Van Gogh Sunflowers

For the beginning of the school year I like to choose a project that is communal, and small for each child to participate in. This leaves a lot of time for them to learn all of my procedures and rules during the class period. any good teacher and as of the first two weeks of school it’s all about rules and procedures so that the rest of the school year can run smoothly. This year I created a new lesson based on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Each child was responsible for creating a sunflower in two class periods. Also, during these two class periods we would go over all of my procedures, safety, and rules for the art room. We also reviewed the fire drill.

To start the project I presented the students the Sunflowers painting. We talked about what they saw. They told me about circles, I taught them by geometric shapes. They told me about cylinders and the shape of the vase. We talked about warm colors, analogous colors, I showed them the color wheel. I asked them What the subject of the paining wise: self portrait, portrait, landscape, or still life? I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that all of my kids knew that it was a still life! This is one of my school districts objectives: to teach the subjects in art. Kids should learn the four subjects in art upfront, so that way they are familiar with them throughout the school year.

The students also mentioned to me that there was blue in the background of the painting, this was a cool color. This also gave me a moment to explain to them that I expect to always see a background in their artwork. I don’t want them just to draw the main idea of their project and leave a lot of empty white space.

I passed out 6″ x 6″ white sheets of paper to each student and a pencil on the first day. Each student to their sunflower. On the second day we read Camille and the Sunflowers, to get a better idea about the artist life, and his intent and painting this work of art. This is a really great book to introduce students to life and art of Vincent van Gogh, however it keeps out some of the darker parts of his life. At the very end of the book if your students are older there is a very straightforward biography about him. However with my students being kindergarten through fifth grade I want to keep it a little bit lighter.

On the second day of class we also colored in and cut out our sunflowers. Kindergarten needed some assistance, however I was pleasantly surprised most of them could cut out your sunflowers relatively well. I did remind students of the work of art is a pretty realistic work of art, therefore I expected them to use the warm colors we talked about in class. Afterwards, I used butcher paper to create the background and vases for each of my five murals in the hallway of our school. All together there are 800 sunflowers in these murals. I spent one prep every day for a week stapling up my sunflowers. Luckily they were up in time for open house!

My other lucky little bit during all of this was that our school’s brand new community garden had two large blooming sunflowers while we were creating our works of art! They definitely inspired my students!

Neon Trees for Tu B’Shevat Using Art Materials From Around the Home

One of my favorite art subjects to paint are trees. I love Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt and I used that curvy, linear tree he depicted to influence these three simple trees my two year old and I made this morning using materials found around the home.

For these trees I used Crayola neon tempera paint, cotton balls, white card stock, a toilet paper roll, a Sharpie marker, and a household sponge.

To start I drew simple curvy, linear trees using Sharpie marker on 9″ x 11″ card stock. I copied the tree 3 times. Permanent marker is a must as it won’t smear when paint is applied on top.

For the first tree I used a cardboard toilet paper roll and cut slits all the way around using scissors, folding the ends outward to create a brush. Then my son dipped his brush into the paint which I laid out on a plastic lid. Then he stamped the tree with it.

For the next painting he used cotton balls to “dot” paint onto the trees and for the third a piece I cut from household sponge. It’s important to dampen the sponge before painting with it.

We did these paintings in conjunction with the Jewish birthday of the trees-Tu B’Shevat. The boys have been learning about this holiday in school. I like to support their learning with books and crafts at home.

Tu B’Shevat is January 30th this year, and it’s the first of several Jewish springtime holidays. In Israel it is celebrated as also a day of ecological awareness.

Going along with that theme of caring for our planet, incorporating the concept of recycling in art, we used simple household materials for these projects. Whether you’re a mom on a budget or an art teacher trying to create an art program on limited funds-art can be an affordable, meaningful activity. You don’t need expensive materials to have fun and be creative!

Process Art Masks for Toddlers


With Halloween coming up there so many cute Halloween craps out there. I wanted to do something with these Do a Dot markers that we received in the mail recently from Melissa and Doug. I also want it to be a process art activity where the boys would have total freedom and creativity.

