Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Embroidered pet portraits, 4th grade

We tried a new media with our #petpARTners project, which raises awareness of the homeless pet population in our community - embroidery! Fourth grade learned to load an embroidery hoop with fabric, thread a needle, tie a knot, and sew a few stitches like the running stitch, back stitch and satin stitch. Managing needles can be tricky, but this tip from Art with Mrs. E on Instagram was a good idea - I ended up making six smaller boxes with five needles each, one box per table. It made for quicker collection and distribution.

We started by tracing our empty hoop on paper and drawing a "head and shoulders" portrait of a dog or cat from FurKids animal shelter - a few students wanted to make their family pet. I shared these examples from this Pinterest pin to get an idea of how the embroidered stitches might look. 

Then, we placed our muslin over the pencil drawing and very lightly traced it onto the fabric. Finally, we loaded the fabric and started stitching - the first day of threading needles and making stitches is very hands on for me, because it can be a little confusing right at first. By the next lesson, however, most kids are rolling along and solving their own stitching issues. This is a great lesson to demonstrate problem solving!I have Open Studio mornings a few times a week, and I get the biggest turnout from kids wanting to work on their embroidery - they really get hooked. It is a bit time consuming and I have interrupted the lesson a couple of times for things like getting ready for our upcoming art show. But the results are great and they love learning a new skill. For the paper frame, we trace the interior of the empty hoop on to a piece of construction paper, cut it out from the inside, and tape the fabric behind.

I share these on social media to encourage people to “adopt, don’t shop” or to donate to their local shelter. #petpARTners ties in wonderfully with our character ed program, 7 Mindsets. These are some from our first finished batch - will post more soon!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Toucans: trying out tools and techniques!

Toucans are colorful and beautiful creatures, and are exotic and mysterious to us in this part of the world. All of the colorful toucans you see in this post started out as mystery drawings - drawings created by listening to clues and drawing along with the teacher to discover what the drawing will turn out to be. Grades 1-5 experimented with this lesson using different types of media - it is interesting to see the different looks created by the variety of materials: black and colored sharpie, tempera paint used as a drawing medium, watercolor paint, twistable crayons, oil pastels, and water based markers.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Fish weaving, kindergarten

Kindergarteners learn the over and under pattern of weaving using a tropical fish as our inspiration. We look at some colorful examples in nature before making our loom “bodies” and weaving the paper strips.  We start by drawing the biggest oval we can and cut it out, saving the scraps for the end. While the students are coloring the faces, I go around the room and fold the papers and draw the lines on the body that become the warp strips, or the cuts that we weave through. The kids cut the lines and open up the papers, then weaving begins. We finish it off with some construction paper fins and tails and more shapes and patterns. Construction paper crayons are great for this lesson since they hold their color on a non-white paper.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Sunflower still lifes in 1st grade

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the artists we learn about in first grade - Vincent loved the beautiful sunny yellows in his village in France. He lived in a yellow house and often painted beautiful yellow fields and glowing golden cafes at night. His sunflower still lifes are some of the most well-known paintings  in the world.

We began our versions with a simple vase and table, sketched in pencil, then added a layer of liquid tempera - on the first day we filled the vase shape and the table as well as the brown circles that would become the sunflower centers, adding black dots in the middle for the seeds, which made them for just a moment look like floating chocolate chip cookies. :) We used dry paper towels to wipe off our excess paint instead of using water cups - this helps keep the paint from getting too watery.

The following week, we added petals, stems, and a pattern on our vase. The final step was to create that brushstroke-y texture all around the picture which makes Van Gogh's paintings so exciting and recognizable. We hope you enjoy our colorful and lovely sunflower still lifes!
If you would like a step-by-step "How To" for this lesson, please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

March Monday savings in my TpT store!

Every Monday in March, my Teachers Pay Teachers shop will offer a 20% discount on everything, in honor of Youth Art Month. If you are planning an art show, I just added a free handout to help students select and prep their best art for the show.
I also recommend some of my color activities for March, like the Color Poem and Discover Color - a great way to add some art to your academic classroom, or vice-versa!
I'd love for you to stop by and shop :)

Friday, March 2, 2018

2nd grade stitchery: constellations

My second graders learn about space in their classroom, so when it came time to do some sewing in the art room, we used constellations as our theme. We found our zodiac constellation on a chart and traced the shape onto a piece of paper mesh made by Roylco, adding some tape around the edges to prevent the mesh from unraveling.

Next we learned how to tie a knot and thread our yarn needles using a paper threader and went to town! We finished surprisingly quickly, so next time I think we may make them a little larger - for these I used half-sheets of the paper mesh. We colored the backgrounds and for a finishing touch, we glued some sequins in the background to give it that outer space feel.

Friday, February 23, 2018

African inspired paper weaving, 1st grade

First graders are continuing their African art unit by trying out some weaving - we started by looking at examples of colorful kente cloth and symbol-printed adinkra cloth. We made a loom from cut paper and practiced our over/under pattern with our paper strips. Early finishers added symbols like the ones we saw on the black and white adinkra cloth.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Georgia bird portraits in 3rd

Third graders researched birds native to our state, Georgia, and turned them into beautiful painted portraits with atmospheric perspective - a way of showing space by contrasting sharp and blurry focus.
We started by making thumbnails on a Make it! planning sheet (find it here in my TpT store) and discovering the birds' habitats. Next, we drew the bird large and a simple foreground like a branch. We colored these using details and sharp features, to show they were in the foreground. We used a wet on wet watercolor technique in the background to create a more distant feel - the wet paint on wet paper makes a soft, blurred texture. After learning about the habitats, we used the colors we imagined would be found in these areas - some woodlands, some wetlands. We wrapped it up with a reflection, also on the Make it! sheet, and uploaded them to Artsonia.