Friday, September 30, 2011

Easy Fall Project-Vermont Foliage Included

It's foliage season in Vermont and I feel sad knowing that there are kids out there who (through no fault of their own) have never jumped into a leaf pile.  I decided to do something about it.  Today, I'm sharing a little bit of Vermont that anyone can enjoy.  
To make your own leaf pile, click on the image to enlarge, copy a billion times.  Carefully cut out.  Scatter about.  Rake into a pile.  Get a running start and jump right in! Or..

Check out the wonderful leaf collages over at Atelier por Infants and make one of your own. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sketchbooks for Kids

Sixth graders have been working on block lettering variations this month and today they put their new skills to the test on the covers of their sketchbooks.  These books were super-easy to whip up.  They are also nice and roomy for drawing and sketching.  The covers are a 12 X 18 piece of construction paper folded in half.  The pages are the largest size copy paper...11 1/2 X 17 1/2 folded in half. 
We used a modified pamphlet stitch to bind them and you can find the complete directions for this great little book here.
If you have a laminating machine at your school, laminate the covers and they'll last forever and don't forget to round the corners for a nice finished look.  
I think our sketchbooks will be happy in their new home.  They'll be living in student portfolios this semester.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I've owned several of these school maps over the years.  They seem to pass in and out of my life.  I guess that's because I'm strangely attracted to them, but don't quite know what to do with them once they're mine.  So they hang around for a little while and then I pass them on.
I can say that I have been happily map-free for a few years now.  But last week I was looking for boxes in a dumpster behind a school and bumped into a history teacher who was on his way out with this one.  Maps of the Ancient World.  We exchanged pleasantries, and now it's mine.
What to do with it?
I would love to hear your ideas.     

Monday, September 19, 2011

Awesome World Tour


Dallas Clayton dropped by Currier Memorial on Saturday to visit with third graders as part of his 2011 "Awesome World Tour" and painted this mural.  Isn't it cool?

Here's us visiting on the back lawn with Dallas.  He read to kids from his first book "An Awesome Book" and then chatted with them about their hopes and dreams for the future.  Our kids have some big dreams!

After the reading and visiting we had some of this...Mickey Adams on guitar with a GREAT pirate song.  The kids loved (adored) him.
Then we moved inside for a little more music and a quick round of freeze dancing.

Here's the "before" picture.

and here's the after...

Thank you Dallas Clayton for coming to Vermont and painting our beautiful mural.  We LOVE it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More Lines

While second graders were painting their line designs using primary colors, kindergarten and first filled in the shapes created by their lines with crayons.  Our focus is on "powerful" colors.  Heavy coloring in two directions builds up bright and vibrant colors.

This kindergarten artist chose to finish his work with dabs of bright color.  Very unique.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shaving Cream Print Tutorial

Making marbleized paper is fun and this is what you need to get started:  Can of shaving cream (Barbisol), liquid water colors, scrap paper, paint brush, toothpicks, Popsicle stick, a card for scraping and some paper to print on.   
You can see our set-up above.  
To make your print...  
Place your card on your worksheet and trace around it with a crayon.
Make your tracing slightly larger than your card.  This will mark the place the shaving cream will go.
Squirt some shaving cream into the rectangle and spread it out with a Popsicle stick (like you're frosting a cake).
Place your stick on the top of your paper for next time.
Brush on some drops of liquid water color onto your shaving cream.
(We had separate tables for warm colors and cool colors.)

Use a toothpick to swirl your colors.
Place your toothpick on the edge of your paper when finished.
Place your printing paper on top of your shaving cream and press lightly with your finger tip.
Press a little more to make sure there are no air bubbles.

Pull your print by peeling back the paper beginning at one edge.
Place face up on your second worksheet.
Place one finger on your card to keep if from slipping and 
scrape the shaving cream off your print using half an index card.
Scrape the extra shaving cream off your card into the small plastic tray.
You can use your pop stick to get the shaving cream off the card if you need to.

Move your print to the drying table.
Use the hair dryer to dry your print.

And there you have it...  
Marbleized paper made with shaving cream and liquid water colors.

We're making bookmarks with our marbleized paper...what will you do with yours?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Second Grade Line Design Primary Colors

I'm really liking the energy second grade! 
We finished up the  line design paintings we started last week by adding primary colors.
Hint:  To keep colors really clean, start with yellow paint, then blue, then red.  Dry your brush really well in between color changes. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pattern Block Find

When I spied these in the "teacher's tag sale" my heart skipped a beat because I've been secretly longing for a zillion pattern blocks for quite some time.  I know I don't have one square inch of free space in the supply closet, but so what?  I grabbed them and ran.
Here are the pattern blocks having a bath in my kitchen sink.
And now they're all set to go.  Aren't they scrumptious?

Why pattern blocks?  Because they teach spatial reasoning, visualization, symmetry, slides, turns, problem solving, sorting, colors, 2-D geometric shapes, attributes, and of course, pattern making. Wow! And yes we're just about to start thinking about shape as an element of art so....

Here are some links to pattern block cards that you can download for free.  

Here are some on-line pattern block sites for playing on-line

Happy Patterning!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Found a giant pair of red neoprene dice at the dollar store about a billion years ago and couldn't resist.  I knew I would use them for something school related one day and that one day finally came.  A little white gesso and black paint transformed them into "art dice".  I won't lie.  I shamelessly (stole) borrowed this idea from Tinkerlab.  
I like to start the year out with something simple and something "line" related.  It was great.  Little kids loved rolling the dice to create their designs and we reviewed line quality including direction words:  horizontal, vertical, diagonal.  We took a short break to review classroom rules and expectations while the paint dried and then I let them color with crayons.
Third graders let their designs dry overnight.  They will paint them with primary colors during our next class.  Here are some shots of kids working and their results in progress.
Thank you TinkerLab...fabulous idea!

I found this project gave me a great opportunity to check out how kids are holding the crayon and give a little guidance on writing grip vs. drawing grip.  Back up a little and straighten out the forefinger a bit.  Use the arm to color, not just the fingers.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I See a Song

I feel sad because I just learned that school will not open until next week, but this video made me feel a little better.  Kinder lesson two.