Grade 2 Cool Cats

Kids love drawing cats! For this project I decided to add a twist and let my students imagine their cats with human qualities.

They first drew their cats in a human portrait style–showing the head, neck, shoulders and arms. Next they added clothing and a hats. Cat ears NEEDED to be seen! Each cat also had to be holding something in it’s paw related to who it was (artist cat-easel, rockstar cat-microphone, fairy cat-wand etc.. )

The kids colored in with oil pastels and painted the backgrounds with watered down paint.

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Don’t they look lovely?

Symmetrical Vases in Grade One

Frederik's Symmetrical Vase

I saw this idea on Oodles of Art and thought it would be a lovely lesson to use with my grade one class since they were learning about symmetry in math class. I know this because my son Sebey is in Grade one!

We talked about symmetry and discussed the things that we knew were symmetrical and they were quite suprised to find out that their faces and their bodies were symmetrical too! I demonstrated this by calling up different students and pretending to cut them in half and folding them!

Next we talked about flowers in vases and where you put them to show them off and we all agreed they should be placed on a table with a nice tablecloth! I gave out a large black paper and kids drew their large tables and colored the tablecloths with oil pastels.

The symmetrical vases were made by folding a colored piece of construction paper in half and drawing half a design of a vase starting at the fold. They were cut out and then the students put paint blobs on one side of their vase and the middle section. They closed it , moved the paint around inside and opened it up to discover symmetrical designs on their vases–they LOVED this part!  Once dried, the vase was glued somewhere on their tablecloth, the flowers were made with tissue paper and the stems were drawn with oil pastels.

Pretty don’t you think?

Chagall Inspired Dreaming in Grade 2

 

Omar's Dream

Omar's Dream

I saw this idea on the art cart blog  and thought I would try it with my grade 2 kiddos. We started the lesson with a lively discussion about dreams and everyone had something interesting to share. Kids certainly love to talk about their dreams!

Next we looked at a few Chagall dream paintings that you can easily find on google images and we talked about the clues they could see that made the painting look like a dream, etc. A great word to introduce at this point  is surrealism.

I gave out large white paper and the students drew buildings and trees on the bottom of their paper and themselves flying horizontally on the top section. They could either fly with someone or a favorite toy which they needed to hold. The sun or moon could also have a face. They colored in with oil pastels and painted the background with watered down paint. They also added salt to their wet paint to give their background a nice effect.

I loved how these pictures turned out and the students were very pleased too. See how beautiful they are?

Scratch Art Fun in Grade 1

Ny'a's Horse

Ny'a's Horse

Scratch art is one of those lesson kids of all ages LOVE to do and although it’s very easy for us teachers to buy the ready made scratch art paper, I much prefer my students to learn from ‘scratch’ how to make make their own.

I gave out 9×12 white paper and crayons and told the kids they had to fill the whole paper with different colors and designs. I reminded them that for their paper to be ‘magic’ they needed to color in heavily and the only color they couldn’t use was BLACK! It’s amazing what happens when you use the word ‘magic‘. The kids get excited with anticipation and are just transported to their own creative space.

 

The finished designs were gorgeous and if I had been doing a lesson on lines and design this would have been just great.  Next I gave out black crayons and told the the kids to cover their entire paper with black by coloring very heavily and trying to make sure no colors could be seen. They couldn’t believe they were covering up their designs!  (Note: I used black india paint with a previous class and it was very hard for them to scratch out a picture so I think a black crayon works better and the effect is stunning.)

Next, I gave out scratching tools like some wooden stylus’ and explained that this tool would help them draw and color anything on their paper while they were ‘scratching’  out their design.  I even made them blow on the tip of the tool for special effect.

The ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ are immediate as soon as they start to ‘draw’ and the vibrant colors start to appear magically before their eyes –this is priceless!

This lesson can be adapted to any age level so give it a go and forget about buying the ready made paper. This is more exciting and creative by far. Try to display them against a sunny window because the colors look shiny and they look gorgeous too!

Sebey's Scarab Beetle

Sebey's Scarab Beetle

Yasmin's Butterfly

Yasmin's Butterfly

Anisa's Penguin

Anisa's Penguin

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Cave Art Comes Alive!

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 There are certain units in art class that take on a life of their own and just GROW!  My Cave art unit turned out even better than I had anticipated and grew into a Pre-K – Grade 5 theme due to the overwhelming interest of the students.  Displaying children’s work is so important to me so this had to be BIG! And how was I just going to achieve this? Re-creating a cave similar to the Lascaux Caves in France filled with all my students’ work of course!  I wanted them to fully understand the importance of those early cave paintings as the first ever examples of art in history.

