Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Kandinsky Project- Manipulatives

I'm excited to share the next several posts with you.  I'm calling them The Kandinsky Project.  The last several weeks of school my kindergarteners were inspired by Kandinsky's Circles.  It's by no means a new lesson for any of us art teachers, however, we explored the idea of the repeating circles with several different mediums. 

These project will be posted in no order at all.  The last several weeks of school really is challenging for a specialist because the schedule is in flux.  Classes on field trips, award ceremonies, and music performances... not to mention the mental vacation that some of our students start before summer actually begins. So I was very flexible with these lessons. 

I have so many manipulatives in my classroom. I have everything from blocks to a collection of container tops.  This way of creating for most classes was an 'extra'.  If the lesson ran short, I would give the challenge of using manipulatives to create the repeating circles.  As you can see below, these are some examples of the students doing this for carpet time (extra time) in class. 

I also used this lesson as my primary activity.  There was demo sand discussion before asking my artist to team-up and work on a white sheet of paper.  They were asked to use a container top first and then build out their circles from that.  The arrangements of the manipulatives were photographed by me.  The pictures were celebrated in a class by projecting them onto the smartboard as well as sharing them on Seesaw to parents.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Resource Training and Solutions

This post is to give the participants of my training at Resource Training and Solutions the full presentation with links and supporting materials.  This post will be developing and changing as we go through the day.

Click here for a link to the presentation.


Amazing participation from the participants today!! Here were some more links to our discussion and lots of resources shared by our participants.  Our slide show was also updated. Hope all of this learning is helpful to you.

  • Fujitsu Computer: participants suggested this device for ease of drawing capabilities. 
  • The discussion of what would be a good online blogging tool.  I use Blogspot, but I have a lot of teaching friends using Weebly and Wordpress as well. Another suggestion from a participant today was using Tes Teach... I have not used it but it looks like a great option for collecting resources for your class.
  • Suggested from participants ShowMe and Explain Everything are two tools to allow you to write or draw on an image/screenshot.
  • BenSounds is a great place to find some royalty free music. 
  • The Sketchnotes book I showed you is The Sketchnote Handbook.  Other resources for Sketchnoting can be found here
Please reach out to me with any additional questions,  Thanks for attending.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Warm and Cool Cityscape

I saw this amazing post on Instagram by @pleasanthillartcenter and had to give it a try in my own classroom.  I chose to change the mediums, but this project was perfect for our warm and cool color concept.  A big thanks to Pleasant Hill Art Center, you have to check out their website and Instagram for more inspiring works.

I started this lesson my color wheel magnets (see previous post). The fist day I placed them on the board and explained the concept of warm and cool. We then did a pre-plan on practice paper of how we would draw the city for our design work. The practice was work was placed on a final sheet and then there was a quick review of warm and cool colors.  This time, I handed out the magnets and asked them to place the colors on the warm or cool side.  It's amazing how interactive simple tools like magnets can be for students. 

Here is how I brought the kids through this cityscape.

1. Draw a horizon line.

2. Draw four lines of equal length on either side of the horizon line.  I told them to imagine the horizon line was a mirror and they are trying to make the reflection the same on the opposite side. 

3. Connect the lines with a roof top. 

This is as far as I brought them with the drawing.  The next two classes were a review on color theory and painting.  I placed the paints at each table to create a station line setup.  Students would paint a section, leave their brush with the paint, and find a newly open spot.  Lot's of movement in the classroom this way. They first did the buildings. when I saw some were finishing up with that... I told them to join me on the carpet to explain how to paint the sky/water. So buildings first, then the opposite sky/water with the warm colors.

The second day of painting was much quicker and with fewer mistakes. Practice makes better :)

Now we are on class number four.  The painting is done and it's time to add the details. I gave students oil pastels to finish their work. 

