Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH MS K


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Sleepy Weaving

The idea for this project came from Mrs. Elder’s World of Art. We began by weaving. This is a really tough skill for kindergartners to get the hang of. I think that many of them just don’t quite yet have the fine-motor skills necessary to successfully weave in an over-under pattern. A few kids usually get the hang of it but most are usually on the struggle bus. Because of that, I always teach weaving very sloooooowly. We begin by folding a paper in half like a book. Then I walk around and draw 5 dots on each paper.

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The students write their names above the dots then draw a vertical line going down from the dots.

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Next, they “cut on the line and stop at the dot.” This essentially created a loom on which to weave.

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They cut another paper into strips and unfold their loom.

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Then, they go “over the river and under the bridge” with their “snake” to weave.

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I show them how to do the opposite for the next one so that it creates a pattern. I also tel the it is ok if all of the snakes are next to each other, it still counts as weaving!

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That pretty much took up every single second of the first day. The next day, we created a colorful background with crayons and watercolors. Some classes did not have time to do that so they just used construction paper. On the last day, I did a demo of how to draw a portrait of yourself sleeping. Students could also add a stuffed toy.

Sweet dreams, kindergartners!

❤ 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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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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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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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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Hearts and Hands

This project is the cutest ever! Kindergartners did a great job learning about texture and symmetry with these sweet collages.

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On the first week, we talked all about texture. I gave kinders texture challenges and they got to explore the textures of the art room. I would tell them “go find a texture that is smooth” and they scurried around the room to find a smooth surface. The best one was “find a texture that is hairy.” They all looked around bewildered until inevitably one kid would touch the top of their head and shout “I’m hairy!!” The kiddos used texture rubbing mats and watercolor paints to create a background.

The next time we met, we talked about stamping. I set up centers on the tables and stood at a table in the middle for the hand-print center.

 

I had a table for blocks, a table for fake clay, a table for magnifying glass, Legos, and books. The kids rotated around the room and got to enjoy each center.

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At the hand print center, kids wrote their name on the back of a paper and got to choose a color from the tempera cakes for me to paint on their hands. Then they went SPLAT onto the paper to create hand prints!

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They wiped their hands off and put their prints onto the drying rack.

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The third week, we put it all together. I showed kinders how to draw a “bubble” around their prints to make it easier to cut.

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We talked about symmetry and named different shapes and animals that are symmetrical. Each student chose a colorful square paper that they folded in half and drew a curved line on. When they cut it out they were amazed to see a symmetrical heart! The last step was to glue the hands and hearts to the texture background.

How sweet are these?! They are going to be perfect for the art show ❤


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Finger Print Flower Pots

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This project was one of those that kind of morphs and changes as you teach it to each class. It was very much inspired by the little artists themselves!

We began by reading the book Mix It Up. I read it on the doc cam and invited students to come up to the board to “mix” the colors, press the spots, and push the pages. It was super interactive and fun!

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Kinders were then given a piece of 9×12 paper and a palette with the primary colors. They folded the paper in half like a book and used their fingers to stamp patterns of prints on one of the sides. Then they did the same thing on the other side.

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I went table to table with a spray bottle and gave each paper a quick spritz. Then the kiddos closed their “book” and pressed – just like from the story – and when they unfolded the paper they discovered that their primary colors mixed up!

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These turned out so beautiful and the kids absolutely loved being able to use their fingers to paint! The next week, they began by cutting their symmetrical paper in half again and cutting it down the middle. They picked their favorite piece to draw a humongous letter “U” on the back. They cut it out to be the flower pot and glued it to another piece of paper.

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Next, we talked about the lines and shapes that form a flower. They created 3 circles with straight or curved lines. They added small “U’s” for the petals and 2 horizontal lines for the horizon line.

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The last step was to paint. For this project, kinders got to use water colors to fill in the shapes of their petals, circles, and the ground. I think these are so sweet and the process was great for young artists!

 

 


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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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Tissue Paper Portraits

This project is inspired by this post from the Hudsonville Art Program blog!

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When I saw the example of this lesson on Pinterest, I knew it would be a fun one for my kindergarteners. We began by mixing primary colors to create secondary colors with bleeding tissue paper. Students tore different shades of reds, yellows, and blues. They overlapped their tissue paper pieces to create orange, green and purple.

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I created a mixture of glue water that they painted on top of the torn tissues. This will ensure that the papers stick to the white paper and don’t fall off. However, the paper also looks really beautiful if you let the tissue papers fall off but the colors aren’t as vibrant and the bleeding isn’t as apparent.

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The mixture is one part glue and 2 parts water. I stirred it up several times throughout the day with a popsicle stick to make sure it was diluted. Kinders found out that bigger pieces of torn paper worked better and they were fascinated by overlapping to make new colors.

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The papers came out so beautiful! The next time we met, we did a guided drawing of a self-portrait. Students were encouraged to add personal details and use their knowledge of lines and shapes to draw. They traced their drawing with a sharpie and cut and glued it to their colorful background. They could also add a pet or their name if there was time.