Saturday, December 15, 2012


First let me say that my thoughts and prayers are going out to the families and community in Connecticut. My heart is broken and when listening to the news all I could think of was my little ones faces at school. How sweet and precious they are. Don't take for granted the chance to hold on to and tell someone you love them.


I got into the door decorating mood this year and wanted to share my love of snow.

This is sort of my idea of a snow dance. I figured if I decorate for it, it will come. Sure the high today was in the 50's, but there's time. I'm leaving this door up until March and hoping everyday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Crayon Shaving Fall Trees

We are on Thanksgiving break right now and I feel like autumn is fleeting. I've always felt that the Friday after turkey day was the beginning for Christmas  and winter festivities. So here is my last post related to fall because next you will be seeing snowmen and snowflakes!

I did this project with my first graders. We first talked about which season we were in and the different attributes that went along with fall. Namely, colorful falling leaves.

I showed them how to create their trees with brown construction paper. After they were done creating the tree they brought me their picture so that I could add crayon pieces and iron the wax paper together. We had a nice orderly system going that worked really well.

After their paper was fused together, they added a black border and put a fall pattern on it with oil pastels. 

I have to say that I didn't intend for them to be sun-catchers. I was just simply holding them up to look at and realized how great and vivid  they looked with the light shining through.

I decided to display them in the windows above the front door. This is a heavily trafficked area where I knew the student's work would stand out. 

This was a great one day project that included science in the art making. The students really enjoyed it and thought it was so cool how the crayons melted. I am excited to do this project again next year.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Music Painting a Picture

It's that time of the nine weeks again when the grade teachers get extended planning and  we get art enrichment with our students. This time the music teacher and I again collaborated to do an aesthetics and art crit lesson. We did this particular lesson with second grade. I showed the class three different art prints and while they looked at the art prints we played a song. I asked the students to point to the print they think went with the song being played. From there I called on students who wanted to share their opinions on why the song went with the print.

 Our students were very insightful and did a great job. One print was a  somewhat abstract, rainy, city scene. While playing a jazz song, most of the students chose this print to go along with the song. One student said that the song went with the print because the sound of the piano went with what she imagined the rain to sound like in the picture.

Lastly, we played a song they had never heard before (Vivaldi Autumn The Four Seasons)
 and told them to let the song paint a picture in their mind. They were given paper and crayons and drew what they saw in their mind. They had some nice imagery.

A musician with a violin.

A city scene.

An orchestra. 

A pick-nic.

A wedding scene.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Visual Art

I saw this and thought it was great! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Secondary Pumpkin Patches

Happy Halloween all! Here is an example of the pumpkin patch pictures that I made with kindergarten. 

I wanted to review color mixing with my kinders and do something fall related. I thought it would be nice to make pumpkins at night. I gave each table a tray prefilled with two primary colors and gave them a chance to swirl and mix. I love how excited they always get when they make a new color. We mixed and painted the pumpkins first. I took up the orange trays and gave them new trays to mix up green, and then let them mix purple for the night sky. During the next class meeting they drew in lines with black crayon. Then I gave them brown, green and yellow paper to glue in shapes for the stems, leaves, and stars. The paper was pre-painted and came from my scrap bins. They gave a really nice texture to the paintings.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Bob Ross!

He would be 70 today. I use to love watching him on PBS when I was younger thinking how neat it was that there was a painter on tv. I really love the attitude that he had towards art and creating. "Everyday's a good day when you paint."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Color Bugs!!!

I wanted to think of a unique way to introduce color mixing to my first graders and came up with this idea. First we read the story Mouse Paint and discussed primary and secondary colors. The students mixed their colors, drew their backgrounds, and collaged their bugs to complete their beautiful pictures. 

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Painted Paper Everywhere: My Solution

A few days ago I read a post on In Art Class about having tons of scrap paper and what to do with it. I thought would post my solution to having tons of scrap paper that I can't bring myself to throw out.

Stackable laundry baskets! They are a life and space saver. I bought them from walmart for about $4-$5 each. Now that's a large amount to drop at once, but I foresee these baskets lasting until I retire. Also, they can easily be slid out of the way as one.

I have a black, blue, green, purple, orange/brown, yellow, red, and multicolored/painted paper baskets. As you can see, the painted paper basket gets really full. This is where all the scrap paper goes from my Eric Carle Animal lesson. This paper does get reused in other projects a lot.

Sometimes, after a project,  I have to cut down the scraps into usable pieces and recycle the itty bitty pieces. This system keeps my room clean and organized. Just like I like it!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Color Wheel: Hand Line Design

Color is my favorite element of art! I was trying to think of a way to teach color theory without having to do the same old color wheel, while at the same time covering more elements and principles. I enjoy hand art and came up with this crayon resist hand line design. The students traced their hand three times with only one finger touching another finger on a second hand. Done right, you will end up with six different sections. From there we talked about line, shape, pattern, and variety/visual interest. I instructed them to fill in each section with a different pattern using lines and shapes while showing variety. They all started with pencil so that I could observe and make sure they were all on the right path. 

