Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH MS K


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Dream Catchers

I love the look of the mixed-media dream catchers from the Smart Class Blog. I knew it would be the perfect end-of-the-year project for my 5th graders. We began by reading the book “I Have a Dream.” It has the most beautiful illustrations.

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Students were challenged to think of a personal dream that they hope to achieve in their lifetime or a dream that would make the world a better place. They created a visual symbol to represent their dream and placed it in the middle of concentric circles. Students filled the rings of the circles with patterns and designs inspired by dream catchers. They also created feathers or other objects hanging down below. Then, they traced their design with sharpies and colored in parts with Crayola Twistable Crayons (which are seriously my favorite art material right now – I am obsessed!) After tracing and coloring their designs, 5th graders used magenta, yellow, and turquoise liquid water colors with salt to create the beautiful background.

I think these are absolutely phenomenal – my only regret is that they are finally finished so close to the end of the school year and they will not e displayed in the school. This is one of those projects that is so meaningful and beautiful that hopefully it will be hung up in students’s homes for years to come.

I am truly going to miss the 5th graders I have gotten to know this year at Northwood. I can’t believe my first year here is already almost over it feels like just yesterday I was setting up my classroom and introducing myself to hundreds of new students. I am so proud of what the 5th graders accomplished with their artwork this year and hope that they carry forward the creative spirit into middle school and beyond!

❤ 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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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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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

 


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Stamped Sculptural Buildings

This project was a big hit with 1st graders!

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We began by reading the book Iggy Peck: Architect and talking about the job of an architect. Then students practiced drawing different kinds of buildings in their sketchbooks using geometric shapes. The next week, we dipped and stamped various objects in black paint to create big buildings.

The third week, students used crayons to color in their buildings. They also got to visit an enormous scraps box and choose different colors of construction paper scraps to use for their pop-ups. We talked about sculpture and 3D and everyone had to include at least 3 pop-ups on their building.

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Creating pop-ups was a challenge, especially having to incorporate them onto the building in a way that made sense and didn’t just look messy. Most of the kiddos god the hang of folding the paper to create a tab on which to put the glue. They really came out great!

 


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Art Hands

This lesson is based on a project by Cassie Stephens

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This multi-media, multi-step, marvelous project was a hit! I am so impressed with the amazing work 1st graders created. We began by using texture mats and crayons on 12×18 paper.

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Students used watercolor paints to create a resist.

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While they filled their paper with a variety of textures and colors, I made my way around the room and painted their hands. WHAT MS. K?! YOU PAINTED KID’S HANDS.. . . ON PURPOSE?!?! This was incredibly exciting for the kiddos and as you can imagine they were just thrilled with the opportunity to have paint all over their hands and for once not get in trouble for it! They got to choose their color from a palette of tempera cakes and I used a soft foam brush to (quite ticklishly) paint their hands.

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They stamped their painted hands onto another piece of paper, making sure to spread out their fingers and get their whole hand to fit on the page. In the 2nd day, we read this excellent story:

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We talked about how even though some people are called “white” their skin is actually peach or tan and while some people are called “black” their skin is different shades of brown. This discussion was a great exercise in character building and cultural awareness for my students. They drew an oval on a paper, added 2 parallel lines for the neck and then used tempera cakes to mix their own skin color. It was tricky for some but with some extra color mixing discussions, most students were successful!

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Some of my classes were behind so we jumped into the last day from there. Others had an extra week so we used it to create patterned paper for the clothes.

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We also used crayons or Art Stix to draw an expressive face.

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The last day was spent putting it all together. Students cut out the head. . .

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The hands (which we drew a bubble around first to make cutting easier) . . .

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And a curved line for the shirt. Classes who did not create the patterned paper used colorful construction paper. Then they glued it all together and if they had enough time, could add a hat, bow, or other accessories. I am thrilled with how much personality these have. They have already received many compliments from teachers and one teacher was so excited about these self portraits that she is planning on doing a writing assignment with her students about them! I am such a huge fan of these types of mixed media, multi step process works because I believe they help students with so many different types of critical thinking and cognitive processes. It may be messy – but it’s worth it!


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Clay Houses

This project was inspired by a version done in summer camp this past summer.

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We began by reading the delightfully illustrated story Home.

Students were inspired by the different homes in the story to sketch their own dwellings.

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On the first clay day, we rolled out a slab and used texture mats and other tid bits to create textures. Students cut the outline of their houses as well.

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The second clay day*, we added details by using pinch, slab, and coil method. Students were encouraged to personalize their houses with details like their address number and other personal things. After a bisque fire, we glaze.

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When the houses emerge from the inferno a second time, they are shiny and bright!

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A Japanese temple:

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A watermelon house:

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Kremlin inspired:

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A castle:

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A rainbow house:

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A tall house:

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The Leaning Tower of Piza:

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A tree house:

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A colorful castle and a wooden house:

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Pokeball houses:

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A dragon on a castle:

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Hooray for houses!

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*I really like to give my students the chance to use clay more than one day. This is important because many of them only get the chance to touch clay once a year and since it is such a special experience I want them to get a chance to use the material for more than just 45 minutes. This can make storage a little challenging but it is worth it for the students to get the exposure to creating 3D shapes and forms.


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Hooray for Fish!

My 2nd graders finished their big project last week and since winter holiday starts next week I didn’t want to start anything new. I came up with this great one day lesson that was perfect for students right before the break! We started the lesson by reading the book Hooray for Fish! Students observed and noticed the bold, patterned, illustrations and identified the different shapes the illustrator used to make fish.

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Then students drew a fish onto 9×12 paper and used a sharpie to trace it.

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They used water color paint to color their fish.

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The last step was to cut out the fish and place it in the “aquarium” to create a collaborative class creation!

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This project is great because it can be done with many different levels with more or less components to make it more or less challenging. I can’t wait to hang up our aquarium!