My Dot Lesson

So for a couple of years I’ve been seeing a lot of posts online about the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. I wondered what all the fuss about this book was, and why are educators asking students to just draw a dot? How did this turn into an international day? Around September 15th art teachers around the world celebrate International Dot Day apparently.

As I began searching for ideas on starting the school year with a cool bulletin board and some fun introductory lessons, The Dot lessons kept showing up everywhere. So I decided to take out the book from my school library and read it, and I loved the message. The idea that each student is capable of making their mark. I can’t tell you how many times in my career I have had the same conversation that Vashti, the main character, has with her art teacher in the beginning of the story. The little girl doesn’t think that she can create anything or that she’s good at art. She sits in front of a blank paper defeated. I thought this book teaches a great lesson for my students: to make your marks no matter what. I tell my students all the time that they are artists and no one can draw like them; no one can do what they do because everybody is an individual. So I thought this book would be perfect to start the school year off and set a classroom culture of trying our best and believing in ourselves as artists.

Before the school year began I created a bulletin board using oval shaped paper plates that I purchased off of Amazon as watercolor paints. Most of my bulletin board was empty with the intention that we would be adding our dots later on.

Then I read to all of my students the first week the story The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. We talked about the main idea and students used crayons to design their dots. The following week when students returned they painted with tempera cake paints around their dots or inside of their dots. We discussed the principles of design such as unity and emphasis in this project. We also discussed shape and color, focusing on geometric shapes. This was such a simple project that it gave me time to also go over how we take care of our pants and our brushes. Students were also able to go over some of the classroom procedures for setting up and cleaning up from a somewhat messy activity.

As students finished making their dots I started hanging them up on the bulletin board and I actually ended up lining the other side of the hallway to with our dots. Dots that were very simple I cut out and layered on top of more intricately designed dots. I really like how I overlapped and created dimension to the bulletin board by overlapping. The positive response that I got about this bulletin board from colleagues and parents has been profound. I definitely think we will be celebrating International Dot Day again in the future!

Klimt’s Cradle

This is a lesson plan I wrote about 5 years ago and I was teaching another school. I have always been a big fan of the artwork by Gustav Klimt. I love all of the details and patterns he used in his paintings and of course all of the incredible gold leaf! However I thought that exploring his artwork might be a little difficult with young children. When I saw the painting Cradle that he did of a baby all wrapped up in a quilt I figured I could use this one as an example for the kids to work from.

I start the lesson by introducing the actual painting with my smart projector. We discuss what a quilt is and all the patterns we would see in a quilt. Then I have the students pass out 11″ x 14″ white construction paper. You want a pretty toothy paper because you’re going to end up painting the background. Then I demonstrate how to draw the babies face and the blanket. We also draw all of the “squares” for the quilt which are not actually square is because it’s bundled up. I allow the students to then proceed by drawing a different pattern in each section of their quilt. I have the students start with pencil and then trace everything with black permanent marker. If your younger students do not use permanent markers very often it’s good to go over some basic rules like not drawing on their hands or on the tables with these because they don’t come off.

Students typically take about 2 to 3 class periods with just the drawing and coloring portion of this project. I meet with my students every six days for 50 minutes. I like having all of my students complete the drawing and coloring portion before we do our backgrounds. While we’re doing the drawing and coloring portion I also bring in some art history. This time I read the book Klimt and his Cat-which I honestly found to be more popular with my second and third graders than my kinder and first graders.

For coloring my students used just regular Crayola or Mr. sketch markers. I had them be very colorful with their patterns. To color the baby’s face we used Crayola Multicultural Crayons. Once students completely finished coloring we used gold tempera paint to add color to the background. I took the time to teach the students using a larger paint brush how to spread the paint and not have any added texture or a white spots. Overall I think that the students really enjoyed this lesson. My kinder and first graders who I did this with could connect to the baby painting very well because a lot of them have a little baby brothers and sisters at home.

Ethiopian Baskets

This year for Black History Month I wanted to represent our school community with our art project. I have a large Ethiopian student population at my school. I investigated what types of crafts and art they have in their culture. I found several examples of incredibly bright and beautiful baskets in photographs online. I had done basket weaving before with students during a Native American unit. So I tweaked my project to include more bright colors, geometric patterns, and raffia.

We used a Styrofoam bowl from the grocery store as our loom. The students cut nine slits into the styrofoam bowl and then tied on yarn. You have to have an odd number of slits so when students are weaving in and out they don’t need to skip any slits. Students would just tie on a new color and continue going around and around the bowl until they reached the top. When they reached the top then they would begin experimenting with raffia.

I told the students to try tying knots, making bows, creating bundles and tying those on, even incorporating some of the yarn and raffia into pom-poms.

Some things to keep in mind with this project is that Ethiopian baskets are extremely bright and colorful. Many of them incorporate both tan and bright colors. So I had pulled out my brightest colors of yarn along with some tan yarns for the students to create patterns with as they wove.