We first began by looking at actual prints of paintings from Lascaux and looking at the subject matter chosen by the cave people. There are plenty of good websites to show kids plus you tube has a ton of short videos and information.

Google image search is wonderful and I created a slideshow of many cave paintings. I also included petroglyphs so that my older grades could learn the difference between a pictograph (painted picture on a wall) and a petroglyph (carved/engraved picture on a rock or cave wall) because they would eventually make their own.

Pre-K and Kindergarten couldn’t wait to start drawing and painting their big animals and hunters. I saved quite  a large amount of brown packing paper so everyone got a large piece of paper as their canvas. After a discussion of what animals were acceptable to draw the kids took right off.

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I gave the older students the opportunity to stick their paper under the table to give them that feel of how the cave people painted. The students ‘painted’  with chalk pastels–all in earthy colors. These are the pastels we used which are my favorite and are incredibly versatile for so many art projects–see these gorgeous Modigliani inspired self-portraits here and Georgia O’Keefe flowers here.

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The paintings were finished by ‘signing’ their work with a stencil of their hand. Watered down paint was put into a spray bottle and the kids sprayed their hand to leave an outline.

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Grades 1-5 made tools and weapons with cardboard and string. Their challenge was to make a tool that they think would have been useful for hunting or painting and they could only use string to put pieces together. This was a challenge for many of the kids because they immediately wanted glue sticks,  tape, etc. When thias wasn’t option they had to ‘think’ and they came up with some great ideas!

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Next up was learning about petroglyphs. Our school is surrounded by contruction at the moment so there were plenty of rocks to go around.  These rocks were quite hard to carve into but after a little experimenting, the kids covered the rock faces with chalk pastels. On a piece of paper they drew a variety of animals and hunting scenes they wanted to copy onto their rock faces. Carving with an opened paper clip was perfect and the the petroglyphs were wonderful!

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With all the paintings I then created a large cave outside my classroom in the hallway. I covered the side walls and the roof. The students helped put the tools and petroglyphs inside the cave and  added the remaining tools and weapons on two nearby bulletin boards. We invited parents and kids to come at night time and the rule was to bring a flashlight! All the lights were turned off and everyone had a great time!

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weapons

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Pre-Kinder Shape Collage

Lessons for younger kids need to be fun, dynamic and full of suprises. The best thing about teaching Pre- K and Kinder is how excited the kids get when you teach them anything. Now if you make that ‘anything‘ fun then you have a hit!

My Pre-K class was reviewing shapes in their class so I planned the following lesson for them which they all loved.  Plan for two lessons when you do this with Pre-K and Kindergarten and you can adapt this idea to other grade levels.

We started the lesson by remembering all the shapes Pre-K  knew  and learned in their classroom. Here I pretended to ‘forget‘ my shapes so they could teach me  all the shapes again (they love doing this!). We  shouted out the names and drew squares, rectangles, circles, diamonds, ovals, triangles, etc.  in the air with big arm strokes.

Each student got a big plain colored paper and drew their favorite shapes (not too small, not too big) on the paper with a pencil. They outlined their shapes with a black crayon, colred them in and then cut them out.

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The students chose a big colored paper,  glued their shapes and transformed them by adding arms, legs, hats, ears, hair, feet, shoes, etc. Other details like the weather, houses, grass, flowers were also encouraged. This was a perfect lesson to review shapes and turn them into awesome art work!

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Torn Paper Lines

 

Here is a neat idea you can do the next time you need to teach LINES. Get your students to ‘feel‘ the lines by tearing out all sorts of lines using only their fingers and imagination!
IGive out 2 colored papers either to individual students or to pairs. In this lesson I gave out white and black paper because the contrast is quite dramatic but you can use any color combination such as a warm and cool color, complimentary colors, different shades, etc. Tell your students one color is for tearing lines out and the other is for glueing the lines on.
My grade three class worked in pairs. We discussed and reviewed the different kinds of lines and how to tear paper and give it the shape we want. Teach your students to gently make little tears and to use their thumb as a guide and ‘ruler‘. The students got into pairs and talked about which lines they wanted to tear. They placed the torn lines on the paper and decided on a nice composition.  Here your students can place lines symmetrically or make a picture depending on the grade level. We went for a symmetrical composition because they were learning about this in math.

tearing lines

tearing lines

playing around with the lines for composition

playing around with the lines for composition

 

 

Once the teams were happy with their lines the next step was to glue them down on the paper. They then were given the same colored paper and had to make the same or another design using the opposite color. If the students started with tearing white paper on black then they would do tearing black lines on white paper.
This lesson can be adapted to many grade levels and the result is quite lovely.

