Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kindergarten Jasper Johns

Kindergarten is learning about American artists this year. Our first artist was Jasper Johns.

I pre-folded paper into 8 sections and had the children decide if they wanted to use letters or numbers. I showed them how to use their pencil to write big in each box. They used a black marker to trace over the letters and the lines so that they would still be able to see them when we began coloring.
I then did a lesson on warm/cool colors. The students who were with me in PK, were excited, because they remembered this from last year. The students who were in the PK center (I only have 2 PK classes at my school. The rest go to a PK center nearby and do not have art classes) picked up on the concept pretty quickly.
I had them choose whether they wanted to use warm or cool colors for their paper. I put a bag of oil pastels on their table and they colored all of their boxes. Usually, this is where they temptation of using oil pastels takes over and I get every color in the rainbow. However, I have to say that this year, they did a really good job of sticking with either warm or cool colors.
When they were finished coloring, I gave them a black oil pastel  and they used this to retraced all of their letters/numbers and the lines.

Then we reviewed the lines that we had learned earlier in the year and they were able to use ANY color (Yea!!) to create a lines in each box.

I have to say, I am really happy with how well they colored these. Usually, I have a bunch that get tired of coloring after about 3 minutes and don't want to continue. This year, they worked on this so hard and the colors turned out really well!

Pin It

Fourth Grade African Masks

Fourth grade's tour of the world is taking them to Africa this year. We started the year off with a very involved project that we are just now winding up- 9 weeks after school started!

I found this project on the Art for Small Hands blog ( and adapted it to work for us. She does an amazing job explaining the entire process and I thank her for that!

We started out by looking at a variety of African masks to find a shape that worked for each student. I had cut pieces of poster board into 2" x 12" pieces and gave each child 2 pieces. They taped these together to form a circle. From there, they were able to create the shape that they wanted, whether it was a circle, oval, square, diamond, etc.

We created a grid of tape on one side of the mask and then filled the form with wadded up newspaper (the newspaper stuck to the tape, keeping it in place). Make sure that they fill their form in with newspaper- you do not want any empty spaces when you begin to papier mache.

Here is where we started to have some difficulties- my school gets really humid over the weekend (no air) and all of our masks were sitting in a warm, humid storage room. When I came back to school on Monday, I had a huge, sticky pile of poster board, newspaper and tape. They tape had come off of many of the masks! My suggestion is that before the students start filling their form with newspaper, take a stapler and staple the tape around the outside. This will help keep everything stable, especially if you live in the humid south, like I do!

For the papier mache, I bought Elmer's Art Paste (we went through about 15 boxes of this) and mixed it up with 4 quarts of water. I put it into disposable storage containers for each table and they covered the newspaper with strips of newspaper/art paste.

I had them do at least 4 layers of papier mache to make sure that it would be strong enough when we took out the newspaper/tape backing.

As they worked on this, I was checking for sturdiness. Once it was strong enough, I gave them a check mark on the back. This let them know that they were ready to add a face.
For the face, I had bins of recycled materials ready: toilet paper rolls, water bottles, plastic caps, empty boxes, poster board scraps, etc. They used these materials to add eyes, nose, mouth, horns, etc. They taped the facial features on and then had to do at least another 2 layers of papier mache.

Once everything was ready, they used their scissors to cut the tape on the back and pull out all of the wadded up newspaper, leaving the form of their mask intact.

For this part, we again looked at examples of masks and noted the colors. Most of the masks that we looked at were 1 or 2 colors and the colors were muted. I gave them the guidelines that they could use 2 colors max and that they had to create a tint or shade of the colors that they chose.

They painted their entire mask with 1 color first and then used a smaller brush to add any patterns and designs that they wanted.

I then pulled out all of my feathers, shells, Mardi Gras beads, sequins, etc and gave a lesson on glue gun safety. Then they decorated their masks, trying to stay with their color scheme in their decorations (easier for some than others- so many fun things to decorate with!)

Pin It

Fifth Grade Russian Nesting Dolls

My 5th graders are traveling to Asia for their art room projects this year. Our first stop was Russian Nesting Dolls or Matryoshka dolls.

I had them draw out at least 3 dolls in descending order that related to each other in some way.

They started out with the large doll and made 2 pinch pots. Some of them added ears, noses, etc, but the majority had the basic pinch pot. Then they made the middle pot and the baby pot.

Once they were fired, I decided not to use glaze on them and we used extra-fine point Sharpies to draw out our details onto the clay.

They used watercolors to paint them. I have a few that I am thinking of using in shows later this year and I might have those students varnish them to give them a more finished look. Pin It