Three Pinterest Day of the Dead Lessons I Tried

This year my students have completed or are in the process of completing three lessons I found on Pinterest for Day of the Dead. Two of these lessons I’ve never done before and one I’ve tried before and I learned a lot the first time around. I have linked the pins to the bottom of this article.

The skeleton cursive collage that I did with my fourth and fifth grade students is a bit challenging. This is my second time doing it, and I’ve learned a lot in the process. First of all, this lesson includes the kids writing their name in cursive on a sheet of paper, folded in half, cutting it out, and using that for the skeletons body. The first time I did this lesson about six years ago, I realized students didn’t know how to write their name in cursive. Unfortunately, I realized this way too late because we are already starting the lesson. This time around I asked my students if they knew how to write their name in cursive and then I let their teachers know as a homework assignment that they need to work on writing their names in cursive. Most of my students were able to write their names in cursive, however those who couldn’t get it I wrote their names on the board for them to copy. This prevented me from having to write everybody’s name in cursive for them. I also drew on the board an example of a skull for the kids to copy because I learned the kids don’t know how to draw skulls.

This lesson took five weeks to complete. The first week we traced our hands and drew skulls. I also showed them a PowerPoint on the Mexican artist Jose Posada. The second week the students drew their names in cursive and cut out the skeleton. The third week we glued everything down and begin adding color with collage materials and markers. Fourth and fifth weeks students used scrap paper and other collage materials to have 3-D components that pop out.

Overall the skeletons were a positive experience for the students. Most of them had a successful skeleton. I graded most of the collages with high scores. I also had students assess their own work using the rubric. I find that offering them the rubric close towards the end of their project gives them an opportunity to see where they are and how they can improve on their project.

First second and third grade created Day of the Dead booklets that I found on Pinterest. I had the students review a PowerPoint about Day of the Dead and then they had to complete a writing prompt of their choosing inside the booklet.

After they completed the writing prompt students decorated the skull. Then they had to draw a picture that illustrated their writing. This is a pretty simple project however it did take three weeks. Some students got the writing over with very quickly and some students struggled. I found students who struggled with the writing took longer with the project and those who knew what they wanted to write about immediately after beginning the project.

Lastly, I did a marigold still life with my kindergartners and first graders. This project taught them about symmetry, folding and cutting out a symmetrical shape, drawing flowers realistically, and of course Day of the Dead. This was a pretty simple assignment: the most that the student struggled with were the vases and cutting them out symmetrically. We used large sheets of construction paper for the background, and oil pastels to decorate. I taught them how to blend with the oil pastels to create the marigolds. These came out so pretty and I was very pleased with them overall. Several of the marigold still lives were hung up in our local opera house as part of an exhibit with the school district.

Day of the Dead Cursive Collages: https://pin.it/lvty5idyrw2ncl

Skull Booklets: https://pin.it/obi3qffbod2ou6

Marigold Still Life: https://pin.it/2y64t3tf44ohkr

Glow in the Dark Mittens Collage

This past fall I have been working on a series of classes with my kindergarteners and first graders. This final collage using brightly colored paper for a glow in the dark effect is our final, culminating project before the semester ends.

To prepare for this project I pre-cut white paper into 5″ x 5″ and 3″ x 3″ squares. I also drew by hand the mittens on a 11″ x 17″ white piece of construction paper. I put it through the Rizzo at school to print on neon colored paper.

To introduce the project I showed the students a YouTube video on pattern. You can view it here: https://youtu.be/gAh1J3Ljj-M this video reviewed what a pattern is and how pattern can be made using texture, line, shape, and color. It also reviewed the concept of symmetry that we had gone over while crafting our Sugar Skull Masks this past fall.

I demonstrated on the board how to build a symmetrical pattern on both of their mittens. Then I allowed the children to choose which color they wanted their mittens to be and they used Crayola Construction Paper Crayons to color in their mittens. Crayola Construction Paper Crayons are brightly pigmented so they show up super bright on colored paper.

We completed this project in three, 50 minute periods. During the second class I demonstrated to the students how to cut snowflakes from white paper. I gave each student two 5″ x 5″ papers and to 3″ x 3″ papers. My god was that each student would have at least three snowflakes to add to their collage.

During the last class I passed out black construction paper in 11″ x 17″ size. Students used the construction paper crayons to draw a moon and clouds. Then they cut out their mittens and glued them onto the black background paper. Lastly, they glued on their white snowflakes. During this collage project I also taught my students about overlapping to create the illusion of space. So my expectation was that my students would feel comfortable overlapping their mittens and snowflakes on their black background papers.

