Sunday, February 28, 2010

2nd grade paper construction penguins

Here's another penguin theme idea I've used in the past. This project was make entirely of colored construction paper. As you can see we used a blue background and a blue gray for the water. For the different parts of the penguins, I usually cut the different pieces the kids use for the penguins into approximate sizes the kids will need. I cut out rectangles and squares and then show the kids how to make circles and triangles from those shapes. We added a white "block of ice" for the penguin in front to stand upon.

This particular project was done whole group with an "I do it you do it" approach. Now that I'm using a modified TAB approach, should I repeat this project (or one like it) I may try giving a quick mini-lesson of the process or offer a one-day workshop where kids start the project with my help and then finish it on their own at future center times.

I like construction paper art for a number of reasons. With the younger students, I can reinforce shape concepts, and give the kids another experience with cutting and gluing. Such activities also help kids as they further develop their visual discrimination skills and begin to see the connections line and shape have making images.

I also believe that by doing a project where I demonstrate specific techniques and show how the pieces go together, it gives kids valuable experience and a set of skills that they can later duplicate as they venture out on their own in future creative endeavors.

I don't have a gallery of these penguins as I only scanned these six. I'll end this post with two more examples. Happy art making!

Monday, February 15, 2010

What shall I paint? How about Penguins on the ice?

This is the title of a Usborne book, one of several that I own. I like the big illustrations in the book. I love the colorful illustrations and the kid centered projects in this book. I am also drawn to those ideas that will get kids "out of the box" in their artistic thinking. I enjoy using materials that wouldn't normally be considered for a painting project. This probably explains why my current art studio center (what I'm trying to call my centers now - studio centers) has available an assortment of combs, forks, spoons, sponges, tongue depressors, straws, miscellaneous screws and other hardware for making a variety of marks and effects. I'm sure my collection will grow as I discover new things with which to paint.

This is a third grade art project but it would also work well with my second graders. A brave soul might even try it with the first graders (not me - teaching my first graders is like trying to hold down a bathtub full of corks). In this project, which takes several steps, students first paint the lower 1/4 of the paper with white paint. The paint can be sponged on, wiped on with a cloth, or painted on with a wide brush. After the white is applied, the student then paints the top 3/4 with a blue. A dark blue is best as they will be adding more white to the blue section.

You don't have to let the blue section dry to begin the next step. Experiment with it and see how it works for you but we painted the next step right away. The directions call for painting white on clingwrap and pressing the wrap onto the blue side of the picture. The white paint beads up on the clingwrap and when applied to the blue it gives a frosty look. Repeat this until the desired effect is reached. "Frost" the entire blue section. (We used plastic sandwich bags. Students placed their hands in the bags, like a glove, painted one side white and then applied the paint to the blue area that way).

Finally, add the penguins. The steps we followed are right from the book. Paint the black body (and oval) and add the black wings. Let this fully dry and then add orange feet, and orange beak, white belly area, and a small white circle for the eye. When that dries add a dot of black to the white eye.

In the white area students used familiar shapes to paint colorful fish, allowing to dry before adding the details on the body.

The kids had a great time with this project. What I like best about art projects like this one is that they often lead to unique innovations as students try the same techniques (with various twists) in future painting projects. This particular project is good for the younger primary students because most of the shapes they will use are one with which they are most familiar.

This project was done whole group with a lot of teacher direction. If I were to do this project at one of my centers, I'd likely make it a "have to" so that all students would learn the painting technique. Most of the steps are easy and a quick demonstration can get the class started. Teaching in centers the way I do allows me to hover at one studio center and do some small group teaching. After a few students learn the process, they become peer teachers and help the others with the process. This approach has been working with many of my other center activities and allows me to move around the room and spend time with various groups and even individuals.

Your thoughts are most appreciated. Thanks for reading. A small gallery can be found here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Where The Wild Things are. First grade project.

This art project has probably been done by many of you. Mine is a crayon resist and it's an activity the kids really seem to enjoy. My approach is simple: I read the story and show the pictures via my document camera (or show the video). After viewing the story, we discuss what a "Wild Thing" looks like. With my first graders, I talk a lot about the shapes they see in the different Wild Things. My approach has been to model the drawing first and then let them draw their Wild Thing first in pencil and then outline and color using color pastels. For the wash I use a light blue. I tried to add a bit of black to give the blue a darker grayish look but that was a bad idea. I didn't like the look and neither did the kids. One child, after applying the wash, looked up at me and said, "You've ruined it!" Wow! I like that. A critic. ;)
I've gotten so many ideas from here and there I don't know where I got this idea. Perhaps from They have many good ideas for projects there. Here's another approach from Deep Sparkle. If you haven't seen her site, check it out. It's very well done and an excellent resource.

Project gallery can be found on my website here. Let the rumpus begin!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wow! I feel likes it's been two weeks since I last blogged here! Oh wait, it has been two weeks. Time flies when you're busy busy busy.

For those that have read my last blog entry, you'll remember that I began a new teaching approach in January known as Teaching Artistic Behavior (TAB). [See this blog entry for more information on TAB]

Well, to put it mildly, I've been very busy. The TAB approach has been far more work than I imagined. I'm learning something new everyday. There is much more I have to learn but I'm enjoying teaching this way. We are about one week away from finishing our projects and then I will scan and share them here. I use a modified TAB approach and have a few "have to's" (as in, "Teacher, do I have to make this?" - and my answer is, "Yes, it's a have to." ;)

There are many projects that require certain techniques that I want my kids to experience. I want them to be able to follow a step-by-step process and experience the success that comes with knowing how something is done.

We're painting with tongue depressors, cardboard, q-tips, and of course, paint brushes. The results are stunning. Even some of my less-talented students are learning and succeeding at the various techniques. When I'm ready, I'll share these idea with pictures. Here's what's coming:

First Grade: We made simple drawing pictures using concepts in the Ed Emberley drawing system. We learned about proper coloring techniques and what it means to outline main parts of our artwork.

Second Grade: Second graders made simple symmetrical pictures by folding a paper in half, and used the primary colors to paint "blobs" on one side of the paper. Then folding it in half and pressing on the paper, the paint blends together and creating a symmetrical picture. The blending colors create spots of purple, orange, and green. They look pretty cool (kid talk).

Third Grade: Third graders are made paintings that use an analogous color scheme. It's the first time they've been introduced to analogous colors. The color combinations create interesting visuals.

Fourth Grade: Using either cool or warm colors for a background, students paint the background using tongue depressors. The "brush" stroke is horizontal. Then using a contrasting warm or cool color, students use cardboard pieces to paint vertical lines in the shape of towers. The goal is to make structures and later add details to make fantasy castles (using permanent black markers for the details).

Fifth Grade: Using tongue depressors, students made a sunset background and then used a black paint to paint a foreground with the theme of the sunset in the desert. Think cactus. This turned out very well.

I hope these ideas sound of interest to you. I hope to have some pictures up by next week. Until then, happy creating!