I settled on the idea of making masks. It could combine collage, paper crafts, wearable art, and the markers.  


I have to say I was really excited about these Do a Dot markers because not only are they easy, non-toxic, and come in a variety of colors -even silver! The green box has fruity smells to the markers! The boys really enjoyed that!

To make the masks I simply cut out a face shape from white card stock. Then I gave the boys the markers to choose colors from and they began making their dots.


After they finished making their dots I gave them red pom-poms and googly eyes to add details to their masks.  For this step I did most of the gluing, however I did allow them to experiment holding onto the glue bottle and trying to squeeze out some glue.


After that they added the hair I cut out of yellow card stock to the back of their mask.

Often times when making crafts and art projects with little kids adults feel the need to steer children in a direction towards a finished product. The great thing about process art is that there is no definitive look to a finished project. The child can create their project however they wish-this gives younger children a lot more self-confidence in their decision-making while creating art. This self-confidence can aide children in continuing to be creative down the road whether it’s in visual arts, music, or writing.

The next time you do a craft or art lesson with your child consider letting them take the reins. Maybe they’re making a self-portrait and their lips are painted on their foreheadand their eyes go on their chin, that’s fine. Pablo Picasso did that after all!

Chagall Windows Lesson Plan

I am fortunate enough to have visited the Chagall Windows in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center twice.  Upon entering the room with the windows you are surrounded by radiant light illuminating Chagall’s masterpiece telling the story of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. This lesson is a collage project that can be completed by children ages 7-10.

I have included in the resources a book from my favorite art historical book series Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists by Mike Venezia.  He combines cartoons and accurate art historical information in a way that can be used by students of all ages.  When reading his books I typically break them up into 2-3 readings depending the age group.  I have found his books through Amazon, my local library, most school libraries, and Barnes and Noble.Marc Chagall was a Russian Jewish artist who experienced life in the shtetl as a small boy.  A shtetl is a word used to describe  segregated, impoverished villages in Russia.  The shtetl often experienced raids from the Russian army and Chagall experienced anti-Semitism in his life there.  To create these windows in Jerusalem after Israel became a country, was a great honor for him.  He was very proud of his heritage and had great hope for his people.

 

Chagall Windows

Grades 2 – 5

Grouping:  Whole/Individual

Materials: 9″x11″ white paper, water cups, paint brushes, tissue paper, Elmer’s glue, pencils, rulers, and black permanet markers.

Resources: Artwork of Hadassah short film clip, Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Marc Chagall by Mike Venezia

Objectives:  Students will:

  • learn about the life and art of Marc Chagall
  • create an artwork based on the theme of peace
  • create a multi media work of art

Procedures:

  1. Students will view the teacher exemplar and discuss the project (steps, expectations, outcomes).
  2. Students will use their ruler and pencil to draw straight lines (5-6) on their white piece of paper to convey the lead piping that holds stained glass in place.
  3. Students will draw symbols of peace such as the peace sign, angels, doves, olive branches, etc inside the shapes their lines create.
  4. Students will trace everything they have drawn with black permanent marker.
  5. The class will listen to and discuss the book Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Marc Chagall by Mike Venezia.
  6. The class will view a demonstration by the teacher on how to collage pieces of tissue paper over the drawings to give the look of stained glass.
  7. Students will turn in their artwork for assessment.

Assessment:

  1. Student drew a picture using a ruler and showing peace symbols neatly and with detail.  2/5
  2. Student traced his drawing neatly with permanent marker.  1/5
  3. Student collaged using appropriate amounts of glue and tissue paper carefully.  2/5

If I wanted to do this project with a younger group, I would simply have them layer tissue paper on top of white paper to experience the fractals of light and color found in stained glass windows.  I have included a slideshow of my photos from Hadassah Medical Center.  They sell a very nice set of postcards depicting Marc Chagall’s designs in the gift shop.  That might be something worth contacting them for.

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Art History Gameboards

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I am truly an art nerd.  Who couldn’t be when artists have such interesting lives?  From Frida Kahlo’s bus accident and tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera to Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying experiments kids are fascinated by the lives of famous artists.

