Friday, November 16, 2012

2nd Grade Arctic Habitat

Arctic Habitat Action Page

This is my own version of our Arctic Habitat page.  I will post more pictures of the children's work as they finish working on their pages.

The idea for this page in our art journal came from Kendra Embleton, a 2nd grade teacher here at East. She had watched a video showing how the polar bear could smell seals even through very thick ice and it showed the polar bear hunting for seals.  Her idea was to put the polar bear on a brad so that the bear could move up and down, as if banging on the ice. The little seals are attached with velcro so the students can detach them and play with them.

The teachers showed their students the video from BBC, Polar Bear Battlefield, at the following link before they came to art class. The whole video is interesting, but the part you want to watch is from 7:30-15:15.  It shows the bear hunting and breaking into the snow and ice to find the seals.

For our sketchbook activity, I showed the children how to draw a polar bear, but in application, both the polar bear and the seals were preprinted on thick tagboard for each child.

This journal page was pretty simple to make and very fun.  We put a puddle of thick white tempera (Crayola brand is my favorite) right on the pages and the children spread the thick paint around with a large brush.  Then we went around and gave each child some silver glitter paint to add some sparkle. They just mixed this in with the white.  Finally, the children used watercolor paints (the cake type) to add soft color and shadow to the ice.   While this paint was drying, they  painted their seals and their polar bear.  Then we worked on our Habitat Wheel!   The habitat wheel as a mini-version of our zentangle art from last year.  I will post a photo of this  in a separate blog post!

In many ways, this was the most age appropriate journal page for the 2nd graders.  It was simple and easy for every child to have success.

As a note, all of these journal pages can also be created on regular paper.

2nd Grade Rainforest Habitat

This week some of the  2nd grade classes chose to create a rainforest Art page for one of their habitats.  First, we looked at illustrations and photos of the rainforest, and talked explored the different animals that live in a rainforest.  Then to paint the book, we started with a light green tempera for the background, and then we added a large tree with branches and vines from the brown. Then we switches to scissor art as each child created a tropical bird  and a frog with textured paper left over from last year's Eric Carle Art project.   The goal was to add lots of green leaves and vines with patterned texture paper, but in translation, only the most advanced students finished in time to complete this last step.  The next day, we experimented a bit with color mixing and I decided that we will come back and have the children add more leaves and greenery with PAINT rather than cut paper. This has been a learning process and has been very fun.  

These are student samples of a 2nd grader.  The bird was fashioned from basic oval shapes and then the children cut ovals to make feathers.

This 2nd grader had time to add a very cute little tree frog.  They drew the frog on the back side of the patterned paper, and then cut it out.   Again, after experimenting a bit, I think it would be best to paint the light green background, and then paint some darker green accents and texture on the background instead of trying to add all the leaves with cut paper.  Time was a factor with this lesson and another alternative would be to expand the lesson to 2 one hour sessions instead of one.  There just wasn't enough time to add all the fun details like a snake, flowers and greenery.  Unfortunately, we only had 1 hour to finish this project.  The rainforest scenes are still very beautiful and the children were delighted with their work.

For the writing portion of this art project, the children could add a short paragraph on tree or in the background.  The classroom teachers will be working the children to create poems or stories that go along with each habitat.

The birds were created using basic oval shapes and were inspired by an art lesson taught by Mimi Thomas.

Integration:  Science/Habitats
English Language Arts Common Core W.5.1  Writing

Thursday, November 15, 2012

2nd Grade Desert Habitat

Desert Habitat Journal Pages

I first got the idea for this project after attending numerous art conventions, but I didn't really know how to use an art journal on the elementary level.  Last spring, my mentor and colleague, JoAnn Memmott, showed me her 4th grade ideas for doing a habitat art journal.  I was excited at the prospect of increasing writing in the 2nd grade here at East, and I wondered if our children could do similar projects but on a simpler level.

So, with major adaptations, and only remembering a brief glimpse of what JoAnn had done, I created this desert habitat pop up page.

