Thursday, December 26, 2013

Clay Snowmen

Here are a few reasons why I love this third grade clay snowmen project:

  • It is a simple clay project that can be made in one 40 minute class
  • It is a great confidence builder and practice with slip and score (we say scratch and attach)
  • It is a great project that reinforces molding and pinching clay 
  • This project doesn't require a lot of clay or underglazes and glaze
  • Nice review of firing process
  • Great starter project for review before a bigger clay project later in the year
  • The kids LOVE them
  • They always turn out great

Winter Starry Night

My second grade students looked at Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night picture.  We used cray-pa and watercolor resist to create our night skies and then collaged our trees and villages on top.  Details were then added with color pencil. We also used white paint for snow and a little glitter glue to add sparkle to the moon and stars. 
I tried to encourage my students to add some things that they noticed about van Gogh's artwork into their own.  Many of them added texture, used different lines similar to his brushstrokes, and added different shades of colors in the sky, stars and trees.

As a review we used the app Popplet on the iPad to make mind-maps about what inspired them about starry night.

Snowmen at Night

My fourth grade students created these snowmen pictures after looking at the books Snowmen at Christmas and Snowmen at Night written by Mark & Caralyn Buehner.  We loved looking at all the different kinds of snowmen and how they captured the look of reflected light in the illustrations.  I asked my students to sketch some different kinds of snowmen and think about how they positioned them on their paper.  We talked about cropping their sketches or zooming in.    I also showed them how to blend with the cray-pa and we talked about how shading helps make things look more three-dimensional and realistic.  The pictures really came out great.  The kids worked hard on them.  This has been one of my favorite lessons to teach.  Just be prepared to go through a lot of white cray-pa!

Here are some pictures of our snowmen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Clay Texture Hands

First grade students had fun experimenting with creating textures in clay.  Each students made 2 hands; one to keep for a small bowl and 1 to be part of a class bowl. I had a senior from the high school come and do this project with us.  She created the bowl with the kids extra hand.  The extra hand gave the kids a chance to experiment a little more.  They were also given a small piece of practice clay to use before they started with their hands.  This was also a great introduction to the clay process.  They learned about the kiln and the glazes.  
I saw this idea on Pinterest this summer and when I was asked to have a senior come and work with students I knew this would be a great project for it.  Here are the two links that I found on Pinterest.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fourth Grade Coil Pots

My fourth grade students have just finished making coil pots.  They really enjoyed this lesson and their pots came out great.  The students were given one class to practice rolling and building with coils.  Groups of four or five students created one pot together.  Some of the things I asked them to focus on were; rolling even coils, making coils the proper thickness, remembering to scratch and attach, and building a pot that was stable.  The following art class each student created their own pot with the same criteria.  They were encouraged to be as creative as they wanted as long as the pot was well built and finished in the 40 minute class.  After the pots were fired the students sketched design ideas before under glazing and glazing their pots.  We also had some fun with the pottery app on the ipads.  I talked to them about other ways to create pots out of clay and showed them someone making a bowl on the potters wheel.  The kids loved using the app to create their own piece of pottery.  It was a fun connection for them.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Clay Owls

When I saw this pin on Pinterest I knew it would be the perfect project for my second grade students.  It was a great follow up to our mixed media owl projects.  I had done a similar technique in the past but we made penguins instead of owls.  The kids really had a great time making these.  They really looked closely at owls and how they could create some of the feather textures in the clay using found objects.  Some of the skills that we worked on were; creating texture in clay, clay can be pinched or pulled, and a review of the clay process; firing, underglazes and glaze.  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Artist in Residence

What an exciting week!  We created 6 mosaic panels and Lizz was able to get the mosaic onto the column.  Monday and Tuesday will be cleaning up, filling in and grouting.  If you have never had an artist come and do a residency I highly recommend it. It has been an amazing experience.  We have been extremely lucky to have not only a talented mosaic artist to work with and learn from but also great volunteers.  I really enjoyed meeting some of the parents and getting to know them better.  Often as an art teacher I don't get as much contact with parents as I would like.  Here are some photos from the week.  I will post a few more when the project is complete.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Artist in Residence

We are excited to have Lizz Van Saun from Kast Hill Studio in Contoocook, NH come and work with us at BES.  We will be making a mosaic to decorate the cement column at the entrance to the school.  Friday afternoon we prepared the pattern and set up the glass.  Lizz did an amazing job incorporating the students' drawings for the template.  Here is a sneak peak of Lizz's design and the column where the mosaic will be attached when it is finished. I will be posting more photos as the week goes on.  It's going to be an exciting week here at BES!

