Tag Archives: grade 4

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.

Name Spinners

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We were working on line, shape and symmetry and sometimes making art move (kinetic art) is just fun. For this one, we used donated cardstock. Students fold the short edge of the paper to meet the long edge then cut the paper to make a square. They folded again diagonally so that they had four quadrants. Of course, I did point out that dividing our paper into fourths was a math skill.

They drew their names in a stylized fashion and added color. When they finished, we put them on a pencil top with a push pin so they would spin. Here they are in motion

By making them square, it was easy to find center with the diagonal folds.

I think this note summed up what the students thought of this project.

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.

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

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.

Clay Wall Pockets

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My mother has a clay wall pocket hanging in her dining room that my brother made in elementary school. I have always loved that little bit of clay goodness and was excited to be able to do it with my students. I told them the story and said that they might want to do an extra good job because one just never knows how long their art might hang in their family home.

Students rolled out a rectangle piece of clay. Added texture then folded and pinched. I encouraged them to make sure the sides were well attached and then they poked two holes and wrote their name on the back.

making the pocket

We are using Mexal Air Dry Clay by Laguna that I discovered a while back at the Mingei.

wall pocket close up

They are super fun to make especially when using lots of texture tools (shells, potato mashers, buttons, forks, etc.) and with some organizing, they were easy enough to complete in our 45 minute class period.

So fun to revive an old 70’s clay lesson!

wall pockets

We did pop a bit of brown paper towel in the pocket to make sure it didn’t collapse while it dried.  That’s it! So easy and so much fun.

Another lesson with Sonia Delaunay

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I had an opportunity to see some of Delaunay’s work both in Paris and in Bilbao. I love her bright colors and simple geometric shapes. Students looked at Delaunay’s art and textiles in a PowerPoint and they created these images in tempera paint.

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I had the students look at her work and we discussed the way color and shape interact.

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We also discussed her work as a textile designer and how she and her husband Robert were the initiators of the Orphism or Orphic Cubist Art movement.

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They could copy elements of her work or create their own version.

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Year of the Dog Grade 4

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I love the animals of Chinese New Year and I always try to come up with something fun.

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For 4th graders, I had them cut circles from white construction paper, and silhouettes of dogs from black construction paper.

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They added patterns to the circles and put their  dog silhouette on top. I found silhouettes of dogs online that they could refer to.

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Young Art 2017: Beyond the Ordinary

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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:

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Oranges

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Spool of Thread