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I often teach multi-week projects, so after a several weeks, students are usually at different stages of completion. I sort finished work as students complete it, and then when a projects is about to wind down I make time for a “finish up day.” I have been thinking of ways to make this day a little more fun and memorable. I have seen this ketchup bottle idea posed on Pinterest and various blogs, so decided to make my own ketchup “catch up” bottle. (I mostly used this image and this image for inspiration.) I had recently taught a few one day structure/drawing lessons to my kindergarten students, so on day three, students had time to focus on finishing up their two drawing assignments and any other unfinished work they had from the year. Students who were done with all of their assignments got to work independently in their sketchbooks. I wasn’t sure if my 5 and 6 year olds were going to get the joke, but a lot of them thought it was funny. 🙂

How do you incorporate playfulness into your teaching?

For this lesson, kindergarteners looked at the work of Jasper Johns for inspiration. We looked at a few of his paintings and I asked students if they could find clues “hiding” in his paintings. Students noticed different letters, numbers and shapes. I asked students why he might want to “hide” these things in his paintings. Some answers included, “Because it’s fun.” and “To make it like a game.”

Next, students filled out a handout of things that are important to them that they might want to hide in their own picture.

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To create their own artwork, students drew the words, numbers, and pictures that they wanted to include with pencil first. Next, students used Sharpies to trace (around) the lines of their letters/numbers and pictures. Using Sharpies is always a big hit!

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After tracing, students colored in their letters, numbers and pictures with oil pastels or crayons.

Last, students painted with watercolors. I love how each student painted–some students picked just a few colors, some students used a wide range of colors, and some students tried unique painting techniques. 🙂

How do you encourage student choice & voice when teaching about the styles and techniques of famous artists?

Kindergarteners have been working on their Shape and Texture Books for a few weeks. On the first day of this lesson, students learned how to create a crayon rubbing by: bending a piece of wire, putting it under a piece of paper, and rubbing with the flat side of a crayon. Next, students went on a texture scavenger hunt and “collected” textures around school–on the stairs, on the wall, and outside! When students came back inside, they practiced their cutting skills by cutting out each shape (and saving it in a baggie for later).

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On the third day, students used fall colors to print colorful leaves. (I collected the leaves ahead of time.) For this step, students shared printmaking materials with a partner. Each partner chose one color and when students inked their rollers, the colors blended together, creating a “rainbow roll.” The excitement was contagious and students printed leaves on their paper multiple times.

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The next class, I told students that all of their experiments would be turned into a one-page book! To make the cutting a little easier, I folded each student’s paper and drew a line on the back so they knew where to cut.

After opening up the paper, students arranged and glued their texture shapes (from day two) and pieces of pre-cut textures (like ribbon, bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, foam shapes, and more…) onto each page.

Finally, students created a cover for their book. On the front of the cover, students wrote “Shape and Texture Book.” I wrote the words on the white board next to the rug area, and students copied the letters. (Because this project had a lot of steps, I only had about 5-6 students on the rug at one time.) Then, students traced their letters with a thin Sharpie and decorated the cover with pictures/designs.  When all the parts of the book were complete, a teacher helped fold the pages together and staple the book together.

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Students had so much fun making these and they are excited to take them home and share them!

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Inspired by this post, I wrote a short letter explaining the whole process and attached it to the book with a rubber band.

Check out these links for instructions/handouts on how to make a one-page book.

8-Page Mini Book

How to Make an 8-Page Zine

Off-Cuts Zine Workshop

Kindergarteners started the year with a few collage assignments…

1. Black & White Composition: I explained that a collage is a picture made out of paper and students looked at black and white abstract paintings by Franz Klein and Cecil Touchon. Then students learned how to rip paper into different sizes, compose their picture and glue down their shapes.

2. Primary Colors: We reviewed how to make a collage by ripping paper, composing an image, and gluing pieces together. We watched the video Three Primary Colors, by OK Go, and I showed students a few artworks that used only primary colors. Then students created their own pictures using primary colors. They got to choose if they wanted to work realistically or abstract.

3. Secondary Colors: On day three, we followed the same routine as day one and two. After watching Three Primary Colors again and  looking at artworks made with secondary colors, students created their own collage using secondary colors.

 

 

My first day assignment is pretty simple, but I love it because it helps me learn (and remember) students’ names, which is crucial for building relationships.

The lesson also gives me a general idea of my students’ drawing skills and creativity. With my K students, I wrote their name in block letters ahead of time and they colored them in. As students get older, I add more challenges–1st graders learn to write their own name in block or bubble letters, 2nd graders “make it artistic”, and 3rd and 4th graders are encouraged to design their own font and include an image of something they like.

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Before giving students “real clay,” I like to have them practice pinching, rolling and pressing using modeling clay. Kindergarteners came up with a lot of great ways to build and made animals, plants, bridges, and many other sculptures. W in KN came up with this delicious idea!

IMG_9964Kindergarteners started a painting and color mixing unit last week. Their first assignment was to write each of the letters of their name and their age on their paper with oil pastels. Then, students traced their letters with sharpie to create block/bubble letters. Last, students painted their pictures with watercolors. While they painted, students practiced cleaning their brushes before choosing a new color.

IMG_9952Kindergarteners are working together to create Line Sculptures! As inspiration, I showed students a Power Point of sculptures* that have lines and we discussed the various colors and materials the sculptures are made out of. Students worked in pairs to create their sculptures. They began by cutting tabs into a cardboard tube and attaching it to a cardboard base with tape. Then created lines by twisting, bending, folding, and curling paper and wire and attaching it with tape. I planned two days for this project, but the students are so excited about it that I’m giving them an extra day to work on it. 

*I found a great list of contemporary sculptors that use lines on this blog.

IMG_9778On the first day of their line unit, I taught kindergarteners some different types of lines. Then they used this printout to create pieces of a line puzzle. As students finished, I had them bring their pieces to the rug and start to assemble it into a temporary collaborative line puzzle. When I did this the second time, I trimmed the printout so students just had the square with four boxes on it. This made it easier to understand how to cut out the individual boxes.

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IMG_9769 Kindergarteners drew self-portraits and then created fancy frames for them. As inspiration, I read The Way I Feel, by Janan Cain and students discussed the different emotions illustrated in the book. After explaining basic facial proportions, students used mirrors to create two observational self-portraits—each showing a different emotion. Next, students colored in one of their drawings using markers, crayons and colored pencils.

Then, students created a patterned frame by cutting and gluing primary colored shapes to a secondary color boarder.