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.
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.
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.
For as long as I have been teaching art, I have been going to art shows, gallery openings, and museums as well as taking classes. I think that if I want my students to be life long learners, I need to be one myself.
I love to look at gallery sites and find things that might inspire me or my students to create something fun. That is how I found this artist.
I came across an article about Martina Nehberg on the Markel Fine Arts blog. Her art is colorful and fun and my students loved seeing her work and the pictures of her studio especially when it included her dogs.
We used scraps from our box of colorful paper strips. It was a great lesson for my 1-2 combo class to practice cutting and gluing skills while creating amazing works of art.
I met the other elementary art teacher from our district at the San Diego Museum of Art. Four of her students had this cupcake lesson chosen for the Young Art 2017: Beyond the Ordinary Exhibition. She mounted them on colored paper squares and grouped them together.
I think her students were grade three, I did this with my First Graders.
I thought it was a great way to use up some of the magazine donations and scrap paper we have accumulated.
I had my students color the background with oil pastel. I don’t typically use colored paper because it is difficult to estimate how much I need from year to year.
My students and parents LOVE this lesson. I do this one with First Grade. This year, I did the lesson with Grade 1 and the Grade 1 and Grade 2 Combo classes.
I think it always turns out great. The nice thing about this is if they make a mark they do not like, they can just color over it and it becomes a bigger boat or another sail. It also reinforces how to draw basic shapes.
This year, I had extra wide sharpies which made it easier for my students to color in large sails or large boats.
I think one key to success is to make sure the students go slowly around the outside and then they can move quickly when they are in the middle of the image.
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.
Every other year, the San Diego Museum of Art hosts an art show for students from around the county. This year, the theme was still life and each teacher was allowed to submit just five pieces of art. With me teaching more than 800 students, it was really a tough job to choose just 5 but I had some help.
If you have a chance, go see the art! it is on display until May 28, 2017. Of our 5 submissions, these 3 pieces of art were chosen:
Spool of Thread
My K/1 Combo class did this lesson. They painted the background first doing the sky white then adding blue, they then painted the ocean with blue, green, and white. We did not rinse between colors so that was one less clean up step. I had them wipe their brushes on scrap paper or their placemats.
While that was drying, I showed them our “magic square” trick. A square can be cut into 2 triangles or 2 rectangles.
They then made boats with the squares of painted paper. I often use my old demo lessons chopped up for things like this. I also have some art room helpers who will take the paint leftovers from a paint day and paint on “oops” papers.
That paper is made by my upper grade student helpers. While I am pretty conservative in pouring paint, there is always a bit of leftover paint on the supply plates and it is a good way to use that up. (Reduce, reuse recycle: it’s good for the budget)
They then cut and assembled the boats however they wanted to.
This lesson was done for Women’s History Month. It is based on the image “Dancing at the Museum” by Faith Ringgold.
I shared information about Faith Ringgold with my students and gave them small printouts of famous art. They glued those on and created an art museum around them.
Once that was finished, they drew an image of themselves and if they had time a few other people. They cut those out and added them to their background.