Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH MS K


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Emoji Plushies

This year art club has awoken in me a love for stitching/weaving/textile art. I have never been super into teaching these skills before but my art club kids loooove doing these kinds of projects and I find myself loving them too. So one of the most beloved projects of all was the coveted Emoji Plushie.

Now I have never taught plushies before so I though hey, how hard can this be? Well the answer is kinda tough when you have needles that have to be coerced and wiggled in just the right way to get through the double layer of felt. And its kinda tough when you go to the craft store and panic about how much fluff you should buy so you buy a 6 bags and didn’t even go through half of one bag and now you have a ton of fluff waiting around to be used. Anyhow, I digress and in all honesty I am glad that I finally learned how to teach this because it was really fun!

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First, art club kiddos had to design their emoji. It had to be one of the yellow ones because I mostly had yellow felt. They go to look at iPads for ideas.

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Next, students traced a circle and cut out the face. Then they used remnant scraps to create the details.

I set up mini hot glue guns on the back counter for students to glue their details onto the yellow circle. I was rather apprehensive about letting 20 4th and 5th graders use a hot glue gun as you can imagine. So we did a little safety tutorial and if they had a really small piece I glued it for them.

Check out these cuties!

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The next couple of art clubs were spent stitching around the circles. I gave a disclaimer to the kids that it would be really challenging to get the needle through the felt but in the end everyone powered through and created an awesome emoji plushie.

Some were based on real emojis, and some were completely made up. All of them are amazing – way to go art club!

❤ Ms. K

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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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Koi Fish Pond

This project — inspired by Art With Mrs. Nguyen — is a 10/10. The process was something fun and different for my art club students and the product is absolutely stunning.

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On the first day, we looked at Koi fish in traditional and contemporary Asian art. We also watched a relaxing video of koi fish swimming around in a pond. Students used a handout from Mrs. Nguyen’s TpT store to sketch koi in their sketchbook. They were also allowed to put their paper together with their friend’s to create a collaborative design. They were reminded to show depth by overlapping and make their composition more interesting by making some fish go off the page.

Next, each student was given a sheet of 12×18 inch water color paper. They copied their design onto the big paper and traced over their lines with oil pastels. Then, they used liquid water color and salt to paint. I set up a water color station on an extra table so students could get their own paint.

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The painting took a couple of weeks because students were very meticulous about their color choices and sprinkling of salt to create a textured effect. In the end, these turned out to be absolutely beautiful.

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Awesome job art club!

 

 

 


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Art Club Trees

This art club project was inspired by this step-by-step instructional I found on Pinterest.

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To be honest, I really thought these would be easier for the kids to do but the concept of tree branches turned out to be quite challenging.

We began by making a grid on 12×18 inch paper with a ruler. Next, students used a protractor or traced circles to create a circle on their paper. We talked about how tree branches are “V”s and students drew branches inside of the circles. They had a variety of media to choose from to color their design in — including sharpies, markers, colored pencils, and crayons. The colors and designs were completely up to the individual artists.

The colorful display in the hallway got lots of complements from students and faculty. Great job art club!

 

 


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Heros VS. Villains (Paper Mache Masks)

I am so impressed with the creativity and problem solving art club members showed during this project!

At the beginning of the year, I had found a bunch of plastic mask forms in my storage closet. I have always wanted to try paper mache with students but have always been deterred from just the thought of the logistics of classroom management. So when I had Art Club up and running somewhat smoothly, I figured it might be something they could handle.

Originally the plan was to just do masks – maybe portraits or something. But then two of my art club members came early one day and started talking about having super powers. One student said he would use his powers for good: to help people. Te other student said she would use her powers to steal and be evil!

This conversation inspired me to give my art club students the prompt: create a hero or villain! On the first day, we sketched our ideas. Students had to illustrate a hero and a villain and choose their favorite to elaborate upon. They included powers, an origin story, and info about an arch nemesis.

On the second day, we used a paper mache technique to cover the mask forms. I mixed 2 parts school glue to one part water. Students dipped 2inch newspaper strips into the mixture and started to layer them onto the mask form. This day was incredibly messy but super fun!

The next few weeks were used to design and engineer the look of the masks. Students had to come up with a color scheme plan in their sketchbook before they could get paint.

I also set out a whole bunch of craft materials for them to use like wires, yarn, sequins, glitter glue, and twisty wire. They pretty much had complete freedom for how they wanted to design and decorate their mask to bring their hero/villain to life. Some students had a big engineering challenge for how to create 3D aspects or how to achieve a certain effect they were going for. In the end, these turned out to be hilarious, authentic, silly, meaningful, memorable, and fun. Check em out!

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The Popper

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Yashee

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The Puppet Master

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Waffle Man

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News Lady

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Star Gazer

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Father of Rain

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Night Cloud

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CYT

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Berry S’more

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The Phantom of the Night

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Heat Breath Man

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Fruit Man

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Glitter Girl

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Bow Giver

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Lightning Strike

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Lightning Lady

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Perfect Line Lady

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Way to go art club!!


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Clay Creepies

This is my first year doing an art club and there are a lot of things I really enjoy about it. I really enjoy getting to know some extremely talented and motivated students in a more focused setting. I am really enjoying the opportunity to try out exciting projects and materials that would be difficult or impossible to use with an entire class or grade. We are currently working on paper mache masks that I will post about soon.Our first project of the year was a clay “creepie.” This is a project that I have done a million times in a million different ways with 7-17 year olds. I thought it would be a fun and motivating first project for my art club kiddos!

We began with a hunka-chunka clay that we turned into a pinch pot. Then, extra clay bits were pinched, rolled, and attached to create all the features of a monster or creature. I am so impressed with the creativity of this group. They really put their imaginative efforts into their creations and created some crazy clay creepies.

Way to go art club!

❤ Ms. K