Monday, October 14, 2013


In second grade we have been talking a lot about texture.  When we were drawing our owls we really looked at the feather patterns and textures.  We also added more visual texture to our trees with brown crayon.  While creating our collaged backgrounds we used torn paper towels from an earlier project that added another texture element to the project.  They came out great and the kids really worked hard on adding details.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Free-form Shape Monsters

First grade students were learning about shapes.  We talked about the difference between free-form and geometric shapes.  After practicing drawing free-form shapes students drew 1 large one on construction paper and cut it out.  I didn't tell them what we were going to do with it yet.  After the shape was cut out and glued to white paper I read the story, "If you're a Monster and You Know it" by Rebecca Emberley.
There is also a song that you can download and play.  The kids had fun singing and acting the book out.

The next class we turned our free form shapes into monsters.  We brainstormed all kinds of details that could be added.  We used pencil and sharpie for this part.  Finally, we added color with construction paper crayons.  Here is a link to some other monster books for kids.

Look at the fun and creative monsters we came up with!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Art Room Robots - Grade 2

  Students designed robots to help out in the art room.  We talked about all of the materials we use in art and what types of clean up jobs our robots could do. Our robots clean the floor, the paintbrushes, sharpen pencils, stack chairs, pick up clay scraps, unclog glue bottles and lots of other helpful jobs.  We really tried to make sure that the details in our pictures helped show the robots job.  

I used the Fotobabble app on the ipad as a way for students to share their robots with others.  Fotobabble is an easy app that adds sound to any photo.  Once I had their photos and recordings I made QR codes that linked their artwork to the recording.  I printed the codes and attached them to the artwork. During class I allowed 4 students at a time to scan the codes and listen to other classes robots.
QR Code

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Third Grade Radial Designs

Every year I try to do some sort of radial symmetry project with my third grade students.  This year I decided to use color pencils and black construction paper.  They turned out great.  We did talk a little about contrast when we were coloring them and students looked for colors that would make their designs stand out.  To create these designs we first practiced drawing a variety of lines.  After that we looked at some radial designs and talked about what makes radial symmetry (a circular design with a center point and designs repeating out from the center).  I gave them practice sheets with a bullseye design on them to make it easier.  Their assignment was to use a variety of lines to create a radial design.  Final designs were transferred to black paper and then colored in.  
While they were working on completing their designs students took turns using the iPad app Doodle Dandy.  This app allows you to make really interesting radial designs.  I always use this with my students and it is always a big hit.  It is a free app and easy and fun to use for all ages. 

Radial Designs using Doodle Dandy app

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Artist Studios

Students looked at Henri Matisse's painting The Red Studio.  We also looked at other kinds of art studios and talked about what an art studio was.  There are so many great studio pictures on Pinterest!  Each student chose a type of art and designed their own studio.  The kids had fun designing their studios.  We talked about what types of supplies they would need, types of furniture and lighting.  I saw a similar project on Pinterest and thought it would be a great project for the start of the school year.  
Henri Matisse's The Red Studio

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Popplet in Art

Second grade students experimented with art materials and the Popplet app on the ipads.  Our first art class was spent experimenting with the art materials.  I made two stations, one with watercolors and one with cray-pa.  I asked the kids to experiment with different ways to use the materials and write down things that they discovered.  These are not new to use, we have used cray-pa and watercolors before but the focus was on using the materials in different ways and not what their papers looked like.  After half of the class the kids switched to the other art material.
The next art class I laid out our practice papers and their writing pages and introduced them to the application Popplet on the ipad.  We talked about what a mind map is and how we can create them using this app.  Popplet is a fun and easy app to use.  The kids were able to use it very easily.  I paired them up and each group chose one of the art materials to make a mind map about.  I asked them to come up with four qualities about their art material for their Popplet.  We only have a 40minute class so I had to limit them so that we would be able to save them to the camera roll and then upload to Dropbox.  I highly recommend this app and I am looking forward to using it in the art room again next year.  Here are some of our finished Popplets:

The next art class I let students make a finished piece of art using one or both of the art materials thinking about applying some of the things they learned in their practice.  Here are a few of their pictures.  This was our last art class of the year so I think the results might be even better if we had more time and no summer fever :)


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Clay Initial Tiles

One of our last projects of the year and a great review of clay techniques.  The kids loved this project.  They could decorate the tile any way that they wanted; change the shape, press objects into the clay or add more clay.  The only requirement was that they had to add an initial.  It could be theirs, a friends, uppercase, lowercase, both initials, ect.  I wanted to give them lots of freedom to be as creative as they liked.  I think this was a great review in rolling coils, attaching clay and creating textures in clay.
They really turned out great.  I will definitely do this lesson again.