This is a project I have done many, many times over the years. It is super inexpensive as I use scrap cardboard from just about anything you can imagine. Sometimes, the cardboard is from a package insert like the one above left and already has interesting shapes pressed in. Other times it is just a flat scrap.
Typically I do this lesson when I look around the art room and see that I have been gifted copious amounts of cardboard from the librarian and others or I have just unpacked a supply order or I am at the tail end of supplies and realize I need a lesson to fill in the gaps before my order arrives.
Whatever the case, the students always enjoy this lesson as it is fun and colorful and they can make it as elaborate or as simple as they want to.
For this lesson, the students were given pre-cut rectangles of cardboard. If they wanted a different shape, I offered to cut them on the paper cutter. They also had a few trays of assorted scraps of cardboard to get them started. They could cut the cardboard pieces to their liking. Thicker cardboard is more challenging to cut so if students asked me to, I would help them cut. I always tell them to try things first before they ask for help. I have found when given that directive, they often surprise themselves with how capable they are.
They glued the shapes on with white glue and added color with pastels. They completed this lesson in 45 minutes start to finish including a quick PowerPoint about Picasso and cubism.
As the school year winds down, supplies seem to be at a premium. I do my best to be very budget conscious since my program is funded entirely through the generosity of parents and our foundation. Because of this, I tend to slide in to the last few weeks of art with just enough paper, paint and glue to get us through to the end of the year.
This is one of those lessons that is easy to do on a budget with a few donated newspapers and some scraps of construction paper. I usually have a good sized bin of paper scraps by the end of the year and I have a stack of newspaper from a few years ago so that made this project even easier. I first showed students some examples I had made and then I demoed how to cut different animal heads, ears, snouts, and bodies for the students and they chose what animal they wanted to create and how they wanted to create it.
If you do an online search for newsprint animals you will likely have even more examples of this lesson to choose from. These were our version and we completed them in one 45 minute session.
The Kindergarten students created beads with me for their clay project this year. We used Mexal white air dry clay from Laguna Clay Company. For our first session, I modeled how to make a medallion and beads. We talked about how we could make our beads into cylinders, spheres, cubes, or cones. It was their choice.
I modeled each shape and let them create. This was a great way to reinforce shapes they were learning about in math class. The students then made a medallion and as many beads as they could make in our 30 minutes together.
When they returned for their next lesson, they painted their beads with Jazz gloss tempera paint made by Van Aken paint company. It is sticky and smells weird but dries quickly. When it is dry, it looks a lot like kiln fired glaze. You can add a coating of clear nail polish or clear acrylic spray to seal them but I did not.
Because we had finished all of our art lessons for the school year, I had to send the beads and medallions back to the teachers and they worked out how to make necklaces in their own time. The necklaces pictured here were assembled with pony beads and rexlace. Rexlace is the plastic lacing made by the Pepperell Company and is used by many campers and scouts for boondoggles and lanyards.
Great job Kindergarten!
Just when my Third Graders needed a summery lesson for their last project of the school year, I discovered Heather Brown’s art. She is an artist who lives in Hawaii and makes the most beautiful paintings many of which have surfers and the ocean and/or scenes from Hawaii.
Students used black crayon for their images and liquid tempera to paint with. They came up with their own beach scenes. I wanted them to be able to mix different values of blue as Heather Brown does. I did encouraged them to include a surfer or two but they did not have to. Several students decided to go over the black crayon with black oil pastel when they were finished. Even if the paintings were wet, they still could use the pastel to get a stronger black line
A perfect lesson to kick off summer!
One of my favorite things to do is show my youngest students the magic of a square. Cut it in half and you get two rectangles. But if you cut it in half diagonally, you get two triangles.
When you cut the tip off the triangle, you get a trapezoid. If you cut all the corners off and round the edges, its a circle. It is always fun to teach these youngest artists how to manipulate shapes to make objects.
The students were given a few different sized squares as well as pre-cut circles, long skinny green rectangles and I brought in my bucket of paper scraps.
I modeled how to cut the square and how to make different shaped flowers. You can see that I modeled the pinwheel type flower and the tulip like flower. I encouraged them to decorate the vases and create more flowers if they wanted to.
I really think this one is fun:
This student did their own flowers in their own way! I just wish I had time to talk with each and every one of them hear their thought process. We spent 30 minutes on this lesson from start to finish including clean up. Whew!
For my Grade 5 students, we did Colonial Houses with our air dry clay. Typically, I have done these as a watercolor project but because we were doing clay this year. I felt that it would be a good tie in to their Social Studies Curriculum.
We used bamboo skewers, pencils, plastic forks, and plastic knives as our tools. I do have a few clay tools but not a class set so using these inexpensive tools worked just fine. I put several examples of Colonial Houses from Williamsburg up on our screen in the classroom so that they had references.
We discussed what the houses might be made from: brick or wood. We talked about all the things they needed to include in the buildings such as windows, doors, siding, chimneys, steps. etc. We also talk about the Salt Box house with its 2 story front, pitched roof and one story back.
I pretty much let them go off on their own after we talked about the buildings, things they might want to include and the characteristics of the air dry clay. I always like to see what creative things they come up with.
I had to push in to several classrooms during testing so I wanted a no mess lesson to make that easier.
I have a box of paper strips that were donated to me via our district’s publishing department. They are the perfect length and width for kids to eave with.
For this lesson, we used white or black paper and they folded that in half, made a bumper and cut an odd number of lines onto their paper.
They opened the paper out and then did their weaving. When it was finished, they glued a heart onto the weaving to add a border.
A lesson like this on perspective with tulips has been around for eons. The students draw a line across the top of their paper, choose a spot for the vanishing point then draw a series of lines that from the vanishing point off the page.
I like to link this lesson to Vincent Van Gogh and our local flower fields. I tell the students a little about Van Gogh, we look at some of his art and then I tell them the history of the flower fields and we look at pictures of the flower fields.
Then they create their own version and try their hand at the perspective. I do this with first grade. This year, we did this with oil pastel and tempera cake. For some reason, we are just about out of blue pastel and I wanted them to be able to have a blue sky if they wanted to. I did order more blue pastels after this lesson.
My after school students just love making marbled paper! We started with starch and watered down tempera paint. We poured a layer of starch in the tray then dripped small spots of paint with a spoon.
Then they used shaving cream and liquid watercolor. We put these long thin pipettes I got from a lab that closed years ago into the bottles so they could better control the amount.
We also made our own comb to drag through the colors with a chunk of cardboard and toothpicks. Such a fun afternoon. I think they would make great images for note cards or ATC’s.
Ever since my trek to the NAEA conference, I have been thinking a lot about how we have students create art. In a couple of the workshops I went to, there was a lot of discussion about how most students create teacher directed art lessons. When every child makes the exact same thing as their peers, many people considered that a successful art project. I have always enjoyed allowing my students freedom to create while having their projects be cohesive enough that they can be hung together in a grouping.
When one of the third grade teachers came to me and asked me for art that she could take over to our local Trader Joe’s for display., I again was thinking about my time at NAEA.
For this lesson, I gave my students the direction that we needed to create pieces that looked like they were part of a collection. We talked about what types of things Trader Joe’s sells and what would look nice on display and landed on plants and flowers.
They all drew a plant in sharpie, put it in a container, painted it with watercolor, leaving white space around it. They were free to draw any type of plant that they wanted to and put it in a container of their choosing. I pulled up reference pictures and projected them onto our screen for them to look at.