The following pictures are 2nd grade children's work.  First we glued several pages in the book together to create a sturdier page to paint on.  Then we  painted the two page spread with yellow tempera, blended brown tempera for sand and added a golden sun.  The children colored a spiral snake and glued him in the book to create a pop-up feature.  I had left over textured paper from our Eric Carle project last year, so each child created cactus in the using textured paper and glued it down.  They LOVED this project.

This is 3nd grade student work.  The snakes were printed on cardstock and the students just colored them and cut them out.  They did need to color both sides of the snake, because when it pops out, both sides are exposed.  The children just added simple patterns and I gave them a lot of freedom.

For the journaling activity, the children will write about the desert habitat in the 
yellow background or on a different page.  

The above picture is a photo of my personal book.  I wrote a little story about deserts in the yellow sky so the children could understand how to use their book for art journaling.  The classroom teachers will be working with the children on the  writing portion of this art project. I used this book to show the children some ideas about how to create a desert habitat.  This was very simple painting as I was trying to make it colorful and attractive, but still on the level of 2nd grade children.  This was my first book, but  I actually ended up with 7 different art journals,  all a little different and I use them to model different pages for each class.  Every book is a treasure.   

For JoAnn's Fourth grade lesson plan on Utah Deserts, please follow this link.

Memmott's Art Ideas

Monday, November 12, 2012

2nd Grade Recycled Art Journals

For the last two months, the 2nd graders have been working on these fabulous recycled art journals.  

In our BTS/ALP (Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program) school, we create collaborative lessons to integrate visual art instruction with core subjects.  For this lesson, I have focused on creating art projects that teach science principles  and the classroom teacher will be focusing on helping the students write about their art in the classroom.  We have been  studying the changes that come with the seasons, and also the habitats around the world.  This has been one of the most rewarding and fun projects that I have ever participated in.

About two months ago, we started with the monumental task of acquiring about 250 books that were suitable for recycling!  We scoured the discards at libraries, went to yard sales, asked for donations and visited thrift stores.  Parents and teachers all helped locate the books.  At one point, we didn't know if we would be able to pull this off and get enough books, but almost miraculously we got enough books so every child could create their very own art journal.

Our goal in selecting books was that the book was appropriate for children, had a hard cover, and had very few pictures.  We wanted the pages to have a neutral background that would provide nice texture, but not too much distraction for the artwork.

Getting all the books ready was a huge task.  We painted the covers with black acrylic paint and then let them dry before we gave them to the students.   All of the classroom teachers helped me with this project.  We painted about 50 to 60 books each day until we were finished.

For the very first art lesson with our journal, we learned  how to draw leaves by doing observational drawing in our sketchbook.  

The students created beautiful texture leaves by tracing their drawing of a leaf onto the metal with a stylus.  They retraced each line several times to make a deep impression in the leaf.  Finally,  they cut out the leaf with scissors and glued in on the cover with tacky glue. We antiqued the leaf by rubbing it with a bit of black acrylic paint before we put mod-podge over the top.

The next week, we came back to art and started to create paintings within our book.  Some of the pages are designed to be background for writing projects and will give the students the opportunity to write about habitats.  We will share more of that in future posts.

Meanwhile, I don't know when we have had an art project that has generated such excitement. The children absolutely LOVE their books! They are excited about the art we do each week within the pages of the book.

We are finishing up this project now, but we will add little things to the book throughout the year. The teachers will also use these journals in the classroom to give the students a chance to publish their writing within the pages of the journal.

The only downside to this project is that we don't have cool pictures to post on the walls of the school. The positive side of that is that their paintings are in a book... something that is protected and loved!

If you want to see the fun projects we have done in these journals, please check back soon.  I will be adding more posts over the next few weeks.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Initial Art - First Grade

We started off the school year in 1st grade with this very cool initial art made using warm and cool colors. 

