Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fish Pond Printing

Our fish prints are done, and boy are they cute.  To make them, kindergarten and first grade blew bubbles into a bowl of soapy water into which blue liquid water color paint had been added.  When the bubbles rose up over the rim of the bowl they gently pressed their paper onto the bubbles filling their paper with a foamy print and we set these aside to dry.
During our next class we did some practice drawing about fish.  We noticed oval shaped bodies and triangular tails.  We practiced drawing fins and scales.  When kids had a fish they were satisfied with they drew their final design on a piece of 3"X4" copy paper.  The paper was taped onto a piece of Styrofoam and kids drew over their lines pressing hard to make an impression in the foam, and we cut them out.
On week three we set up a printing station and kids inked up their printing plates and printed them onto their bubble print.  I folded a piece of masking tape on itself and taped the ends to the back of the printing plate to make a little handle for the kids lift their plate off the paper.  We worked in small groups, and kids cycled through the centers we now have up and running again.
Lots of fun watching little ones become printmakers.
Recipe for bubble prints:
Into a cereal-sized bowl add a squirt of liquid soap, a squirt of liquid watercolor, and the tiniest amount of water to barely cover the bottom of the straw.  Bubble away!

Friday, March 25, 2011

My New Love--Tara Publishing

You can see from my last post that I've been inspired by Gond Tribal Art lately.  I know children will be as enchanted by the bright happy colors, beautiful patterns, and simple designs, as I am. 
As I wandered around the net researching Gond artists and looking for spectacular examples to share with my students I found my new love....Tara Publishing.  If you love art books, collect children's books, or have a very special child in your life; you must check this out.  
Tara Publishing is based in India and has created a selection of wonderfully illustrated books with the help of Indian artists and traditional designs.  This is a small publishing house and many of the books are silk screened by hand by a commune of artisans, and bound by hand as well. I Like Cats is a fabulous a beautiful handmade picture book.   

I spent a long time trying to decide which book I wanted to buy first and then gave up.  I'm going to send them all my money and buy everything.  You can buy the books on-line at Tara Publishing.    
If you need to be convinced, check out their facebook page.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gond Tribal Art Patterns

"Deep in the forests of Central India, lives a tribe called Gond.  The girls and boys of the Gond tribe learn traditional painting and other crafts at a very young age.  gond painting is done with very bright colors and the basic form is filled with tiny dots an dashes.  Like most of the other tribal paintings, this also used to be done on the mud walls of houses.  Originally, natural colors were used.  The main colors being, deep red (from Al tree), yellow (from leaves), and red(from hibiscus flower). Now, however poster colors are used."  Themes include festivals, myths and folk tales, birds, horses, tigers, fish and others. 





Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rainbow Fish

I love this system for introducing the color wheel and color mixing to young students.  I think the idea came from Deep Space Sparkle and it works so well.  With a sharpie draw three circles on the plate.  This is where kids will mix the secondary colors.  In the in-between places drop a dab of red, yellow, and blue paint.  The circles give the kids a visual cue where to mix their paint so everything ends up neat and tidy.
We used our newly mixed colors to paint us some RAINBOW fish.
We added pattens and colors with oil pastels.
We cut them out.
Tomorrow we'll add a border and paste them here.
First and Second Grade.

Sock Bunnies at School

A big hit!  We're moving on to monkeys!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sock Bunnies Are Here!

After School Programs are so much fun.
This week kids are fine-tuning basic sewing skills and making this little guy.  Want to join in the fun?  A wonderful how-to can be found at Such Things Beloved .

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Egyptians

Gold paint really makes these figures pop.  Students will be carefully cutting out their Egyptian Portraits and gluing them onto a new background during our next art class.  
Student handouts for this lesson can be found here: http://www.artyfactory.com/egyptian_art/egyptian_art_lessons.htm

Friday, March 11, 2011

What Is This?