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Here is a slideshow of the lesson.

Lines Go Walking In Kindergarten!

I couldn’t resist not doing my previous lesson “Taking Lines for a Walk’ with my eager Kinder kids. We talked about lines and we looked for them in the classroom. We drew imaginary lines in the air and then they were ready for their art project.

Every child got a 18 x 12 piece of white paper and a black crayon. I explained to them that they would take their crayon on a wonderful adventure all over the paper. They can start on any edge of the paper and curl, twirl, curve, zig-zag all around the paper till you say “stop!” They nned to end their line and go off any edge of the paper. Here you need to watch what everyone is doing and make sure the lines don’t get crowded and messy on the paper. In other words, don’t drag this part of the lesson too long!

Taking a line for a walk

Taking a line for a walk

 

Next, tell your kids to color in some spaces with crayons and to fill in the areas with different lines they can think of such as dots, crosses, hatched lines, etc.

Coloring in some of the spaces

Coloring in some of the spaces

Next and final part of the lesson is to paint the paper with watered down tempera paints (stick to three colors max) or water colors. The result is fantastic and the kids will know everything about lines!

Painting in the rest of the spaces

Painting in the rest of the spaces

 

 

Taking Lines for a Walk

This is gorgeous

This is gorgeous

This is a great lesson I did with grade one and three. I loved the results and the kids had a great time exploring lines.

It’s always good to review what a line is with your students and go over ‘line’ words such as vertical, zig-zag, diagnal, curved, curly, etc. Give your student a large 18 x 12 piece of paper and tell them they need to start at the top of their paper and take a line for a ‘walk’ by making their line wander off and make curls, zig-zags, etc and not just make a straight line. It’s important to remind them that the line must end back at the bottom of the page.

The next part of the lesson involves the students filling in the spaces between the lines. This is where you can adapt this lesson depending on the grade levels. My grade one class painted in each section by making their own hues and this was a great way to review and practice making colors with the primary colors. Once the paper was dry they went over their lines with a thick black marker.

Outlining with a thick black marker

Outlining with a thick black marker

I love how the markers bring out the lines and color

I love how the markers bring out the lines and color

Grade three filled each section by making tints and shades of blue. The result was beautiful and they were all excited and happy with their finished work. Again, outlining each line with a thick black marker made the lines stick out.

I love the lines here!

I love the lines here!

Outlining with a black marker

Outlining with a black marker

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Lines All Around

 

Filling in spaces with different kinds of lines

Filling in spaces with different kinds of lines

I have started my next big unit on LINES as part of the Elements of Art Theme. It’s important for kids to have an understanding of these elements which will help them when they go and make their own art. By knowing what the seven elements (line, shape, form, color, value, texture and space) of art are, kids will appreciate that all the art in the world is done with one or more of these elements.

I choose to look at each element seperately so that my students can really get a good grasp of them  and practice using them when making their own art work.

Start by telling your students that they will become a detective. This is a good time to define what a detective is and then tell them they will be a ‘line detective’ This is a hit with younger kids, grades 2 down.  We first brainstorm all the lines we know and I let my kids come up to the smartboard and draw their lines. We them establish that a line is a mark made by a pointed tool such as a pencil, crayon, marker, paintbrush, tree branch, etc. For older kids you can get into more detail about what a line is. It’s important for kids to learn that lines can be vertical, horizontal, straight, diagnal, wavy, zig-zag and curved. Of course add more ‘line’ words to your list but these are essentially the basic lines to know.

Then give each student their sketchbook, a pencil, marker and a crayon and hunt for lines in the classroom. Once they find a line, they record it in their sketchbook by copying it. Once you have found some interesting lines in the classroom, go outside and record more lines.

Kids have a great time finding lines and it makes them aware of all the lines around them. When you come back to class discuss your findings and then show a slide show (that you previously made!) showing lines in nature such as leaves, buildings, birds,  architecture, water ripple etc. Have your kids point to the lines they see and use the correct word: horizontal, curvy, zig-zag, vertical, etc.