The first step was to figure out what our "initial" is!  This was the main vocabulary word for the day! This was a little tricky for first graders, and so some of them had to try again, but we  think everyone finally figured it out!  We painted our initial in with yellow tempera, and then decorated it with orange.  While our initials were drying, we learned about cool colors and abstract art as we created this decidedly cool background.  I gave the children creative freedom with this. The only rule was that I wanted them to use all the available cool colors and they were to fill their page with color.

After we were done painting the background, we cut out our large "warm" initial and glued it down on the paper.  This was the hardest part.  Some of the children struggled a bit with cutting, but if they made a mistake, we just glued all the parts down and it worked out great!

Back in the classroom the teachers helped the children write about the project to reinforce the sounds that were in their name, and what exactly an "initial" is.   The next week, we came back to art and created name art using all the letters in their name.  While most of the children know their letter sounds, these lessons were designed to provide some reinforcement and help for the lower students who have not quite mastered these skills.

Leaping Into Space - 2nd Grade

We started off year with a very fun 2nd grade project,  "Leaping Into Space!"  

To create this project, we divided each 2nd grade class into four groups and each group created their very own mural. 

Before we began, we talked about space and looked at pictures taken by the Hubble telescope.   We talked about how it would feel to fly in space with our friends.  As part of this project, each child created his or her own self-portrait,  a moon in one of the phases and some funky stars.  As a group, the children painted "space" background and an earth.  The children had fund arranging their children on the poster and writing about their experience.  

Murals with writing samples.

Each group wrote their own little poem about their mural.

A closeup!  I gave the children a basic template they could trace if they were hesitant about drawing their own self portrait.  They added their own features, hair and clothing.  We  outlined the portrait with a sharpie and then colored then with crayola markers, using the multi-cultural markers for the skin tone.

Every portrait was unique and fun.  This little boy did not use the template and felt confident about drawing his picture.  I hesitated at first using a template, but I think it gave children confidence that they could create a picture in the general size and shape that it needed to be.  We did this whole project in just one art session, so my main focus was on helping them get started with the portrait process.  Then the classroom teacher helped them color their portraits while I took each group one at a time to paint their background.  

To paint the background, first we all painted the paper black using watercolors and lots of water.  We used liquid watercolor to spray constellations and colors on the background.

We talked about how galaxies have a "spiral" type shape and the children looked at photographs taken by the Hubble telescope to give them ideas.  Once we finished the background, each group made an "earth" by spraying green and blue on a paper with liquid watercolors and then cutting out a circle shape.

I encouraged the children to personalize their portrait with clothing similar to what they liked to wear.

Such a cute little self-portrait!

This is a sample of student work before they cut out their self portrait.  I allowed them to make character moons if they wanted too.  We did a moon project in 1st grade, so the children already knew how to draw the profile of the man in the moon.  Notice that we drew the ENTIRE circle and shaded in the portion of the moon instead of cutting out the crescent.  I wanted the children to have an accurate understanding of the moon phases.

About half way through the project I drew this little reference sheet to help the children with hairstyles. This is the hardest part of the self-portrait project, and at this age, I am trying to get them to look first  and then draw.  I told them this would just give them some basic ideas and that they could create their own "cartoon" type hairstyle, similar to creating a figure on their Wii.

These were my little template people.  I printed them on cardstock and then the children put a white piece of paper over the template and then used a pencil to draw it "their" way.  The template was optional but it helped the children find the basic body shape and size.  We started with the pants and shirt, but then drew some slimmer profiles to allow children to adapt it more easily for different clothing styles.   The children added their own clothes, hair and facial expressions.

Some very cute girls flying in space!

Spiderman was popular with the boys with year. It surprised me at first, and I didn't want to discourage the children,  but I did remind them that this wasn't a Halloween self-portrait, but rather a portrait that would illustrate them in clothing they might wear everyday so their parents might recognize them!  Spiderman sure is cute though!

After the backgrounds were dry, each classroom teacher helped the children create the mural in their own classroom and also helped the children write about the project as part of their regular classroom instruction.  The writing was part of the Common Core ELA.W.5.   If you are doing the entire lesson, it will probably take 2 one hour sessions to complete. This lesson could easily be adapted for children of all ages.

