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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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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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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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 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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Kindergarten Stamped Velentines

This lesson was inspired by a project from Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists!

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On the first day, we read a super cute book called “The Shape of My Heart” Kinders loved the rhyming words and colorful illustrations.

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Students drew the letter V at the bottom of a big piece of paper. Then they used cardboard and black paint to dip and stamp!

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They also used marker caps, cylinders, and smaller cardboard pieces to create Xs and Os. The smaller sized stamped hearts were made by me – I hot glued a rolled piece of poster board. The next week, students used tempera cakes to paint their valentines. Aren’t they sweet?!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

 


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First Grade Art Hands

I just love this lesson inspired by Cassie Stephens.  This project is one of my favorites to teach about texture, stamping, composition, and skin color, diversity, and love.

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This year’s batch of first graders really knocked it out of the park!


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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