Also, most Ethiopian baskets have a geometric pattern inside. I had the students use colored Sharpie markers to draw a radial design in the bottom of the bowl. When we hung them up I would just staple the bottoms of the bowls to the bulletin boards.

during this project some of my students who are Ethiopian volunteered to share with the class some aspects of their culture in a written report. The students presented the written report to the class -highlighting the different types of food, holidays, and languages they have in Ethiopia. I learned a lot through this part of the project as I am not familiar with Ethiopian culture. The children taught me how the baskets are used in every day life in Ethiopia. They explained that the larger baskets with lids are used to hold bread and keep it warm, while the flatter baskets have different dishes of food set out.

What projects do you have lined up for February? Please share below in the comments.

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.

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!

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

 

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

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-Burlap Hanukkah Card Craft for Kids

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Want an easy and stylish kids craft to do this holiday season?  Burlap is everywhere.  I see it on garlands, tote bags, pillows, you name it!  To make this easy craft you’ll need:

1 piece of burlap 4 1/2″x 3″

1 piece of brown craft paper 4 1/2″x3″

1 chisel tip Sharpie

puffy paint or homemade paint (the recipe is here)

Clear Krazy Glue

Directions:

Glue the piece f brown craft paper inside the burlap.  Once the glue is dry (30 minutes or so), fold the card in half.  Kids often need a lot of help lining up items to glue and folding-plus you’ll have to use the Krazy Glue.  Older kids can draw a menorah or write Happy Hanukkah with the chisel tip Sharpie, younger kids will need an adult to do that.  Then they can decorate with puffy paint or if they’re little like Ben (2 years old) they can use homemade paint and a Q-tip to apply paint. Let it dry. img_6691

 

 

Gyotaku Fish Printing Lesson Plan

As promised I am sharing a fully developed lesson plan with my readers who teach.  I am using basic art lesson components so you may add what you need to this lesson.

I have done this lesson many times over the years and the students really like it.  When they walk in I pretend something smells- “it smells like fish!”  Works every time to pull them in.  “It must be-because we are fish printing today!”

fullsizerender-4Gyotaku Fish Printing for 2nd-4th grade students.

3 -50 minute sessions


Art Resources:  teacher product and examples of work by Naoki Hayashi

Art Materials: 1 rubber Gyotaku fish per 2 students, 8”x11” sheets of white paper (1 per student), tempera paint,paper plates, large paintbrushes, oil pastels , glue, and white glitter.

National Art Standard Addressed in this Lesson:  Presenting (visual arts): Interpreting and sharing artistic work.

Objectives- Student will:

*become familar with the process of Gyotaku printing

*create a Gyotaku print.

*create a seascape to incorporate with the print.

*use several 2-D processes in one project.

Discipline Based Art Education: Art History and Art Production

Enduring Ideas: Humans and Nature, Life and Death, Life Cycles, Cultural Diversity.

Interdisciplinary Connections: Social Studies (can be used as part of Pacific Islander Month-May) and Science (life cycles, ocean)

Vocabulary: Gyotaku, printmaking, Japan, Pacific Ocean

.Procedure:
Day 1:
Student will view examples of Gyotaku fish prints (specifically by Naoki Hayashi).  Students will view the teacher’s exemplar and listen to the steps of the project. We will discuss how Naoki Hayashi has turned Gyotaku into an art form with his use of color and repetition.  Student will view a demonstration of the printing by the teacher and then will partner with a buddy to share paint, paint plates, fish, and paintbrushes.  Student will each print on white paper and store work for the next week. Day 2: Student will review vocabulary and art history.  Student will add ocean, sky and details to his/her fish with oil pastel. Day 3: Student will review art history and vocabulary.  Student will finish drawing his details with oil pastel.  Student will add glue where he intends to put glitter and glitter over the bucket with white glitter.  Student will store work in wire rack overnight to dry.

Rubric

Lesson Criteria- 10pts.

Criteria Excellent Great Good
Student created a Gytotaku print. -4 pts. Student created his own Gyotaku print using the appropriate amounts of paint and pressure to create an excellent impression of the fish.- 4pts. Student created his own Gyotaku print, but there are some spots of paint and parts of the fish that didn’t show up.-2.5 pts. Student did not create a successful Gyotaku print.-0 pts.
Student filled in his composition’s background with an  original oil pastel seascape. 5 pts. Student filled in  composition in oil pastel.  Student’s work is neat, balanced, and doesn’t cover up the print.  Student drew an original, realistic seascape.- 5 pts. Student filled in  composition in oil pastel.  Student needs to work on one of the following: neatness, balance, and/or not covering up the print.  Student drew an original,  realistic seascape.- 3 pts. Student filled in  composition in oil pastel.  Student needs to work on more than one of the following: neatness, balance, and/or not covering up the print.  Student drew a realistic seascape.-1 pt.
Student added touches of glitter to his composition.-2pts. Student added touches of glitter to his composition in order to enhance the appearance of the project.-2pts. Student’s work has too much glitter or a few glue drips/smudges.-1pt. Student did not attempt to be neat with the glitter and glue.  Student needs to work on choosing a place for the glitter in his composition and appropriate amounts of glue and glitter.-0pts.