The project turned out amazing.  Students were able to make the project unique with the details on their buildings. This was a perfect project for my second grade. Again, Thanks for the inspiration Pleasant Hill Art Center! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Shrinky Dink Jewelry

This is not the first time I have shared how amazing shrinky dinks are in class on this blog, and it probably will not be the last. As I was wrapping up the school year I wanted to give my 5th graders a WOW project.... in this case, I mean a project that will make them say WOW!! Shrinky Dinks was just the thing!! 

For those of you who did not grow up in the 80's (the first go round of this product) as I did, you may not know what Shrinky Dinks are. It's plastic sheets that you can draw on, cut out, and punch holes in. After you are finished manipulating the plastic, you place it in an oven at 350-ish degrees and watch the magic happen. The plastic shrinks to about 1/3 of its size.  On it's way to shrinkage, it folds and bends and looks like it is being destroyed.  It's quite entertaining to watch. 

A regular oven will work.  You just need a cookie sheet or something oven safe and has a flat surface. In a classroom situation, I have a toaster oven that works well. This way, the students can see first hand the magic.

The materials for my students for this project was a 1 1/2 X 4-inch sheet of plastic (cut down from 8X10), colored pencil/sharpies, an elastic string, and beads. I always get the 'frosted' Shrinky Dink because there is a little tooth or texture to one side that allows the students to use colored pencil or sharpies.  The time allowed to work on this project was about 45 minutes, but most students were done in about a half hour.

I had the students design the plastic (on the rough side of the plastic) using either colored pencils or sharpies. I asked them to keep it as a design rather than words or numbers.  When students use characters, they will often end up backward because there are two sides to this plastic. Once they bring the plastic up to me, I use a hole punch for each end.  I typically punch 3 holes next to each other so there is space large enough for the elastic to easily go through. YOU MUST PUNCH THE HOLES BEFORE SHRINKING!!

For this quick make and take, I gave students elastic and beads.  They strung the elastic through each hole as shown above, and then added the beads. Finally, they tied off the bracelet! I gave the suggestion to add clear nail polish to the knot when they get home to assure it's connection for a longer time.  A little drop of nail polish hardens and makes the knot more secure.  This was a GREAT send off for the class of 2024.  Good luck in the middle school kiddos! 

For a more advanced version of Shrinky Dink jewelry, please see this previous post. or for a more focused lesson on the design of the jewelry, please click here for this previous post

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fiber Weaving on a Loom

In the last month of school, I have been posting on Instagram the amazing weavings that I do with my 1st graders.  Why are they amazing?? Because they had all my first-grade students working hard on these magical little fiber weavings right up until the last minute of Art class. Motivation can be challenging at the end of the year, but I have always found that fiber weaving engages my young artist like nothing else. 

I was asked so many questions about the weavings that I thought I would put together a little 'how-to' lesson to explain all the things I have learned over the past 15 years of teaching students fiber weaving.  I made a presentation with resources about weaving vocabulary, suggested materials list, students samples, but best of all, I filmed 6 videos explaining the how to start and end these weavings in my classroom.

The videos talk about how to string a cardboard loom.  This process is something I start early in the year.  I also have volunteers help me with stringing the looms. This is a great job for parent volunteers to either complete at your school, or at home. I show how to prepare the yarn for your class, as well as a successful way to distribute the yarn.  I give a video sharing how I teach my students how to weave... it has been tested and improved year after year, and it works... really works for most if not all students.  Another video shows how to successfully take the fiber weavings off the loom and distribute them to your classes. It's everything I could think of.

This lesson plan is intended for teachers who are a little nervous to introduce fiber weaving to their students. It could be helpful for a Visual Arts teacher, however, I also make it to assist a Regular Ed teacher who feels fiber weaving would be a great addition to their classroom. I think weaving is one of the best activities to support and improve fine motor skills in our young students.

To celebrate this new lesson I'm putting on a sale for this item for a limited time.  I have this item priced at $12.00 (resources, students samples, and 6 videos).  For the next few days, I will sell this item for $9.60.  That is 20% off!!  This sale will end on June 19th so please visit soon!