Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Marbling Made Easy

This project is way fun and turns out soooo cooool! I did it with my 6th graders when teaching about color, but I think it could be done with younger grades as well. This could be done with any size paper, I decided to make mine small because I used small containers to create them in. We made 4 (1 using primary colors, 1 warm, 1 cool, and 1 complimentary) and then glued them all onto a black sheet of paper. Here is how to create this cool marbling effect:

1. Layer about 1 inch of Shaving Cream onto a paper dish (or trays) *I bought my shaving cream at the dollar store. They had huge cans for just $1!
2. Level it out with a piece of cardboard as a scraper
3. Use water based paint. I used the water colors. Paint directly on top of the shaving cream. Use different compositions like concentric circles, stripes, half moons, etc.
4. Then using the back of the brush or a pointed stick or tooth pick. Swirl the paint. Do not push it down deep into the shaving cream. The paint will stay on the top.
5. Cut paper small about 6"x4." Lay paper on top of the design and press down  (printing technique). Pull the paper off. The shaving cream will appear to be all smeared but wait.
6. Use the piece of Posterboard. to squeeze off the excess shaving cream. Like magic, the design stays on the paper. 
You can reuse the shaving cream until it gets drab. Just mix it in and paint again and again. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Keith Haring Dance Party

 This week, the fifth graders were introduced to Keith Haring. They loved his style, and many even recognized it from today's pop culture. For this project, We used his simplified style for drawing people and his rhythmic motion lines. The students were instructed to create a dance party using Keith Haring figures -the guidelines were to include at least 5 people, make sure that none of the people were shorter than their tallest finger, and to fill the space between all of the people with motion lines and shapes -That way, even though there aren't many indicators about where these people are, we still know they are moving around a lot and showing plenty of motion:)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thiebaud Cakes

Our second grade learned all about the dessert-loving artist Wayne Thiebaud and then did a project inspired by his work. We began by drawing a cylinder shape that took up most of an 8.5" x 11" white sheet of paper. We then drew the cake missing a piece. We did this by drawing two parallel lines going up onw of the sides of the cakes. Then we made a little dot in the center of the top of the cake and connected to tops of the 2 parallel lines to the dot. We then erased the horizontal lines from the cake that were trapped between the two parallel lines. Students were then instructed to pick what flavor their cakes would be and then color in where the cake had been cut accordingly (ex: mine above is chocolate with strawberry filling). All coloring is done with oil pastels because it creates a great texture. Students then color/decorate the rest of their cake.

When finished coloring, students will cut our their cake and then put it on a sheet of 8.5 x 11" colored construction paper to create their cake stand. Cut that out. Then lay your cake on the stand on a 12" x 18" different colored piece of construction paper and glue down. As a finishing touch, draw the glass cover using a piece of white chalk.

Pattern High Five

This is a great colored pencil project. We started with a plain piece of paper that had a 1/2" grid on it  with diagonal lines through each square in the grid. You can kinda get an idea of what it looked like by looking at the pictures. I had the students draw on the back of the paper (the blank side), so they could still see the grid through the paper, but the finished product didn't have all of those distracting lines.

First, Students lightly traced their hand somewhere on the page. Then they chose a pair of complementary colored pencils to work with. One color would be for the hand and the other for the background. In each 1/2" square, there are 2 triangles. They were instructed to color the bottom one darker by pressing harder and the top one lighter by pressing more lightly with their colored pencil. This is a time consuming project, but it turns out amazing!
This student is about half-way done

This student got very creative and fit 2.5 hands and used 3 pairs of complementary colors:)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Shape Chain

This lesson is great because it covers so many elements of design -shape, line, color, form... We start off using pencil to draw different shapes starting at the bottom of the page all the way to the top. Each one needs to be touching in some way, as to create a chain connecting the bottom of the page to the top. Students then have the option to create holes/cut-outs in the shapes. They then draw in the shadows on the side of each letter and inside each hole. Students then go over all of their pencil lines with permanent marker and then create different line design in the background. Now they are ready to color in each shape using bright colored markers. By leaving the background in black and white and adding the shadow to the shapes, it really makes them pop!