This lesson was integrated the Science Core Standards, learning about space and understanding patterns in the night sky, including the phases of the moon.

The inspiration for this lesson came from a photo on page 99 in the Crayola Dream-makers lesson book After School Programs.

I am writing up this lesson plan in detail and will be online shortly.  I will post a link here when it is finished.

Photos of Construction

For those of you following the construction of the school, the secretary shared these very cool photos of what it looked in the middle of the construction process.  I thought you might enjoy these as much as I did!

One of the young construction workers talked to me the first week of school and told me that when they knocked down all the walls, there were working in a big black hole.  There was no electricity and no lighting while they were rewiring the school, so they brought in portable lights.  The above photo shows the remains of the old library.

All the dividing walls were knocked down.  I can't really tell where this is in the building.

I think this is looking down the main hall, and the art room should be on the right.   Again, I am not sure exactly where this is!

The plumbing was the only thing remaining from our old sinks and coat closets. This was later removed and the entire school was re-plumbed to install a sprinkler system.  Each classroom got a new sink... and if you remember from our earlier post, the art room now has four sinks!  I posted another picture of the sinks at the end of this blog post.  It is so nice to clean up at the end of the day!

 The upper rafters.

 Another view of the old library looking toward the office.

This whole remodeling project has been fun for me to watch.  It has been harder moving into a new room with not much time to get ready for the beginning of school.  Once classes started, the organization has become more difficult, but I am gradually getting the feel of the new room and slowly getting it arranged so that it is conducive to education.  Even with beautiful new cupboards, all the teachers in the old part of the school realize that we used to stash a lot of stuff in those old coat closets!  It has been a bit difficult to find room for everything.  In spite of that, we are so thrilled with our new school building.  The morale is high and it is such a pleasure to walk down the halls. 

Looking down the hall the Saturday before school started.  What a difference!

 This is the beautiful new wall in the art room!  In talking with the head of construction,  he told me that  usually they would never attempt to finish a project of this magnitude in just 3 months.   So all in all, it has been very amazing to watch them pull it off.  We still have workers in the school finishing the minor details and the building inspector has been here a few times to make sure everything is perfect.  

I would like to thank our administration, the school board and the community for their support in creating such a beautiful school for our children.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

First Grade Name Art

This may be the longest blog post I have ever written!  There were so many cute ideas with this project I had to share as many as I could. 

As background for this project,  several years ago the teachers asked me to create a name art project, but for one reason or another, we were never able to fit it in.   We wanted to create an art project that would reinforce letter sounds and help the children find delight in the letters of their name.  I have searched for name art projects on the internet hoping I would find something that would be suitable for the lower grades but would also be fun and attractive.  I really didn't find much of anything that I liked.   This little name booklet was inspired my friend and colleague Bridget who had created watercolor paintings of alphabet letters.   Here is her blog:

 I didn't know if this project would be too difficult for the children.  I thought it might be, but when has that ever stopped me?  I decided to try it, and see how it went.

To begin this project,  I hand drafted a set of  upper case and lower case alphabet letters using some "blocky" shapes and sized to fit exactly on the pages of our little booklet.  I wanted something a bit fun and whimsical and I didn't want to use a standard font.   The booklet was created by folding butcher paper and cutting it in 5 inch sections.  Then each  5 inch section was refolded in an accordion like fashion and cut to fit the child's name.  For the cover, I cut pieces of mat board into rectangular pieces about 2 3/4" x 5".  The cover pieces were glued on the front and back of the book to give it more stability.

Then I made copies of the letters and cut them into squares.  I sorted the letters into little bins and so I had 26 bins for the lower case letters and 26 bins for the upper case letters.  The children walked along and picked out the letters in their name.

Once each child had selected their letters, I showed them some ideas for decorating their letters.  We explained that we wanted them to decorate their letters using pictures of something that represented the "sound" the letter makes.  In the above picture, a teacher made this example.  On "A" she put ants, then nuts, nails and apples,  each on the appropriate letter.