One year I broke my art club into teams of 4 kids (I had 40 art clubbers).  Each team would research an artist in the library, come up with a timeline of that artist’s life, and create a game board game based on their research.  The school librarian helped the kids research the artists they chose and write their timelines.  When I approved their timeline they began building their game boards using cardboard boxes, duct tape and white butcher paper.  Then they had to design their game board in pencil using facts from the artist’s life, a portrait of him/her, and motifs found in works of art by that artist.  They used Crayola Model Magic to model the pieces that would move across the board and tempera paint with glue to paint the pieces. Once all the game boards were finished we had a party and the kids played the games while they munched on chips and drank soda.  We hung the game boards around the art room for years to come as they were full of factual information I wanted my students to learn.  This is a lesson I loved and would definitely do again!

art-history-games

Georgia O’Keefe Unit

georgia-okeefe

Georgia O’Keefe is so inspiring as a woman and nature lover.  I did this unit as part of an Environmental Art art unit exploring the Enduring Idea of Nature and Art.  It took the better part of the spring to finish, but my students were very familiar with her work and what inspired her afterwards.

 

Art Unit: Georgia O’Keeffe

Grades: 4-6

# of lessons: 3

Art Resources: Artists in Their Time Georgia O’Keeffe by Ruth Thomson, examples of pueblos and adobe homes in photographs, photographs or actual animal skulls, examples of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings, pictures of flowers (I got mine from a calendar), and teacher products.

Art Materials:1 sheet of white 9”x12” paper per student, watercolors, water cups, pencils, paintbrushes, glue, 2 sheets of 8”x8” white paper per student, 1 11”x14” sheet of black paper, cups of glue and water mixed together, oil pastels, and 1 11”x14” sheet of white paper.

Objectives- Student will:
– create a multimedia southwestern landscape
– create an observational collage and pencil drawing of a flower
– create a painting of animal bones of flowers
– learn about the process of collaging- use various watercolor techniques
– shade using a pencil and create a grayscale
– draw using oil pastels
– learn about the life and art of Georgia O’Keeffe
– work in groups and individually
Interdisciplinary Connections: Science and Social Studies
Vocabulary: Georgia O’Keeffe, still life, landscape, Southwest, grayscale, shade, and adobe.
Lessons: The unit will consist of the following components:
A. Multimedia Adobe Landscape– Each student will paint a watercolor sunset on 9”x12” sheets of white paper. The student will then draw adobe homes using oil pastel.
B. Georgia O’Keeffe Flower Study– Each student will create an 8 square grayscale using pencil on strips of scrap white paper. Student will share a photograph of a flower with a group of 3 students and individually draw/shade a flower composition on 8’x8” white paper in pencil. Then he will redraw the outline of his flower composition on another 8”x8” white sheet of paper and collage with tissue paper scraps. Student will mat his work on 11”x14” black paper with glue.
C. Flower and Bones Painting– Student will draw in pencil on 11”x14” white paper a skull and a flower from studying photographs. Student will paint the picture using watercolors.

Psychedelic Self-Portraits

On of the most exciting periods of music and art to study when I was a teenager and pre-teen was the Psychedelic era.  It seemed radical, revolutionary, and free.  Freedom is what those pre-teens and teenagers are craving so why not peak their interest with a lesson on John Lennon and Richard Avedon?

 

psychedelic

Title:Beatles Psychedelic Self-Portraits

Grades: Gr 4-8

Art Lesson Plan-4 50 minute sessions

Enduring Idea: Heroes and Heroines

Rationale: Throughout, time humans have created or selected heroes to teach lessons that portray virtuous characteristics and noble archetypes that help an individual, a nation or a culture survive and thrive.  Artists, have often been influenced by heroes and have portrayed real or mythological heroes in their artworks.

