Thursday, December 15, 2011

Paper Slide Videos

Do you know about Paper Slide Videos? Paper Slide Videos are a quick, low-tech way to create a video. Students and teachers can use them to create projects based on specific themes they are learning in class. They also make great assessments! Google this idea and you will not be disappointed.

Here is a PSV I made today with another art teacher in our Technology Leadership Forum. I love learning new ideas I can apply in my classroom instantly. We made this in about 1/2 an hour and it is a short biography of Jackson Pollock. What do you think? Would you use this idea in your classroom?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mini Macchias

Fun! Fun! Fun! That is my take away from the Dale Chihuly sculpture lesson I just finished with my 3rd graders. They loved studying his work and using it as the inspiration for their own sculptures. We looked at Chihuly's work and after our initial discussion on the differences between form and shape we watched a video of Dale Chihuly making a piece of art from his Macchia series. It was great for the students to see first hand how a piece of blown glass art is made.

Students then planned their piece of sculpture using colors and spontaneous drawing the way Chihuly does.

When students were done planning they transferred their designs to white coffee filters using washable markers. Macchia means spotted or stained in Italian and that was the basis of the inspiration for Chihuly and my students. When their coffee filter designs were complete they used paint bottles to form their free form sculptures.

When they had their sculptures in the form they wanted we sprayed them with spray starch and left them to dry!

They were then mounted on some matt board scraps in order to be displayed.

I think they are stunning and my little artists are so proud of their work! Want a fun sponge activity using technology for your students? Go here!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jasper Johns Kindergarten Lesson

I love to plan art lessons around some of the great shows that are going on locally at The High Museum of Art. Right now there is a great show featuring works from The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Having grown up on Long Island I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to go to MOMA many times, but I never get tired of seeing these amazing paintings! The show is called "Picasso to Warhol - Fourteen Modern Masters" and I am trying to teach many of these artists to my students this year. Kindergarten studied Jasper Johns!

Here are just a few of our finished pieces. They are all on display as a big installation in our front hallway.

Folk Art First Grade!

There is nothing I enjoy more than painting with my students. I would paint all day every day if I didn't have such a rigorous curriculum to cover. I just finished a Folk Art lesson with my 1st graders. We studied the art of John "Cornbread" Anderson. Cornbread was born and raised right here in Georgia. Growing up on a 40 acre farm, he spent a lot of time exploring the fields and woods around him. He fondly remembers his yard full of guinea hens and the wash tub near the wood-burning stove where his Mother cooked all of their meals during his childhood. You can see his memories of his childhood reflected in his paintings today. Students were inspired by his subject matter and created paintings of their own. Look for their use of horizon line and how well they used shapes to create their animals.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Princess of Polka Dots!

My K, 1st, and 2nd grade art students are knee deep in our 3D clay unit. It is a fun time and the students are really enjoy it. Right now we are studying the artist Yayoi Kusama in 1st grade. Do you know anything about this Princess of Polka Dots? She uses repetition as the focus for her art installations - making many of the same thing with the same design!

This art lesson focuses on creating ceramic objects using pinch construction and textured surface design. Look at their pumpkin forms below. Can you see the texture?

When our pumpkins are fired we will glaze them with polka dots inspried by Kusama!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Narwhals are the new owls!

Isn't this narwhal just the cutest thing? I have always had a fondness for narwhal. I love them so much I think my kids should all make narwhal projects from now until the end of time. Or.....maybe this statement is just merely silly. Why would my students want to make projects about something that is important to ME? Why wouldn't they want to make art projects about things they love? As a teacher who is fortunate to see many other art teachers teaching on a regular basis I often find myself asking the question - where has the creativity gone?

It's gone to the birds. I think I may scream if I see another owl project! No offense to owls everywhere. But why owls? Do these projects teach texture? Are we studying the order Strigiformes and then using our new found knowledge to do a John Homes Audubon lesson? In most cases I would say "no"! I think teachers are teaching owls just to make owls - they're cute and the clay ones are easy for the students to make. If you were actually studying Audubon would it be a far stretch to let your students choose their own bird subject? Would it change the lesson on texture if you did?

