Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fish Reduction Prints

Fourth grade is about to start their printmaking project. I am going to try reduction printing for the first time. I took photos of my process, intending to create a storyboard for the project before I purchased Camtasia and started making videos. With my full load, I wasn't able to find time to make a video, so I used the photos for a slideshow style video of the process. I still don't have my microphone working, so I plan on narrating in person with this video to show the kids how to create their prints. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Japanese Koinobori

I have done a Koinobori project in the past, with 4th grade using SmartFab and lino cut blocks as scales, but this time my first graders are learning about this Japanese tradition. I purchased some pre cut "Carp Windsocks" made of diffusing paper from School Specialty. Here is my demo video, which I will use with the kids starting tomorrow. I pause my videos a lot and add narration over the music (at least until the fab IT guys can figure out what is wrong with my internal microphone). 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Laurel Burch Cats

I think this is one of my current favorite projects. The final piece is so colorful and vibrant, just like Burch's work. Students began by watching an interview with Burch that was held by 30 minutes, Bay Area and viewing some of her work. We focused on her Fantastic Felines and flowers. I pointed out her use on one single line to create the top of each eye and the nose, blended color, use of pattern, and gold accents. Students then began by painting the flowers they designed in Burch's style. 

Note: I have a different Laurel Burch cat lesson that uses chalk and oil pastels that is also lovely.

CREDIT: This project is adapted from a pin I found that took me back to Deep Space Sparkle.

Frank Stella

My fifth graders are just beginning this lesson about Frank Stella. After a quick pre-assessment and an introduction to Stella's work they began the project this week. Next week they will begin mixing colors and will use four different color groups. They will be using the hue, tints, tones, and shades.

Note: This project was inspired by a pin from Kids Artists which leads back to this blog post.


I received a generous donation to my art department last year. Part of the money was invested in the video editing software, Camtasia. I have been having fun learning the software and creating demo videos for my students. I love it because I can be sure that I am giving all the classes the same instruction (let's face it, by the sixth presentation I'm sure to forget stuff!), and I save on supplies by only making one sample instead of seven! Plus, our district is a Google district, so we have our own YouTube channels through the district which saves the videos in case I want to use them in future years. Here is a video I created for a fourth grade project making Molas out of felt after introducing them to where Panama and the San Blas Islands are and telling them a rated G version of the Kuna Indians history.

I feel I should mention that I pause and fast forward the videos based on student interest. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Another Brilliant Idea

I forgot about one of my good ideas this year! I was lucky enough to get some money donated to my program. My first instinct was to get something to help with clay presentation. I found these great phone/tablet stands on eBay. A two pack was only 99 cents! I purchased enough for one grade level to be displayed at a time. They work awesome!

They fold up so that they don't take up much space while not in use and it makes them super flexible for slab style projects of many sizes!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Brilliant Ideas of the Year

Every now and then I have an idea that transforms my teaching and/or organization. This year I actually had a couple of them, although I can't take credit for one of these ideas.

1. While in college I spent some time as a server at a couple of different restaurants. We used a product called a Ketchup Coupler to combine the ketchup in the bottles to reduce waste. Hello, paint jugs! Now, this doesn't work quite as beatifully as I imagined because the top of the bottle is a bit larger than a ketchup bottle, but it does work and has already saved me some paint. I got mine as a two pack online for less than $15 (I don't remember exactly). 

2. We have a new art teacher this year, whom I get to mentor. She has a broad background and extensive knowledge in ceramics. She told me that there is a type of underglaze that DOESN'T stick to the kiln! It's called velvet underglaze, and it isn't glossy when fired. My mind is blown, and I now have a pint of black velvet underglaze that I use to paint students' names on the bottom of their projects. No more trying to read carved names!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Value Landscapes-Fifth Grade

My SLO this year is focusing a bit closer on the Elements of Art than I have in the past several years. Previously I had all the elements included in my assessment and this year I am focused only on color, space, and value. My PLC decided to tackle value first. I chose to go with this project with my fifth graders. 

As a pre-assessment, I gave the kids a blank value scale and asked the kids to fill it out without giving them any information on what a value scale is or how to fill it in. Next, we discussed value, value scales, and atmospheric perspective. I showed them this presentation and they were amazed that all the images are photos.

Students drew five layers of land and traced a circle in the sky. I explained and demonstrated how to mix tints and shades and how to find complementary colors on the color wheel. Students chose a set of complementary colors and then started with the land. Their closest layer of land is the darkest value and the layers get lighter as they move backwards. 

Next, they did the opposite to create the sky. They started with the lightest color closest to the sun and the shades got darker as the colors moved away from the sun.

Finally, students took an assessment in Google Classroom and filled in another value scale. This time I told them that I would be looking for five or more values in their value scale. 

Tiny Seed-First Grade

Eric Carle's Tiny Seed is a wonderful book for young kids. They love catching on that it's a circle story and enjoy how big the flower gets in the story. I read it to my first graders prior to making these cute Tiny Seed flowers.

Students received two pieces of paper. On the first one, they traced on stem, one circle, two leaves, and seven petals. We discussed analogous colors and they used three sets to paint their traced shapes. Yellow and green for the stem and leaves, yellow and orange for the circle, and orange and red for the petals. 

The next class, while students were cutting out their shapes they took turns coming up to a painting station to splatter paint their second piece of paper with cool colors. 

Finally, on the third class period they laid their pieces out on the splatter painted paper and glued them into a flower shape. I pointed out that the circle should be on top of the petals.

I do have a storyboard for part of the process. Students filled out this assessment to determine their understanding of analogous colors. 
See the full lesson plan here.