Thursday, December 30, 2010

Color & Pattern

My first graders finished up a project incorporating color (primary & secondary) and pattern while experimenting with watercolor paint.

We started by making color wheels & mixing secondary colors with crayon first then followed with watercolor. I took time to demonstrate my painting routines, the properties of watercolor, how to hold a brush and how to rinse/wipe a brush without creating the look of a waterpark on the table. You know - the important stuff..

In the third class, I had a hands-on demo showing them how to create line/shape patterns on paper strips (approx. 1 1/2" x 9") using secondary colors. Students only had access to primary watercolors for this project so they were expected to mix their secondary colors on the paper as they go. I prefer to use the separate pans of color rather than a set - MUCH easier to keep clean! Be sure to demo how they need to write their name & class on the back of strips BEFORE painting.

I gave them 2 full class periods to paint 10 strips while frequently checking for understanding: Are they mixing secondary colors? Are they creating pattern?

The following class, there was a hands-on demo to show the weaving process. We used the tabby weave (under 1 warp, over 1 warp). This reinforces the idea of pattern - "over one, under one, over one, etc". Our first graders have been learning about ABAB patterns in 1st grade math so this was just review for most of them and a way for them to apply what they've learned in their classroom with what we were doing in Art. Classroom teachers were happy they had the extra practice!

Once they had 10 strips painted, I assessed for learning (visible pattern, use of secondary colors) and stapled at one end their choice of 5 strips onto construction paper.

Students weave the other 5 strips between the stapled warp strips. After the weaving is completed, staple the other end of the warp strips to secure the weaving. The finished weavings looked great. For those who didn't complete 10 painted strips in the allotted time (due to absences or slowpoke syndrome), they had to substitute solid color construction paper strips in the secondary colors to experience the weaving process.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My New List of Art Teacher Blogs

The visit to Vivid Layers mentioned in my last blog whetted me appetite to find more blogs to follow. My search criteria was for sites that related to elementary art teachers and their classrooms. I always liked the blog lists featured elsewhere & finally had some time to play around with my site so I could update my look!

You will find my new list of about a hundred art teacher blogs at the bottom of my page. Most are fairly up-to-date. Those that haven't been updated in the past few months will eventually be dropped but I thought they had something to say in past posts that we could learn from! If you have a favorite that isn't listed, please mention it in a comment so I can add it to the others.

My little Christmas present to all my followers & viewers out there...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Art Blog Directory

I stumbled across this blog directory at Vivid Layers a few weeks ago and finally got around to plowing my way through it! It's a popular site - every time I checked, there were more new additions so I'll have to check back in a week to see what's new.

Another favorite site of mine is the teacher portal for art educators. I discovered some new sites and visited some old favorites.

Now I have a bazillion sites to glean new ideas from!! What a great year ahead...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Artistic Helping Hands Needed

A local 5th grader has a goal of creating 180,000 Christmas cards - one for every US soldier serving overseas during this next 2011 Christmas season.
Surprise boy making cards for 180,000 troops

Wouldn't this be a great activity for those students of ours who finish work faster than their classmates? If every one of my students created just one card, Stephen would be more than 900 cards closer to his goal!

Can you and your students help him meet his goal?

Monday, December 13, 2010


Fourth graders are slowly but surely finishing up their collagraphs. It's been a long road but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now...

Here are a few of the final printing plates along side my favorite print of their series:

These are examples of 'ghost' prints - last in the series & using white ink on printing plates & printed on black paper.

Great examples of the differences between tactile & visual textures, don't you think?!

Drying Rack Class Markers

Sometimes many paintings or other wet media often look alike. Most times, I try to distinguish between classes by color of media or color of paper but when that's not possible, I use 'markers' with class numbers on the shelf racks of my drying rack.

They are made by cutting off the rim of plastic lids. Punch a hole about a 1/2" from the edge and cut a slit to the hole. Label with a sharpie or other permanent marker. I color code mine to match the color of my grade levels (ie: orange - 1st, red - 2nd, etc.).

When I'm not using them, they hang on the back of the drying rack.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Radial Symmetry

I love, love, love radial symmetry! The repetition, the pattern, the symmetry!!!

What better example than mandalas - "its symbolic nature can help one 'to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the meditator to experience a mystical sense of oneness with the ultimate unity from which the cosmos in all its manifold forms arises.'"

With my 5th graders, we started with a PowerPoint presentation of mandalas and discussion of their meanings.

Then we began our drawing on a square of white drawing paper, folded into 8ths. On a 1/8th section draw a simple design of 2 - 3 kinds of line, with 1 - 3 simple shapes. Lines should touch the edge of the space or a shape. Try to avoid small spaces that would be difficult to paint. For older students, you can direct students to choose a specific, simple object. I've done a rainforest theme w/6th graders with the kids choosing an animal/reptile along with plant life. Simple shapes, little detail.

At this point, I have the student check in with me because if they have folded the paper incorrectly, the resulting design will not be an example of radial symmetry.

After the initial drawing, I demonstrate how to refold the paper so that the student can rub the end of the pencil on the back of their drawing and transfer the design onto the next section. They trace the transferred work and continue to rub/transfer and trace until the pattern has repeated all the way around.

Once the drawing is done, there is a hands-on demo of painting procedures. Students begin painting largest area with a hue. Each student in a class has the same hue, with different classes - different hues. Makes it easy to sort & put way work once it's dry.

In successive classes, they begin to add tints, shades & tones of their hue. I add a drop or two of white or black tempera on a small plastic lid and they add the hue. All mixing is (hopefully) done on the lid, leaving the cups of hue at each table unchanged.

Although we aren't quite finished yet, I couldn't resist showing off some of their 'in-progress' paintings.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Get Art Smart

I was shopping/splurging/salivating at Gardners Book Service yesterday during their annual Teacher Appreciation event and found a new treasure.

It's a new series of 6 books named Get Art Smart, published by Crabtree Publishing just this year. Written at a first and second grade reading level, it includes the titles:

What is Line?
What is Shape?
What is Form?
What is Texture?
What is Color?
What is Space?

I've already used/tweaked/adapted the text from "What is Shape?" with images from the internet to create a Keynote presentation for my classes - my second graders have been highly resistant to identifying the differences between organic and geometric shapes...

Don't you just love discovering new tools/materials to bring something fresh to your lessons?

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