Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Worth a Read--A is for Art Museum

A is for Art Museum by Katy Friedland and Marla K. Shoemaker
is my new favorite book to share with Pre-K and Kindergarten when we have a few minutes left after clean up in the art studio.

This is the best of an alphabet and an "I Spy" type of book featuring paintings, sculptures, tapestries, prints, and photographs from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

This would be great to share with kids before a trip to the museum.

Check it out!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Go Big or Go Home--2nd Grade Georgia O'Keeffe Sculptural Flowers

The inspiration for this blog's name comes from artist Georgia O'Keeffe's quote:

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way... things I had no words for.” 
 Georgia O'Keeffe
As a double major in English in Art in my undergraduate years I love the combination of writing and visual art. My 2nd graders created big sculptural flowers inspired by another O'Keeffe quote:

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty. Georgia O'Keeffe
My 2nd grade artists painted and cut out their flowers from 12"x12" heavy white paper, rolled and taped 12" x 24" rectangles of green construction paper into tubes for stems, and cut out leaf shapes of their favorite O"Keeffe saying from cardstock on which I had printed a selection of quotes.

How do you use artists or famous people as inspiration in your teaching or parenting? Leave a Google+ comment or send me a direct message through the contact form on the right. Thanks for stopping by! -Alia

The final display was one of my and the kids' favorite displays of the year as it demonstrates the power of collaborative art projects!

Friday, June 5, 2015

I Tried Tinkerlab's Best Playdough Recipe and You Should Too

Have you ever made playdough before? I had not, and since my 1st graders absolutely loved making their clay owls and delight in using modelling clay during art stations I thought homemade playdough was a great end-of-year project that could keep them creating throughout the summer.

Bright colored playdough thanks to fluorescent tempera paint!
Laminate or cover an imaginative drawing in contact paper
and you are ready to play and create!

I tried Tinkerlab's Best Playdough Recipe, read all the helpful comments, and decided to stick with the basic recipe but used tempera paint, instead of food coloring or liquid watercolors, to get super bright colors. I also wanted my kids to be welcome to create at home and therefore had my kids design playdough placemats to keep their playdough creating off of the furniture, the cat, the picturebooks, etc. I asked my 1st graders to brainstorm what would be fun to create playdough "things" on, they made drawings, and I laminated them.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Finishing Clay Sculptures with Tempera Cakes: 1st Grade Owls

First grade's clay owls were super successful this year which I attribute to demonstrating and expecting better craftsmanship than in previous years. Young artists are capable of so much! This year I decided to change it up with how they finished their owl sculptures. Instead of offering a choice of pre-mixed gouache washes in natural colors, I showed my first graders how to use tempera cakes to paint their clay sculptures. They tested colors in combinations of 2-3 colors on their owl sketches before they began painting their sculptures. As an art teacher, you sometimes worry that students will rush or become overzealous with their painting at the end of a long project--I should have known better! This group of first graders ROCKED OUT with their color choices and finishing touches using tempera cakes! Enjoy!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Snowflake Fabric Batik Banner

No two snowflakes are alike and no two second graders are exactly alike either!
One of my 2nd grade classes created a winter fabric batik banner for the auction night at school. We followed Gail's instructions from That Artist Woman by using gel glue, cotton fabric, and watered down acrylic paints. Each student in the class designed their own snowflake for the banner. It turned out really well and I highly recommend this as a great, collaborative project for your Littles. 

How to Make Your Own Snowflake Fabric Batik Banner

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Clay Owls in the Making and Thoughts on Craftsmanship

2014-2015 marks my 4th year teaching full-time elementary art! Now that my curriculum feels pretty established, kids remember certain projects displayed by older students and look forward to making insects on leaves, Laurel Burch-inspired cats, and clay owls.

Clay owls created by making a pinch pot body and scratching-and-attaching
slabs of clay for the wings, eyes, and beak.
The initial inspiration for this project came from seeing a 4th grade example on the One Crayola Short blog. I decided to adapt this project to do with my 1st graders because it fit so well with the foundational clay curriculum: 

  • Pre-K learns how to make pinch pots
  • Kindergarten's clay project focuses on coils, learning how to scratch-and-attach, and add texture, 
  • and this 1st grade owl project incorporates pinch pots, slabs, scratch-and-attach, and texture. 

One class finished building their owls this week and they turned out so well! One of the main differences this year is that I taught the kids how to smooth their clay with a small natural sponge before adding texture. In previous years I did not make a big deal about craftsmanship with this project, and instead focused on successful clay hand-building techniques. I felt that the project itself was appropriately challenging and I did not want to contradict our classroom motto, "There are No Mistakes in Art!" Luckily, the kids did not balk at the idea of spending time practicing good, clay craftsmanship skills. The difference in outcome is remarkable and the kids are all really proud of their work! You won't know until you try, right? 

This change left me wondering...
How do you approach craftsmanship with your Littles? How do you think process affects product? Leave a Google+ comment or send me a direct message on the lower right side of the page!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

African Pattern Squares for 1st Graders' "Adopted" Baby Elephants

1st grade has completed their elephant sculptures based on real orphaned animals taken in at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust! The baby elephants wear blankets in the orphanage as you can see in this video clip. This video will make your day! My 1st graders quickly fell in love with these adorable, big babies and I think you will as well.

We decided that we should make quilts in which each student makes one square based on traditional African textile patterns since they are African elephants. I started a new African Textiles pinboard to gather inspiration for these geometric, dense, vibrant patterns. Parent volunteers will soon be sewing these quilts together.