This is a great winter time project to be done in December,January, or February. I chose to do it in December as I have several students who do not celebrate Christmas. I do try to stick with a winter time project with my December projects rather than going into the holidays. Several students will also be displaying their projects in our multipurpose room for the December winter musical performance.

Please check out my Instagram to see what other products we are doing in December and January. We’re going to take our exploration of space into the third dimension next month with clay projects.

Shape and Line Collages

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Being a working mom has been more busy than I had anticipated. I’ve had the flu fairy visit us this month, I’ve been training for a 10K, and of course being a full-time teacher on mom takes up a lot of time. So this weekend I’m getting giving a little love to my blog and posting two articles.

For kindergarten and first grade I feel that it’s really important that students get a good handle on how to use scissors and glue in my classroom. This project combines collage and painting in one lesson. It also reviews the elements of art with the students.

In the first class students created two paintings: one of shapes and one of lines in a step-by-step tutorial that I lead. During the tutorial I go over direction of line, types of line, the color wheel, and what geometric shapes are. I also go over how we treat our materials when we are water color painting. I talked to them about how their brushes should look when they’re painting so they’re not misusing their brushes, I talk to them about not mixing the colors in the palette. You would think the kids wouldn’t like a step-by-step and paining, however kids are just really excited to paint. They didn’t really seem to mind much that I stopped and taught all along the way.

In the second class I taught students how to cut zigzags and curvy lines with their scissors. Students cut out the five shapesshapes that they had made in their previous class: circle, rectangle, square, and triangle.

When students finished cutting out all the pieces we glue them down on a 12″ x 18″ sheet of construction paper in a pleasing composition. This is where the creativity comes in with this project. While the first class is very step-by-step, the second class brings the creativity and makes each project unique to the child. We talked about craftsmanship during this class and how we can glue our shapes and lines down carefully without adding too much glue to our project. I taught them about cutting out their shapes and lines neatly not leaving any little pieces hanging off. Overall students learned a lot in one quick lesson that was only two class periods.

Please make sure to check out my Instagram for more information on what’s going on in my classroom. I update twice a week on Instagram. I’m much better at Instagram than I am at blogging. If you are interested in getting any lesson plans from me please just comment below or you can private message me on Instagram. I’ll be more than glad to email them to you.

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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Floral May Crafts for Toddlers

may flowers
April showers bring May flowers right? So this month I’ve been doing a lot of floral crafts with my boys. The first one I shared on Instagram and in a previous post which is a Monet Waterlilies craft.  Monet was a French impressionist painter in the 19 century who built an incredible garden in his home complete with a Japanese bridge and water lily pond which he painted over and over again. This is a simple process art project that then gets turned into a craft.  For more information on how to make it you can check out my previous post here.

monet 2Later on for Mother’s Day we made paper plate flowers which are also a simple process art activity. The boys use bright colors and painted paper plates. Afterwards we practiced cutting with our safety scissors little slips along the side of both plates. Then we bent the tabs that we created to resemble petals on a flower. To finish we added a green construction paper stem and leaf.  Both boys painted a paper plates, Ben helped with the cutting, and Adam helped with the gluing.

flower cardWe created some friends willows based off of a Pinterest pan I found last month. We did this project in play group along with the water lilies. For this project I pre-drew the willows on white card stock sized 9″ x 11″. Are used a sharpie marker, but any permanent marker will do. You don’t want to use Crayola markers because they will smear when the paint is applied. We then dipped hour some into different colors of paint and pressed around the flower. It’s a simple cute process project that could then be turned into a card or framed.

I did a willow, but on Pinterest it initially came to me as a dandelion.  There are so many cute thumbprint flowers on Pinterest.  I’ll share some pins below.  Let me know if you try any in the comments below.  Happy May!

Thumbprint Dandelion - Kid Craft - this idea would be a great gift for a teacher or a DIY project for grandparents!:

Thumbprint Art Project For Kids - Easy craft idea! Painted flower pots make cute homemade Mother's Day Gifts. Crafts:

Mother's day gift idea from thebubblegumtree.blogspot.com:

 

Monet’s Waterlillies Project for Toddlers

waterliliesWhen it comes to spring time art my mind turns to the Impressionists.  They were a French group of nineteenth century artists who portrayed the simplicity of everyday life in their art.  Cafe scenes, recreational life, family, and nature were the main subjects portrayed by the Impressionists.  The most well known Impressionist artist was Claude Monet who is most famous for his paintings of his garden in Giverny, France.

In his garden he had a pond with floating Waterlilies and a Japanese bridge.  He did several paintings of the Waterlilies, some were enormous painting, over 6 feet tall and several panels wide!  You can still visit and tour his home in Giverny, I haven’t but it’s on my list.  I have to go there!

