Wednesday, September 28, 2011

4th Grade: Sonia Delaunay

this lesson is based on French non-objective artist Sonia Delaunay and focuses on the difference between non-objective and abstract art and brings in math using a ruler and compass.
First, we sketch it all out in pencil together. then they use colored pencils and watercolors to fill in their shapes.
i have a few who are almost done! here are some more in progress works...

pre-k is shaping up

last week, my pre-k class started learning about shapes. they mostly already knew what shapes were and could identify my 6: square, circle, triangle, rectangle, oval and free-form.  
the first week, we painted the shapes on paper and outlined them in a different color (this was an extension, the lesson was shorter than i anticipated!).
this week, we practiced making things (houses, cars, rockets, etc) from shapes. first, i demonstrated with my big shapes on the board. then i gave them some wooden blocks to work with. this made the rest of the lesson super easy! these kids already know how to build from blocks because...that's what kids do! so they just connected what they've been doing with shapes. after that, i gave them a black sheet of construction paper and some cut-out shapes. because they just built things with blocks, i didn't need to tell them how to make things using the paper. they caught on immediately! yay connections!
and here is a fun shape video.

warning: this song will stick in your head too.

Friday, September 23, 2011

in progress...

next week is the last week for 4th grade to work on their Sonia Delaunay non-objective pieces. these have been great so far, hope they turn out just as nice!

coming up: keith haring

first of all, a rant about how no one in the world has made a good/appropriate video animating keith haring's art for me to show i my class. if you don't mind blinking nipples, this is the best one i've found, and it's super short! i would want 1:50-2:00 minutes, and that would be great.

 but coming up next week: second grade is moving from its Japanese Culture study to a study of movement, expression and complementary colors!

also, i spent a bunch of time making these!
 movable Haring figures to talk about movement! whoo! if i had a tripod, you would have a video of me making them. next on the to-get list.....

Color Wheel Clocks

and starting next week...color wheel clocks in 1st grade! i wanted to do a basic color theory project but make it more than just "make a color wheel". so i looked at their yearly scope and sequence and found that later they will start learning time! and it seemed perfect that they both had 12 sections.

the first week, we will make the clocks on paper plates with card stock hands and a brad to hold it together. we will also fill in the primary colors, red, blue and yellow.

the 2nd week, we will cover the secondary colors and what the 12,3,6,and 9 mean.

week 3, we will fill in the last tertiary colors and talk about the other numbers and counting by 5s. 

i don't expect every student to be able to tell time perfectly by the end of this, but at least they will have a good head start for when they start later. and they can take these to use in their math class! more interaction, less work for those poor overworked classroom teachers. also, here's a fun video i found to practice with. 

warning: song will get stuck in your head.

Friday, September 16, 2011


finally got some things hung up! everything that is finished is displayed! just waiting on 4th and 5th grade to finish, but i'm super excited to show off 4th grade's (non-objective projects based on Sonia Delaunay). they look great so far, just hope the don't kill it with the paint next week! but anyway, tonight is our fall festival so i'm excited that the parents get to see what their kids are doing!
for the Sunflowers project, i made 2 big vases out of construction paper and placed the flowers above it with some other pictures of van Gogh's Sunflowers. the kids made 2 flowers each so i can have one for the display and one for their finished projects. however, a ton of kids did not follow directions about writing their names on the back of their flowers, so next week when i pass them out to put on the backgrounds we've made, they are going to learn a bit about "community art", because no one is going to get back the actual flower they made. oh well.
the 2nd grader's koi fish were all hung together. apparently, it's a fire hazard to hang things from the ceiling, so the mobile idea was a no-go. by the way, fun fact, did you know that you're only allowed to have 20% of your walls covered in posters etc? it's a fire law thing, who knew? so anyway, the fish are just hung on a board, not as exciting, but they're still nice.
the 3rd grade's Matisse works are hung on a couple of cork boards, i picked my 12 favorites to hang up. ( i was informed today by one boy that i had hung his upside-down. i totally should have know that, right?)
i hung the kindergarten and pre-k's cave paintings together. i strung them together with some hemp and ran them down the hall. again, couldn't hang them all (about 100+), so i went with 20.

