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.
I used Mexal White air dry clay from Laguna with students to create these suns.
I gave each student a ball of clay about the size of a tennis ball. We talked about how to make it into a sun:
How do you flatten it? with your whole hand or your palm? Depends on the artist.
Do you pinch, cut or press to make the edges? Depends on the artist.
Do you add patterns or a face? Depends on the artist.
I told them the only “rules” were that they had to make a sun, they needed to make sure that the clay was not too thin, they could not get any clay in the sink or on the carpet and they had to have their name on their art.
They made their sun however they wanted to. After a few attempts, I realized it was best for me or a parent to write their name and double check the hole in the top so it could be hung up later.
We used Jazz Gloss Tempera Paint to paint them. I bought a set of regular colors and a set of metallics.
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 always like to teach my students about other cultures and celebrations. I think learning about other cultures helps us to create better relationships and allows us to understand others better.
At my school, we have a yearly Heritage Night and last year, we had a great Chinese New Year celebration. This year, is the Year of the Dog.
I showed the students images of dogs and we talked about how all breeds look pretty similar with their snout, their eyes and their nose. We also talked about their differences-coat textures, colors, size, and breed.
I showed students how to make a basic dog face and then left them to create their own dog their own way. Amazing what they came up with!
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.
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.
Grade 2 students did a quick water color background and added seaweed and sand.
They drew fish onto foam printing plates then printed the fish onto their backgrounds.
The 1/2 Combo teachers told me they were studying the seasons.
The students did a Styrofoam printing plate of a tree. They printed it four times.
Once finished, they used dots to paint the different seasons. Nice lesson that brought together Pop Art-Andy Warhol, Pointillism-Georges Seurat, and classroom curriculum.
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.
This year, the students drew about five boxes. They then put different bugs in each box.
The bugs could be real or imaginary.
I have a bunch of plastic insects from my children that I bring in for them to look at if they want to.
They could color the bugs with marker, pencil, or oil pastel.
When finished, they painted the space in between the boxes with brown paint to look a bit like wood.