Next, I showed them how water resists wax and had them trace over all of their pencil lines with black crayon. Lastly, they watercolored in each area in color wheel order. Some got the concept, and others I think got distracted and got out of order. They came out really nice!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Painting with Pre-K: A is for Apple

One of the first projects I did with Pre-K was the Brown Bear assemblage. I really wanted to focus on painting, cutting, and gluing. They came out so nicely that I wanted to continue on the same path. I know that the little ones are working on letters and numbers, so I wanted to base my projects around the alphabet. I didn't think about this until after Brown Bear and decided that this project would be about the letter A.

I showed the students a book about Apples. I talked to them about the seasons and how apples grow. Next, I gave them a piece of paper with the leaves and tree trunk already drawn on it. Last time they only painted with one color. This time they got two. I instructed them to paint the leaves green and the trunk brown. They did so well at painting.

The second class time we focused on cutting more intensely. To start, I gave each student a piece of paper with three black lines on it: strait, curvy, and zig zag. I have a lot of scrap paper around and used it for this activity. The got scissors and were instructed to cut on the black line. Just like with any group of students, some did better than others, but practice makes better!

Next, they cut out the two separate pieces and used small dots to glue them onto light blue paper. Lastly, I gave each student a q-tip and showed them how to add apples to their tree with red paint. They loved this part and got very excited about adding their apples.

Note: be careful how long you let them do this step. They really do love adding apples to their trees, and if your not watchful the pictures can turn into an applepalooza.

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Can't Live With Out. . .

My drying rack!

My host teacher while student teaching had one of these. I thought it was a great idea! I love having my drying rack. I do not like to put things up wet, and I'm not going to waste paper towels and time hand drying everything. I know some people leave items out on the counter to dry, but I covet my counter space. Everything fits so nicely and organized in my drying rack. What item do you think you couldn't live without in your art room?

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Art Criticism and Aesthetics

We found out at school last week that twice every nine weeks, each grade level is going to get an hour and a half extra planning time. The specials teachers get the students while the teachers plan.  We started this schedule this past week. I know that I rather enjoy getting to see the students a little extra because it means that we can have little art intensives.

In the past, when I've done criticism and aesthetic activities with my classes, they take the whole time. Also, the students get very put out that they didn't make or produce anything. In their eyes, they didn't really have art class. I realized that this extra time is going to be great for crit. and aesthetic activities.

I saw this pin on pinterest and I knew immediately that I wanted to do this with my students.

I teamed up with the music teacher and we did this activity with the fourth grade. We had three groups of fourth graders for thirty minutes each. The first thing I did was tell them that they would be split into six groups. Within those groups they were to think about what art is. Now the picture above asks why is art important, but I think a person need to answer what is art first. I also wanted them to focus on the arts as a whole, not just visual art.

I told them to write however many ideas their group came up with on post its. Next I went over the rules.

I split them into groups making sure that boys and girls were group together, and there wasn't one big group of friends.

I gave them between ten and fifteen minutes to discuss as a group and write down their thoughts. Lastly, one person came up from each group to share the opinions and post them to the board.

Here is what our fourth graders thought. Note: I am writing the responses just as they had.
  • Art is fun.
  • Art is colorful.
  • Art is something where you can just be yourself and be creative.
  • Art is something with creativity. 
  • Art is a mystery.
  • Art is shapeful.
  • Art is creative.
  • I think art is the one way that you can express yourself.
  • Art is when you draw, sing, write, sculpting, painting, and sports.
  • Art is line shape and texture.
  • Art is something you create or make and it's your idea.
  • Taking your thoughts and making it into something really beautiful.
  • Something colorful.
  • Art expresses feelings.
  • Something with your own style.
  • Art is something unusual but amazing.
  • Before it was a thing, it was an idea.
  • Art is everything.
  • Art is peaceful.
  • If art wasn't invented nothing would be creative and nothing would be pretty.
  • Art shows your imagination and talent.
  • Without art, the world would be blank.
  • Art is a way of recording history.
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Monday, September 24, 2012


I like to start the school year off with portraiture. I especially wanted to do them first thing this year because I am brand new to my school and wanted to see my students' style. I had a pre-assessment assignment where I simply told them to draw a self portrait. That was it. No more information was given.

I had lots of pictures with circle and dot eyes. Pictures with pointy noses and smile lines. Some students drew the whole body and some had a landscape orientation. In each class there was at least one that didn't even resemble a person.

My next step was to teach them a guided self portrait. I talked about portrait orientation, how much of the body is shown (think school photo), shape of the eye, shape of the nose, shapes for lips, and shape for hair. I kept telling them that the other ways were not wrong. I said the other ways look like cartoons and we were learning the artist's way of drawing a portrait. I also talked about craftsmanship and how to color with crayons.

This is the bulletin board outside of my room. I have the third and fourth grade showcased work on this board. I put laminated black paper up as the background so all I have to do now is put the artwork up with masking tape and there is an instant border. It's also very easy to switch out the artwork since it's just taped up. 

Here are the close ups. I love the backgrounds and different details the students added to their portraits.

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