every display has a description of the project with the history/elements/interdisciplinary stuff that goes into it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

they might be giants

i have been a fan of them for many years, but now that i'm teaching i find them extremely helpful! check out this ROYGBIV video for starts.
they have educational videos/songs for almost every subject. 

a rewards system

as a new teacher, i have been having some trouble with classroom management in 1st and 2nd grade. my host teacher and i came up with a new system to encourage good behavior! i don't like to yell and be really firm, so positive reinforcement is the way to go for me! i got a pack of rainbow stickers and throughout class while they work, i'll put them on the backs of the students who are doing really well at following directions, helping their neighbors, raising their hands, etc. at the end of class, whoever has a rainbow on their back gets their name on a crayon that i hang out in the hall. they were pretty excited about it so far! i have two boards to fill with names!


so that 3rd grade Matisse lesson was scheduled to take 3 weeks.....they finished it the first week! so this week i had them add on a black border and 2 more squares of color. here are some finished pieces! next week they are starting on a foreground, middle ground, background project!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

never underestimate the power of free....

being a naturally thrifty person, i have noticed that all of my lesson so far can be done with little to no materials. it's not that i don't have things to work with, i guess that just how i function. supplies used so far for pre-k-5th:

  • brown paper bags (free from parent donations)
  • tissue paper (free from donations)
  • construction paper
  • card stock (donated, so free!)
  • watercolors
  • tempura paint
  • pastels
  • colored pencil
just me being happy about the kind of super cheap projects i can make. any ideas?

the Sunflowers with Vincent van Gogh

this is a 1st grade lesson (which has been very trying because apparently 1st grade has the most behavioral problems of any elementary group, who knew?) based on Van Gogh's Sunflower series.

first, i read them Camille and the Sunflowers and ask them why an artist would paint the same thing again and again (usual answers even after we read the story: he likes them. he plants them. he makes them for girls, lol.).
each student gets 2 4"x 4" pieces of card stock. they draw a flower shape on each then cut them out. after that, we cover the whole flower in glue and collage on some petals made from tissue paper.
for this lesson, we look at the Sunflowers and Starry Night to contrast the colors used and what they make us think of. then we talk about warm and cool colors. i use my awesome color board and have 6 students choose if the colors should go on the warm or cool side. they all went completely nuts. they were so excited about getting to go up in front of the room and they were totally bummed when only 6 of them got to do it.
but the point is, they all got warm and cool colors down.
here is a student example so far. when they are done, they will have the vase and background. i had them make 2 so that i could take one from each student to put in one large display together. more pics on that to come!

Friday, September 2, 2011

oh sweet organization.....

let me take a moment to bask in the glory of my own organization.....
i used these three boards to out up examples of the students' projects. it helps me remember what grade is doing what, lol. i keep confusing 3rd and 4th grade and 1st and 2nd.
i also organized all of the materials for each lesson into these bins. everything is cut and labeled. the folders underneath have handouts etc., the lesson plan, and whichever of my sweet elements and principles posters i need for that lesson.

it's all pretty much designed so that anyone can come in and teach my lessons in case i get sick or something.

3rd Grade: Matisse

this is a collage lesson based on Henri Matisse. we talk about organic and geometric shapes and positive and negative space. this lesson brings in math in that we use fractions and measuring to place our shapes on the paper.
the students get one 8"x 8" piece of paper and three 4"x 4" squares of colored paper. they cut organic shapes out of the colored squares and use those and the negative pieces left behind to organize a composition. then we simply glue them down!
here are some student examples, 3rd grade.
can you guess which are by boys and which are by girls?