Beatrix Potter

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Because March is Women’s History month my classes all were introduced to a different woman artist.

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Grade three learned about Beatrix Potter and her water color illustrations of animals. They learned that she was also a sheep farmer, preservationist and business woman.

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They could use watercolor, colored pencils, sharpie or any combination of those and could choose to do any of her animas or one of their own anthropomorphic animals.

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They all chose Peter Rabbit. Probably because it is spring time.

Bugs in Boxes

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Second grade usually does an insect unit. They learn about insects and their body parts. Every year, I do something a little different, it seems.

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This year, the students drew about five boxes. They then put different bugs in each box.

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The bugs could be real or imaginary.

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I have a bunch of plastic insects from my children that I bring in for them to look at if they want to.

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They could color the bugs with marker, pencil, or oil pastel.

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When finished, they painted the space in between the boxes with brown paint to look a bit like wood.

 

 

Laurel Burch Cats

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For this lesson, my kindergarten students drew a cat and flowers in oil pastel and then painted over it with black water color.

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I like watercolor paintings to be bright and cheery so I take out the black and brown paint. I have a lot of black watercolor paint because I take it our of our paint trays.

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This lesson allowed us to use up some of those black paint trays. The hardest part is getting kindergarten students to color hard enough that the water color resists the paints.

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Wycinanki Trees of Life

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For some reason, I have a lots of scrap paper this year. This is another lesson that came about because I have certain supplies.

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For this lesson students looked at traditional Wycinanki paper cut images and we talked about the tree of life.

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Students folded the paper in half, drew their image with white crayon then cut out. They were to include a bird, a tree, and a heart.

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After they finished the cutout, they added colored paper if they wanted to.

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Oak Trees

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I was asked to teach a step by step painting class at our Girl Scout Service Unit Encampment. The theme was Amazing Race so the girls went to different locations all over camp and did activities from different countries-things like making sushi in Japan, playing Futbol in Spain, and painting with me in France.

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It was for our Juniors (grades 4, 5, 6) and Cadettes (grades 7, 8).

We set up on the porch of one of the cabins and it was a bit breezy and cool but we sure had a great time.

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Can you believe we only had 40 minutes? Well, we did! I think they did an amazing job! I showed them my  tricks for “speed” painting like basing in the sky using a thin coat of paint and a sponge.

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They did these on 8×10 canvas board. I love that they all came out so differently.

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Frogs

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53654596For this lesson for my Transitional Kindergarten students, I had them do a directed drawing of a frog on a lily pad.

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I often do directed  drawings with my youngest students. I think it gives them a good foundation of how to draw.

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After we drew the frogs, we talked about how to make green, how to mix paint and to add some water to thin out the paint a bit so we could still see the black crayon.

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Gold Rush Buildings

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I love finding current working artists who can inspire my students. For this lesson, we looked at the work of illustrator Mateusz Urbanowicz. He is an illustrator, originally from Poland, who lives and works in Japan. He has great videos of him actually drawing his “Tokyo Storefronts” series so the students and I looked at one together.

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The students had lots of great questions and loved watching the artist work. For this lesson, I allowed them to use pencil and make a sketch before inking.

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Normally, pencil sketches are not allowed for art because of time constraints. We have a “no mistakes in art” rule so any mark you make on your paper is not a mistake and can be turned into something. I think it forces them to trust themselves and think about creative solutions to a mark they decide they do not want.

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These images were created in the style of Mateusz Urbanowicz but took on a Social Studies twist when we talked about businesses that existed during the Gold Rush. They created their images of buildings as if they could have been part of a Gold Rush town.

Quilling or Paper Filigree

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This lesson came about because of my desperate need to use up this giant box of donated strips.

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I’ve done several different lessons with several different grade levels over the last few weeks but the box is still half full.

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I showed my students how to wrap the paper into a little roll then let it go or not, then glue it and squash it into different shapes. They used a paintbrush handle to twist the paper onto.

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There are loads of videos and how to’s out there on the internet if you want to do something super fancy. For my 5th grade students, I just had them do flowers.

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We looked at historic and modern day examples. I did this with 5th grade because it was a handicraft from the Colonial period.

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The term quilling comes from how colonists would twist the paper around their quills to make this decorative art.

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Collage Birds

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Years ago I saw some collaged cardboard birds. After my best friend died, her kids and mine did a grief group each week with activities from the Dougy Center. This activity wasn’t from there but I loved the idea of 3D birds and the kids and I liked doing art together. We made the “word birds” below.

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For that project, we put a word about what we needed on one side and what we loved about ourselves on the other. My thought was they could put the bird in their room in a place people could see it like on their dresser or desk and when they needed some extra TLC, they put that side out facing the world. When they were doing okay, the side of what they liked about themselves showed.

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This year after getting a giant box of cardboard packing triangles, oodles of paper strips and having loads of scrap paper, I had my students do these birds.

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They are really colorful. For the feathers, we used edger scissors  that cut interesting patterns as you cut. Kids LOVE using those scissors and I have a lot of them as they were given to my own kids over the years.

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If the students wanted to, they could add words when they were finished but many did not.

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I had them fold card stock in half, draw a bird shape, collage both sides and glue them together.I did this in a step by step fashion after the first group struggled a bit.

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I learned with the first group that several of them collaged the same side and then the bird would not go together. So for the next group, I had them cut out the birds, have them lay them flat then have them “kiss” or touch tails and draw an “X” on each side that was facing up.

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This helped prevent them from collaging the wrong side. I showed them how to glue the beaks and tail feathers on one side so that it would sandwich between when the project was complete. Most of them understood that part, some did not.

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They were instructed to decorated all sides of the triangle and leave the bottom of the bird open. They brought them to me and I stapled the triangle feet for them.

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