Check out Google Art Project.
Tour some amazing US and European art museums.
And ZOOM in THIS close to the the artwork.
Can you guess?

Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kindergarten Forum

The one thing I love about blogging and following all the great art blogs online today is the wonderful connection I feel with art teachers, not just across the country, but  also across the world.  It's an amazing thing that the touch of a key can open windows into art rooms in Brazil, or Australia, or the UK or anywhere.  It's an amazing thing to look at the map behind the dashboard and  see people coming together from all over the world.

So I thought today I might tap into all that energy and post a question for the blogging community concerning kindergarten art.  I'm especially interested in what works for you.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but to me, kindergarten is THE MOST challenging class to teach. (Probably stems from an especially traumatic student teaching experience with kindergarten, which in hindsight is hilarious, but I'll save that for another post).  Anyway, in my particular case, in one of my schools, I teach art on-the-cart, which is difficult at best.  The kindergarten class is relatively large.  And the room is arranged in a very awkward way for art.  (No great place to hang art examples where all kids can see them.  Tables of varying sizes arranged all around the room, difficult to see all the kids and for them to see me. No good place to do a step by step demonstration for kids, etc.  I have a 50 minute class and some kids are finished way before that.  Passing out materials and collecting everything at the end art is chaotic, and behavior is not great.)

I feel like I've been bumping along, waiting for things to get better, but clearly things are not where I'd like them to be.  I've tried working as a whole group and in centers with this group, but in each case, things kind of fell apart, and I'm looking to take this class in a new direction.

So my question is this, what is your experience with kindergarten art?  Please share.  I'd also love some input on great Kindergarten lesson plans, because I'm always struggling to keep it simple, yet engaging.  Does anyone else teach K on the cart?  What's your experience?  I'd just love to hear everything near and far about kindergarten, because I want to get better at this.

Thanks for listening.  I'm going to share two very interesting kindergarten links.
I found this post http://inartclass.blogspot.com/ which lead me to http://ms-artteacher.blogspot.com/2010/12/kindergarten-teaching-with-art-centers.html
And then...there's always this....http://artteachershateglitter.blogspot.com/2011/02/um-so-yeah-this-happened.html, where I hear congratulations are in order!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In Like a Lion...

First and Second Graders welcome March with big cats!
I don't repeat too many lessons.  I like to mix it up.  But this art lesson is so much fun I just couldn't resist.  So this year, March came in like a lion, leopard, a jaguar, a cheetah and a whole lot of tigers.
My young elementary students had a little bit of experience going into this project because we had done some cat drawings earlier in the year.  So for this project, kids dug right in with brush and black paint.  We started with a brainstorm about "big cats".  We collected a lot of ideas about animals that fit this category and kids decided on which cat they wanted to paint.  The cats were then created as a guided painting ala Mona Brooks.  We decided where the eyes should be and placed a dot and a circle or oval for each of the eyes, then added the nose.  Next came a circle or oval for the muzzle and the upside down "y" shaped mouth.  We outlined the head and added the ears.  Then our outlining took different paths.  Kids were shown how to make the mane of the lion or stripes for a tiger, or leopard's spots.  We added a body, whiskers and any finishing touches on day one.

On day two color blending and chalk pastel techniques were introduced and practiced as kids added color to their creatures.  Kids use one finger to blend their colors and work one small section at a time.  They are taught to use their finger "like a crayon" as they move their colors around inside the lines.  My kids are given a tissue to clean their finger if they need to, but I don't have them use it on the paper at this age because I find it leads to a lot of excessive uncontrolled blending.  They are also given a piece of copy paper to use as a cover sheet and encouraged to use it to keep their fingers and sleeves clean and to avoid unwanted smudging.
Oops, somebody has forgotten to use their cover sheet.  That's okay, just need to go around and give my young friends a friendly reminder.  Any stray smudges can be cleaned up later with an eraser.
These cats have so much expression.  What's not to love?