Thursday, January 18, 2018

Artist Trading Cards, Abstract Observational Drawing

I love Observational Drawing, in fact, life drawing was one of my concentrations in college. One of the reasons I love it is because you can do it anywhere with anything. When I bring it into the classroom I try very hard to make it motivating... so in this case, we used candy to observe.  I like the candy for many reasons; It's small, it's inexpensive, it's a gift, there are lots of details, and this is going to be used in an artist trading card swap. That means if these cards are sent to another community across the world, food is a great way to communicate culture.

I wanted to make this a little more non-traditional so I 'abstracted-it-up'... Watch the video below to get a feel for the process of this card.

I loved watching the students work on their pre-planning.  It was a great way to really see how they will handle the final card.  I could see what tips I should mention before the final card and get a feel for the kids who will need a little extra guidance.  I can also see who needs more of a challenge and encourage likewise. What do they call that again?? Oh yeah, formative assessment (that's right, art teachers use assessment every day to guide their instruction) 

As the video suggested, we cut and pasted the divided drawing onto one of our amazing cards created earlier this year. This is what allows for artistic choice and makes our cards look unique and complex. Check out all the paper designs I did with my class in this previous post.

The students did a really good job attaching the still life to the ATC but these cards are going to be traveling through the mail to artist all over the world in just a couple of weeks (see Artist Trading Card Swap information),  I wanted to make sure they are really stuck down and have a beautiful finish so I covered each finished card with Mod Podge

We are proud to send these cards out to our #ATCswap friends all over the country and world!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Bird Sculptures

I have been trying hard to create a beautiful lesson that you can present to your students. After practicing this sculpture with several students in multiple sessions, I'm proud to say I have a lesson ready to share with you.  I have been posting these amazing bird sculptures on Instagram (@MiniMatisse) the last month or so and people want to know... HOW??!! Here it is my friends

Before you decide this is the lesson for you, make sure that you have these materials and tools.  You could also plan on an alternative such as tinfoil instead of paper and masking tape for the armature or a different type of air dry clay instead of CelluClay. I just want you to be sure you are ready to take on this amazing lesson plan before purchase.

Another caution I have for you before taking on this lesson is making sure that you have the time.  This lesson takes no less than 2 weeks to complete (some of those days are drying time for the clay). Just make sure that you can budget enough time... Quality needs time!! 

If you are sure this is the lesson for you, 

If you are not sure, continue reading to see what is all included in this lesson.

All of the steps of this lesson are supported with visual images and most sections have a video support as well.

So here is the break down of the lesson plan.  I have tried to cover some major standards in our National Visual Artist Standards. I, of course, have the standard CREATE. Students are making a bird. REFLECT and CONNECT is found throughout the lesson. Students reflect during their preplanning, when they are giving feedback (activity included), and in an optional digital portfolio.  Students PRESENT by displaying the work or sharing the digital portfolio with parents or on social media. 

This lesson is beefy, no dought! It covers our standards, CHALLENGES our students, and gives an opportunity for voice and choice.  Check out some of the amazing works that my students created this last quarter! 

If you would like to learn how to obtain this lesson, please visit my Teacher Pay Teachers store.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Paper Dinosaur Sculptures

I'm so VERY excited to present my very first guest blogger on MiniMatisse.  I met Mark Rode a couple months back at a training and we share our social media information with each other. I have been so impressed with Mark's Instagram that I asked if he would write a blog post about this amazing project. 

Mark is an Elementary Art Teacher at Oxbow Creek Elementary in Champlin Minnesota. He explains that his inspiration came from another teacher in West Australia, Ann Farrell. I'm a fan of her work as well! Please be sure to check out her blog, Use Your Coloured Pencils. Mark maintains an amazing Instagram account, @oxbow_creek_elementary_art. He is also active on Twitter, follow him @oxbowart. Here is what Mark had to say about this captivating project.

I taught this project to my first graders to kick off their unit on form.  It took two 60 minute classes, but next year I may stretch it to three, as it was difficult for some to finish on time.  There are so many great books on dinosaurs too, and having time on the third day for reflection would be ideal.  Nevertheless, I felt like this project was a great way to begin working in three dimensions, as it let students figure out how to make something stand up and occupy real space with familiar materials and subject matter (who doesn’t like dinosaurs?).  After teaching this lesson, I had multiple students bring in other versions to share that they had made at home, as well as some other paper sculptures, which I felt was a good sign.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with dinosaurs.  I even wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up! There is still a big part of me that gets excited about them, so it was really fun to share this excitement with the kids.  Of course, in every first-grade class, there are always a few dinosaur experts who love to share their unique knowledge on this subject as well, so I introduced the project by displaying pictures of a variety of dinosaurs and facilitated a lively discussion.  We talked about different characteristics that we noticed, as well as compared and contrasted the different types.

