Friday, October 28, 2011

Kindergarten Leaf Garland

Here's an old standby with a new twist.  This project is always a big hit with the little ones and is also my kindergartners first introduction to collage. This year we were given a HUGE bag of pre-cut tissue paper strips in  all the colors of the rainbow and we put them to good use.
To make their leaf kids drew or traced a leaf shape on a piece of white or colored paper.  They chose six strips of tissue and tore them into smaller pieces to get them ready for their collage (easier to do when hands are dry).  They brushed a little liquid starch onto their paper added some tissue colors and painted over the top to smooth the papers down.  We used the "Dip, dip, wipe" chant to encourage good brush handling and prevent glue from dripping on table tops.  After the leaves dried they carefully cut them out.
I love the leaves, but wasn't in love with how they looked pinned on the board so this year I brought them home and ran them through the sewing machine pulling the thread to form a "spacer" between each additional leaf.  Now we have a beautiful leaf garland ready for draping or hanging from the ceiling.
There are lots of wonderful children's books to pair this project with.  This year we read "Fall Leaves Fall" by Zoe Hall, "Have You Seen Trees" by Joanne Oppenheirm, and "Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf" by Lois Elhert.
My garland is in one very long string right now.  I'll probably snip it into smaller sections and hang it in front of windows.  When we're done displaying I'll snip and add a paper clip hanger so each child can take home their single hanging leaf.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Diwali

Blogging is so much fun for so many reasons, but the most wondrous thing is the connections I have made with people I would not otherwise encountered.  My original intent was to share my school art experiences with families in my own little community so it brings me unending happiness that people from the wide world over take a moment to drop in and check out my little blog. 
Today is the first day of Diwali the Indian Festival of Truth and Light.  Here's a link to a cute little Indian Elephant to help you celebrate.  Print it on card stock or use it as a template to trace. 
Happy Diwali!   

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mexican Skeletons


An overabundance of rocks washed down our rivers during the floods and we're putting them to good use.  
These little guys are on their way to becoming Mexican style whimsical skulls like those used in the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration.  They're still in their early stages and have many embellishments to come....paint markers, glitter paint, sequins will turn up the heat.
Couldn't resist sharing a sneak peak.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Children's Hand Mandala

If you're looking for a quick and easy sub plan for your kids this may fit the bill.  I had to be out one day last week and while I was out kids began work on a community mandala.  Now our "Handala" is coming together and almost ready to hang.  In this lesson kids learned that a mandala is a circular design.  The word mandala comes from the Sanskrit language and means "circle".  Sanskrit is an ancient Indian language.  Mandalas aren't just found in India.  They are found all over the world and in many diverse cultures.  They are considered sacred designs.  The round shape of the mandala represents the whole world, everything in it, and the universe beyond.  It also represents our inner world of our heart, thoughts, feelings, emotions, understandings and experiences.  Each of us is an important and unique member our school community.  In this project kids were to trace their hand and fill it in with a design that represents their interests and personalities.  Their hands came together to form our precious mandala.
I can't remember where I first saw this project, but it may have been at the Hanigan Linwood Art Room blog.   If you have this lesson posted and would like a link to your blog or image leave a comment and I'll hook you up.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Printmaking with Kids

Kids showcase their printmaking skills.

Another beautiful vehicle from this artist.

You may have to live here to recognize this guy!  It's our beloved "Champ" frequently sited in Lake Champlain...see those beautiful mountains behind him.

Aliens and stars.

Inking the printing plate.

Placing the paper.

Rolling the print.

And do it again.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Navajo Weaving

I really hit the jackpot when I entered "Navajo Textile" into my search engine and performed an image search.  I found a gold mine of woven textiles that would inform any weaving unit.  I feel a lesson plan coming on and know a certain group of kids who love to weave.
These blankets are called "chief's blankets" even though the Navajo didn't have chiefs.  Plains Indians have chiefs and they traded for these blankets.  Perhaps that's where the name comes from.  The blankets are meant to be worn like a mantle.  When the blankets wrap around the body the edges come together to in the front and repeat the diamond pattern on the back of the garment.  Like a walking piece of artwork, don't you think.
Can't wait to get all our October shenanigans wrapped up so we can get started weaving.  Here's the link to a past post on weaving.  Lots of good info and a compete how to do it if you want to try it, too.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Los Camperos de Valles Demonstrate Instrumental and Vocal Techinques

When I lived in Costa Rica string groups like this would congregate in park in the evening.  If you liked their music you could hire them and bring them home to serenade your sweetheart.

How romantic is that?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Skeleton Dance

Thanks Jan for suggesting "Skeleton Dance" for the kiddies.
I remember watching this as a kid, but now...
I like the reggae version.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Magical Skeleton

Whimsical Gentleman and Lady Skeletons are popular subjects in Mexican art.  This week we're making Mexican skeletons and sharing what we know about the Day of the Dead Celebration.  It's fun painting skeleton portraits and you can leave them as they are, as in the painting above or you can turn up the heat by adding glitter, shiny papers, sequins, foam or tissue paper flowers, feathers and clothing.
Adding the "bling" really gives these guys a magical quality.

To make you skeleton choose a piece of colored paper (bright colors are nice, too, don't limit yourself to  black).  Hold your paper the tall way.  Start drawing lightly with chalk.

It's easy if you start with a squashed oval for the mouth.
Add an upside down heart for the nose and two big eye sockets.
Draw the top of the skull and then add the jaw.
You don't have to be too particular here.  It's whimsical, remember.  It's okay if it's a little wonky.

Paint your skull with white tempera (two thin coats) and let it dry a little.
Make a tint of your favorite color and add some accents to give your skeleton character.  Let dry overnight.

When your skeleton is dry, carefully cut it out leaving a little bit of edge.

Trace the outline of the shoulders to make the clothing.

Glue your skeleton onto another sheet of paper.

Add clothing.  Embellish with sequins and flowers.  We used sticky foam flowers here.

Stand back and enjoy the magic.

Here's the photo we used as reference.

Jose Posada (1852-1913)

Fourth and Fifth graders have been looking at the artwork of popular Mexican cartoonist and illustrator Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913).  Jose Posada is best known for his skeleton prints which were distributed on handbills, in newspapers, and in magazines all over Mexico City.
Jose Posada is a well-loved artist in Mexico, not just because of his illustrations, but also because he was a great advocate for the rights of working people.  He was supportive of the ideas which lead to the Mexican Revolution .  His skeletons cartoons were inspired by the 3,000 year old Mexican Day of the Dead traditions and some of his cartoons poke fun at wealthy politicians and their fine wives.    
Jose Posada inspired the next generation of Mexican artists and is considered by many to be the Father of Mexican Modern art. 

Kids worked in pairs to look at different examples of his work and we did a critique using the "I see...I think...I wonder" format.  Some things kids were wondering about his work..."I wonder where he got his inspiration."  "I wonder if I could be a great artist like that."  "I wonder how many pictures he made."  And my very favorite:  "I wonder if she likes her hat."

Stay tuned...we finished rough draft today.  Skeletons to follow.