To start this spring time art project with your toddler we did two freestyle paintings:  one in blue and purple for water, the other in green and pink for the lillypads. I did both of these on 9″ x 11″ card stock.  Once they dried over night, I drew and cut out lillypad shapes from the green painting for Ben.  Then he put drops of glue on the backs of the lily pad and placed them on his blue water painting.  He glued two colorful pompoms on each pad and voila!  His masterpiece was complete!img_8117

img_8120


Other Impressionist artworks worth replicating this time of year are Van Gogh’s Irises and Degas’ Ballet Dancers.  Impressionist projects can also work great in the summer months with their paintings of boats and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.  They are very kid friendly works of art and are always popular with parents

Easy and Fun Spring Craft: Rainbow Collage

rainbow

March has just finished up and this past month’s playgroup’s theme was weather!  Boy, oh boy are we having weather!  One week I’m slathering sunscreen on my kiddos and the next I’m bundling them up with hats and sweaters.  To top it off we have sunny days, windy days, and cloudy days.  The wind can be downright dangerous here in Vegas!

Believe it or not, however, most of the rainbows I’ve seen in my life have been in Vegas- I guess it can be a lucky place!  I’ve even seen my fair share of double rainbows!

To make this collage I simply pre-cut the large cloud shape from white tagboard, and I cut out the white raindrops from the scraps.  I also cut out blue raindrops and 1 inch strips of construction paper in rainbow colors.  Ben is two and a half and would like to learn how to cut, but he isn’t ready to really cut yet.  He is fairly experienced with gluing, so I allowed him to control the glue bottle while we assembled the craft.

I started with gluing the cotton balls onto the cloud, then adding the raindrops.  I helped Ben glue the rainbow strips onto the back of the cloud for a more neat result.  At playgroup we also did a multimedia thunderstorm art work and I had pre-cut lightening bolts which another child chose to add onto their collage.  I love seeing the creativity in such young people!

This is definitely an easy and fun craft for this time of year or St. Patick’s Day.  Kids ages 2-8 would enjoy making it and older kids could cut out and even draw the shapes for themselves.  This is project could easily accompany a book about weather.  It also has a simple narrative and ties into science!  We had a lot of fun making it, and hope you will too!

Patriotic Playgroup Activities  for Presidents’ Day

This week we had our playgroup on Presidents’ Day. I decided to go with the theme of patriotic crafts and I did some research on Pinterest. I found a really cool pasta sensory bin that was cheap and easy to make.  I will attach the pan below in case you’re interested. The century vent was a blast and the children really enjoyed it. It did not take a whole lot of work to make. In fact I made it just in a few extra moments that I had over the weekend. Obviously the pasta is reusable, so I can use this for future crafts to come.  Once the bin was assembled I added in some plastic cups, plastic spoons and forks, and a little car for the kids to play with.



I also did a patriotic star craft. We assembled stars using Elmer’s glue with red and blue popsicle sticks. Then we attached the start to some white card stock. The kids could use glue sticks to collage paper tissue squares in red and blue or red glitter on their star.  This was sort of a problem-solving craft in the fact that the kids had to help their moms put together a star which is not easy to do as far as it coming out symmetrical. The kids also had to learn how to use a glue stick and choose the materials that they wanted in their star.  For a two-year-old that is definitely some higher-level thinking. They are analyzing, synthesizing, and creating.


My last activity was a so-called free painting in red white and blue. This particular project has some art historical significance. The style of Abstract Expressionism  which was made popular by Jackson Pollock in the 1940’s was an exploration of paint itself. No longer was paint being used to depict a person, place or thing – the artist was just creating a painting to depict the paint.  Their style of art marks the transition of the center of the art world from being Paris to it being in New York City. This is a truly American art movement.  So as the kids dripped, swirled, and explored with paint, they were actually creating works of art that tied into an American historical style of art.


When I do my playgroup every month I like to have a variety of activities. I like for there to be something for the kids to craft or collage, something for them to model or experience such as a sensory activity or clay, and of course a drawing or painting material. At this age it’s really important that kids just experience as much as they possibly can. By giving young children art materials and allowing them to create they’re using their higher thinking skills, they are exploring their imagination, and they’re expressing their unique individuality at a very-which is a character builder.  Young children experience a level of confidence in themselves and their artwork and like teenagers who typically are shy about their accomplishments. If we can encourage  young children to to be proud of themselves and build up their confidence at a young age then hopefully they’ll be more confident when they enter their teenage years and adulthood. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and if you have any thoughts about how art builds character in kids please share them in the comments below.

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.

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