To complete her example she put envelopes on the "e", then lollipops, a lion and elves.

This is the completed name with the letters clued onto the accordion folded paper.  The upper case letter was glued on two pages, but each letter is glued on it's own page.

Now the fun begins:  Here is Ryder's name.  He drew Roses, Yarn, a Dog, Eggs and a Rabbits.  At the beginning of the week, I did not tell the children to write the "words" on their letters, but as the project evolved, I started asking them to do this because sometimes it was difficult for me to tell what they had drawn.  The words tell a story.

Here is Joshua's book.  On his "J" he drew a cute little picture of a boy with a jump rope.  His "o" is an octopus, then he made a snake and a house.  Look closely at the "u".  It is a unicorn!  He asked me if anyone else had done a unicorn.  No, no one else had!  I have 10 first grade classes and there were so many new ideas every single day!  It was fun to see how differently every child interpreted this project.


Eggs and Glue Bottles

Apples and a nap (of course!)

An elephant.  I love to see the invented spellings.  It is very age appropriate.

Here is Deegan's whole name!  After a few days, I started encouraging the children to OUTLINE their letters with the markers because it really made the names look better.

A close-up of a bee and and elephant.

 Notice all the little brown houses around the "t" creating a little town.   There are hearts on the "h" and apple's on the "a".   Parents:  I hope you treasure the invented spellings.  All too soon your children will want to spell it the "right" way.  I am so happy when I see a child who is willing to phonetically create a spelling.  It shows me they are thinking about the sounds of a word and the sounds of the letters.  Teachers:  If the students ask me the proper spelling of a word, I help them, but I really love it when students do their own invented spellings. 

Numbers on the "n" and a very cute yak on the "y".

I loved the original drawings on this one.  The "A" reminds me of the book Ten apples up on top.  The yellow "n" is filled with noodles. 

Here we have a cute little dinosaur and a robot.  
These drawings are so creative and done as only a first grader can do them!

 Ending with an egg and a worm...

Here is the completed little book.  Notice how much nicer it looks when the children outline the letters.

A bird and a rainbow.

A nap, a net and a lion.

 I loved these adorable little kites on the K.

Such a sweet little lion and a yak.

 A Tiger on the T.  Taylor has great line design too!

The finished book folds up to a small size with the black covers on each end.  You can read the book a page at a time, or expand it to read the entire name at once.

 In this cute book, Malory informed us that the cute little creatures on the "M" were monkeys!  

She did a very cute interpretation of a lion, and the cutest of all is this 
little "ocean" with a goldfish jumping up in the air!

The entire name.

In our district, we are asked to post child friendly objectives for each lesson. This isn't the best, but this is a snapshot of my whiteboard just so you can see how I write the objectives.  We want to make sure that the children understand exactly what we want them to learn and do.  

I had a major breakthrough on the very last day we taught this class.  All week I had just asked the children to illustrate the letter using a picture illustrating the sound that it makes.   I didn't really address vowels or letters that made multiple sounds.  Rylee came up to me with her lower case "y" and she told me that she didn't want to make the "y" sound on her letter because in her name it made the sound of a "i".  She thought it through very logically and I realized that she was right. She decided to turn her "y" into an ice cream cone with a scoop of blue ice cream on top.  I was very pleased that Rylee was applying this lesson so literally, and it opened my eyes to one more aspect of the lesson.  If I teach this again, I will tell the students that can decorate either with the traditional letter sound, or the letter sound that is actually in their name.

And so even at the end, in the very last class we were still getting new ideas.  Treyden turned his  "T" into a tree!

Teacher notes:   After the children decorated all of their letters we glued them into the book.  The entire lesson took about an hour to complete, but some of the children with longer names kept working on their books during recess.  In most classes, I glued the covers on the books after the children left.   This lesson takes a lot of preparation but the children loved it and I am very pleased with the results.