Materials: pencils. erasers, markers, 12″x 18″ white paper

Resources: Beatles by Avedon, John’s Secret Dreams: The John Lennon Story, examples of psychedelic art (Peter Max, Richard Avedon, concert posters), self-critique form

Preparation: precut white paper to 12″x 18″, gather examples of psychedelic art, and create an exemplar, create a self-critique form students can use to check their work according to the criteria they were given to complete the assignment

National Arts Standard Anchor (s):

#2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
#8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.

Objectives:
*Students will learn about the life of John Lennon and the Beatles
*Students will learn why John Lennon is considered a hero
*Students will become familiar with the psychedelic art of the 1960’s
*Students will create a self-portrait in the style of Richard Avedon’s portraits of the Beatles.

Vocabulary:
Psychedelic, Abstract, Self-Portrait, Repetitive Pattern

Interdisciplinary Standards:

  • Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).

Procedures: Day 1:  S will view teacher exemplar. T will review the lesson steps. S will listen to the book John’s Secret Dreams: The John Lennon Story. T “Why did John Lennon stage a bed in?” “What did John Lennon believe in?”  “What can we learn from his actions?”  S will pair up and trace their heads on a white paper in pencil.  Day 2: T will review the lesson steps.  T will review with class the examples of psychedelic art using the Elements of Art and Principals of Design.  S will use a ruler and pencil to add a psychedelic pattern to his/her self -portrait.  Day 3: S will review the steps of the lesson and vocabulary.  S will begin coloring in his/her self portrait with bright colored markers.  Day 4: S will finish coloring in his/her self-portrait.  S will use the self-critique form to self-critique his/her project using the elements of art and principals of design. S will hand in his/her project along with the self-critique form for grading.

Assessment:

S neatly and carefully drew the outline of his/her head on the paper and added a repetitive pattern. 3/10
S neatly and carefully colored in his her self-portrait using bright bold colors to create abstraction.  4/10
S answered all the questions on his/her critique form, demonstrating thoughtfulness as to how they describe their project using the elements and principals. 3/10

 

Homeschooling:Our Schedule

When I decided I wanted to stay home with my boys one of my big reasons was that Ben was outgrowing staying home everyday  with our nanny.  She was more than perfect and still remains a close friend, but he needed to be socialized.  Adam at the time had just been born and would, of course, benefit from being close to his mom.  So I have created a class schedule for the week that introduces the boys to several subjects and experiences.

homeschoolingSunday: Ben has swimming class.

Monday: Both boys go to Open Gym at Gymboree.

Tuesday: Both boys go to music class at Gymboree

Wednesday: Play date/play group day.

Thursday: Both boys go to Toddler Time at our local science museum.

Friday: Both boys go to storytime at our local library.

Saturday: Ben attends the Sabbath program at our synagogue.

Adam learning about African music at Gymboree.

The boys having fun at Lego Club.

Once a month the boys have our My Petite Picassos play group on a Wednesday at our home.  They also attend Lego club at our library. Depending on the weather we hike pretty often with a babywearing group and we attend Attachment Parenting International play groups and meetings. We also are working on completing the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program at our local library. Language skills are really important in our home because the boys are learning two languages:English and Hebrew.  Ben is fluent in both.
The boys get a lot of socialization and exposure to a variety of interests.  I’m able to help them navigate these early experiences which is such a blessing.

Art and Literacy Lesson: Where the Wild Things Are Masks

where-the-wild-things-are
Grades: PreK-2nd

#of sessions:2 50 minute sessions

Resources:Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Materials: 1 9″x 11″  sheet of black paper, One 9″ x 11″ white sheet of paper, a black sharpie, a pencil, crayons, scissors, a sheet of lined paper, and glue.

National Arts Standard: organize and develop artistic ideas and work.

Enduring Idea: creativity, reality and fantasy.

DBAE: art productions, aesthetics.

Cross Curicular Connection: Literacy (students respond to the text by creating a character based on the characters in the story).

