Please Don't Eat the Artwork


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Collaborative Paintings

I found the idea for Collaborative Paintings on Pinterest from this blog: I figured it would make a great one day project while we transition from Unit 1 to Unit 2 because some students still needed to finish up their work. We talked about what it means to COLLABORATE and COOPERATE  and how people can work together to create art. Some kids had a hard time with this concept and asked for their own paper but ended up embracing the idea once they had permission to chose their team members. (Not an option I would give every class but the 5th graders I tried it with today are exceptionally well behaved and cooperative.)

We started off by taping 18×24 white paper with masking tape. Students had to work together to decide where to put the tape and one team was inspired to make the British flag.

Next, students used tempera paint to create colorful designs. When they were finished painting they carefully and slowly peeled off the tape to reveal a very cool painting.

These came out really nice and the kids had a great time making them. This project would be successful for almost any grade and could be adapted to fit in with specific color scheme and thematic standards.


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5th Grade Spacescapes

I love outer space. So, when I found this project in the database for my county, I was excited to teach it to 5th grade. Our last project was based on street art so I thought I would tie that theme in and show the kids this video: This type of art is very cool and I have seen it ‘performed’ live several times in downtown Atlanta by various street artists.

Week one was spent creating the background for our spacescapes by using chalk pastels and watered down white tempera paint. Students also used different lids, tubes, and cups to trace their circles.

They splattered white paint to create stars and noticed that some of the splatters looked like constellations. Students had the option to create planets from out solar system or their own made up planets. They debated what color Pluto should be and if Neptune is more blue or green. This was a great cross-curricular connection to science.

During week 2, we talked about VALUE, TINT, AND SHADE. Students contemplated the way that planets have one side that is lighter (facing the sun) and one side that is darker (turned away from the sun). I showed them how to achieve a 3-D effect by adding white and black to their colors to make their circles look like spheres. The students enjoyed combining different colors of oil pastels to create both realistic planets like Earth and made up planets like “puke planet”

After creating 5 planets, students cut them out and glues them to the background. They had the option to add rings, shooting stars, and even aliens! Students even added black holes, galaxies, and wormholes.




5th Grade Graffiti Names

Most art teachers are terrified of teaching graffiti. This is understandable considering the implications of a child going out into the world and actually doing graffiti. It is illegal and vandalism. And most art teachers do not want the blame for when that child becomes a hooligan. I have a true love for street art and believe that in 2012, it is not only a form of contemporary art but a social movement that will be part of history. That being said, when I teach street art, I very dramatically stress the fact that IT IS ILLEGAL TO TAG ANYTHING THAT DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU AND YOU WILL GET ARRESTED AND GO TO JAIL!!!!!!! I make this very clear to students. When we look at pictures of street art (we looked at tags and work by Banksy for this lesson) there are always a couple students who ask “did those artists go to jail?” and I slyly answer, “No, because they got permission of course.” This is obviously not true — the very nature of street art is one of anarchy and belligerence. But I am not teaching kids to be belligerent anti-society vandals; I am teaching them about modern pop art and how they can use the style to express themselves.

We talked about the style of graffiti letters, how they are not always easy to read (it was fun to try and untangle some of the tags I showed them as a class) how artists use embellishments like arrows and curvy wavy lines. We started off by drawing the letters regular. Then we turned them into bubble letters. Last was the fun part of adding graffiti details. Students had to use a variety of patterns and shapes to fill the space and I reminded students to make their compositions balanced.

Some students struggled with what to add but when I asked them what kinds of things they like to do, they were quick to add basketballs, pencils, flowers, headphones, and even magnets (from a kids who loves science). We painted using INTERMEDIATE COLORS of liquid watercolors. Students had to paint with contrasting colors. I urged the students to experiment with mixing colors and blending or splattering the paint. This was an overall successful project that the kids really connected with.