I know I am on my soapbox tonight and for that I apologize art educators I think we have a responsibility to promote creativity in our classrooms. I cannot tell you how many times a day a student asks me "like this?" about a project I am teaching. It is not that my directions are unclear that this question is asked, rather it is because my lesson is open for choices to be made and for creativity to happen. By 2nd grade students are already uncomfortable with that concept! They want to be told what it is supposed to look like and exactly how to make something. How did this happen? Ask yourself (and I will too!) that question the next time you see your students making the proverbial "owl" in your classroom and then see if you can create narwhals instead.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wolf Kahn

My second graders studied spacial concepts in the art room this week. Learning how to create depth is often a big leap for them. We used methods that included overlapping, size, placement, foreground, middle ground, background, and horizon line. I chose Wolf Kahn for this art lesson because I love his work so much and felt like his vibrant use of colors and repetition would really excite my students as well. We had fun! Here are some of our BEAUTIFUL landscapes!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sneak Peak

Here is a little sneak peak of what is coming up in the art room over the next couple of weeks. Printmaking with 3rd, 4th, and 5th! Third grade is going to make Jasper Johns inspired collagraph prints. Fourth grade is making Day of the Dead inspired Styrofoam prints. I love printmaking with my elementary students because they love it as much as I do! Stay tuned for some student artwork!

Popcorn Clouds

There is something that just makes me happy about big giant popcorn clouds. Fall is here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray, was a New York painter who reshaped Modernist abstraction into a high-spirited, cartoon-based, language of form. Her subjects often included domestic life, relationships and the nature of painting itself. My 2nd graders were very inspired by this lesson and my student teacher did an excellent job of teaching it! Here are some of our comic inspired animals.

If you would like to learn more about artist Elizabeth Murray check our some of these great resources at PBS.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Modern Mona

I have been running across a lot of Mona Lisa parodies on Pinterest lately. I cannot help myself from giggling every time I run across a new one. Here are some of my favorites! I am going to use them this year when I teach the Modern Mona Lisa lesson. Have you seen that lesson? It's a fun one!

Friday, September 30, 2011

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Crayon

Facebook Bulletin Board for Art Teachers

Not a day goes by without Facebook being a topic of some conversation or another. Students sometimes talk about it and I have even heard them use it as a verb "Facebook me!" has replaced the "call me" of days gone by. I thought it would be fun to embrace our cultures love of Facebook to teach the kids about artists! My art partner in crime at my school helped to make it happen. We will change it monthly and hopefully sneak some art learning in while our students are standing in line waiting for art class.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spicy Nodes

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Step by Step Reduction Printmaking

This PowerPoint shows step by step how to make a reduction styrofoam print.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Little Glimpses

 There are so many things that make me love being an art teacher. Here is a little glimpse of one of the many things that make my day.

Contour Line Lesson

I always teach contour line as the first lesson in 4th grade. This year I have a student teacher who wanted to jump right in with her own lesson so I put aside my regular art lesson to teach this one. Fourth grade art students had a lot of fun drawing their backpacks from observation! Tissue paper was used to create the background and sharpie was used to trace the contour lines. You can go here to see the lesson that inspired me. Found the idea on Pinterest!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reduction Printmaking

Last year a specific scope and sequence for printmaking was rolled out with our new curriculum. It was the first time many had done printmaking in their elementary art classrooms and there are standards now for every grade level! Fifth grade has reduction printing and this presented a problem for some people. When planning a teacher course for the High Museum I thought it would be fun to teach reduction styrofoam printing as it related to Andy Warhol who is going to be one of the artists in the upcoming "Picasso to Warhol" exhibit from the Museum of Modern Art. We had so much fun! Tomorrow I am starting an in county professional development class for elementary art teachers covering the same topics. We will also be writing elementary printmaking lesson plans. I always enjoy it. Here is part of my presentation from this summer and some of our work.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Technology in the Art Room

Do you use technology in your elementary art education classroom? How do you use it? Many of us in the county that I work for use a projector now to show students PowerPoint presentations about the artists or artwork we are about to study. This is very convenient and a lot less struggle than dragging out the slide projector or lugging around all those prints like years ago. I think technology can be use can be taken even a little further! I often like to use Web 2.0 tools with my students. One that I would like to share today is Fakebook. It looks a lot like real Facebook that has become such a daily part of many of our lives. Students and teachers alike can be heard in the halls talking about Facebook at my school. Why not catch your students interest by creating a fakebook page to introduce an artist! It's so easy to use students can even do it themselves. What about using fakebook as a simple art history assignment that students could even work on from home. Easy to use and free!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Beautiful Oops!

