite colors and express themselves through color.

Now when I showed students the original plan which was to glue the weaving to the paper we created the first day, there was basically a mutiny. It turned out they wanted to have the Ojos de Dios separate. I decided that we would create envelopes with the papers instead so that they could put the Ojos in instead of on them. Students folded their paper in half and used a hole puncher to punch holes up the sides.

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Then, they cut small pieces of yarn and tied them to create fringe. I told them not to pull too tightly on the yarn or the paper would rip. They could use 1 or 2 colors and cut the fringe to the length of their choice.

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They could also braid yarn together to create a strap if they wanted to.

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These turned out SO COOL!!! The best part was that they were really proud of their work and super engaged. They loved the idea of creating something functional. A couple students used sequins to create a jeweled effect and one kid even wrote “MK” for a Michael Kors bag (lol)! Students who were able to make more than one weaving could glue one of their Ojos to the outside of the pouch for more decoration.

We were able to finish these just in time for Mother’s Day and many students are planning to give them as gifts! Today one student brought me a great gift – she had created a miniature one at home ❤

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Koinobori

Last semester I took a class at Georgia State University on Asian Art. I was so inspired to do some of the awesome projects with my kiddos!

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The first day, I showed students examples of Koinobori wind sock fish. They are used in Japan during festivals to show members of the family. Student’s loved making the connection to weather, a unit they did for PBL.

We used templates to trace the fish shape on 12×18 paper. Students cut the shape out and unfolded it to create a symmetrical fish shape.

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They created a pattern with lines and shapes and traced over it with sharpies.

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The next day, 1st graders used red, yellow, and blue tempera cakes to mix colors and create a vibrant design.

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The last day, students used stamps to print patterns on newsprint paper. They cut the patterns into strips and glued it to the tail.

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As they stamped, I rotated around the room and punched holes so they could tie a string to hang their fish. Then they glued the edges and put it all together.

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The best part about this project (aside from the science, math, and social studies connections) is when the kids swing their fish and they catch in the wind the tails move really beautifully. There is something truly special about kinetic artwork and 1st graders were not only engaged and excited but really motivated for this project! Here are some of the fellas swingin’ their Koinoboris around:

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Italy and Greece

Tomorrow is the first teacher workday for the 2015-2016 school year. That means that it is time for my summer-minded brain to get on board the Back-to-School train. This is easier said than done as I have had the great pleasure and fortune of being able to travel this summer. I went to cities near and far and just returned from an incredible trip to Italy and Greece. If you follow me on Twitter you have seen many of these pictures already but I wanted to put the story all together here on the blog.

This trip was months in the making and was made possible by a very detailed (possibly too detailed) google doc and strict savings plan. It was absolutely incredible to see works of art that I have grown up learning about and teach my students about. There is something very surreal about being surrounded by ruins or frescos that are thousands of years old, it makes you feel connected to humanity in the past, present, and future. This was the second time I have been out of the country and I was just as enchanted and inspired.

So with that in mind I present to you my journey abroad!

We began in Milan. Milan is a modern and clean European city that has more contemporary architecture than architecture of antiquity. However there is a magnificent Duomo cathedral in a Gothic style! This building was enormous and so intricately detailed.

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I loved riding the hop-on-hop-off bus in Milan which included an audio tour describing some of the sights.

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The next stop was Monterosso al Mare, one of the cliff towns of Cinque Terre. A friend recommended me to go here and after watching Rick Steves I was sold!

I can only describe Monterosso as magical with its lovely beaches:

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Charming town:

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Splendid views:

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and the BEST pesto I have ever had:

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I went on an amazing hike from one town to the next which led through winding vineyard hills and cliffs overlooking the sea:

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The next stop on the trip was Florence. A tour through the Tuscan countryside was first up on the agenda.

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Walking around the city of Florence was so much fun, I even stumbled across an exhibit featuring paintings and sculptures of Salvador Dali inspired by the poetry of Dante.

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The Duomo in Florence is astounding:

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Near the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge there is a hidden alleyway filled with interesting graffiti:

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The bridge itself is magnificent with its crowded street filled with shops selling gold and jewelry.

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The leather market nearby is also quite an experience:

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While in Florence I had the chance to visit the Boboli Gardens, part of the Pitti Palace. The garden has many sculptures of mythology and an excellent view overlooking the city.

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After Florence, we headed to the coast for Sorrento. Sorrento is famous for its lemons and coastal fun. The town was charming with shops, restaurants, and small churches.

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The best part of Sorrento was a boat tour to the nearby island of Capri. We got to see the famous lagoons and grottos and float once again in crystal blue Mediterranean water.

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After Sorrento, we travelled to Rome. Rome is a city of mighty magnificence. Everything there is massive and impressive and symbolic. There are sculptures in every plaza that have stories and histories. Just walking through the streets you can truly feel the splendor of one of the greatest cities the world has ever known.

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The magnificence wouldn’t be complete of course without a trip to the Colosseum! Being inside and getting to walk upon and touch ancient stones was so impressive.

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We paid a visit to the Pantheon next and marvelled at the great condition it remains in. Looking up inside you can see the domes roof with a hole in the middle. The design was stunning!

