Saturday, October 21, 2017

Las Vegas Portrait Project

I will be participating in the Las Vegas Portrait Project. Today I received my acceptance notification and began reviewing the biographies and portraits of each victim. I hope that other art teachers will consider donating their time and materials to this worthy cause. More information available here.

Dipping a toe into TAB

Last weekend I fell down the rabbit hole of Jessy Ruby's website 2 art rooms. It is the first time that I could clearly see a TAB classroom functioning in a way that made sense to me. Her use of the studio habits as a framework that drives instruction got me rethinking my own pedagogy. I still have lots of questions and research ahead of me, but I am seeing the benefits and the possibilities this offers.

With that in mind, I decided to make a first attempt with a lesson I had done last year with second grade. Upon finishing their scarecrow paper weavings, they were invited to explore recycled materials to make a 3D scarecrow. Last year I did something similar, but I showed them how to put it together. Since this was the grade level that really embraced my STEAM bridge challenge, I knew they'd be up for another.

I loved watching them struggle with the problem and invent their own solutions. I restricted the use of glue and limited materials to (1) cardboard, (2) pipecleaners or (1) twisteez wire and (2) beads

If you want the professionally formatted lesson plan to wow your administrators, it's right here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Artist of the week

Do you have an artist of the week or other acknowledgement system? My first year at elementary the principal asked if I had awards for the end of year assembly and I said that I didn't. Well that June I felt like I missed the boat as we rolled into the 2nd day and 3rd hour of awards. Wow. Elementary. They get awards for EVERYTHING, amiright? So the following year I decided to award one student in each class an artist of the week award....(which could also be known as the "I published your stuff to artsonia this week award") They've been loving it. Some years I post their artwork in our hallway to coincide with their week which is a lot of work to rotate weekly and make sure you get each kid once, but they do genuinely appreciate it and so do their parents. It's also a great way to make sure their parents are aware of artsonia. By sending home this slip with each kid on their day, I can usually get a few more parents to allow them to participate.

Now that first projects are completed I'm ready to start our artist of the week program again and decided to up the ante with these homemade, tie-dye aprons that they can choose to wear on their day. Hoping by making this more special I can erase some of the guilt I feel when they tell me it's their birthday (clearly expecting a sticker or trinket) and I give them a high-five.

Snakes In The Grass

My first graders are starting to complete the Hide and Snake lesson. This was a two session project and they did a great job. It was only their second time painting with me. We got some scissor and glue practice and a crash course in weaving.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Can Do Statements

New Updated Bulletin Board. Each grade also has their own bulletin board of the same color with project samples. The crayon labels have acetate on top to turn them into Dry Erase friendly spaces.

Definitely an improvement over year one

and year 2-5

I carry the K-5 grade level rainbow theme into all aspects of planning and display. Their Artist of the Week display in the hall has the same color background paper. The preview board in the classroom with a sneak peek of the lesson, same color. My printed schedule for subs... you get the idea. Need help getting organized? Free example available here.

Twist it Down

After the success of the snap that cap marker rhyme, I was prompted to create another for the current glue stick situation.  Hopefully this helps with the twisting it down and putting the cap back on.

Gotta have it? Free download here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hispanic Heritage Month

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15) my first graders completed their Frida Kahlo inspired self portraits. We started with a reading of "Me, Frida" and a discussion about portraits. This was their first project of the year so we kept it simple with crayon. They were encouraged to use pattern in the background and a texture plate somewhere in the artwork.

This group did not have art in kindergarten, so I'm really impressed with their first efforts.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hide and Snake

One of my favorite classroom finds this summer was this sweet book by Keith Baker. 

Of course, one cannot talk of art and snakes without tipping the hat to Cassie Stephen's amazing Larry the Line poem. I created this two session lesson with my first graders in mind. It's packed full of introductions and "firsts" that make it a great beginning of year lesson. There is line drawing, line patterns, scissor practice, easy peasy watercolor painting, collage and just the tiniest hint of weaving that will pave the way for more complex weaving down the road.

If this lesson seems like something you want to try and you appreciate the convenience of downloading all the necessary bits in one easy place, it's being offered on my TpT.