Procedures: Day 1: Teacher introduces the lesson and presents the exemplar. Teacher gives an overview of the steps involved with completing the project.  Teacher reads Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and teacher reminds students to pay close attention to the visual appearance of the monsters in the story. After the story is read teacher asks students what animals they think the monsters were based on in the story.  Teacher writes down the responses of the students on the board. The teacher says “We will brainstorm a monster using parts of animals that we are familiar with and mix them together to see what we can make. What animal parts are interesting to you like a giraffe’s neck or shark’s teeth?” The students take turns responding while the teacher writes down their answers. After a list of animal parts are compiled the teacher shows the students how to combine the parts into the drawing of a mask on the board. She that instructs the students to use the list that they came up with and draw their own unique mask in pencil on white paper. The students draw their mask on white paper in pencil and trace with black sharpie marker. Day two: the teacher reviews the steps of the lesson. The teacher reviews the story with the students and how it relates to the lesson. The teacher hands back the artwork and goes over the steps for the day. The children finish tracing with black sharpie marker their mask and begin coloring it in with crayon. When they finish coloring with crayons they cut it out and glue it onto a black piece of construction paper. On the back of their paper students can write on a sheet of lined paper what parts of animals they chose to create their monster.  Older students can name their character, they can describe the character: what it eats, where it lives, what it’s personality is like.
Rubric: /10

Student listened and participated actively in the class discussion of the character development. 1/10

Student neatly and carefully drew in pencil hey mask of the character using compiled animal parts from the list. 5/10

Students work is well crafted and neatly colored. 3/10

Student body list on the back of their project the compiled animal parts they used in their project. 1/10

Arty the Anaconda

arty-the-anaconda

This is a lesson I did both in the art room and at home with Ben.  I will provide differentiated instruction based on the size of the group in this lesson.

Arty the Anaconda by Liza Amor

Grades: K-1st # of sessions (50 minutes each):2

Homeschooling: 1 media per day for as many media as you have to choose from (up to 5 or 6).  I did this project with a 2 year old, I think it is appropriate for ages 2-6.


Art Materials: for the classroom:butcher paper in a variety of colors pre-cut to represent the body of the snake on each table, glue, paper scraps (pre-torn), feathers, crayons, bingo markers, stamps and stamp pads, chalk, markers, and watercolor paint. For homeschooling: corrugated scissors or regular scissors, construction paper in a variety of colors, markers, crayons, stamps and stamp pad, bingo markers, craft materials, painting materials, and glue.

National Visual Arts Standard: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

Objectives: Student will-

*experiment with a variety of media.

*create a group based work of art (for the classroom).

Preparation: For the classroom:Set up one section of the butcher paper snake at each table. Set out a different media at each table. (4 tables, 4 media, 2 weeks=8 media all together)

For the homeschooler: Choose a different media per day and the appropriate color of construction paper to go with each (lighter paper for crayons, darker for tempera paint).  Set up a spot at home for the child to work with the media.

Procedure: For the classroom: Day 1: Teacher will introduce the lesson. Student will be shown and demonstrated to the various centers at each of the four tables in the art room. Student will put on a smock and rotate to the four centers using each media placed on the table. Day 2: Student will review the steps of the project.  Student will be shown and demonstrated to the various centers at each of the four tables in the art room. Student will put on a smock and rotate to the four centers using each media placed on the table.

For the homeschooler: Each day have the child try a different type of media on their construction paper.  Once the work has dried use scissors or corrugated scissor to cut out a circle.  I used a roll of tape to trace the circle before cutting it out. 

Ending: For the classroom: Display all the parts of the snake wrapping around the school building. Cut out eyes and a tongue to add to the face.  Display with state standards, national standards, and objectives.  In class discuss the materials they used, asked them what they learned and what they would do differently next time they try that media.

For the homeschooler: Put together the parts of the snake with your child.  Add a tongue from red pipecleaners and a googly eye.  Discuss the materials they used, asked them what they learned and what they would do differently next time they try that media.

Literacy/ Science tie in: Read a book about Anacondas or snakes.  Read a book about using art materials and creativity such as Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre or The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.

 Rubric: /10

Student was actively engaged with each art media center. 3/10

Student treated materials appropriately (putting them away correctly and using the appropriate amounts of each material, not leaving a mess). 5/10

Student listened an followed all of the instructions of the activity/center/media. 1/10