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The Vatican was another stop not to be missed. These pictures really do not capture how completely gigantic this building is.

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There was so much amazing art inside from cultures all around the world especially Greece and Egypt.

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Every surface was decorated with vibrant frescos and every ceiling was sculpted with ornate details.

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My favorite part of course was the modern art collection including Matisse and Dali!

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The very best part of going to the Vatican was climbing the 551 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. The climb was exhausting and difficult – we spiraled up and up and up through tight steep stairs until we finally emerged high above Rome and looked upon the magnificent city. What a view!

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Leaving Rome marked the end of the Italian portion of the journey and the beginning of the adventures in Greece. We started out on the island of Santorini, famous for its beaches and sunsets. The appropriately named Black Sand Beach was a rocky shore of volcanic stones.

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The sunset was breathtaking and a true masterpiece of the natural world.

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The island is covered in buildings made of white stone and there are many shops including a wonderful pottery studio with some of the nicest and more talented artisans I have ever met!

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The appropriately named Red Beach is a sight to behold with its red stones and rocky shore:

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I haven’t been everywhere yet but I am certain that Santorini is one of the most beautiful places on Earth! From this paradise we travelled inland to Athens. I was so excited to see Athens because I teach my 3rd graders about The Parthenon and couldn’t wait to see the building in real life. So first thing we headed up the hill to the Acropolis.

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From the top of the Acropolis you can look out onto all of Athens and Mount Olympus. It was a spectacular view!

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Being in front of the Parthenon was a very meaningful experience for me. I was of course impressed by all of the great landmarks in Italy but there was something about seeing this original structure marking the glory of the ancient Greeks that struck a chord for me.

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After the descent back down to street level, we visited the Acropolis museum. The museum was beautiful and it was so cool to see so many of the ancient adornments and sculptures up close.

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The next stop in Athens was the original modern Olympics Panathenaic stadium from 1896. It was really neat!

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Then we went down the street and made it just in time for the famous changing of the guard. The was the guards moved and dressed was so bizarre and intriguing!

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We got to do another hop-on-hop-off bus tour which was a grand way to see Athens. The trip ended with a glorious rooftop view of the acropolis at sunset.

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This trip was an incredible experience, I learned so much about structures and art that I have only ever seen in pictures. I am excited to bring this experience back as an influence in my teaching. It is hard to believe that summer is already over!

I’ll post some pictures of my classroom sometime soon as I get it prepared for students. I have a few neat new things I am excited to implement and share. Here’s to a great summer and a great upcoming school year!

❤ Ms. K

 


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Senufo Mudcloth

4th graders ended the school year with a great project that incorporates line, shape, pattern, contrast, color schemes, and symbolism.

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We began by talking about Senufo culture and looking at a variety of artwork including 2D and 3D works. Students were inspired by the West-African motifs and patterns and created a border around a square piece of paper using symbols and patterns.

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Students were allowed to choose the animal they wanted to feature in the middle of their composition. I encouraged them to pick an animal that has significance to them in some way. Some students brought in toys or pictures to reference and I also provided step-by-step drawing pages of animals.

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After tracing over everything with sharpie, 4th graders chose an analogous color scheme to use for the background. They painted with liquid water-colors and sprinkled on some salt at the end. I love the contrast in these paintings, they really turned out great!

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Las Guitarras de Paracho

When I saw THIS LESSON at artwithmsgram.com I knew it would be perfect for my 5th graders. Most of my students at my home school are Hispanic and many of them have relatives or are from Mexico. The real world connection made this lesson so successful! We began by talking about the town of Paracho, Mexico. We watched a few clips from this documentary and looked at pictures of the town to get some context.

Next, we reviewed intermediate colors and created painted paper with texture.

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The 12×18 pieces were cut in half so students could mix and match and trade colors and textures.

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I brought in my guitar and managed to stumble through Ode to Joy in an attempt to impress my 5th graders. #epicfail They were polite enough to clap haphazardly.

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They used templates to cut out the shapes of their guitars. . .

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And assembled everything onto black construction paper.

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Strings of yarn were added as well as details with oil pastels.

 

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Rock On!

 

 

 


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Aerial View Maps

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This project was inspired by This gem over at Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists. Students began by reaseraching interesting and meaningful places using Google Earth on iPads.

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They were fascinated to walk down the street in a big city, see where they used to live in another country, or visit world famous land marks. When they ultimately decided on a place, they sketched an aerial view of it. After transferring their sketch to a piece of art paper, students used tempera cakes to add color. They could choose any 2, 3, or 4 colors + black and white. But WHY Ms. K?!? Because I’m the queen of art, thats why. Also, sometimes you have to make tough choices in life and/or I don’t want them all to have a “green grass” background. 

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For the few 5th graders who weren’t suffering from #yoloitis #senioritis #toocoolforschool this was a really successful project. Many of my students come from different parts of the country or world and are expected to adapt and acclimate to American/English/Georgia culture with absolutely no regard for their own personal background. The opportunity to not only look at and explore but reflect  on “home” was a very special experience for many of the kiddos. And even the ones who depicted their own neighborhood or the mall down the street had a great time exploring the lay of the land of their community. 5th graders wrote an opinion piece as their artist statement describing or explaining why the place they chose is so awesome.

 

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