Check out the gorgeous step by step illustrations that any sub could follow.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tubes and Pipes

Recently I had an image from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory stuck in my head. Our department SLO this year is teaching tints and shades to 4th grade. I started thinking about the number of video games that feature pipes and tubes (I'm a Mario Brothers girl at heart). 

Tapping into popular culture is always a big hit with my students so I know they will love designing a splash screen for a video game. This is also a great way to talk to students about the variety of art careers. I'm so excited for them to start. We will be starting this lesson with imagery of local factories and architecture with pipes and tubes. If you want to try something similar but hate writing your own plans, I've posted mine here.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Snap That Cap

Made a little rhyme up during class to help kindergarten remember how to put away the markers. They were singing (and rapping) it throughout clean up and all the markers had caps, so win-win. Now all my boxes have this on the lid.

Download the jpg file for free!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Student Weaving

Grades 3, 4 & 5 started the year with this as their first project. It doesn't seem to matter what colors they used. They are all gorgeous. Many of the students are asking to wear them home, but some have asked to measure my wrist so they can give it to a parent, grandparent or other adult. All ages enjoyed it. 3rd might have been a little young for me since they have only woven paper before. Making the loom and tying knots was the greatest challenge for all ages. The weaving is very simple.

It's part of this unit.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Eclipse Inspired Artwork

Students combined their excitement and enthusiasm for the Solar Eclipse with a lesson inspired by Alma Thomas. Kindergarten and first got a lesson in brush basics and made abstract line paintings. First grade was encouraged to follow rainbow order. Second grade used a circular motif to create an eclipse painting.

They entered the classroom to this amazing video playing on the screen.

Lesson plan with two early finisher activity sheets available here.

Lyin the whole time

Going on a lion hunt was officially a kindergarten hit. They enjoyed hunting for lions and lines alike. Here are some of the amazing works they created.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Roll A Pumpkin

A simple one day lesson for the art teacher, substitute or homeschooler available for download here.

Water Under the Bridge

Last year one of my favorite lessons for grade 2 was a steam activity based on the book Iggy Peck, Architect. This year, after the steam activity the students completed a painting of a bridge.

We also read the book Sky Color by Peter H Reynolds. The results were amazing. So proud of these kiddos for how well they are painting during the second and third week of school. This was a particularly spirited group of first graders, so things are looking up.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Coolest Project in the Galaxy

Looking forward to getting my fifth grade started on these amazingly gorgeous galaxy paintings.
They will be exploring value and light source as they create their paintings. Lesson plan and related worksheets available here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Boys and Weaving

Boys love weaving.

I kept hearing this strange rumor and kept telling myself, "No they don't. It's going to be a nightmare. They will hate weaving and hate coming to art class." But it's true. They love it. I wish that I had recorded some of the amazing conversations yesterday when the first group of students finished setting up the looms and actually started weaving. 

One boy said "I always ruin my project by now, but this is awesome."  When it was clean up time, the entire glass groaned "Nooooooooo!" I told them if we had rain, they could send one student down at recess to collect the basket from my room to weave in their classroom. As they walked out I heard a boy tell his friend "I hope it rains every day next week!" Who are these children?

If this looks like something you'd like to try, the lesson plan with detailed step by step photo instructions are included in my weaving unit over on TpT.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


This week kindergarten made VERY COLORFUL caterpillars using model magic. Giving them three primaries, they had to mix the secondary colors using model magic. Since we had read "The Dot" by Peter H Reynolds last week, I did lots of overlap talking about a dot becoming a circle and a circle becoming a sphere. I gave each student a small chunk of red, yellow and blue. They divided each color in half. They divide each half in half to make one large and two small spheres. The big spheres became the primary colors. The smaller spheres were combined to make secondaries. We used a rhyme to help:

Roll it, roll it, roll it,
Make it nice and round
Put the sphere onto the paper
and squash the circle down.

I have five sections of kindergarten this year split between two schools and I learned a lot each time I presented. This video read aloud, gave me six minutes to portion out the red, yellow and blue model magic for each table (note: play it first to skip the commercials). At one school I used modeling clay since we didn't have model magic.

Since this is the first year both of these schools have ever offered art to kindergarten, it's kind of a big deal. I created a small bulletin board just for kindergarten work in a hallway near them and wouldn't you can't spell kindergarten without art.

Want the full plan and three worksheets? Check it out.