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.
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!
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.
The Grade Three team shared their curriculum map with me which makes my job oh so easy! I knew whales would be part of their curriculum for November and December.
I found some beautiful images on Etsy that I loved. Enormous whales, a lot of ocean and tiny ships or boats. The work is by Rachel Blyer of the Colorful Cat Studio. Her work is done in watercolor.
For this lesson, I had my students create these in a mixed media format. We did these in just under an hour.
They started by drawing the image of their boat and sky. Then they did some scrubby paint with a cardboard scrap and some “ocean” colors which I tossed in some blue glitter glue for fun. They used pre-painted gray paper for the whales. I put out lots of images of whales for them to use as reference. I think they came out pretty amazing.
The third grade learns about the history of our community. Part of that history includes the Native American tribes that lived here before anyone else.
They often take a field trip to the Kumeyaay Interpretive center and see a replica of an Ewaa, grind acorns, paint rocks and learn about the tools, food, lifestyle and culture of these people.
To complement the study of the Kumeyaay, students created these paper pots. We looked at images of Kumeyaay pottery, learned how it was made and then cut out our ollas from paper. I do not have a kiln, so we cannot easily do clay lessons.
We also looked at images of petroglyphs and petrographs from our county. We learned that most of the Kumeyaay pottery was not decorated but did have fire clouds from the Raku firing process they used. We also learned that Kumeyaay pottery is still being made today.
I allowed the students to use images from pictographs and petroglyphs to add more color to their pottery if they chose to. They glued their finished pots onto simple backgrounds when complete.
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.
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
I teach a total of five classrooms of grade three students. As I continued to teach Beatrix this week to the rest of our third graders, more students chose her other characters. So much fun to teach students about this wonderful artist, author, and business woman.
Tale of Two Bad Mice
Kitty in Boots
The Tailor of Gloucester
Because March is Women’s History month my classes all were introduced to a different woman artist.
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.
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.
They all chose Peter Rabbit. Probably because it is spring time.
For some reason, I have a lots of scrap paper this year. This is another lesson that came about because I have certain supplies.
For this lesson students looked at traditional Wycinanki paper cut images and we talked about the tree of life.
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.
After they finished the cutout, they added colored paper if they wanted to.