A life lesson that all littles (and even some bigs!) need to learn.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Target Family Thursdays!

Do you know about the Target Family Thursdays? It is a great opportunity for those of us right here in Atlanta (check to see if your own city participates here). Target Family Thursdays will be at the Woodruff Arts Center, September 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd. There will be lots of family and educational programming from all the artistic divisions- Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, High Museum of Art & Young Audiences- and all activities are FREE.

Some of the activities include:

• Theatre for the Very Young, A Child's Garden of Verses presented by the Alliance Theatre

• Acting Workshops

• Toddler Thursday

• Family Tours of the High Museum of Art

• flashArt: Making for Teens and more

• Into the Woods

Visit the Woodruff Arts Center for a complete list of scheduled activities and to register!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Art Room Bulletin Boards

Every August I get excited to get my room ready for a new year. This year was no exception. As I hung some new things and some of my old favorites it occured to me that often times I am looking on the internet for art classroom displays and rarely find inspiration. Today I am going to share. Do you have a picture of your classroom you would like to share too? Email me!

This is my main bulletin board in my art room. I always make this display a variation of a color wheel theme! A special shout out to my friend Andy for making me as the ring leader!

My traffic light needs a little updating, but it works to let the children know if they are getting too loud. My helping chart makes everything fair and the students know that every Monday morning I change it to be a different colored table. Those students are the only students allowed to be out of their seats to help with supplies.

A close-up of my helping chart.

This year's variation of my world wall. I have made little banners as the decoration all over the room and it's made everything very colorful.

And here is one of my favorite things - the art room clock!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Keith Haring Sculpture Lesson

Every year at my elementary school I try to make one permanent piece of art with my students that will stay long after they are gone as their legacy. It also makes our school bright with art and very kid friendly. This Keith Haring sculpture is one of those projects. It has been a big hit on Pinterest so I thought I would blog about it here. I used pressure treated plywood, house paint, and paint markers to make this project, but it could just as easily be done with foam core/cardboard for a less permanent installation. Students designed the figures and I cut out two identical outlines of the figures. One had a slit from the top of the head to the middle. The other had a slit from the bottom to the middle. This makes the two pieces slide together and stand up! Then they were painted and the students went back in with paint markers to add the Keith Haring inspired designs. There were 5 of these when we first made them - some red, yellow, and blue. They have been outside our school for 6 years now braving the elements. I smile every time I see them!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Elementary Art Lesson Plans

It's always exciting this time of year to consider all the fun art lessons that lay ahead of me. I am not an art teacher that likes to teach the same lessons year after year. It's more fun for me and therefore more fun for my students if I change it up. Of course this makes for a lot more work! Where I teach we are required to have our lesson plans printed and on our desks at all times. Lesson plans take many forms, especially elementary art lessons. Most of my projects require a lesson plan 3-4 pages long. This takes time! As I enter the 2011-2012 school year I am excited to write new lessons this year so that they can be shared here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


This photograph of my student Chihuly sculpture has been up on my flickr site for about 3 years. It is one of my most top viewed images! So in the spirit of generating more traffic for my new blog - not to be confused with my old blog - or my other blog....I have decided to post directions on how to make it here!

I started by collecting as many recycled water bottles as I could with my students. The original plan was to have a warm colored sculpture AND a cool colored sculpture. In the end we only made one because it required so many bottles we ran out! Students used various colors of watered down acrylic paint and swirled it around the inside of the water bottles. When the bottles were dry I used a box cutter to cut small slits in the bottom of each one. Students then used this hole to begin cutting their bottles in a spiral from the bottom to the mouth piece. Students wired their bottles at the top with some floral wire and then made another one (and another, and another).

The armature was a cone a created out of chicken wire. Just imagine a giant ice cream cone and that is what it looked like. I used a little wire to hold it together and a stronger piece of wire across the top so it would hang. Students then took individual bottles and attached them to the armature through the chicken wire holes. That was it - so simple!