Tag Archives: grade 3

Career Placemat Project

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In Fall of 2018, I was working at a very large suburban school. I was asked by their District Office if I thought my students could create 100 placemats with student art for their State of the District Luncheon.  Because of the large size of the school, this was only about 10% of our students so I knew I could do it.

I organized six after school workshops for all grade levels Kindergarten through Fifth grade. I even had a couple of preschool and TK students who came with an adult or older sibling.

The workshops were all done by me with occasional help from a parent. I had small groups of about 20 students. For the workshops, I had some idea lists for different careers that I thought they might want but I also told the students to come up with two to three career choices of their own so that we could have a lot of diversity. Because they knew these would not be returned, I allowed students to make two if they wanted to.

Each student sketched their work on a small paper then did a larger drawing in pencil then went over that in black marker. We then painted with watercolor paint. I was so impressed with all the different jobs they came up with from gardening to scientists to dancers to race car drivers and everything in between. It was really one of the most rewarding projects we did that year.

After they were dry, I labeled each artwork on the back with the student’s name, grade and their career title. It was a huge job and when they were delivered to the district office, the staff decided they were too pretty to use as placemats and instead put them up all around the meeting room. After the luncheon, they were returned to the school and went on display on the gallery wall in the lobby.

Winter or Ice Castles

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I love this project. It is a fun one to teach tint, shade, and tone during the winter months. Students drew castles in Sharpie marker on a separate paper from the background. For the background, they painted cool winter backgrounds using tints, shades and tones of cool colors. They then cut out and glued the castle onto the background. I typically do shorter lessons so this was done in about 45 minutes. With the paint still wet, we used white glue to adhere the castles to the background and it worked out great.

I generally show my students pictures of ice castles from around the world to inspire them. They are encouraged to create their own type of castle and use tints, shades, and tones to make the image more interesting.

Ice Skaters

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This is always a favorite winter project.

My students fold their paper in half and draw a landscape image on the top half using water based markers. When finished, they paint the bottom half with a generous coating of water. They fold the top half over the bottom to create a mono print.

When the mono print is dry, we made small figure skaters or ice hockey players in action poses to cut out and glue (collage) on the bottom half of the picture which now looks like a reflected skating pond. I usually do these with second grade.

Carla’s Sandwich

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I am always looking for fun books that I can link an art lesson to. For this lesson, my students heard the story Carla’s Sandwich by Debbie Herman. It is a cute book about a girl who brings unusual sandwiches to school.  I found this story on Storyline Online (one of my favorite resources for picture books). The students can listen to the story read by an actor which is always fun. 

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We talked about things you could put on a sandwich, as well as the recipe book that is available on Flashlight Press. I demonstrated how to draw different things on the board, we talked about foreground, middle ground, background, and overlapping and they made their own amazing sandwich creations.

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My students loved it. They created their art with flair markers and crayon because our tempera cakes have not arrived yet. Hopefully those will show up soon!

 

Paper Quilts

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20190827_094626-e1567274325977.jpgThis year, I came into a  new (to me) program. I was told there were art supplies and there were but I suppose I should have asked what supplies they had and the amounts. What I discovered was that there was a large amount of colored construction paper packages in a limited array of colors and a smattering of other miscellaneous items-glue sticks, scissors, some paint brushes, paint, crayons, items for weaving, pencils, and colored pencils.  

Since the initial art supply order would take about 10 days to receive and art started pretty quickly, I needed something I could do with every one of the nearly 1,200 students I would see in the first two weeks. The students range from TK to grade 6 and there are several special day classes as well.

What to do? Well, with limited supplies and just a couple of days to prep, I realized that paper quilt squares would be best. They needed no mark making tools, we had plenty of glue sticks for the first few groups and I have been making paper quilts for many, many years. They are easily adaptable to any age or ability and they look lovely when hung together in community. 

While there probably would have been an interest in a whole school collaborative project and I might have done that here, I chose simply to give the squares back to the classroom teachers. I work in 4 different schools and having not visited all of them, did not know if they had a place for a community art project that would be protected from the weather and curious student hands.

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I cut about 1300 six inch squares for the base. I cut thousands of additional triangles and small squares and show them how to fold these shapes to make additional shapes.

I told my students we would be doing math in art class and there were many groans. I showed them the following folds. When we cut them apart, we would be doing division and fractions. Patterns are found in math AND science AND art.

I told them the fold line was their cutting line. I drew lines here so you could see the fold lines better.

A triangle when the top point folds down to the bottom line makes a trapezoid:

 

When you fold the other corners in, you get a rectangle. Many of my students made the real world connection that the folded side looked like an envelope.

 

The square folded in half makes 2 rectangles. Fold the square into fourths, and you have four smaller squares. 

