Friday, June 17, 2011

Kindergarten Self-Portraits

After we did the last lesson with shapes, we moved into a project where we created a self-portrait. Except for this self-portrait, we used die-cut shapes. I had a parent volunteer fill a plastic container with small die-cut shapes. I also had her cut large ovals and circles that the students could use for their heads.

We started out by gluing on the head. We figured out where the best spot would be to glue it. Most of them figured out the gluing it in the middle of the paper would not be the best spot, that gluing it near the top would work better. At this point, I also reminded them that they were to use glue dots so that their paper would not end up full of glue.

Once they had their head glued on, they used the other shapes to add their body, arms, legs, fingers, feet, eyes, etc.

They were not allowed to use pencils, crayons or scissors at all. This was very difficult for many of them. I kept finding some of them trying to sneak in a crayon or reaching for the scissors. This was a new way for them to look at themselves and the shapes that make up our bodies.

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Kindergarten Shapes

At the beginning of the year, I do a lot of work with my kindergartners on shapes. What are the shapes, how do you make the shapes, where do you see the shapes, etc.

One very simple activity that we do is an activity with die-cut shapes. I usually have a large tub filled with shapes that the students are learning about in their classroom. We start the lesson by reviewing the shapes and how we make them: how many sides and vertexes. Then we go around the room looking for these shapes.

I give each child 1 shape and they have to create a picture using that 1 shape. A rectangle could be a book, a house, a TV, etc. Then we come back to the carpet and they share their creations.

Then I give them 3 shapes. This gets a little harder for them. With the 3 shapes, they have to create 1 composition. How can they put these shapes together to create 1 object? It gets their creativity going and gets some of them thinking outside of the box!

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Kindergarten Mother's Day Pots

 The usual clay project for my kindergartners is a pinch pot. I have done different things with the basic pinch pot in the past (bird nest, bowls, etc). This year, we made them into "vases" for Mother's Day.

We made the typical pinch pot out of a piece of clay. We used the words walls, base and mouth when talking about our vase.

Some of the students got adventurous and even tried to make theirs into the shape of a heart. What mom wouldn't love to get one of those!

I fired the pieces once they were finished so that they would be ready to glaze for the next class time.
 When the students came in the next week, I had placed egg cartons on each table (I had cut them in 1/2, so they had 6 spaces). I had already filled the cartons with colors.

We went over the rules for painting: rinsing our brushes, filling then entire space with color, etc.

I also added in that I wanted them to glaze the entire "vase" EXCEPT for the bottom (this is where I had put their initials). I showed them how they could leave their vase sitting on the table. If it was touching the table- they didn't need to glaze it.
 I gave them the entire class time to glaze their vases. Most of them decided to paint a pattern around the outside of their vase- kinder had been spending a lot of time on patterns and this had transferred over to our art room. Fantastic!!!
The last step, was to take decorative marbles (the kind that you put into dishes on your coffee table or into fish bowls- I found them at the dollar store!) and place them into the bottom of their vases. Most of the vases only needed 1 large marble, some needed 2.

When I fired the vases the last time, the marbles melted and cracked, giving the vases a unique look that the students loved.

We wrapped them up with tissue paper and ribbon and they took them home just in time for Mother's Day!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kindergarten Manana Iguana

I originally found this project at Deep Space Sparkle- one of the art blogs that I follow. This blog has so many amazing art projects for elementary students, sometimes it's hard to narrow it down to just one! I really like the projects that she does for her primary grades. Check it out at:

I used the Deep Space Sparkle project as a jumping off point and added to it. I read the book to the students first. They loved it! If you haven't read it, it's based on the book, The Little Red Hen, but instead, uses animals that you would find in the desert (living in Texas, some days, it FEELS like we live in a desert!): turtle, snake, rabbit and iguana. To make it even better for my bilingual students, the book has many sections in simple, rhyming Spanish.

We started the project off with a demonstration on how to draw a turtle, a snake, a rabbit, or an iguana. Unfortunately, I only have pictures of the turtles and snakes (my flash drive got wiped out soon after and I was only able to save about 1/2 of the pictures from this project).

For the turtle, we drew the 2 eyes first- nice big ovals. Then we drew the head around the eyes. For the shell we made a 1/2 circle and connected it at the bottom with a straight line. I reminded the students that we always draw our subject bigger than our hand (if we put our hand on top of it and you can't see it, then it is too small). We added 4 legs and a small tale.

For our snake, we started with the eyes, again- big ovals. Then I had them draw a long, wavy line from 1 side of the paper to the other and then back to the other side to connect it.

No matter which animal they chose to draw, they had to add a pattern to it (shapes, lines, etc).

They traced their animal with black marker and then colored them with warm colored oil pastels.

The next week, I gave them a piece of blue construction paper. We talked what a desert is and what you would find there: cactus, sun, sand, etc.

I put trays of tempera cakes on each table and they painted their background. If I were to do this again, I think I would change this part up. The construction paper did not hold up well to the tempera cakes. I would use a better quality paper for the background.

Then they cut out their animals (we did a quick review of how to hold their scissors, turn the paper, not scissors, etc) and then used glue dots to attach their animals to the background.
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