I then told them that they would be making a dinosaur sculpture, and demonstrated how to begin.  I told them that they were going to get two pieces of tagboard, one wide and one narrower.  They would also get a sharpie marker and a stencil for the body shape and legs (these were made from brown tag.  I usually don’t use stencils, but I made an exception with this step, as the success of the final work was heavily contingent on getting these shapes right…).

I told the students to trace the body shape on the large sheet of tagboard, right in the middle.  After that, they added the other features (neck, head, tail, horns, designs, texture, etc.).  I then told them to trace the leg stencil on the smaller sheet.  Depending on the type of dinosaur, they would either do this once or twice (an Allosaurus walks on two legs vs. a Brachiosaurus that walks on four).  After adding details, I told them they had to cut out the dinosaur and the legs.  They then had to flip the body over and add details on the other side (it is important that they cut out first before flipping).

Finally, they added color on all sides with a marker. I told them that scientists don’t know for certain what color the dinosaurs were, so it was really up to them to color their dinosaur how they thought it would have looked.  This, I believe, gave them more creative agency, and I think, in the end, they looked more interesting because of it.

On day two, we reviewed the steps.  I then said that I would give them a piece of matboard for the base and that they had to draw the setting for their dinosaur (bird’s eye view).  They also had to make a few slits (one on the top of each leg and one or two on the bottom of the dinosaur).  I then showed how to make it stand by carefully connecting the slits together.  In order for it to be sturdy, it does require some wiggling and finessing.  When they got to this point, I told them that it was really important for them to try to get it to stand up.  This was challenging for many, but it was good for them to work through it and problem solve.  I also stressed the importance of helping each other out.  Once they got the legs on, I added hot glue to the bottom of the feet and glued the dino to the base.  Most students were able to get it to stand, but there were a few that needed some assistance from me.  At the end of the class, we all had our dinosaurs on one table and it was such a pleasure to see them all together!

This project was predominantly product based, but also gave a lot of room for creative decision-making.  The goal was to have the dinosaur three-dimensional.  The main concept was form, although we also talked a lot about shapes, lines, and textures.

Here are some of the project samples that Mark was so generous to share with us. For more images of this project and so many other amazing projects, please be sure to follow Mark on Instagram @Oxbow_creek_elementary_art

Monday, January 8, 2018

Playdough Request

First Grade Parents:

I'm excited to teach secondary colors using playdough in an upcoming unit!! I would so appreciate you signing up for a color and making a batch of playdough to donate to our students. If you want to see the project that we will be working on, please click on this previous post. The playdough recipe is here as well as the sign-up sheet down below, OR emai me at I have extended the timeline to Friday, Jan 19th to give our families a little more time to commit. Thanks for being a part of your kids fun experience by donating a batch of playdough.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Share the Process using Time-lapse

Using patterns in Art Class is critical to my curriculum. Kindergarten student start learning patterns in Math class early in the year school, so by the New Year, it's a good time to bring it into the art class and do a little review for students who might need to work on the ideas of patterns in a very visual way. Since this concept is new in the Art Studio, I like to give my class a chance to create patterns in the security of a group for the first lesson. I developed a Collaborative Patterns lesson last year. See the previous post for pictures and an explanation video that is student friendly.

Last year, I shared the lesson with pictures on Seesaw and the parents were very receptive.  I wanted to show them the process this year. Show them all the excitement and teamwork that goes into this project.  I created stations by taping down a sheet of large format paper and set some blocks or bottle caps beside it. I chose to set up iPads over each of the stations. Once the kids were in place I simply started the time-lapse on the iPad. 

One of my favorite parts of using the iPads is the ability to show the videos in class using AirPlay. It's a bit glitchy for me sometimes, but when it works... it's amazing! In the video, you can see that the students watch themselves all at the same time. I do this kind of review for stop-motion projects as well. 


When finished, I used AirDrop to send all the videos to my one iPad and I placed the clips together in iMovie.  With a little editing (adding music, speeding up the time-lapse) I then shared it to Seesaw. A quick caption in Seesaw explained to parents the concepts covered for the day. In this case, patterns and working collaboratively. 

This process of recording in time-lapse can be used for all learners.  With older students, you can have them recording their process on their own, and sharing it on social media. I use it for my lessons too.  I often record the process in time-lapse so the kids can see all the actions but in a short amount of time.  If you are unsure of how to use time-lapse, check out this blog post by Matt Klein, How-to Geek.

Image found on HTG by Matt Klein

I know some of you are wondering where do I get those awesome iPad sands.  I know I would be.  Get decided to purchase them through curriculum review and I use them on a very regular basis.  Here is a post explaining where to get these great iPad Stands (click here).