The Dot

I love Peter Reynolds. We read the book The Dot and then created our own dot paintings. We began by using permanent markers (because you can't erase any mistakes this way). The kids drew a dot somewhere on the page and then just went with it. They filled their whole page and then painted it in with watercolors. This is a great lesson for helping students get over perfectionist anxieties:)

Pop Hands

 The kid's hands fit in the boxes a little better than mine did:)
This lesson goes great with a lesson on Pop Art -focusing on Andy Warhol. This lesson used bright acrylic paints, so be sure to wear paint shirts to avoid any accidents. First, we worked with rulers to evenly divide up the paper into 6 equal squares. Then students traced their hand in each square. After drawing it all out with pencil, the kids then painted in each square and hand with bright acrylic paint. I encouraged them to use colors that weren't too similar to each other in the same square. After all the squares were painted and dried, students then painted the same hand that they traced with black tempura paint (because it easily washes off). They then stamp their hand print onto each previously bright-color-painted hand. They look Amazzzing when finished!

Native American Pottery

This is a fun, easy lesson that the kids really enjoy. We began by discussing why native Americans would make pottery long ago and how it has changed today. We then decorated our own pottery using colored pencils and then cut them out and glued them to colored paper. We looked at modern pots to get ideas for designs.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Musical Collage

This was a fun oil pastel project that I had my fourth graders create. We began with picking an instrument and then focusing on it's different parts and then zooming in on those in the picture. They drew out their picture using black oil pastels and then filled in everything with bright colors. I encouraged the students to use colors that weren't typical of their instruments. This was good practice for using oil pastels to fill in large areas -some students even went ahead and blended colors together! They looked awesome. As a final touch, students were given some random sheet music that I printed off the computer and cut/tore it and then arranged it on their work.

Read Across America!

As part of Read Across America, our school had a door decorating contest. We had to use Dr. Seuss characters. I had a lot of fun creating mine. Because of all of the focus on Dr. Seuss that week, I decided we had to do an art project that incorporated some of his work.

So, for a few classes, we looked at and discussed the fish in One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.We then created a background in the Dr's style using strips of bright colored tissue paper and then created our own fish, similar to the ones in the book. I showed them step-by-step how to make a swimming fish and a standing-up fish. They drew and colored them in using oil pastels. They were then cut out and glued to the background. This was a lot of fun and, as you'll see, the first graders were very proud of their work:)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sponge Bouquet

This project was such a fun one (but can quickly become a messy one if you're not careful). We started out talking about bouquets and vases. Then we went over painting rules. I then did a demo for the kids. We all did the first part together, where each student and I had a colored piece of construction paper (9"x6" I think). Together, we folded the piece of paper in half and then cut out our vases by cutting the paper in half (parallel with the fold) using a creative line. We then unfolded our newly cut vases and glued them to our 9"x12" white paper.
At this point, I did a demo for the class showing them how to creat their flowers. I began by painting some flower centers above my vase. You can use one color, or make them different colors. Then, I painted one side of my petal-shaped sponge and then sponged all the way around one of the centers. I then painted it again using a different color and sponged another flower. I then passed out all of the supplies and let the kids get to creating:)
I love how creative this little artist was. She painted a table and decorated her vase all on her own:)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wet Sea Turtles

How could you not be pumped to create sea turtles after watching this?
I showed this to the class first to get them excited for sea turtles, and they loved it. We then discussed the difference between regular turtles and sea turtles. I then had them create their turtles using pencil and then crayon on watercolor paper (only use watercolor paper for this project!). After they were done drawing, I let them paint over the whole thing with watercolors. I had them use "ocean colors" ie: blue, green, purple... Then, while the paint was still wet, we layed a piece of plastic wrap over each project until it dried to create the neat, light-water-reflection over each sea turtle.This was a great project to follow up their sheep crayon resist project. *don't forget to have them write their names on the back before painting:)

Chinese New Year Wishing Tree

I had my second grade classes continue learning about Chinese New Year after our lantern project. I taught them about the wishing tree in Hong Kong and then showed them how to create their own wish papers for our class wishing tree. I provided them with a large selection of Chinese characters to draw onto their red paper. I then had them paint with glue right on their pencil lines and then sprinkle gold or silver glittler over it so the characters came out looking awesome and glittery. I had students only glue and glitter one charcter at a time, though. Because some of the glue would dry too fast if the painted all of their characters first before putting the glitter on. I then had them hole-punch the tops and tie a piece of yarn to it so it was all ready to hang. I then hung them in the classroom until after Chinese New Year.