 

There are lots of ways to fold the paper to get different shapes and I encourage them to try whatever ideas they want to.

 

I  showed my students images of quilts and textile art both historical and contemporary. They looked at work by Martha Ricks, Harriet Powers, The Gees Bend Quilters, Pia Camil, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, and Joe Cunningham. They looked at patterns like the Log Cabin, Monkey Wrench, and Wagon Wheel.

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Each student received the same number of paper shapes plus the base. The only expectation was that they use all the paper pieces and that it fit within the square.

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I think they did a terrific job. For the SDC students, they tore the paper and glued the torn pieces on to the base.

Everyone from the youngest TK student to the oldest 6th grader had success. 20190827_102523.jpg

Swimmers and Surfers

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To get into the summer spirit, we looked at images of people swimming, surfing and lounging in, on, or near the water.

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Students could choose the beach, a lake, or the pool. Their characters could be swimming or surfing.

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We talked about foreground, middle ground, and background as well as how to show that they were sitting in or on an inner tube or how to show someone surfing or carrying an inner tube.

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They used oil pastel for the people and tempera cake for the water.

 

No Kiln, No Problem

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I love doing clay projects with my students. We have never had a kiln at one of my schools and I was told it is not possible because of fire insurance.

Because we have over 1,000 students, I use a clay from Laguna Clay called Mexo-White. It is an air dry clay that has a similar texture and hardness of kiln fired. I get it from Freeform Clay in National City. It can be delivered to your site or you can order it and then pick it up from their warehouse.

Once it dries, we use Jazz Gloss Tempera to paint them because that paint has a similar look to kiln fired glaze. To seal them you can use an acrylic spray or for small projects, clear nail polish works also.

Kindergarten necklaces are here.

Grade one plant plaques are here.

Grade two suns are here.

Grade three pinch pots are here

Grade four wall pockets are here

Grade five colonial houses are here

In my after school classes which are small, I have done some DIY Cold Porcelain. Those sculptures are always done on a small scale. Here is a unicorn on a marbled paper backdrop and some lovely mermaids.

I just did some bread dough lids with a few after school students. I have been making these since I was a child. I think my mom got the idea from Dough it Yourself the Morton Salt recipe book from the 70’s.

These sculptures are done on the tops of metal lidded glass jars. A great way to re-purpose an old jam or pickle jar! The lids must be metal so they can be baked in the oven at a low temp.

Here are the recipes I have used for different clay projects:

Cold Porcelain (The mermaid and unicorn are from this clay)

1 cup of cornstarch, 1 cup of white glue, 2 Tbsp of baby oil, and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice.

Cook on stove until until it holds together and pulls away from pan sides or microwave  at 15-second intervals, stirring between each one. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes until it cools. Wrap it tightly and let it rest for 24 hours.

Bread Dough-(Jar lids were done with this)

1 cup flour, 1 cup salt,  1 cup water. Mix well. Create items, air dry over several days or bake at 250 degrees F until dough is hard.

White Baking Soda Dough: (Not pictured but makes great cut out ornaments)

1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 cup baking soda, 3/4 cup water

Pour all ingredients into a medium saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring consistently. When mixture has thickened and looks like mashed potatoes, remove from saucepan. Place in a bowl, cover with a damp towel.  Let rest 30 minutes, until dough is cool enough to work with. Knead dough thoroughly to get out any air bubbles.  Roll out dough 1/4″ thick.

Cut out your shapes and or stamp with an image. If dough begins to crack and dry, wrap in a damp towel and microwave 10- 15 seconds.  This should make the dough moist and make it workable again.

When complete, bake at 175 degrees F for 45-60 minutes.  Then flip over and bake an additional 45-60 minutes, or until all ornaments are hard.  Cool completely and spray with a clear protective coating.

Apple Cinnamon Dough (Love to make this as package ties for gifts. They smell so good)

2 cups of unsweetened applesauce, 2 cups of cinnamon, 1 Tablespoon White Glue

Mix well. Sprinkle counter top with cinnamon, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters, and place ornaments on a baking sheet. Can air dry over several days or oven dry in a 200° F oven for about 2-2.5 hours. Can also sand rough edges after they dry.

Kool-Aid Playdough (A fun dough to make for young children. Smells great and the colors don’t come off on your hands)

1 Cup Flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 Envelope Unsweetened  Kool-Aid, 2 tsp. cream of tartar, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp. oil

Mix first 4 ingredients in medium saucepan until blended. Stir in water and oil. Cook on medium heat 5 min. or until mixture forms ball, stirring frequently. Cool before using.

Picasso Cardboard Faces

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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.

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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.

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Surf City

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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!

 

Pots and Plants

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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.

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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.