Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What I love about letting kids do their own thing....

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  And don't get me wrong:  I model basic ideas and even sometimes require certain activities (like when we learn how to make a pinch pot with modeling clay).  But when it comes time to "express" one's inner artist,  I get out of the way.  I observe and help with ideas where needed.  I ask questions.   I am always surprised by something new.  More examples can be found here.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Cardboard Construction Center

 When I was first introduced to the idea of cardboard construction I was hesitant because it seemed to be an impossible storage task.  But with a bunch of boxes, each with a class name on it, I was able to keep each class's creations separate and organized, even in my very small room.

I set out pieces of cardboard that I had cut in a variety of sized, tape, glue, toilet paper rolls, and other things, and told the kids to build.  I offered a few helpful suggestions here and there but didn't give a lot of instructions on what to make (or even how).  I find that too much information leads to carbon copies of my ideas so I focus on technique and only what's necessary to get started.  I keep my eye on the works in progress and offer help when I see it's needed.

I'm amazed at the results.

Cardboard Construction Projects

Bean Art

It's been a long while since I last added something to this blog.  I have added too many after school activities to my list of "things I want to do" that I've had little energy to add much here.  I've been taking classical guitar lessons and I actually practice every day.  So I've been putting in a lot of energy in that pursuit. 

Well, I have some pictures of some of the things the kids have been doing and I'm in the sharing mood.  So here goes.

My art room is set up with 6 different stations.  In one of those stations I rotate different activities on a regular basis.  Currently station 4 is a "Bean Art) station.  I'm surprised at how popular this was with the kids.  Someone gave me a whole lot of different colored beans and so I put them in a tub along with some glue and gave the kids a few examples.  Here are a few of the results:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Abstract Art With Shapes

This is a project that we did a few years ago based on an exercise in Mona Brookes' book, Drawing With Children.    The exercise was similar to this art project

I found this similar idea in a google search just now.  Interesting how different people can come up with identical ideas.  The exact inspiration for me likely came from several sources.

The directions are simple.  Draw a variety of shapes using the technique of overlapping.  I distinguish between three types of shapes:  Geometric; Organic (that found in nature); and Free-form.  Some students needed to be "encouraged" to add more shapes to their pictures to balance them out.  When the drawing (done in pencil) is done, it can be outlined in a black marker.  If you're brave, have students just draw in a permanent black marker as it saves a step. 

You can use any kind of color scheme you'd like (for example warm colors for shapes and a cool color background).  Or just let the kids decide.  One rule I had was that they had to use a variety of colors and that two connecting shapes could not be the same color.  Each section of the shapes had to be colored in different colors.  (see the examples to get an idea). 

For coloring we used markers and I teach my students to treat the marker like it's a paint brush.  The tip of the marker is like the tip of a brush.  You can make thick and thin lines depending on how you hold the marker.

All lines in a given area are to follow the same direction.  That means that each section is treated like a canvas unto itself.  Circle and oval shapes can have circular lines but straight line shapes must have straight marker lines (and they must all follow the same direction.  Students may first outline the shape but then all subsequent lines must have the same direction.  The outlining helps students to keep withing the boundaries of the shape.  I have my students point their marker tips toward the black border line when outlining the shape. 

The marker lines in the background should all follow the same direction.  Either left to right or top to bottom or diagonal.  One line is colored at a time and then the next line is added.  I don't allow students to use their markers like crayons (using a back and forth movement). 

I think the effect is rather nice.  Look closely at the lines in each example.  You'll see what I mean.  If this doesn't make sense, please let me know.  I'll try to clarify. 

However, you will likely see where some students didn't exactly follow the "rules" above.  You can decide for yourself if this matters.  Let me know what you think.  It's a great lesson for teaching color theory, balance, overlapping, and technique.    Here's a gallery of work.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pointillism for Primary Grades

Pointillism (1st-3rd grade)

1st and 2nd grade project
I have a computer full of art project pictures but haven't been blogging much this year. But perhaps I can get back into it with this post.
This is a center project I made available for 1st - 3rd grades. I provided students with models to work from and gave a simple and quick demonstration of the "painting" process. Using a pencil to draw in the details, students then used
Q-Tips to apply the dots. 

3rd Grade

I'm not sure where the idea came from but here is a website with a similar picture and and explanation of the process. 

I've posted two galleries on my website.
First/Second Grade
Third Grade

I'm not sure where the idea came from but here is a website with a similar picture and and explanation of the process. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Marker Paint Example

I found a picture that was painted with Marker Paint.  It's taken from my Iphone so I'm not sure how well it will display.  But it should give you and idea of the vibrancy of the colors. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dried out markers aren’t dead yet!

There are probably others ideas you’ve tried and I’m sure one can find ideas from a Google search but I really like the effect of using the markers like a paint.  It’s a bit messy and takes some time to set up but I think it’s worth the time and effort.  My kids love it too and that’s important to me as well.

Nov 14 031 When I find a marker that's dried out, I put it a tub that's reserved just for dried out markers. Then several times a year I take the markers apart and create some "Marker Paint" for the kids to use. The colors are nice and bright, apply easily and it's a good way to reuse what otherwise might be thrown out.
Nov 14 032 Here are the basic tools I use.  The pliers are good for pulling out tips and the cutters grip well when removing the bottom of the marker.


Nov 14 036 First I remove all the tips on the markers of the ones I plan to use.  I do one color at a time.  By removing all the times (say of the blue colors) then I don’t have to keep switching  tools for each individual marker.  Whatever works best for you, do that! Nov 14 037


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Here I am removing the bottom of the marker.  When I use the pliers my hand tires after a while but with a good heavy duty wire cutter the caps remove easily.  BTW, if one wanted to he could simply remove this cap, add a little water and the marker would work again.  You have to add just the right amount of water but it does work.  I’ve not tried it that way much so I don’t know how long they last but I suppose one could just keep adding a little water until they are completely out of ink.


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Once the bottom cap is removed I used a thin paintbrush end to remove the inner fiber cylinder that contains the ink.

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Once it is dislodged from the tip, the fiber cylinder  comes out easily. 

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Finally I place several of the fiber cylinder and the tips in a small amount of water and let them soak.  They are ready to use in minutes.  I add the paint lids (I have the spill-proof type) and I cover them at night.  The only downside is that after a while, if the fiber cylinders are left in too long, the paints starts to smell.  So after a few days I remove them.  By that time most of the useful ink has been drained. 

Now it just occurred to me that I don’t have an example picture so I will have to start looking.  Please share your thoughts and ideas on the uses of dried out markers!  Happy Thanksgiving!