Thursday, April 26, 2012

4th Grade Clay Castles & Coat of Arms

Wow. Beautiful design! 
I love clay. If I could do clay projects all year I would seriously think about it. I tend to schedule my clay projects toward the end of the year because it is convenient to have everything at school for the art show. This project is one that I tried out during student teaching many years ago and have continued because my students enjoy it so much. 

We study castles from all over the world and each student designs their own castle. Using a slab building technique, they spend about five classes building their castles, adding details, and glazing. Last year, I decided to have each student make a small coat of arms while we were waiting for the castles to dry and be bisque fired. In addition to looking really cool, the coat of arms also serve as a name tag for the castles at the art show. All of the lower grades constantly ask about when they get to make clay castles. First graders are really bummed out that they have to wait for so long! 

Here is the lesson plan!

Monday, April 23, 2012

1st Grade Dancing Giraffes

This is probably about the fourth time I've done this project with my 1st graders, but it always turns out so cool so I keep doing it. This project is based on the book Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae. 

This project has two parts that I really enjoy. First, the kids love making the backgrounds. I show them how to do a little wet on wet painting to make their moon "glow." I also have them layer some green over a dried layer of yellow before scraping off some of the green with the back of their brush. Making the grass this way during the demo always gets a nice little collective gasp of surprise from my classes. The second part I really enjoy is the personality of the giraffes that the kids come up with. I try to give them as much freedom as possible and I get some really good results.

Check out the lesson plan here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

2nd Grade Eric Carle Style Animals

My 2nd grade students just finished a project about Eric Carle. I've always liked Carle's books and my students all know who he is. I started this one out by reading one of Carle's many books to my classes. They then sketched a simple picture with an animal as the main focus. On the second day of the project, each student created two textured papers that could be used in their project. They were able to use all kinds of unconventional tools to paint with to make some really cool textures. On day three, students began cutting up their textured paper in order to make a collage. It took one more day to add details and write artists statements. 

This project came out fairly good, but I think I'll end up changing it around a little next year. I think my students would be more successful if they were just doing one large animal  and no or very little background. Many students ended up making their animals so small they couldn't really get any details in. Of course it's not like I told them over and over to make sure they made their animals as big as they could. Wait...I did tell them that!

Unfortunately, I don't have a digital copy of this lesson. Usually, I would have time to type something up and post it. Right now, I have my art show coming up in just a few weeks and there are more pressing matters going on right now! Please let me know if you have any questions. This project is pretty straight forward. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

3rd Grade Recycled Magazine Bowls

It feels like it's been quite a while since I last posted! Between spring break and being in the middle of some long projects, I haven't had a lot to post about until now. 

I've always been a big proponent of being green in the art room. I try to incorporate recycling into as many projects as I can. I've even wearing a shirt with the recycling symbol (and a narwhal!) right at this very moment! I think any time you can help students understand the reasons behind why being green is important, it is a high quality addition to a lesson. 

Over the last couple of years I have played with the thickness of the magazines for this project. I've figured that 3/4" is just about perfect for my 3rd graders. I cut strips of chip board for my students to wrap their magazine pages around. They all end up doing around 50 pages before attaching them all together and rolling them into a disk. This project is pretty consistently successful and I recommend it if you're looking for something fun, green, and inexpensive!

Check out the lesson here!