Joy, friendship, and water, I think

Hearts of Line

We started this lesson by leanring about line and I showed the kids many different examples of lines and how lines can even form shapes. I then had them each work with a 12"x12" sheet of white drawing paper. We first folded it in half, and then folded it in half again, this created four equal square to draw in. I then had the students use pencil to draw hearts in each square and then fill them in with line designs. I also encouraged them to put line designs in the background as well. I provided heart stencils if the kids wanted to use those to help them draw. When they were done drawing, they then colored over all of their lines with markers to finish their project.

Kandinsky Color Diamond

I got this lesson from this site. We bagan by looking at this example of Kandinsky's work. I then
gave each student a 12"x12" square sheet of white drawing paper and had then fold it in half, and then fold it in half again. When they opened it, they had created 4 equal squares. They then began in the center of the paper, in one of the squares corners. Using oil pastels, they started with creating a little triangle and then creating blocks of color from the center out. Some of the kids made patterns with their colors, while others simply used as many colors as they could.

City Under the Moon

This is a great project to help the kiddos practice their cutting skills. They were amazed when I showed them the secret to cutting out squares and rectangles (I showed then you could cut straight strips off the side of their sheet of paper then then cut it in half/thirds/whatever). This project was also fun because we got to splatter paint. With kindergartners, this could get messy really fast, so I did a demo to show exactly how to splatter the paint. I began with the paintbrush about 2-3 inches horizontal above the paper. I then began making "baby karate chops" on the brush and it created little, controlled splatters. Next, I showed how to swirl the paintbrush to create a moon. While this dried, the students worked on cutting out their buildings. I showed them many examples of the different shapes they could make their buildings.

Here are some student's work. Some got pretty creative and added shooting stars all on their own

*Make sure to emphasize that the paint used for the stars and moon is paint, not glue. I don't know how a few of the kids got confused, but they tried to glue down their buildings using the paint.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


This project hits it all: Line, shape, and pattern! Simply start by creating a line that goes all over your paper. It will overlap itself, go up and down, make different shapes, and end on the other side of the paper. Then have students identify shapes that they have created. They now have the option of filling in shapes with solid color or a pattern. Encourage plenty of variety and the projects turn out amazing!

Here are a few student examples created by some of my kindergartners

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cave Dragons

This was a way fun project that turned out so cool. I got the idea from this great book. One of the class's favorite parts of the lesson was when I introduced it by showing them this video. They loved it so much that I now use it as an incentive for them to behave and clean up well.These student examples look a little more realistic than
my Trogdor one at the top of the page

Chinese Lanterns

2nd grade

1st Grade
We did this project as part of a lesson on Chinese New Year, which is coming up. I taught them some Chinese and then showed them some Chinese characters that they could draw on their lanterns. For the first graders, I passed out 81/2"x11" white sheets of paper that I had copied off with the cut-out lines on them. I then had them decorate the back of the paper for about ten minutes. Then I showed them how to cut. First, I had them cut off a 1" strip from one of the shorter ends of their paper. Then they folded the paper in half so it was a skinny rectangle. Then I had them hold it with the open side up. There was a line going across the paper about 1" from the top. This was their "stop" line. They then began cutting straight up from the fold crease on the bottom and stopping at the "stop" line. They make little cuts like this all the way across. I then had them bring up their papers to me and I unfolded them and then folded it in the opposite direction on the same fold line. I then taped the two skinny end together and taped the strip across the top to create a handle. For the second graders, I had them do the same thing, but without the drawn-on paper. We used big sheets of colored construction paper instead that were cut into long half sheets. This made their lanterns much more round and puffed out. Here are some better instructions, because I know mine were confusing

This is the template I copied off for the 1st graders to follow

Surrealist Collage

This is a very fun unit. We began with a PowerPoint on Surrealism and surrealist artists, such as Dali. I then had the students choose from some pre-cut magazine pictures (or you could have them search magazines to cut them out), and then they changed the pictures so that they had surreal qualities. I had them draw with crayon to make them no longer look normal/real. The kids became very creative and thought it was fun to take a silly look on surrealism.

Closet Monster

Then open the door and...

This is such a fun project that the kids loved. I began by having them close their eyes and pretend they were going to bed. They had already put on their pajamas and brushed their teeth. They had just layed their heads down on their soft pillows when ...BAM! (I made some noises by pounding on a desk). I then asked them what it could be. Eventually, someone guessed it was the monster in their closet. I then had them describe to me what their monster looked like. They each then got to create their monster using oil pastels on black construction paper. The oil pastels show up much brighter on the dark paper. Then they drew their door and I then stapled the two together for them.