The first grade students were studying plants and flowers so this was a project designed with that in mind. All of my classes did clay this year using Mexal Air Dry Clay made by Laguna Clay Company. Without a kiln, this is a good alternative.
Students were given a blob of clay and then instructed to flatten it and cut a rectangular or square shape to create a flat surface that they could press found objects into or draw onto to create flower images.
Once the plaques were dry, the students used Jazz Gloss Tempera to paint them. I did not seal them but that certainly could and probably should be done to preserve them even further.
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!
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.
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.
My Grade Two classes did these. They have a play that they do every year called “Going Buggy” This seemed like a good lesson to add to the bug lessons we have done in the past-bugs like plants after all.
I take out all the black pans from our watercolors to keep kids from painting every thing black because I do that, I try to find fun projects to do to use up the black paint.
Students were instructed to create either warm or cool colored flowers and then the centers were to be the opposite.
When finished, they painted black around the flowers.
The kindergarten students study insects and they often have a beekeeper come and share what it is like to be a beekeeper and how we get honey.
He brings in the clothes, tools, pictures, empty hives, and honey. It really is fun for the students.
I did a project last year on black paper. This year, we did it on white.
They had a lot of fun collaging their bees and creating a background. As always, we did this in 30 minutes!
I think they are just so cute and have loads of personality.
I did this lesson with my Grade 1 classes.
They used a small piece of Styrofoam printing plate to draw the flowers then cut them out and printed them in different colors.
They could add stems and leaves or a vase if they chose to.
For this lesson, my kindergarten students drew a cat and flowers in oil pastel and then painted over it with black water color.
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.
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.
This lesson came about because of my desperate need to use up this giant box of donated strips.
I’ve done several different lessons with several different grade levels over the last few weeks but the box is still half full.
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.
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.
We looked at historic and modern day examples. I did this with 5th grade because it was a handicraft from the Colonial period.
The term quilling comes from how colonists would twist the paper around their quills to make this decorative art.